A few weeks back, we beheld the great Zalman King's fleshy visitation of Two Moon Junction. And the camera lenses have a brand new coat of Vaseline and the sax-to-sex-by soundtrack is rolling, so Mr. Nine 1/2 Weeks must be at it again. He's the fella who gave X-man David Duchovny a stack of dirty letters and had him read them real late at night on Showtime -- in the couples-oriented series Red Shoe Diaries. Zalman's an innovator, and truth be told, largely responsible for slipping softcore porn into the mainstream by emphasizing eroticism and sensuality over mere exploitation. Showtime released two discs in the spring, Red Shoe Diaries 11: The Game and Red Shoe Diaries 12: Girl on a Bike, each featuring commentaries by the man hisself. The next batch, Red Shoe Diaries 13: Four On The Floor (1996, 85 minutes) and Red Shoe Diaries 14: Luscious Lola, has arrived with the original feature due early 2001, so ya gotta wait a bit to see Duchovny wronged by his cheatin' woman in slutty red pumps.
The Psychiatrist: After being slimed off syndicated television by a ill-tempered oil slick on Vagra II, Star Trek's Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) went on to be a tightly-wound psychiatrist who REALLY enjoys listening to the exploits of one of her more adventuresome patients (Demetra Hampton). This gal likes to pretend she's a hooker -- and pants herself into ecstasy as a wealthy John orders her to strip in front of an open hotel window. The shrink timidly decides to explore the prostitute fantasy herself, and winds up bedding the same generous stranger (Georges Corraface of Escape from L.A.) Those wanting a look at Ms. Crosby's celestial spheres should rent Red Shoe Diaries 2: Double Dare instead. Directed by David Womark.
Four on the Floor: A woman wonders what it'd be like to diddle her man AND her best friend AND her best friend's man. After a night of boozing and dancing, all four find themselves in an abandoned barn, with only each other's rain-soaked, nekkid bodies for warmth. A giggly petting party soon turns into full throttle wife-swapping. Starring Dominique Abel, Rachel Palmieri, Christopher Atkins and Nick Corri. Directed by Rafael Eisenman.
Emily's Dance: Ab-man Freedom Williams of C+C Music Factory wants to make a naive young dancer sweat. She auditions for his new video, and lands the lead, but can't quite stay focused on the job at hand, as Freedom keeps ripping his shirt off and barking at her to shove him around. Kinky, huh? Zalman actually ACTS in and directs this mini-Flashdance.
Notables: 11 breasts. Gratuitous train-going-through-tunnel footage. Post-coital cigarette. Car ride sing-a-long. Gypsy yodeling and dancing. One car crash. Hair whipping. Knee pads as fashion accessories. Shoving as foreplay.
Quotables: The rich sleazeball who picks up sexually repressed gals in the hotel bar, "It excites you, doesn't it -- that I want to pay for you?" And later, "I like money, it buys simplicity and honesty." Denise Crosby gets to the point, "Look at me! Maybe I WANT to be f@#%ed! Maybe I want to be paid 60,000 francs, and walk out of here and never see you again and not care!" A woman assesses herself by observing her best friend, "Julia had always been more outgoing than me. More outgoing with her body, and I admired that." A young dancer knows what it takes to make it, "I've got to rise above my technique and let my emotions flow." Text of Jake's personals ad: "WOMEN: Do you keep a diary? Have you been betrayed? Have you betrayed another? Man, 25, wounded and alone, recovering from loss of once in a lifetime love looking for reasons why. Willing to pay top $$$ for your experiences. Please send diaries to: Red Shoes; P.O. Box 7956319; Canoga Park, California 91309. All submissions strictly confidential."
Time codes: Window shopping (12:35). A naughty bedtime story (44:00). Zalman as The Director (53:40). Painful improvisational rap (1:07:55). The music video followed by its breasty "European" version (1:11:32).
Audio/Video: Relatively clean fullframe transfer with no real need for complaint -- there is, however, a discrete amount of digital shimmering. That Zalman-signature music sounds extra cheesy in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo.
Extras: Motion-video main menu with audio. During "Four on the Floor" there are about six instances where a red shoe appears on the screen, and allows viewers to peruse that portion of the script (Oooooooo!) There's a 10-minute featurette exploring the making of "Emily's Dance," which includes interviews with King and Freedom. An intriguing addition is a steamy diary that cuts off just as things MIGHT be getting interesting -- you have to continue the scenario on the Luscious Lola disc. Gallery of 17 photos that are far short of being "seductive" as they're described on the DVD sleeve. Cast bios.
Final thought: Not Zalman's best showing. "Four on the Floor" and "The Psychiatrist" eek out moments of subdued heat, while "Emily's Dance" reminds us why Freedom Williams has rightfully entered the "Where Are They Now?" file. Rent it.
G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.