Review of ‘DownWard Spiral’ (Private Blockbuster)
‘DownWard Spiral’ is directed by Frank Major and Andrew Youngman, two Hungarian film-makers who have a decade-long association with Private. Although they are still, indeed, ‘young men’, Youngman and Major are also experienced pros who know their business inside out, and they do an outstanding job with this new movie. ‘DownWard Spiral’ was made in Budapest in July 2007 and it sees its DVD release this month, in June 2008. Youngman is reported as having said that it took only 5-6 days to shoot the movie and a mere 3-4 days to edit it. Given the excellence of the finished product, it’s amazing to think that it was all completed within such a short time… I’m not sure that I really believe it!
As an actor, Andrew Youngman was a familiar face in front of the camera in many of Private’s video productions of the late nineteen-nineties. In the early noughties,
he went on to direct numerous vignettes for the ‘Private Reality’ range, honing his talents behind the camera. Frank Major is likewise an experienced performer-turned-director, with a portfolio of on-screen credits in Private movies which extends from the late nineties to the mid noughties and which features work for porn maestro Antonio Adamo. Perhaps significantly, Andrew Youngman’s Private performances included a role in ‘Operation Sex Siege’ (1997) by Nic Cramer, a director whose cinematic style seems to have been a particular influence on ‘DownWard Spiral’. Like Cramer before them, Youngman and Major make ingenious use of film noir devices, situations of jeopardy and an ambience of post-industrial malaise: they succeed, as he did, in bringing edginess to an intriguing variety of sexual scenarios.
For Private nostalgia buffs like me, it’s satisfying to see that Youngman and Major have cast a number of studs whose history with
Private dates back as far as their own. With veteran stalwarts like James Brossman, Frank Gun, Nick Lang, Zenza Raggi and Bob Terminator on hand, some serious wood is guaranteed. But what we have here is something new and revitalising. If Major and Youngman are indeed taking a cue from Cramer’s aesthetic, ‘DownWard Spiral’ ends up a better movie than either, say, ‘Private Dancer’ (1996) or ‘Operation Sex Siege’: these partners-in-porn are bringing a new impetus to the exciting genre of film noir skin flicks! (By the way, the Private Community’s ‘Private Eye’ columnist mistakenly uses a photo of Frank Major to illustrate their Interview with Andrew Youngman - a case of confused identity?)
The female cast of ‘DownWard Spiral’ is led by Sandy. Sandy is a sultry blonde who, at 31 years of age, is relatively mature for a
Private model. To me, she looks a bit like Victoria Beckham, especially when she pouts, but actually she’s more attractive than Becs! Sandy’s character is the linking device of the movie - she’s there in most of the scenes as either a voyeur or participant. She plays a married flight attendant who suddenly finds herself dumped in the wrong side of town and exposed to a seedy world of sexual depravity. Her curiosity is aroused and she is gradually sucked into a downward spiral of perverted delights. I doubt that Sandy will have the same long-term impact as Nic Cramer’s Private stars, Ivy Crystal and Dina Jewel, but she develops an interesting ‘Perils Of Pauline’ quality in her performance which reminds me of Ivy’s roles in Cramer’s classics.
Pre-Credits Sequence: Sandy
The opening moments of the film set up the domestic ordinariness of Sandy’s normal life in a cinematic way, using a series of extreme close-ups
(ECUs). The first shot is an ECU of a pot of boiling coffee. Next we have an ECU of a toaster as the bread pops out. Then we get an ECU of a cup as the hot coffee is poured… Flight attendant Sandy joins hubby James Brossman for breakfast on the balcony, but she doesn’t have time to eat her toast as she’s late for work… her flight leaves in two hours. The style of these opening moments immediately puts me in mind of the credits sequence of ‘Operation Sex Siege’, where Nic Cramer alternates the title captions with ECUs of Dina Jewel getting ready to face her own world. First we have an ECU of Dina’s fingers turning her lipstick tube, making the lipstick pop into view. Next we have an ECU of Dina’s throat as she puts on her necklace. There’s an ECU of the top of her thigh as she pulls up her stocking, and another ECU of her gun as she locks ’n‘ loads!
