In my never-ending retrospective of the career of Bud Lee, I watched "Dark Influences", not the scary horror-tinged opus I was suspecting but nonetheless engrossing on its own terms. Asia Carrera is uber-sexy as usual, and her femme co-stars also contribute A-grade arousal scenes.
It falls vaguely into the Haunted House genre, but doe not rely on the usual clichés. Instead we have more of a murder mystery developing, with most of the supernatural content mere red herrings. Or are they? Working within a XXX context, Lee and his regular writer George Kaplan are able to get away with more ambiguity than say a Ruth Rendell British TV show.
One constant of the genre is that old saw of hearing strange noises, and Asia, traipsing around in a tremendously sexy purple dressing gown follows the path of countless white nightgowned heroines of Horror movies, searching downstairs and outside by the pool for the source of these disturbances.
LOTS OF SPOILERS SO WATCH OUT:
What she finds are many couples or threesomes humping, and this being porn she can't take her eyes off them (the little voyeuse!). First up is interracial sex with Monique (who I had just watched the day before coincidentally in the Harmony Films gonzo epic "Slam It! in Rough") hooking up with the team of Voodoo and Nicole Sheridan. Asia wakes up -this hot clinch was only a dream, wet at that.
The mystery unfolding concerns a beauty named Cathy Miles (her name appears on screen twice, and is spelled differently, one time as "Myles" signed in a textbook Asia finds suspiciously in her house). Asia's science professor husband is Steven St. Croix, and when not humping Asia he seems to be up to no good -raising the spectre of a "Gaslight" plot here.
The next noises downstairs turn out to be Jack Hammer humping C.J. Bennett, latter displaying extraordinary deep-throat technique. Both of them look scarily over at Asia while she's peeping at them, a rather sinister technique Bud uses throughout the feature, and Asia ultimately flees, leaving the lengthy scene with no money shot -quite unusual (and welcomed by me, painfully tired of the porn ritual/cliché).
Elizabeth X. finally appears in a flashback having illicit sex with Asia's husband, and that provides the climax to the story, as we learn of her fate, St. Croix's complicity, and what REALLY happened to cause these "Dark Influences". You have to give Bud & Asia credit: as the "other woman" Elizabeth X. is more beautiful and arresting in her big scene than the film's star Asia -adding to the story's effectiveness since Steven is bedding both of them.
But that is a false ending, as Kaplan delivers a more satisfying twist involving Asia which I won't spoil here. To send the fans home happy (I keep thinking that porn is made for theatrical release -can't get rid of my upbringing), Bud stages a hot sex scene between Asia and her BFF Coral Sands to round out the program.
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