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Released: Oct 01st, 1998
Running Time: 85
Director: Jonathan Morgan
Company: Wicked Pictures
Cast: Serenity, Mickey G., Shanna McCullough, Ian Daniels, George Kaplan, Rebecca Lord, Asia Carrera, Missy (I), Brad Armstrong, Katie Gold, John West, Jonathan Morgan
Critical Rating: AAAA
Display prominently in your features/couples/new releases section(s) and let the Wicked name and the award-worthy box cover (August\'s \"Box cover of the Month\") do the rest.
What some are referring to as "Jonathan Morgan's Dark Trilogy" for Wicked (the first two "installments" being last year's critically lauded "Crazed and the award-winning Indigo Delta) comes to a fairly impressive "close" with Pornogothic, a vampire story set in the late-night club culture of modern-day Los Angeles.
Brad Armstrong plays a crooked cop who tries to blunt the pain of his wife's recent death with frequent visits to a mildly sympathetic call girl (Stephanie Swift) and a seedy downtown watering hole. At the same time, Armstrong's investigation into a series of grisly murders leads him to Club Pornogothic, an exclusive, popular night spot that just happens to be owned and operated by a clutch of lady vampires led by Shawna McCullough (pre-nom for Best Actress). Adding dimensions to the story are two of McCullough's compatriots, one who feels a connection to her human prey (Serenity) and another (Katie Gold) who is all too eager to embrace the opportunities afforded by her dark nature.
Videography, music, and art direction combine to create a sexy, sometimes spooky, atmosphere, and all are pre-nom worthy. A unique editing style during the sex underscores the otherworldly nature of the vampires, and results in some memorable scenes, particularly an Asia Carrera/Katie Gold encounter in the ladies' room; a McCullough/John West boy/girl (set in a freight elevator!); a terrific group orgy at the club; and another fine boy/girl, this one featuring Armstrong and Serenity. Also, George Kaplan turns in a great non-sex performance as a coroner who is terrorized by a supposedly dead shooting victim.
There are some weaknesses in the vid. At least one significant plot threat involving Armstrong doesn't resolve itself, and some overwrought dialogue and a pair of syrupy violin pieces (first utilized in Flashpoint, to similar deleterious effect) result in a few pivotal scenes playing as melodrama. Most significantly, though the make-up is superb, all the quick cuts and sound effects in the world can't disguise the fact that some of the performers just don't connect with the predatory/supernatural aspects of their vampire characters. This is, unfortunately, most obvious at the beginning of the feature, where a great opening credit sequence leads to an ineffectual action scene in which McCullough and her group corner and kill a lone male human in an alley. Excessive use of medium/long shots and the aforementioned performance problems result in a low-impact scene that leaves the rest of the video trying to win over the viewer.
Happily, it generally succeeds in doing so.