In Sandy’s case, we have to wait until she leaves the breakfast table and
gets dressed for work before we have the chance to savour some close shots of her body. There is something deliciously erotic about the spectacle of Sandy squeezing into the tight uniform of an air stewardess - even if this particular uniform looks a little too like the International Rescue outfit worn by the Tracy brothers in Gerry Anderson’s puppet show, ‘Thunderbirds’! (It’s the hat!) As in Cramer’s sequence with Dina, Sandy’s scene is a clever reversal of the ‘strip tease’, proving that the sight of a beautiful woman getting dressed and ready for action can be every bit as arousing as the spectacle of a woman taking her clothes off. The scene is accompanied by some sexy music which invites the viewer to begin a more… ahem… active enjoyment of the film!
Scene 1: Cayenne / Kyra Black / James Brossman
As soon as Sandy has left for work, James Brossman smirks to himself and gets out his cell phone. He’s going to
take advantage of his wife’s overnight absence by ordering up a couple of high-class call girls! That evening, Sandy touches down and orders a cab to take her to her hotel. During the ride she tries to phone James but he’s not picking up… which is hardly surprising because, by then, he has his hands full with call-girls Cayenne and Kyra Black!
This first sex scene of the movie is dynamite. Cayenne and Kyra are an explosive mix, with blonde Cayenne’s ravishing beauty sparking off Kyra’s fleshier, dusky looks. The transition from the shots of Sandy in her cab to the lustful antics of her hubby with the call girls is brilliantly managed by a change in musical cue and a memorable opening image. The camera pulls out slowly from a close-up on the phallic neck of a bottle of champagne while the carousing James and Kyra are in the background and out of focus - dreamlike in a haze of lust! Suddenly some wild locks of golden hair fall into
frame. As the shot widens we see Cayenne beside the bottle of shampers, writhing her body in anticipation as she glances back at the others. With camerawork this good, we know we’re in for something special…
The girls slobber over James’s cock like there’s no tomorrow. They both get fucked in the pussy and Kyra takes it in the ass. As attractive as any fashion model, Cayenne seems almost too elegant to be doing a messy ass-to-mouth routine with the sluttish-looking Kyra, but she’s quick to guzzle on James’s cock every time it slides out of Kyra’s ass!
Private pre-released this scene on their members’ site to excite interest in ‘DownWard Spiral’, and I can well understand why: it’s an exquisitely nasty scene! For the cumshot, James blasts jism into the girls’ faces. I should just mention something which I personally find
a little off-putting… When girls open their mouths wide to catch cum, it’s always better if the shot is framed so that we don’t get a view of their dental fillings. (Sorry, Cayenne!)
Scene 2: Vica Ryder (aka Nikky Rider) / Cindy Hope / various anonymous cocks
Sandy’s cab driver is a creepy-looking guy played by Zoliboy. Sandy starts to panic when she realises that he has no intention of taking her to her hotel. Instead he drives her into a seedy part of town, robs her of all her money and abandons her on the sidewalk. Sandy runs for help to a group of hookers who are loitering in the open doorway to a disused factory. One of the hookers, Cindy Hope, sneers at the distressed flight attendant and tells her that “If you want to make money you have to suck!” As if on cue a blonde hooker appears from inside the factory wiping jism
from her chin. Cindy ushers Sandy inside so she can see for herself what the girls get up to. We find ourselves peering into an unfurnished room walled on three sides by wooden boards with dirt and graffiti all over them. The cement floor is littered with some disgusting old toilet basins and other debris. Each of the three walls has a hole drilled into it, positioned so that guys standing on the other side can push their cocks into the room. In the middle of all this squalor is Nikky Rider, dancing seductively to herself and waiting for business…
One by one, three pricks appear… a prick emerging through each hole, bobbing and erect and waiting for Nikky’s attentions. Nikky moves from one wall to another, crouching in front of each hole and giving expert blowjobs. A rhythmic electronic soundtrack enhances the sleazy mood and helps keep the viewer’s pulse racing. There’s a range of camera angles on Nicky’s ‘magic hole’ blowjobs, including low angles and one impressive overhead shot which looks down on her as if from the ceiling. Nikky takes three heavy cumshots to the face, one after the other, and then she saunters out of the room and stares dirtily at Cindy and Sandy. She spits a long trail of cum from her mouth and then strolls out of frame without saying a word. Cindy smiles smugly and takes her place in the room as the next ‘magic hole’ cocksucker in line. We see Cindy do one blowjob to completion, earning herself a sticky wet splattering, and then Sandy decides it’s time to go exploring elsewhere within the disused factory.
