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Through The Looking Glass (TVX)

Through The Looking Glass (TVX)

Studio: TVX
Category:  Classic , Feature film
Directed by:
Starring: , , , , , , , , ,
Released on: 
Where to buy:DVD NewStreaming/Download
Flash's ratings for Through The Looking Glass (TVX):
Overall Rating 1.5 stars
Through The Looking Glass (TVX) overall rating 1.5 stars
Female Looks Through The Looking Glass (TVX) Female looks rating 1 star
Male Looks Through The Looking Glass (TVX) Male looks rating 1.5 stars
Sex Through The Looking Glass (TVX) Sex rating 1/2 star
Plot/Acting Through The Looking Glass (TVX) Plot/Acting rating 4.5 stars
Extras Through The Looking Glass (TVX) DVD Extras rating 0 stars
Audio/Video Quality Through The Looking Glass (TVX) A/V Quality rating 1.5 stars
Rating Scale
Reviewed by Flash  on  11/14/2002

Through the Looking Glass

A disc review by Flash
Release Specs:

Distributor: TVX
Edition Details: Standard
MSRP: $29.95
DVD Release Date: August 2002

Movie Specs:

Genres: Feature Film, Golden Age Classic (1972 - 1984), Horror
Run Time: 91 minutes
Rated: X
Release Year: 1976
Director: Jonas Middleton
Written by: Ronald Wertheim, David Maryla, Jonas Middleton
Cast: Catherine Erhardt (as Catharine Burgess), Laura Nicholson, Douglas Wood, Marie Taylor, Jamie Gillis, Terri Hall, Roger Caine (as Mike Jefferson)

      Disc Specs:

Audio: English 2.0 Mono
Subtitles: none
Video: Pan & Scan, 1.33:1
Video Format: NTSC
Regional Code: 0 (All)
Disc: DVD 5 (SS, SL)
Special Features: none

menu screen Synopsis:

Catherine Johnston (Catherine Erhardt) is married to Richard (Douglas Wood), but their marriage is going through a troubled period.  Catherine is having hallucinations of her father (Jamie Gillis) in a mirror, beckoning for her to come through the mirror to the other side of the glass.  Although she tries to resist, Richard doesn’t realize how troubled his wife is and may let her slip away.

The available audio track is an English 2.0 Mono track, which sounds as if it is the original audio track for the film completely unrestored.  The audio volume is low and at times the sound is very muffled.  Dialog is clear through most of the film if you have your home theater system cranked rather high, but there are still parts that are hard to discern.  No other language tracks are available and no subtitle options are available.

screen shot Through the Looking Glass is presented in the full screen aspect ratio of 1.33:1, which is probably not the original aspect ratio for the film.  The film was originally shot on 35 mm film and many of the adult classics of this period were shot in the aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and were changed to the full screen aspect ratio for their subsequent home video release.  There is no evidence of the pan and scan process on the print so you don’t feel as if you are missing anything while watching the film.  The quality of VCX’s transfers has always been very variable.  VCX has given this film their standard high quality control of ensuring film on the disc is the correct one and then having a beer instead of ensuring that the print is of high quality or even acceptable quality.  In the best portions of the film, the print is riddled with artifacts.  The color levels are not correctly set.  There are places where strong colors are over saturated and black often comes through as blue.  For the age of the film, the picture quality in the daytime portions of the film are marginally acceptable but the picture quality in the night portions is just simply poor.  The picture quality completely goes to hell in the Hell sequence at the end where the picture loses almost all definition and appears to have a very soft focus.  Add on top of all this, occasional glitches throughout the film.  Basically your old VHS tape probably has better picture quality than this disc.  Most of the film is watchable except for the Hell sequence which is barely watchable.

Special Features:
In their endless pursuit to ensure that the classics remain accessible to future generations and providing only the best extras for their classic titles, VCX has included absolutely no extras for this film, not even a crummy photo gallery.

There are eight chapters available from the main menu for Through the Looking Glass.  Each one is identified by a still frame from the scene that the chapter goes to.  Having learned from some of their past DVD faux pas, the entire film is on only one title here and does contain a time code encoded on the disc.

screen shot General Review:
Although the disc lists the distributing company as TVX, this disc is actually released by VCX due to their recent acquisition of the TVX film library.  And unfortunately, this disc, as with many released by VCX is in poor condition.  On the positive side, in a massive surprise, the disc does appear to contain the uncut version of the film so future audiences can view the film as originally created.  I am not familiar with the home video release history for this film, but certain parts of the film have probably been cut for many years due to many of the acts in the film being big no-nos’ according to the Cambria List.

