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Through The Looking Glass Box Cover

Studio: Distribpix / Video-X-Pix
Director:

Approximate Running Time: 01:31:19
Released:1976
Custodian of Records
C Playboy called it "A Landmark Movie!" Originally released in 1976, it's been re-released in perfect More

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  • Scene 2 - 15 mins 8 secs


     
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  • Scene 3 - 10 mins 28 secs


     
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  • Scene 4 - 19 mins 44 secs


     
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Editor's Review


Much has already been written about this adult oddity, often by people with little affection for (and therefore, understandably, a lack of affinity with) porn. There's a tendency to reclaim this work as part of the horror genre, where it admittedly seems quite at home, rather than leave it to the perceived limitations of hardcore erotica. Truth of the matter is, THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (and, yes, there is a particularly depraved "Alice in Wonderland" inspired fantasy to make good on its title) is that rarity, a movie – hell, an ADULT movie of all things – that cannot be classified within one single genre, moving across boundaries with almost uncanny dexterity. Director Jonas Middleton didn't bother to stick around for very long and interviews of the time reveal that he had little interest in conventional carnal cinema, basically shooting the obscure Andrea True showcase ILLUSIONS OF A LADY in order to secure funds for this, his labor of love.

LOOKING GLASS differs from the average dirty movie in just about all aspects. Cinematography by Joao Fernandez (a/k/a Gerard Damiano's right hand man "Harry Flecks") is dark and foreboding, superbly supported by an ominous soundtrack by Harry Manfredini who would go on to score the Friday THE 13TH series. Even the casting seems idiosyncratic, the most familiar face presumably being that of a genuinely frightening Jamie Gillis as the titular mirror's resident demon doubling as the flashback father figure of our strangely lethargic heroine Catharine Burgess. Now Burgess, who also went by a slew of additional pseudonyms and was rather crudely assessed by Times Square historian Bill Landis as "a $1.98 Catherine Deneuve", remains one of cinema's more intriguing personalities. Rumored to have never been involved in actual hardcore penetration (her scorching scene with Ras Kean in Armand Weston's magnificent EXPOSE ME, LOVELY forever casting doubt on that claim), she supplemented her classy looks with above average acting ability, a combination which serves her far better here than it did in Al Adamson's awesomely inept science fiction sex musical CINDERALLA 2000!

Exuding icy perfection from every pore, Burgess plays a wealthy heiress languidly preparing for a trip to Europe, her efforts thwarted by the lure of an antique mirror in the attic that offers her glimpses of her own suppressed memories of her depraved dad as well as an increasingly bizarre netherworld on the other side. Genre regulars Nancy Dare (Bob Kerman's spiteful spouse from Damiano's ODYSSEY), Kim Pope (Gillis' crippled wife in Shaun Costello's PASSIONS OF CAROL) and Ultramax (from the early Eduardo Cemano not quite all the way classics FONGALULI and THE HEALERS) turn up as her fair weather friends, bad-mouthing her behind her back at the beauty parlor, only to re-appear as hellish harridans during the film's extended and unforgettable climax. Catharine whiles away whole hours lost in her own flawless reflection, her vanity ultimately costing her dear as demons drag her into their warped world. As if there wasn't enough weirdness already, Terri Hall and Al Levitsky (a/k/a "Roger Caine" from Costello's Dan McCord movies) put in appearances as a sister and brother pair of domestics who also happen to be involved. The avowed highlight comes when Catharine steps into the mirror and finds a place of such surreal sexual overkill that would surely have corrupted even little Alice's dearly held maidenhead. This lengthy, orange-tinted orgy truly has to be seen in order to be believed and even then… Eagle-eyed fans may recognize (or not, due to some outlandishly freaky make-up) the likes of late Bobby Astyr and Jeff Hurst, the no good husband from Roberta Findlay's TIFFANY MINX, among the participants along with bulky oddball Grover Griffith who played the Messenger of Death in Howard Ziehm's peculiar SEXTEEN.

For those watching porn primarily for titillation, LOOKING GLASS presents an anomaly almost as surreal as its content. While fornication is frequent and explicit, including an ill-advised camera move INTO Burgess' body double's front entrance, it was also designed as defiantly anti-erotic. On that count, it could be construed as a "failure" then, was it not for its dazzling display of film-making bravura in every other respect. Cult cinema of the highest order, present day relevance undiminished, its group of followers has steadily expanded over the three decades since, and I predict that this one of a kind movie will continue to confuse and delight – in equal measure, sometimes simultaneously – many more in the future. -Review courtesy of DirtyMovieDevotee