Phil Prince – Angel in Distress (1982)
Blonde and busty Angel James is kidnapped. Mistress Candice supervises her torment, including bondage, assault, verbal humiliation and S&M orgy. Ron Jeremy plays a private dick, Amos Brag, hired to track down the kidnapped Angel.
Avon was a company that ran a string of ultra-sleazy porno theaters on Times Square throughout the ’70s and most of the ’80s, specializing in rough S&M fare, accompanied by hardcore stage shows during intermissions. While there was hardly a shortage of such material already produced elsewhere, they decided to cut out the middle man as it were and produce their own foul-natured features. To this effect, they acquired the services of a number of – surely otherwise unemployable – in house directors, including the notorious Joe Davian and Phil Prince. Davian, who was rumored to sport a concentration camp tattoo, showed signs of talent when working on more mainstream adult projects like GIRLS USA and MANHATTAN MISTRESS. Prince on the other hand, whose off-screen brushes with law and order provided the stuff of (urban ?) legend, gave precious little evidence of any ambition whatsoever beyond capturing the required number of kinky sex acts within the interval his employers allotted, usually a single day.
Hardly the most extreme of his erotic endeavors, ANGEL IN DISTRESS actually seems to aim for comedy (well, sort of) in its twisted tale – attributed to supporting performer and future PUSSYMAN David Christopher – of private dick Milton Brag (Ron Jeremy) who’s hired by wealthy Riverside Drive housewife Susan James (an uncharacteristically restrained Marlene Willoughby) to track down her kidnapped daughter Angel, played by chubby Joey Carson. A popular live sex performer at Avon’s scummy venues, Carson only made a handful of movies, the most memorable of which being the late Roger Watkins’ supremely downbeat MIDNIGHT HEAT. She sadly passed away from heart failure in the late ’90s. A casually dropped business card leads the detective to the whips ‘n’ chains establishment of Mistress Candice, a statuesque dominatrix who always struck me as possessing a healthy sense of humor about the absurdity of the situations she frequently found herself in, not just in specialized, niche-marketed fare but regular adult features like Ron Sullivan’s MASCARA and Carter Stevens’ TWILITE PINK as well. Sure enough, poor little Angel is kept bound and gagged in the back room, regularly raped by Candice’s henchmen Dave Ruby, George Payne and Lenny Vincent, a one shot forever struggling for wood. It turns out Marlene arranged for her abduction in order to extract ransom from her rich yet stingy spouse. Plot moves along haphazardly with Ron’s Girl Friday secretary (Julie Dupree from John Seeman’s obscure PLEASURES OF A WOMAN) infiltrating the white slavery ring while the Mistress vents her frustration on pretty much anyone who comes near, her special slave boy (Christopher, then rumored to occupy that position in real life) in particular. The pretty Hispanic-looking girl assisting the evildoer is billed as “Destiny” but actually better known as Cheri Champagne, who would reveal herself a talented comedienne in Chuck Vincent’s highly enjoyable PUSS ‘N’ BOOTS, not to be confused with another actress commonly credited as Champagne, as most sources seem to do.
Most of the nastiness comes across as poorly disguised play-acting. The only potentially disturbing stuff would have been Angel’s gang rape, if Carson (who looks and possibly was heavily sedated) had bothered to put up a fight. Though the rough ‘n’ ready camera work by Sal Sodano, who shot Armand Weston’s semi-documentary PERSONALS on Tina and Jason Russell back in 1972, contributes a gritty feel some more forgiving critics have likened to Paul Morrissey’s films for Andy Warhol, fans looking for an authentic slice of low life will probably come away disappointed. Which leads me to the German version I saw a couple of days ago playing the bottom half of a double bill (with Ron Sullivan’s sublime DEVIL IN MISS JONES PART 2) at my regular haunt, the still 35mm film screening ABC Theater in Brussels, Belgium. Presented under the title SEX BIZARRE 2. TEIL, it was presumably deemed a bit short at a mere 70 minutes – or a bit soft on truly “bizarre” sex – by its local distributor and augmented with footage from Prince’s rudimentary though powerful ORIENTAL TECHNIQUES OF PLEASURE AND PAIN. At least, these scenes could boast the intensity the “main feature” sorely lacked. Annie Sprinkle shoving her greased-up fist and a humongous dildo up the rectum of one shot (who could blame him ?) Billy Kirk made for an indelible sight, as did submissive Alan Adrian merrily sloshing around in the generous contents of Mistress Candice’s bladder. The largely inactive – in this excerpt anyway – slave girl with the cat tattoo on her left breast was perky Debbie Cole, best remembered as one of Mike Horner’s trio of mistresses in Alan Vydra’s endearingly odd SOUND OF LOVE. To compound the confusion, audience reaction shots from Marlene (doing Dave) and Cheri (doing Lenny, to little avail) were actually inserted into ORIENTAL TECHNIQUES from the previously made ANGEL ! If this version would happen to come your way (fat chance !), add an extra couple of stars to the above rating.