Written by: George Pacheco on October 15th, 2014
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1977 (The Violation of Claudia), USA, 1978 (Hot Honey)
Director: William Lustig (as Billy Bagg)
Writers: Sally McKinley, Travis Webb/Travis Webb, William Lustig
Cast: Jamie Gillis, Sharon Mitchell, Long Jeanne Silver/Serena, Robin Byrd, Jamie Gillis, Heather Young, Jack Hammer
DVD Release Date: October 7th, 2014
Approximate Running Times: 61 minutes (The Violation of Claudia), 76 minutes (Hot Honey)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 :1 Anamorphic Widescreen (Both Films)
Rating: XXX (Both Films)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English (Both Films)
DVD Release: Distribpix / Sweetheart Theaters, Inc.
Region Encoding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.99
Longtime fans of Blue Underground honcho William Lustig have clamored for a proper DVD release of the Maniac director’s two early adult features under the pseudonym “Billy Bagg,” The Violation of Claudia and Hot Honey, a pair of films which arrived at the height of “porno chic” during the permissive 1970s.
Thankfully, the legendary New York adult company Distribpix Inc. has answered this call, delivering what is quite possibly one of the most highly anticipated triple X double features of the year. The company’s Hot Honey and Violation of Claudia arrive here both with fantastic anamorphic widescreen prints-Claudia had been released previously in a full-frame DVD-packed to the gills with extras.
Lustig’s first film, The Violation of Claudia, is the superior of the two in terms of plot, pacing and story, detailing the exploits of a bored housewife-played with grace, ease and heat by a very young Sharon Mitchell-who enters into the world of prostitution, thanks to the efforts of her tennis instructor-cum-pimp, an underused Jamie Gillis. Lustig and his director of photography Robert Lindsay lens Claudia with a hazy, dreamlike atmosphere, while camera set ups are substantially livelier than the average adult quickie of the day.
….that honor would be reserved for Hot Honey, a more “traditional” porno of the 1970s which nevertheless utilizes some excellent Times Square location shots for its opening sequence, a “date montage” of leads Jack Hammer and Heather Young as Honey. This second feature does benefit from a much better sex sequences, however, as its approach seems designed much more for titillation than the “couples” atmosphere of Claudia. Adult film legend Robin Byrd is particularly ravishing here in her scene with Hammer, while Young’s performance as Honey balances innocence and experience with a palpable charisma.
Indeed, the camera clearly loves Young here in this film, which leads one to wonder why the performer didn’t enjoy more of a reputation amongst her fellow adult film colleagues. Elsewhere, Gillis is underused yet again as Honey’s invalid brother Michael, towards whom the sister harbors incestuous feelings. These feelings are acted upon (naturally) thanks to some S&M prodding of Gillis’ stay-at-home nurse, played by the actor’s real life girlfriend Serena, thus awakening Honey’s previously inhibited sexual desires.
Hot Honey runs a little bit too long at 76 minutes, while Claudia feels too short at just over an hour. Still, both films make for a fine double feature, proving once again that adult cinema of the 1970s possessed an atmosphere unique to the time period; one we will never see again in this lifetime.
Distribpix, Inc. presents both The Violation of Claudia and Hot Honey in anamorphic widescreen presentations which preserve each film’s original, 35mm aspect ratio. Picture and sound are the best either of these films will ever look, as each were taken from the original director’s negative, while Lustig himself delivers full length commentary tracks for each film, moderated with excited interest by Drive, Bronson and Valhalla Rising director Nicolas Winding Refn. These commentary tracks are the true gold to be mined here, as each deliver the proverbial goods in terms of information, trivia and memories from the golden age adult film era.
Trailers and photo ephemera make up the rest of the extras here, together with a bonus podcast interview with Lustig, making this “Billy Bagg” double feature yet another winning release from Distribpix, Inc.