Camp Cuddly Pines Powertool Massacre DVD Review
Reviewed by Eric Strauss
Released by Wicked Pictures
Directed by Jonathan Morgan
Written by August Warwick, Jonathan Morgan and Stormy Daniels
Region 1 (NTSC), 151 minutes, Rated X
Stormy Daniels as Kirsten
Jessica Drake as Megan
Keri Sable as the porn slut
Eric Masterson as Rayford
… and many more
Every year, every month it seems, adult entertainment — that’s “porn” to the masses — gets closer and closer to mainstream filmmaking.
Sure, there are still “films” comprised of nothing but clips of men and women doing what men and women do, but so-called features have become the marquee titles in the adult world.
That’s right: Porn with plot. And while some people might not care about anything but the “money shot,” for others, there is a distinct benefit to characters having some, well, character — and having something to watch while reloading between sex scenes.
Wicked Pictures has been at the forefront of both feature filmmaking and the subsequent top-notch DVD packaging of these spotlight films. Movies such as Jenna Jameson vehicles Flashpoint and Dream Quest featured some big-league effects and makeup, and the DVD features rivaled anything on mainstream studio releases, with commentaries, 30-minute-plus documentaries, deleted scenes and more.
Of course, the porn industry loves to parrot the mainstream, so it was inevitable adult entertainment would find its way into horror crossovers. And Wicked’s Camp Cuddly Pines Powertool Massacre is adult fun any horror fan can appreciate.
One of Wicked’s star directors, Jonathan Morgan, has mined the horror genre before, including the hugely popular parody Double Feature, a riff on drive-in movies. He has also tried more serious genre fare, but the more serious-minded The Gate was less successful, perhaps because mental illness — complete with an asylum full of babbling inmates — isn’t particularly arousing to most people.
(Both those films can be found as part of a horror-themed four-pack of features from Wicked, “Titillating Tales of Terror,” one of two the studio has put together, along with the “Wicked Fourgy of Whorror.”)
With Camp Cuddly Pines, Morgan returns to the lighter side of horror, serving up more laughs than blood, although there’s some of that, too.
And Morgan, along with co-writers Stormy Daniels and August Warwick, certainly knows the genre. There are at least a dozen references to classic horror movies, from entire scenes and setups to lines of dialogue or in-jokes.
The general plot mixes The Texas Chain Saw Massacre with Friday the 13th, as five college friends on their way to a concert find themselves forced to spend the night at an abandoned summer camp after a van accident and subsequent breakdown. Many of the post-coital-kill plotlines are merely the setup for the sex scenes, but anyone who ever wondered about little Michael Myers watching sister Judith go “all the way” won’t have to imagine what he saw anymore.
And of course, the titular Camp Cuddly Pines was the site of a massacre past, and that scene certainly surpasses any of the “premarital sex” scenes in Jason’s favorite series.
Camp Cuddly Pines showcases a pair of Wicked contract girls — stars under exclusive deals with the studio — in Stormy Daniels (who headlined Morgan’s Star Wars parody, Space Nuts) and Jessica Drake. And although Daniels has the perfect swollen-sweater-girl look as the blonde ditz, it’s Drake who steals the show as her snarkier and more sensible companion. Among the men, veterans Randy Spears and Mike Horner have both made quite a reputation for their acting within the adult community — in both serious and humorous roles, sex and nonsex — and are as entertaining as expected. Meanwhile, Eric Masterson, the nominal male lead, plays a nebbishy film geek well, and Voodoo has a memorable comic turn as a jock/would-be tough guy.
And yes, ladies, the days of Ron Jeremy as the standard for adult actors are over. While Masterson isn’t always shown in the most flattering light — he’s a film geek, after all — Voodoo and sidekick Tommy Gunn are cut and get to show it.
Daniels and Drake, as the headliners, get two scenes apiece, and it’s Drake’s scene with Masterson — who’s shooting with a hand-held camera, American Beauty-style — that is undoubtedly the hottest in the film. The foursome that opens the movie sets the spotlight clearly on the two contract girls, and Daniels does her best to rival Drake in her fine scene with Masterson later in the film.
The third standout is another Wicked contract girl, Keri Sable, as a movie groupie, who sizzles in the closest thing to a “rough” scene in the movie, with some anal play and spanking. In fact, the one irony is that the majority of the sex in this “horror” film is very couples-friendly, much more erotic than aggressive.
Kinzie Kenner, well-costumed and oh-so-sexy as the bobby-soxer in the Halloween scene, and blonde bombshell Katie Morgan (porn’s Next Big Thing, at least based on her recent HBO documentary), playing a ripped-sweatshirt camper in the ’80s Friday the 13th scene, are both fine performers and easy on the eyes. But it’s cute little Cherokee, playing a Native American spirit guide, who gets the film’s best laugh line. Faced with a reluctant Caucasian suitor, the ghost-girl in buckskins and feathers grumbles that she’s “tired of the white man’s reservations.”
The only real letdown is the Ring parody, which should get a grin from horror fans, but has one problem: Morgan tends to favor keeping his actors in character during the sex scenes, which didn’t work in The Gate and doesn’t work here, as Nicole Sheridan is only allowed to grunt and growl after climbing out of her Samara-style well. As with Joel Lawrence’s mugging, grinning mental patient in The Gate, it’s admirable acting, but it’s more distracting than arousing.
