Plot: Barbara (Marianne Prevost) is frustrated, not just with her work as a writer, but also when it comes to the pleasures of the flesh. A move to Manhattan was supposed to be a cure of sorts for both, an inspiration to push her into new experiences, but that hasn’t been the case. When she hears her neighbors engage in loud passionate nights, she feels the lure of much more satisfying encounters. Her sister Julie (Maria Lease) comes to visit and as a free spirit, she tries to get Barbara to cut loose. When Julie hears the moans of delight from next door, she ventures over to sample the free love for herself, though Barbara remains behind, at least at first. Will Barbara ever be able to let loose and enjoy the sexual freedom she fantasizes about?
Entertainment Value: This is a stripped down (no pun intended) cinematic experience from Joe Sarno, who focuses on characters and mood, as well as some erotic elements, of course. The movie lives up to the title Vibrations, as a strange pleasure device is at the center of a lot of the scenes. I suppose sex toys have come a long way since this era, as the vibrator in this one looks like a device used to milk alien cattle, rather than a sleek, seductive pleasure tool. I appreciated how Sarno puts time into developing Barbara, especially since he is able to do so without slowing the pace or detracting from the atmosphere. This includes a lot of non verbal acting on the part of Marianne Prevost, who might not be a master thespian, but she gives a solid performance here and conveys the inner longing needed. Vibrations might be sexploitation, but it has an artistic texture and is more stylish, moody than most of its peers, thanks to Sarno’s skills behind the camera. I know some will be put off by the sexual elements, but for fans of erotica and cult cinema, Vibrations is a brisk, worthwhile watch.
The movie has frequent nakedness, but the content isn’t nearly as graphic as some might assume. This includes a number of topless scenes with several performers over many of the film’s scenes, as well as some bare asses. No full frontal nudity and the men show no naughty bits whatsoever. The masturbation scenes are non graphic and focus on the facial expressions above all else, while the sex scenes follow those lines, non graphic and rather tame by most definitions. But Sarno works some erotic magic in terms of mood, so sexploitation fans should be pleased here. No blood. Vibrations has no violence, so it stands to reason there’d be no red stuff. The dialogue is filled with memorable and even quotable lines, most of which deal with sex in one way or another. The bemoaning of the lack of it or the praise for how magical it is, these characters love to discuss sex and it leads to some fun exchanges. The craziness is boosted by those memorable lines, as well as the strange vibrator and general light melodrama vibes, but Vibrations never tumbles off the deep end.
Overall Insanity: 2/10
The Disc: Film Movement has given Vibrations a new 2k digital, with impressive results that should delight fans. The movie looks cleaner and more refined than I’ve ever seen, with sharp visual presence and minimal age related woes, so the restoration effort is more than obvious here. I found contrast to be stark and consistent, with accurate black levels and that is important, as the black & white visuals are an effective element in the film, to be sure. Film Movement’s Blu-ray edition also hosts a second film, Sarno’s All the Sins of Sodom, as well as extras such as audio comments from author Tim Lucas and an interview with Joe Sarno.