U.S.A. | 1980
Directed by Stu Segall
Marilyn Chambers

John Holmes
| 77 Min. | XXX
Format: DVD (R1 - NTSC | 2-disc set)
Raincoat Theater
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Guest Review by Troy Howarth
An heiress (Marilyn Chambers) explores her erotic fantasies...
In an era of surgically enhanced, tattoo-ridden porno starlets, it's a pleasure to revisit the work of Marilyn Chambers. The Midwestern beauty made a transition to mainstream fare via David Cronenberg's disturbing Rabid (1977), but her reputation as the star of the seminal XXX feature Behind the Green Door (1972) ensured that any such attempt would be never be entirely successful. Insatiable hit the video shelves after her credible performance in the Canadian horror auteur's 'body horror' hit, and it would prove to be one of her signature titles two sequels followed, 1984's Insatiable II and the direct-to-video Still Insatiable (1999), made nearly 20 years later.
    The plot is slight and incidental, but director Stu Segall uses it as a means to string together a series of steamy sex scenes. Chambers makes for a credible and sympathetic heroine, and she throws herself into the action with sensual gusto. The sex scenes are all of a high caliber, with particular highlights courtesy of a hot tub tryst between Chambers and Serena, and a pleasingly smutty pool table romp between Chambers and David Morris. The final hallucinatory three-way between Chambers, Morris and legendary porn stud John Holmes provides a fitting climax, if you'll pardon the expression. Director Segall shows a good sense of pacing throughout compared to the endless and ultimately tedious sex scenes in many contemporary porn features, Segall doesn't allow the action to become too padded or redundant. The performers show palpable enthusiasm, the sex generates heat, and the staging is effective and economical. In addition, the antics are passionate and kinky enough without degenerating into disturbing extremes. The connecting plot tissue doesn't get in the way, mercifully, and manages to hold one's interest.
    A fine example of classic XXX cinema, Insatiable provides a solid template of how to make a good porno feature. Viewers accustomed to the tasteless "gonzo" extravaganzas and would-be arty erotica permeating contemporary video shelves are in for a good time, while aspiring filmmakers looking to delve into the market would do well to use it as an example to follow.

Raincoat Theater's two-disc special edition of Insatiable is a must for smut fans. The feature is presented fully uncut in its original fullframe aperture. The print is in very good shape and the mastering is solid, with only some minor examples of artifacting in evidence. Color is good, detail is as strong as the cinematography will allow (there's a fair amount of soft-focus), and print damage is limited to minor speckling. A pointless 5.1 remix has been included, but one would do better to stick to the original mono track. The souped up 5.1 track doesn't add anything to the experience the moans and groans come across well enough in mono. Extras begin in disc one, with two separate audio commentaries one by Chambers, and one by industry legend Gloria Leonard. Both tracks are worth a listen, but Chambers' track is of particular interest she recalls working with her costars (notably David Morris) with tremendous enthusiasm and shares some funny behind-the-scenes anecdotes. Trailers for other Raincoat Theater releases (such as Debbie Does Dallas) round out Disc 1.
    The second disc includes the softcore cable edition of the film, in lesser quality than the main feature. The edited version is of interest to completists, but it basically amounts to a joke without a punchline it's hard to imagine it getting much play. A deleted scene, footage of the film's premiere with commentary by Chambers, an on-camera interview with Chambers, various trailers for the film, and a photo gallery round out the package.