Incidentally, this whole scenario matches closely a sleazy aspect of Budapest’s real-life sex industry. In certain parts of town punters can walk into peep show-type booths and pay for the privilege of
sticking their cocks through letter box-shaped holes while women on the other side of the windows kneel on raised platforms and give them blowjobs. This is not an activity to be recommended for those with weak hearts or with fussy scruples about who else might have been there first, but it’s a seedy phenomenon I associate with Budapest! The casting for this ‘magic hole’ scene is spot on, as Nikky Rider and Cindy Hope both have whorish, nasty looks which are just right for anonymous, cum-and-go action of this sort: it’s easy to imagine them sucking random cocks all day long in a squalid back-street sex establishment!
Scene 3: Simony Diamond / Frank Gun / Nick Lang / Bob Terminator / Leslie Taylor / Sabee
Sandy hides behind a pile of crates and witnesses a gangbang enacted in the grounds of the factory. The focus of attention is Simony
Diamond. Dressed in thigh-high boots and a shiny red bra, Simony looks similar to the hookers in the scene before. The chunky crucifix she’s wearing around her neck gives a gothic twist to her image. The scene begins with Simony performing an erotic dance on a platform rigged against a huge industrial chimney. Roaring fires and billowing dry ice add to the spectacle. A gang of five badasses wait around, ogling Simony. Eventually she climbs down to join them, her lithe, tanned body slick with sweat. Before long the guys are stuffing their cocks into her mouth and ramming her ass. Simony humps her way through a double penetration before taking five loads of cum on her face. Two of the guys ejaculate in the same shot - either side of her - and then another two, and then she finishes off the fifth guy by himself. She sucks vigorously on the last cock to pop,
and the speed with which she jerks her head causes the spent cum of all five guys to fly from her cheeks and slop from her chin. Finally she scoops up some of the man juice on her fingers and shoves it into her mouth. The action is interspersed with shots of Sandy looking on, mesmerised, and the gangbang is also witnessed by a group of other badasses, all wearing shades, who are there to make up the numbers and add to the frisson. Sandy is clearly aroused by what she sees.
The mise-en-scene of Sandy’s downward spiral combines influences from both porn and mainstream cinema. For example, Simony Diamond, Nikky Rider, Cindy Hope and the gang of sexy hookers wear costumes which bring to mind Rosario Dawson’s Old Town girls in Robert Rodriguez’s ‘Sin City’ (2005) - as well as their porno counterparts in Pierre Woodman’s parody, ‘Sex City’ (2006). Also - once again - a memory of Nic Cramer is in the background. For ‘Private
Dancer’, Cramer sets his second scene in a derelict warehouse. A sinister man leads a slave girl (Gabriella) into this desolate place and they indulge themselves with Ivy Crystal, who’s been blindfolded and tied to a chair. The disused factory in ‘DownWard Spiral’ invites a comparison with Cramer’s choice of location, since both create a sense of alienation and menace, but there are also some important differences. In ‘Private Dancer’ the spacious warehouse is suffused with natural light, whereas Major and Youngman go for a moodier, more ‘designed’ look (as does Cramer himself, in other scenes), with nocturnal blues, low lighting, long shadows and fire and smoke.
If Cramer’s warehouse set-up is a nod to Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Reservoir Dogs’ (1992), the netherworld of ‘Downward Spiral’ owes more, perhaps, to the disused factory in Eli Roth’s ‘Hostel’ (2005) and ‘Hostel: Part 2’ (2007) - films for which
Tarantino was a producer. Of course, porn movies touch different nerve centres than the genre of slasher horror, but in ‘DownWard Spiral’, as in ‘Hostel’, the disused factory is represented as a kind of inferno where taboo desires are fulfilled. Zoliboy, the cab driver who dumps Sandy into this pit of debauchery, has a nerdy fringe and missing or malformed teeth, bringing to mind the creepy desk clerk who checks all the victims into Roth’s hostel, or the buck-toothed simpleton who tries to warn off Beth (Lauren German). In ‘Hostel: Part 2’ Roth begins to adapt his horror material to the conventional format of porn scenes, devising a darkly erotic episode between blood fetishist Mrs. Bathory (Monika Malacova) and her trussed victim Lorna (Heather Matarozza). With set pieces like this, it’s hardly surprising if the ‘Hostel’ franchise has
become a new point of tonal reference for porn directors who seek to play around with notions of taboo and transgression. Amusingly, the editor of ‘DownWard Spiral’ is billed as ‘Chainsaw’ - not that ‘DownWard Spiral’ goes so far as an exploration of slasher violence!