Through the Looking Glass is a haunting and disturbing film to say the least and makes me wonder why this film was created as an adult film to begin with.  The film was originally distributed in two, possibly even three, different versions ranging from the X-rated version seen here to an R-Rated version.  The plot in this film gets in the way of the sex scenes and the sex scenes get in the way of the plot.  For instance, the scene where in a dream/delusion state Catherine goes through the mirror and ends up at the feast/sex scene.  This certainly doesn’t truly fit in with the plot that is going on and destructs what the plot has built up to at this point.  Many of the sex scenes appear to have been written in as an afterthought so don’t quite fit in with the rest of the film.  There are a few that do fit in with the plot, but they are destructive towards the film in a different way.

To start off with I’ll comment on the best part of the film, which was the music used.  The music here is excellent and bears no resemblance to normal porn music.  It’s composed by Arlon Ober and Harry Manfredini (who composed music for most of the Friday the 13th films) and the music fits the film and the scenes and adds to the haunting feeling the film portrays.

screen shot The plot is well developed but constantly seems to work against the film.  The original plot appears to have been created for a B-grade mainstream release and then, due to poor decision making, been changed to an adult release.  Viewers expecting a fun adult version of Alice in Wonderland, like Bud Townsend’s 1976 film Alice in Wonderland with Kristine DeBell will be sorely disappointed.  I’ve always wanted to see a well done adult horror film, but this isn’t it.  Instead of combining horror and erotica, the film has created horror and horrific erotica that is hard to watch.  I think that every scene in the film is designed to appall the viewer instead of titillating the viewer.  Needless to say that most of the sex scenes in the film don’t fit in too well and detract from the story.

The cast is a blend of B-grade mainstream and adult talent and the acting talents vary greatly.  For the most part, the cast does a good job with their roles, in some cases too good which causes even more destruction to the sex scenes.  The use of so many B-grade mainstream talents indicates that at first this film might have been non-pornographic.  Especially the use of Catherine Erhardt, billed here as Catharine Burgess, as the lead where they had to use a stunt pussy for her sex scenes.  Needless to say the sex scenes with her are lacking as shots involving penetration can’t show her face and any shot showing her face is stimulated sex only.

screen shot As for the sex scenes, they appear to be trying to shock more than arouse.  There are no full on sex scenes in the film, only short bits that often disrupt the plot.  Most of the scenes only involve one sexual act being performed.  Normally I love the short tease scenes present in the classics, but not when there aren’t any actual sex scenes in the film.  Tease scenes are great, but no substitute for the real scenes.  Keeping the plot throughout some of the sex scenes ruins them.  For instance I can’t get very aroused when a demon hand is fingering Catherine Erhardt’s stunt pussy.  There is also a nasty rape scene with Catherine Erhardt’s stunt pussy and Jamie Gillis’s demon.  A very disturbing coercion scene between Jamie Gillis (as Catherine’s father) and a young-adult version of Catherine.  Some of the other assorted disturbing imagery is a woman in a bathtub filled with mud and urine that another woman is pissing in and an acrobat bent over himself jerking off into his own face.  Basically there were no scenes that I could get into since they were all so disturbing.  The most normal scene in the entire film consisted of a woman giving her brother a blow job.  The sexual themes in the film are oral and vaginal sex with vaginal fingering, female masturbation, incest, douche, lesbianism, male masturbation, food, peeing and rape (coercion).  For viewers who care about such things, no condoms were used in the film.

The sets used in the film are decent, especially considering the obvious low budget for the feature.  Some exceptions to this are the mirror room and Hell.  The mirror room is dressed in what appears to be Mylar and since it bunches up underneath the talent, it ends up looking really cheesy.  Hell itself was shot in a desert somewhere, probably somewhere in California, which works somewhat.  The biggest problem with this set is the small amount of inhabitants of the netherworld.  The bathtub in the middle of the sand, which is provided for a shock scene, doesn’t quite fit either.  Other than these, the sets are well done.

screen shot Basically, what could have been a decent mainstream B-grade film is ruined by attempting to make a mainstream/adult crossover film and it ends up being ruined for both sides.  This film should never have been made as an adult film as it ends up being completely unerotic.  And, as a side note, if you can get off to this film, you might look into getting yourself some professional help.

The Scenes:
There are no full sex scenes in the film, just a series of small mini-scenes that I won’t bother to get into here as there are too many and they are too brief.  Most of the sex scenes only involve one sexual act and are over as quickly as they start.

Parting Thoughts:
VCX’s library contains some of the best classics of all time, especially with their recent acquisitions of TVX and Collectors film libraries.  Unfortunately, many of their prints are in horrible shape.  Due to the film itself and the transfer here I have a hard time recommending this film to anyone except die-hard fans of the film.  The only decent part of the disc is the fact that it does appear to contain the uncut version of the film.

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