January 2nd, 2008

ALICE IN WONDERLAND (1976) ** ½

 

During the Bicentennial, pornography was becoming generally more commonplace.  So much so, that someone got the bright idea to make a XXX fantasy comedy MUSICAL loosely based on Lewis Carroll’s treasured classic.  It was a big success and lead to many imitators.

 

Former Playboy model Kristine De Bell stars as Alice, a virginal librarian who won’t put out for her hunky boyfriend.  Alice’s world gets turned upside down when the pesky White Rabbit shows up and jumps through her mirror.  Alice follows him through the looking glass and is magically transported to a forest in Upstate New York… I mean Wonderland.  Once there, she gets licked by women in cat suits, masturbates on a talking rock, sucks off the Mad Hatter, watches two lesbian nurses 69 (yeah we all remember that scene from the book), sucks off Humpty Dumpty, watches Tweedledee and Tweedledum 69, watches an orgy, and is made to eat out the Red Queen (who has her pubes shaved into the shape of a heart).  Finally, Alice escapes back into the real world where she gets to bang her one true love.

 

As Alice, Kristine De Bell is pretty enchanting and has a sweet innocence about her that is tailor made for the role.  She always gives 100% and stays completely in character, even while performing the hardcore scenes.  The other actors however, are less convincing.  Although the actors who get to perform in the XXX scenes are fairly decent, the actors who don’t get to fuck aren’t nearly as much fun.  I don’t know if they were blue balled from not being allowed sample De Bell’s smoking bod, or if they resented their kooky costumes and amateurish make-up, but most of them fail to leave much of an impression.  Among the droves or unremarkable performers, there are at least two familiar faces in the form of Terri (Sex Wish) Hall and Jason Williams of Flesh Gordon fame.

 

The jokes are pretty sophomoric (some are borderline freshmanic) and the cheesy costumes and sets will elicit more chuckles than the actual “humor” present in the film.  The musical numbers, such as they are, are all pretty forgettable, but at least one of them (“What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing on a Knight Like This?”) is kinda catchy.   

 

It’s no Fairy Tales, but it’s an entertaining way to kill 75 minutes.  If anything, Alice in Wonderland serves as an important reminder of a time when porn directors, writers, and actors took their craft more or less “seriously” instead of churning out a cheap and sloppy product for the internet.  Guys like director Bud Townsend, a veteran of such “legitimate” movies as the immortal Cameron Mitchell laugh riot Nightmare in Wax and producer William (Flesh Gordon) Osco actually seemed to give a damn about the finished product and it shows.  The costumes and sets may be sub par, but you can tell they were thrown together with a little bit of wit and imagination, and easily surpass most of what was being done in porn at that time. 

 

Several versions of the film were released, all with varying degrees of pornographic footage.  Naturally the XXX version containing the most hardcore footage (out now on DVD from Subversive Cinema) is the preferred route to go, but seen in any form, Alice in Wonderland remains an important time capsule for the adult film industry. 

 

As for De Bell, she went on to a brief, but memorable film career starring in such classics as Meatballs, Cheerleaders’ Wild Weekend (also from Osco), and The Big Brawl, which was the American starring debut for Jackie Chan.  (I wonder if Jackie knew she could suck such a good cock?)  After the late 80’s, De Bell pretty much disappeared from the acting scene, and if you ask me, it’s a shame.  Come back Kristine, we miss you.