Jeanna Fine who's acting specialty seems to be a celebration of women with a couple of loose shingles on the roof, confirms in Skin Hunger what many have long suspected: that she's the prima diva when it comes to portraying flipped-out heroines hanging to the chimney for dear life.
Screenwriter Raven Touchstone, wearing her Tennessee Williams hat, dispenses one of the most deliriously tangy adult screenplays witnessed in ages, and Fine delivers perhaps the most grandiose performance of her illustrious career in this grim epic of sprawling white trash lust and emotion.
Fine, a wedding day black widow, courtesy of a bullet delivered inopportunely on the church steps (the whys of it are never really made clear), comes to life with her naive but sumptuously endowed sister, played exquisitely and powerfully by Lisa Ann. (A surprising Best Supporting pre-nom for this robust charmer.)
Lisa's dirt-bag, drug-running husband, played evocatively close-to-the-edge by Tony Tedeschi, is a product of relentless street machismo, a brusque, no-account Stanley Kowalskiesque figure who's lexicon is structured around "shut up," and "fuck you." Jeanna, during the course of her stay with the Ralph and Alice from hell, won't let her late husband (Mark Davis) die, simply because it's not in the Tennessee Williams southern tradition and because, practically speaking, an extra male body is needed in the film's sex scene equation. (Only in adult filmmaking can you get away with fucking a dead person - which Fine does quite nicely in a fantasy sequence that culminates with a livid mish and a shot in the mouth.)
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the most fucked-up of them all? The tortured Jeanna glances constantly into the vanity and sees Davis urbanely staring back at her, as only Davis can. Jeanna bathes and Davis, the figment, hands her the soap. Jeanna takes a dump and Davis, the figment, hands her the toilet paper. Well, not exactly, but you get the point. In fact, Lisa Ann and Tony's bathroom probably gets more activity in this psychodrama than a 42nd street urinal.
Tedeschi's percussive street presence and Mongol horde sexual posturing is what constitutes the element behind the title of this film. Lisa the faithful wife defends him to the hilt, but Jeanna penetrates Tony like a laser, seeing him as corrosive human acid who'll burn a hole through steel under the guise of passion. How can one man be so repulsive and so attractive at the same time? Ask any female panelist on Oprah.
And how rotten is Tony? He sleeps with his sister-in-law, for one thing. And he mulls an offer from street boss Steven St. Croix to sell his wife for a night. (Except, I believe, Woody Harrelson struck a better deal in another movie.) Their precarious financial straits (St. Croix in the ultimate act of male hypocrisy fires Tedeschi for "dissing" Lisa by sleeping with Jeanna) forces Lisa Ann to accept the deal in the film's highlight "party" sequence.
"Party favors" Melissa Hill and Lana Sands submit to St. Croix's thugs, Alex Sanders and Ian Daniels. They, in turn, take the girls in doubles action, reminiscent of a Rex Borsky loop, while Lisa Ann strips sensuously for and fucks St. Croix. Lana's anal scene, unfortunately, fails to deliver a penetration shot and flip-flop cutaways never authenticate the fact that it's her ass being fucked. (Poor editing move and absent-minded camera coverage.) Throw in a gratuitous and sometimes languid pairing between roommates Kirsty Waay and Barbara Doll and you walk away with the feeling that sex isn't necessarily the final arbiter of greatness in this picture.
Acting and story, however, are. Sex Hunger is a work of meticulous, concentrated energy and looks to be one of the proud standard bearers of quality adult filmmaking in the Nineties. Get hungry for multiple copies to stock.