Monday, July 4, 2016

CHRISTINA (1984) (Blu-ray Review)

Label: Intervision Picture Corp
Region Code: Region-FREE
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 91 Mnutes
Audio: LPCM Mono English
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Cast: Jewel Shepard, Karin Schubert, Josephine Jacqueline Jones
Director: Francisco Lara Polop

Synopsis: Famed B-movie vixen Jewel Shepard (HOLLYWOOD HOT TUBS, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD) stars as Christina Von Belle, the insatiable young heiress known as `The Playgirl Of The Western World.’ But when Christina is kidnapped by a ruthless squad of lesbian commandos (led by Euro-starlet-turned-porn-queen Karin Schubert of BLUEBEARD and BLACK EMANUELLE), she is forced to submit to a shocking ordeal of carnal degradation. For a frightened girl bound by more than desire, is there any limit to the ecstasy of the depraved? Ian Sera (PIECES) and former Miss Bahamas Josephine Jacqueline Jones (BLACK VENUS) co-star in this sumptuous sex saga from writer/producer Harry Alan Towers (LOVE CIRCLES, VENUS IN FURS, 99 WOMEN), now re-mastered in luscious high-definition for the first time ever!

Christina (1984) is a fun and very silly softcore romp that made its way to the softcore pay-cable circuit on the mid '80s, though sadly I never caught it on Skinemax back in the day. In fact, up until I threw this Blu-ray on I'd never even heard of this softcore skin flick, but my interest was definitely elevated when I realized that the more oft-nude than not b-movie starlet Jewel Shepherd who also played party girl Casey in '80s punker-zombie classic The Return of the Living Dead (1985) was the star. Having just watched the ROTLD making of doc More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead (2011) I do recall she seemed pretty feisty and fun when reflecting upon her role ROTLD, in it she mentions that director Dan O'Bannon discovered her at a strip club and asked her to play death-obsessed punker chic Trash, a role she turned down because she had just appeared in another movie that required her to be nude for most of the shoot, I am assuming that Christine (1984) is the movie being referenced, a slice of softcore erotica for which she appears nude for nearly the the duration of the movie. 

The skin flick is a hot mess but a fun action-packed romp, Shephard plays a wealthy heiress with a ravenous sexual appetite named Christina Von Belle, a character that from what I gather is the star of a series of trashy sex novels from the '70s and '80s. The movie begins with a discoteque scene with Von Belle dancing with a wonderfully revealing top that allows her breasts ample screen time while partying down to the coked-up disco sounds.  I was surprised how much fun and action is packed into this skin flick, there's an extended car chase sequence of Von Belle racing her playboy lover Patrick down a winding mountain road, this guy is played by Euro-cult favorite Ian Sera, who you might remember as the pipe-laying Lothario from Pieces (1982), apparently the guy was nailing babes throughout the '80s as evidenced by his turn here. The race ends in a minor accident that knocks playboy Patrick out cold, but Von Belle resuscitates him with a life-saving blow-job, the breath of life indeed! 

Von Belle is soon kidnapped by a saphic terrorist ring calling themselves the 10th of November whom are lead by mature adult film star Karin Schubert (All Naked and Warm). Of course we get some nice girl on girl lesbian action and some of the worst choreographed cat-fighting ever committed to celluloid, which is always good for a laugh, as are the tacky leopard-print outfits the terror-group wear. Escaping the clutches of the carpet-munching baddies Von Belle finds herself a prisoner of a group of maritime smugglers who also happen to be gourmet chefs... WTF! Such a weird movie, a very silly softcore romp all around with only one real shortcoming, the sex scenes are far too brief and not all that erotically charged, so what you're left with is a skinematic travelogue with some batshit crazy plotting and some nice foreign scenery, plus an eyeful of the very attractive Jewel Shephard, which is fun, but maybe not the sex-charged romp I hoped it would be, but still a fun watch. It would be hard not to appreciate this for the ridiculous slice of campy erotica that it is, fan of b-movie actress Jewel Shephard and softcore 80s cinema should take note.  

Audio/Video: Christina arrives on Blu-ray from Intervision Picture Corp in widescreen (1.78:1) which from what I gather is a cropped version of the original full frame open matte presentation, a version which I've never seen so this new widescreen presentation sat well with me and didn't seem to tight or cropped. The new HD transfer looks damn good, there's some minor print damage to contend with but the colors look good, the film grain is intact and the results are very pleasing. The LPCM Mono sounds good as well, no issues with hiss or distortion, dialogue and score come through nicely. There are no special features for this release, straight-up bare bones. 

Christina (1984) is a breezy softcore romp, jam-packed with cheap action and campy fun, it doesn't make much sense and the sex scenes are a bit anemic for my tastes but it is hard to deny the allure of Jewel Shephard who looks wonderful nude in HD. Fans of Shephard's work on The Return of the Living Dead might want to give this a peek and see what might have been if she had played Trash instead of party girl Casey, 
but in the end this is more of a hoot than something truly hot, so go into it with tempered expectations.