Released: Sep 01st, 1987
Running Time: 70
Director: Richard Mailer
Company: Intropics Video
Cast: Sheena Home, Shanna McCullough, Nikki Nights, Annette Haven, Don Hart, Joey Silvera, Gail Force
Critical Rating: AAA
Intropics Video has really thrown a 8y into the adult video soup with their newest title, The Huntress. On one hand, The Huntress is nothing more than standard fare: a slightly above average tape that suffers some of the usual sound and lighting drawbacks that are associated with the shot-on-video genre. On the other hand, as you may already know from it's advance publicity (which included an open letter from Intropics president Dick Miller in AVN's June issue), The Huntress is being billed as the first "safe sex" adult tape: one in which "safe sex practices are demonstrated within the story context." In addition, Intropics wants you to know that virus testing was provided for the performers in the video, and that a portion of the profits will go towards AIDS research.
The Huntress has a typical sexvid plot-lovely Sheena Home plays a wealthy, modern-day Cupid, who along with her secretary Shanna McCullough, spend their days matchmaking—going to great lengths to find contexts to bring certain people together tomeet and invariably, mate. The plot, while paper-thin, not only provides the premise lor the sex scenes that follows, but also provides the social context for the video by creating a storyline in which all the pairings are perceived as first-time encounters with total strangers. Thus, the perfect forum for "safe sex."
So, invariably, in each encounter, the man silently pulls a condom out from somewhere and the woman silently slides it on her partner. There's no discussion here, simply demonstration, as if condom use was mutually consented and automatic, and perhaps this is the best way for it to be portrayed. Still, with the men pulling out for their expected wet shots, one can't help wondering if, in an actual situation, a woman might wonder why the guy used one anyway— if it was for disease control and not birth control was he scared of giving or receiving?
Even more bizarre are the use of what I can best describe as "cunnilingus shields" in nearly every encounter. These white rectangles of plastic were placed over the woman's vagina to prevent actual oral-genital contact while still providing stimulation. Well, now. Wouldn't it be just a little awkward to pull one of these babies out without at least a little discussion? But it seems that everybody has one of these in their back pocket but me; is Zeke the last guy who likes to see (and taste) what he's eating? Moreover, can AIDS even be spread through cunnilingus? Are there known cases? Inquiring minds wartf to know. Meanwhile, Sheena and Shanna take no such precautions during their lesbian encounter: is this because its a girl/girl scene or because they are not perceived as strangers in the story's context?
As you can see, The Huntress raises as many questions as it answers, but one can't help but feel that ultimately it defeats itself in much the same way as those social-issue made-for-TV movies.
Adult videos regularly expect us to suspend our notion of reality as we know it, so this tape is no different. The paired strangers fall immediately in lust and proceed to go at it—mainly in public. Billy Dee and Nikki Nights do it in a restaurant while Joey Silvera and Gail Force tumble in the back of a car in broad daylight. Outlandish behavior as well as miscasting (Gail Force as a law firm's junior partner?) are standard in adult features, and here they only undermine any attempt to convey a "realistic" message. If we don't really accept the characters or situations being portrayed, why should we accept the social message that accompanies them?
AIDS is a serious problem and is not going to go away anytime soon. While The Huntress is far from a total success, Miller is probably right in attempting to do "something,...to express our concern." This tape is probably worth renting for discussion value alone. If you have some thoughts to share about adult video and "safe sex," drop us a line at AVN. We'd like to know what you think.