Scene 4: Sandy / Sophie Moone / Eve Angel / Zafira / Bridgett / Clara G
Sandy continues her apprehensive exploration of the factory. She sees a door from which hissing steam is escaping and she slowly creeps up the steps towards it. Teetering on her heels, bending her long, shapely legs and thrusting out her tightly-skirted bottom, Sandy is posing in an exaggerated way which is almost cartoonish - the sort of poses Daphne from ‘Scooby Doo’ might strike as she investigates a haunted house - but this doesn‘t diminish the eeriness of the moment. Sandy looks through the door and sees that it’s a shower room occupied by five naked girls, showering in a
row. These are the Shower Sylphs, mysterious beauties whose presence in the factory is never explained. The camera lingers over their beautiful wet bodies as they gyrate in the shower in time to a finger-clicking beat on the musical soundtrack. The sylphs notice Sandy spying on them and they beckon her to come in and join them. They surround her and help her out of her uniform. They run their hands all over her, kiss her and lick her. Before long they’re smooching with each other, too, and the scene develops into a full-on sapphic orgy. Sandy becomes part of the sylphs’ circle of lust, fully included in their debauched sisterhood.
Andrew Youngman is reported as saying that this is definitely his favourite scene of the movie. It’s a scene of which he
and Frank Major can be justly proud, with some of the hottest girl-on-girl action I’ve ever seen in a Private film. The six girls descend to the floor where their spontaneous lovemaking begins to take the shape of a daisy chain: each one eats pussy while she herself is munched on by another! After this the girls take turns at being pleasured by the other five. Mouths are kissed, nipples are tweaked, toes are sucked, clits are licked… and fingers are stuffed into pussies! Bridgett is the first to be taken to heaven and back, then Eve Angel, then Clara G, then Sophie Moone (the sylph with the sauciest smile), next Zafira, and finally Sandy. There’s a neat symmetry to all of this: all but two of the six are blondes, and the two brunettes, Eve Angel and Zafira, are spaced out between the others as, respectively, the second and the second-from-last in the
running order. Sandy seems to have lost all her inhibitions, at least temporarily. She’s the keenest when it comes to jamming fingers into other girls’ cunts, and she slides her whole hand into Clara G!
The mysteriousness of the sylphs is sustained by the fact that they never speak a word, although there’s plenty of ecstatic moaning. This absence of dialogue is also a characteristic of the other scenes so far. It suggests that the strange sexual beings who inhabit this disused factory exist only at the level of primal instinct, unrestrained by the civilising effects of discourse. After they’ve kissed and fingered Sandy to a climax, the lust-crazed sylphs continue to paw and maul her. Sandy suddenly realises that unless she pulls away they’ll never let her go. She manages to disentangle herself and retrieve her blouse and shoes, but the sylphs
crawl towards her like predatory animals. Sandy makes for the door and shuts it firmly behind her. She pauses to catch her breath before resuming her exploration of the factory site, now in a near-naked state.
Scene 5: Leanna Sweet / Bruno SX
What happens next is very odd. Sandy encounters a demented, bewhiskered old fart in a wheelchair, played by Bruno SX, who suddenly draws up alongside her and shouts abuse. Noticing Sandy’s exposed tits and fanny he whips out his cock and aggressively demands a fuck. Although this is shocking, Bruno brings out a comic side to the grotesque character he’s playing, tempering the nastiness with a definite twinkle in his eye. Sandy is alarmed but the old bastard leaves her alone to hunt other game. His sights are set on Leanna Sweet, a tall, lean girl wearing cute ankle socks and a short tartan skirt, and with her hair tied in bunches. What Leanna is doing inside the factory is anybody’s guess!
