Here’s another oddball surprise: an obscure shot-in-Manhattan horror/sex film, heavy on both atmosphere and skin, by the late one-man-sex-film-factory CHUCK VINCENT (While the Cat’s Away) under one of his oft-used pseudonyms. Even more surprising: it’s pretty damn good.

Pretty Anna Reed is happily shopping in the Big Apple one day when she stops at a phone booth to make a call. Suddenly, she hears heavy breathing. Loud heavy breathing. And not coming from the phone but from…well…everywhere at once. All of the other sounds of the city suddenly disappear — as do the people — until Anna is walking Carnival of Souls-like through the empty, silent streets of New York. Meanwhile, almost subliminal images of dead people flash on the screen as the voice keeps badgering her – “Anna… Anna, wait for us…. Wait for us….”

That night in her apartment (which is decorated with movie posters for M, Blue Angel, and Citizen Kane!), Anna reads a magazine on her bed when she hears the creepy voice again: “Anna… we love you….” And to prove it, her arms seem possessed by someone else as they tear off her clothes and rub fruit on her flesh. Yes, that’s right, fruit(!!) from a bowl next to the bed. Until Anna’s sucking a banana while grinding grapes into her groin. And seeing the vision of porn actor ROGER CAINE boffing some gal in some other place at some other time.

Anna figures it’s time to get out of town. She packs a suitcase and plans on visiting a girlfriend when, yes, yes, the Voices of Desire call to her again: “Come to us, Anna…Come to us….” Her apartment door opens by itself and, in a trance, she wanders to a dingy tenement on a less-than-fashionable street where she enters a cozy, attractively furnished dwelling on the top floor. And meets the occupants: Mr. Caine and two other men, as well as a leather-clad lesbian (MARLENE WILLOUGHBY). Yup, adorable little Anna quickly becomes a sex-sandwich for the men, dinner for the dyke, and made to watch one of the men go bouncy-bounce with DARBY LLOYD RAINS in a blonde wig. It gets even stranger when the group suddenly comes after her with carving knives until each and every one of them inexplicably ends up murdered. All of which she explains to detective DAVID KIRK (Elias Sr. in Putney Swope — you know, the Mario in “How many syllables, Mario?”), who confirms that the killings did, in fact, occur. And then delivers the out-of-left-field punchline which is just as wacky as everything else….

In other words, not the usual Chuck Vincent film. Nicely photographed with some exceedingly well-shot location scenes, Voices of Desire is the kind of brooding, off kilter sex film there’s just too few of. And, of course, more proof of why New York was once known as “Fun City.”





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