Adult Film Review: A Midsummer Night’s Cream by Erin O'Riordan Originally published at The Erotic Woman, Nov. 2007
“Midsummer” is a confusing word. It has nothing to do with the middle of summer, but means the date of the solstice, the first day of summer. Confusion is the order of the day in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, one of William Shakespeare’s most accessible plays. With its glittery prankster fairies and mismatched lovers, the play is popular on both the stage and the screen. There have been numerous film versions, most recently Michael Hoffman’s 1999 film with Michelle Pfeiffer and Rupert Everett.
But if, for some reason, the sight of Ru as the King of the Fairies isn’t sexy enough for you, then by all means, watch A Midsummer Night’s Cream. Writer/director Stuart Canterbury adapted Shakespeare’s masterful comedy into porn, leaving some of the Shakespearean dialogue intact. The large cast includes Nina Hartley, Kyle Stone, Amber Michaels, Cheyenne Silver, and Nick East.
Unless you’re familiar with Dream, the plot of Cream won’t make much sense. It boils down to this: in a dark forest outside Athens (Greece, not Georgia), Titania the Fairy Queen is having a spat with her husband, Oberon. There exists a certain flower which, squeezed in the eyes of a sleeping person (do not try this at home), causes said person to fall in love with the first one he/she sees upon awakening. Oberon and his minion, Puck, use this flower to cause Titania to fall in love with a weaver who, through fairy mischief, has the head of a donkey.
Meanwhile, four young Athenians spend the night in the forest. Helena loves Demetrius, but he only has eyes for Hermia. Hermia, unfortunately for Demetrius, is only interested in Lysander. In the Shakespearean original, Puck tries to get Demetrius to fall for Helena, but screws up and instead makes Lysander lose interest in Hermia and long for Helena instead. (Confused yet?) But this is a comedy, so all will end well.
Stuart Canterbury’s vision opens with Titania presiding over her all-female fairies as they have a fairy orgy. Skip this scene. The women’s bodies are beautiful, decked out in wings and fairy sparkles. But the things they do to one another would annoy a gal more than give her an orgasm.
Much better is the scene in which Lysander convinces Hermia to let him spend the night beside her. They actually look like they’re having fun, taking turns giving each other oral before they get down to it. Later, after fairy flower-juice has come into play, Lysander does a scene with both Helena and Demetrius. Helena looks satisfied, taking turns sucking the guys off until they each come on her breasts. (The film just wouldn’t live up to its title without a lot of external ejaculations.)
Scenes between Titania and the donkey-headed Bottom are more comical than sexy. The real sparks fly when Titania and Oberon are reunited. They have the make-up sex to end all make-up sex, starting with some rather sweet foreplay and ending with . . . well, a Midsummer Night’s Cream.
Okay, so it’s not exactly Shakespeare. Still, this is a good couples movie. If you’re a DVD Avenue subscriber, you’ll find it in the “Couples” subsection of the Adult section.
One last fun fact about this film: in Seth Grahame-Smith’s The Big Book of Porn, this film is listed as one of the 300 “funniest, cheesiest, weirdest, smartest and dumbest titles porn has to offer,” right in between Merry Fucking Christmas and Mighty Joe Hung.
Adult Film Review: Sirens by Erin O’Riordan Originally published at The Erotic Woman, April 2008
In the classical epic poem The Odyssey, the sirens were two creatures with the faces of beautiful women, but the bodies of sharp-taloned birds. Their beautiful voices lured ships, which would then be smashed on the rocks. Sirens (1991) is a darkly erotic adult film loosely based on this ancient legend. It, too, features a ship whose crew is imperiled by their fascination by the attractive sirens. These sirens don’t have bird bodies, but more closely resemble the lovely Depression-era sirens of Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou? (a modern adaptation of The Odyssey). This time, though, there is no singing involved.