Unlike Sandy, she seems thrilled by the prospect of a fuck with Bruno, and she giggles excitedly as he propositions her. In no time at all Leanna is fellating Bruno, spitting in his mouth and bouncing her bubble butt up and down on his dick. She turns around to straddle him, shoving her fingers into her anus as he penetrates her shaved pussy, and then she lets him fuck her in the ass. Meanwhile Sandy is watching everything from a safe distance and getting turned on.
Leanna’s high-pitched mewing and squealing are an affectation which make her sound like an animated lolita in Japanese hentai. The way she pushes her knees together while humping on Bruno’s lap adds to the effect of schoolgirl coquettishness, and Bruno’s admission to her that “I feel so young with you!” sounds totally perverse. In a comic moment there’s a sudden cut to Leanna sprawled across the wheelchair with Bruno standing to her left ready to take her from behind…
we see at a glance that he’s not really disabled at all, but a fully-functioning stud. Anyone familiar with the UK sketch show ‘Little Britain’ will immediately think of Matt Lucas’s character Andy, a manipulative guy in a wheelchair who deceives his carer Lou into thinking he’s more disabled than he actually is… he’s secretly full of get-up-and-go!
Bruno does Leanna in her cunt and up her ass. For the cumshot she whirls around and crouches in front of him. It’s a porno cliche to cut to the guy’s face as he’s about to cum, getting a close-up of his facial expression before focussing on the ejaculation. For this scene the directors do something slightly different with that cliche. They insert a shot of Bruno’s face immediately before the climax, but the same shot also includes a glimpse of Sandy watching in the background and
playing with herself. Thus we’re reminded, a second before the orgasm, that Sandy’s taking a voyeuristic pleasure in watching the action as much as we are - and Bruno’s not the only person getting his rocks off! Leanna takes a face full of cum then kisses Bruno on the mouth, smearing his lips with his own jizz. He slaps her on her butt and tells her to get back to school, then he slumps in his wheelchair and gives an evil laugh . The laugh is tricked with a spooky echoing effect!
Back in 1994 ‘The Downward Spiral’ was the title of an album produced by American industrial rock band ‘Nine Inch Nails’ (NIN). The music on the soundtrack of the movie ‘DownWard Spiral’ is consistently excellent but it bears no obvious relationship to NIN’s album. The one exception, perhaps, is the track used in Leanna Sweet’s scene. This track has a measured beat which is much like the hammer-punching-nails riff of ‘Closer’, NIN’s most
successful hit from ‘The Downward Spiral’. The lyrics of ‘Closer’ seem rather apt for this movie, too, with their emphasis on animalistic sex as a reason for living and the dissipation of the soul!
Scene 6: Kathia Nobili (aka Kathy Campbell) / Zenza Raggi / Ram
Sandy assumes a new hiding place from which to observe the next bizarre development in this nightmarish world. Two gangsta dudes in a Cadillac park up inside the factory and flick the controls of a moving conveyor. There’s a whir of machinery and Kathy Campbell appears, suspended from the conveyor on a chain. Again, ‘Hostel: Part 2’ seems to leave its mark on the imagery of the film: Kathy is the dudes’ plaything, their bitch, a dangling victim to use and abuse…
The two dudes, Zenza Raggi and Ram, are dressed in wildly ostentatious pimp costumes, as if for
a fancy dress party. They have lots of over-the-top dialogue with each other, sparring in bellicose gangsta fashion - it’s all “motherfucka” this and “motherfucka” that! Kathy herself is kitted out like the hookers in the earlier scenes, sporting shiny thigh-high boots, stockings, suspenders, a brief gold top and tarty hoop earrings. The dudes give her a hard time as she hangs from the chain, prodding and spanking her with a pimp’s cane and generally tormenting her. Zenza Raggi hasn’t played such a badass since his role as the villain guarding the tied and bound Ivy Crystal in ‘Operation Sex Siege’. In that movie Ivy manages to get the better of him, whereas here he has free rein humiliating Kathy. Eventually the dudes release Kathy from the chain so that they can get stuck in and fuck her. The guys take turns at each end, ramming their cocks into her gob, her cunt and her ass. Sandy sees it all: there’s a clever shot of her face
reflected in the wing mirror of the Cadillac as she watches the action unfold.