Still, Camp Cuddly Pines has a clever gimmick and a pair of smoking-hot sex scenes — plus several others that are clear winners. That should make it an unquestioned hit with adult-entertainment fans.
But is there something in it for horror fans?
No, there’s no real gore — most of the kills take place out-of-frame, and some are played for laughs — but playing spot-the-reference was fun. And the plot itself follows a traditional slasher-movie track well — the familiar working in its favor. As a bonus, many times, the dialogue is just plain funny — intentionally — as the foursome and their fifth wheel try to get out of the woods with their bodies intact, if not their outfits.
Wicked has set the bar high for adult features, and Camp Cuddly Pines more than lives up to the studio standard. There’s more here than just sex — there’s a funny, clever and entertaining story as well.
Video and Audio:
While Camp Cuddly Pines’ anamorphic widescreen image can’t compare with the best of the major mainstream studios, it is nonetheless bead-of-sweat and drop-of-drool sharp. Anamorphic enhancement is a recent trend in the adult DVD world, and as a result, Camp Cuddly Pines is definitely up there with the finest images among recent releases.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, like the image, wouldn’t qualify as “reference quality” in the strictest sense, mostly because of the heavy emphasis the dialogue and sex scenes put on the front speakers. There is also the occasional volume-level issue. But since much of the film taking place outdoors, the surrounds do get appropriate use.
There are two other 5.1 tracks offered for use during the sex scenes: A music-only track will keep the neighbors from hearing Katie Morgan panting “Oh-right there-fuck-fuck-yeah-fuck me!” in 5.1 during the ’80s scene, while a dialogue-only track eliminates all of that scene’s pesky ’80s-synth background music in favor of that very panting.
One of the interesting things about adult-DVD extras is that a lot of what is explained isn’t necessarily common knowledge, ratcheting up the “interest” factor. If you’ve heard one mainstream actor explain how he performed in front of a green screen, you’ve heard them all. But you’ve probably never heard a mainstream actor discuss the perils of trying to maintain an erection while manipulating a dildo with one hand and wielding a hand-held video camera with the other.
That laugh-out-loud funny riff over the Masterson/Sable sex scene is probably the highlight of the audio commentary, the sole feature on the first disc. Director Morgan and performers Daniels and Masterson spend most of their time cracking wise, but there is some interesting adult-oriented information… offset by frequent gaps of silence.
However, if the commentary track isn’t completely satisfying, the other two discs in the set more than make up for the shortcoming, with seven-plus hours of additional material.
Disc two offers the bulk of the extras, highlighted by a trio of lengthy featurettes.
Wicked has made a point to include a full-length documentary on almost all of its major DVD releases, and Camp Cuddly Pines is no exception. “The Horror — The True Tale of Camp Cuddly Pines” is a thorough 50-minute look at the making of the film, with everything you would find on a mainstream documentary and more, including behind-the-scenes footage, interviews and a healthy dose of self-deprecating good humor.
“Rayford Cam” is a definite highlight, a 45-minute wrapup of the grainy, chaotic — and mostly unused — Blair Witch-style video footage Eric Masterson’s character shot, including some very different angles on two of the film’s sex scenes. And the behind-the-scenes sex reel is 45 minutes of footage focused on the shooting of the movie’s various hardcore scenes.
The shorter featurettes on the disc likewise mimic Hollywood standards, but with a decidedly adult twist. “Girls of Camp Cuddly Pines” is a highlight reel clip featuring almost all of the starlets from the movie during publicity-photo shoots. “Casting the Victims” is a humorous look at auditions, featuring a bevy of girls… who didn’t get the part. And “Scouting a Massacre” is just that — a look at the locations used on the shoot.
A quick-and-easy trivia game’s reward, Keri Sable’s multi-part striptease (and more), makes paying attention to the film even more worthwhile. And a funny little blooper reel isn’t that different from any mainstream one — except it puts the “blow” in “blowing your lines,” as some of the snafus involve sex.
No super edition would be complete without at least one fairly random feature, and the “Stormy Bangs Betty” cartoon, from the folks at BrickhouseBetty.net, is it. (Even that has its own “making of” featurette!)
A well-done Camp Cuddly Pines trailer rounds out the offerings on the disc.
If disc two is mostly about the making of Camp Cuddly Pines, disc three is all about sex, sex and sex.
There are extended versions of four already lengthy scenes from the movie, including the Drake/Masterson scene; an outtake that’s a variation of the Sable/Masterson pairing that concludes the film, complete with introduction by Jonathan Morgan; and two bonus scenes from other Wicked movies, one featuring Stormy Daniels and the other Jessica Drake.
The disc also contains several extensive photo galleries and brief bios for five starlets. A “more Wicked extras” section wraps things up with 10 trailers for other Wicked films, DVD-ROM features and plenty of other adult-themed material.
There are even a few Easter eggs for the careful viewer of each disc’s animated menus, including some deleted scenes.
These days, adult DVD releases equal, and in some cases, surpass the ones from mainstream studios in terms of quality. This one has anamorphic enhancement, 5.1 surround sound and not one, but two discs’ worth of bonus features. Oh, and there’s a fun movie with some major-league hardcore sex in it, too.