Sirens opens with a shot of wooden breasts– the woman-shaped masthead carved on a ship. We learn that the ship’s crew has been reduced to two, the captain and the first mate. The others have died, and the handicapped ship is sailing inevitably toward the edge of the world.
Then we leave the ship behind and find ourselves on Mount Olympus, at the throne of the king of the Greek gods, Zeus himself. The two storylines seem at first to have nothing to do with each other, yet they will intertwine.
Zeus is played by veteran porn star Ron Jeremy. For those unfamiliar with his work, he’s an average-looking guy (to put it generously) with a larger-than-average penis. As Zeus, he tells us of his lust for the young goddess Jindra. The only hitch in their mutual attraction is Zeus’s very-jealous wife, Zarathina. Zeus hides, and watches, as Jindra pleasures herself on his throne.
If you’ve ever studied Greek mythology, or at least watched Clash of the Titans, you’ll no doubt remember that Zeus’s wife’s name is Hera. Jindra and Zarathina are names that seem pulled out of thin air. Was screenwriter Steve Bergman unfamiliar with mythology, or just afraid of offending the goddesses?
Back aboard the ship, the captain has a passionate encounter with his very own siren. The obsessed, desperate man and his supernatural muse actually seem to be having a good time together, and the sex is beautiful. Later, a second siren appears to tempt the first mate. The men watch as the women give each other oral sex, a lovely scene until it provokes rivalry between the last two surviving members of the ship’s crew. The first mate pushes the captain overboard to claim his siren for himself.
The goings-on between Zeus and Zarathina are just as ill-fated. She catches him in the act of seducing Jindra. Zarathina knows that Zeus is more powerful than she is, so she threatens him in the only language he understands. She promises to have an affair with a mortal man that will make him seethe with jealousy. He threatens to throw her off the edge of the world.
Making good on her promise, she appears on the doomed ship where the first mate is now utterly alone.
“Who are you?” the first mate asks Zarathina.
“I am your death,” she says. It’s a line as scary-sexy as Shirley Manson’s “I can take you out/with just a flick of my wrist” in the Garbage song “Supervixen.”
But, since he has to go, he might as well go with a smile. The goddess in all her glory allows the mortal man to taste her. Like the captain and his siren, they make love in a trance, oblivious to the danger around them, drowned amidst waves of pleasure. This is the best sex of the movie. Not even Zarathina is safe from Zeus’s temper, though, and when he finds her, he makes sure that she and the first mate sail off the edge of the world into oblivion.
The dark theme of Sirens– that sexual attraction is a destructive element, leading to madness and death– isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As responsible adults, we all know that sex can have negative consequences along with positive, glorious, healthy, life-affirming and life-giving consequences. It does make us crazy at times. What I won’t accept is the death of a powerful goddess as an ending. It seems a cruel act of both misogyny and sacrilege on Zeus’s part.
I would love to see this film remade in the hands of a woman screenwriter and director, someone who would give equal power to Zarathina and Zeus. A great start for such an intrepid filmmaker would be reading “Hera’s Deceit” in Sharukh Husain’s book The Virago Book of Erotic Myths and Legends. I always thought that Zeus was just kind of a pig, a symbol of patriarchy, until I read that story. But he really can’t help being sexual and fertile, any more than the mother-goddess Demeter can help making the crops grow. Now, couple Zeus’s infinite capacity for attraction to beautiful, powerful women with an equally-powerful Hera/Zarathina who gets what she wants (whether it’s her husband’s attention or a few stolen moments with a beautiful, dying mortal), and bam! You’ve got a recipe for a warm-hearted, kiss-and-make-up ending that satisfies both sexually and spiritually.
Sirens was directed by Stuart Canterbury (who also directed A Midsummer Night’s Cream). In addition to Ron Jeremy, it stars Paula Price, Eric Price, Selena Steele, Heather Hart, Trinity Loren and Mike Horner. It’s available to rent for DVD Avenue subscribers. Rent it, and just close your eyes at the very end. Or be that bold woman who writes and directs the 21st century version.