Kathy gets an awesome double penetration, snug and hot and deep. She’s very camera-conscious as she surrenders her orifices, posing her body and turning her limbs for the benefit of the viewer. At the end of the scene the dudes take turns to spurt their cum, aiming for her open mouth. They “chat shit” while they do it, causing her to break into sexy little smiles as she looks up at them. Suddenly the dudes spot Sandy spying on them and they pull out their guns, but our heroine escapes into the darkness. Kathy drags on a cigarette and smirks while the gangstas chase Sandy, and her face is still glistening with “pimp juice”… the dirty bitch!
Scene 7: Sandy / Bambi / Kid Jamaica
Sandy’s in a panic but she manages to find her way back into the
street. As she stands, bewildered, in the middle of the road, a police car pulls up behind her, its sirens blaring and its lights flashing. There’s a dramatic low-angle shot of the police car as it brakes to a halt… the camera is placed behind Sandy and our view of the vehicle is directed between her parted legs and high heels. Sandy rushes over to the car and “assumes the position”. Two uniformed officers emerge, Kid Jamaica and Bambi, but they don’t show any sympathy with Sandy’s plight, believing her story to be “bullshit.” Bear in mind that Sandy has left her blouse unbuttoned ever since the shower scene, with her tits, bum and muff on show - so it’s no wonder that the cops are suspicious! Kid Jamaica thrusts Sandy face down on the bonnet, and Bambi uses her baton to prod the suspect’s butt and inner thighs.
The two cops are
turned on by their blonde prisoner so they decide to have some fun with her over the bonnet. Sandy loses her blouse and before long the officers are stripped out of their uniforms too. The dynamics of the sex in this scene are very interesting. There’s a lot of girl-to-girl action between Sandy and Bambi, with Sandy demonstrating once again her passion for pussy. She excites Bambi with her fingers and her mouth and she relishes Bambi’s randy reciprocation. A memorable part of the scene is when Sandy pushes the top of the police baton into Bambi’s anus, working it around to thrill and tease the girl. But when Kid Jamaica gets out his thick black cock it’s only Bambi who sucks on it and gets fucked. Sandy doesn’t ever do more with that cock than spit on it
and give it a handjob. At first I was disappointed by this, as I’d hoped that the movie’s climactic scene would show Sandy penetrated by cock - saving up the best till last, as it were. But the scene is a hot one nevertheless, and in some ways it’s all the more intense with Sandy getting so close but never personally taking a cock injection. Sandy puts her face just millimetres from Kid Jamaica’s prick - our heroine licks Bambi’s clit at the same time that he’s fucking the girl, but she’s not tempted to extend her oral attentions to the cock itself, even though it’s right in front of her! Sandy shows her expertise at handjobs, too, proving that she can jerk a cock as well as anyone despite not taking it inside her. She wanks off Kid Jamaica against Bambi’s face, evidently relishing her control of the action. She’s not cum shy, either. Once Kid Jamaica has shot his load into Bambi’s mouth, Sandy’s right in there, kissing the girl
avidly and allowing a lot of the spent goo to transfer to her lips and chin in the process. Kid Jamaica’s knob brushes briefly through Sandy’s blonde hair and a residual trail of cum lands on her shoulder. Despite all this involvement, Sandy doesn’t ever pop that wet cock into her own mouth or pussy - not even for a moment - and whether the viewer sees this as a delicious tease or a bit of a let-down is really up to them.
Sandy gives the cops the slip and they drive off without bothering to put their uniforms back on. The coda of the movie is an enigmatic sequence set within a dingy cell, presumably somewhere inside the factory again. Sandy is huddled on the floor, dishevelled and sobbing. There’s a mirror on the wall and she gets up to look at her reflection. While she’s staring a series of flashbacks from the movie’s different scenes appear in the mirror. Sandy stops crying and starts to laugh hysterically. She gives herself one
last long look and then the shot fades out. I like this odd ending… it reinforces the movie’s themes of voyeurism and intense emotional volatility. I wonder whether Sandy will ever manage to resurface and resume her normal, married life with love-rat James Brossman!
In addition to cast profiles and trailers of other Private movies, the bonus materials include a behind-the-scenes feature. This is a montage of clips from the movie and footage of cast and crew looking happy and involved with various technical preparations in the studio. Instead of any accompanying narration this feature has a rock music soundtrack. That’s fine because the images are self-explanatory anyway.
'DownWard Spiral’ is available on DVD in June 2008.