Sunday, June 5, 2016

Motel Sweets (Eric Edwards, 1987)

Did creepy men in raincoats still go to see "adult movies" in theatres back in 1987? If so, I wonder if any of them were as horrified as I was when they saw what porn had done to Taija Rae. Sure, she could have done it to herself. But I have a feeling someone within porn industry forced Taija to loose all that weight. If you don't know, the main reason Taija Rae is so fondly remembered as one of the greatest porn stars of the 1980s has nothing to do with her acting or charisma. No, the reason porn fans the world over loved Taija so much was because her body had oomph. What's "oomph," you ask? Well, to put it another way, Taija's body had a shapeliness to it that caused her to stand out in the porn crowd. Nowadays, porn stars come in all shapes and sizes. But back in the 1980s, all porn stars looked pretty much the same. Of course, stars like, Keisha and Lois Ayres stood out as well. But Taija Rae had that all-natural look long before anybody else. Which is why it was such a shame to see it eroded in Eric Edwards' Motel Sweets, a tepid porn sitcom set in a motel. Now, I wanted to say, "set in a weird motel," but the motel in this movie isn't as weird as Eric Edwards thinks it is. At any rate, getting back to Taija Rae's drastic weight loss. I don't know what she did to lose so much weight (drugs, perhaps?), but seeing her as an emaciated stick figure was disheartening. Her thick, delicious thighs reduced to formless pipe cleaners. Her rotund rump robbed of its ripple-inducing splendour. Her child-bearing hips plundered of their innate sway-appeal. Her juicy... Well, you get the idea.

Since I don't want this entire exercise to be about Taija Rae's tragic transformation from a shapely porn goddess to a gaunt, cocaine-soaked bag of skin, I'll try to complain about something else. Hmm, there's so much to choose from. (How about the fact that you have to wait thirty whole minutes before a pulsating pussy is properly penetrated by a pockmarked penis?) Nah, that's the kind of thing the raincoat crowd would complain about. I actually liked the fact that Eric Edwards made an attempt to tell a story. Only problem being, it's no Squalor Motel. And that right there is my biggest non-Taija-drastic-weight-loss-related problem with this movie. It thinks it's Squalor Motel. But trust me, it ain't.

As I stated earlier, Motel Sweets isn't as weird as it thinks it is. It also doesn't help that Eric Edwards' late night motel manager keeps saying that Friday nights bring out the weirdos. Every time he would refer these so-called "weirdos," I would say: What weirdos?

Yes, the extremely fussy Mrs. Tirebiter is a tad on the eccentric side, but Tantala Ray is basically channeling Audra Lindley's Mrs. Roper from Three's Company. In other words, she's not exactly weird. That being said, Tantala Ray proves yet again that she is one the finest actresses in the business. No matter what the role. Whether it be Moms, the owner of the cafe in Café Flesh, the warden in Desperate Women or the staunch lesbian in The Devil in Miss Jones 4, Tantala manages to elevate the material. However, unlike the movies I just mentioned, Motel Sweets needs all the help it can get.

While Tantala is working her milfy butt off to provide the comedy relief (to be fair, Eric Edwards says a few things that are on the cusp of being funny as well), who brings the sexy? After all, this is supposed to be a porno. And the last time I checked, porn is supposed to be sexy. At least it was back in the 1980s.

Well, since there's nothing sexy about Taija Rae in this movie, who's going to step in to fill the void? Why, it's none other than Shanna McCullough.

When I saw Shanna McCullough's delightfully round ass and workmanlike thighs appear onscreen for the very first time, I let out a sigh of relief. Bringing big booty majesty to the pre-Sir-Mix-a-Lot age, Shanna McCullough's never not pound-worthy organic structure is something I can always count on. And while Eric Edwards doesn't fully exploit Shanna McCullough's hefty thighs and larger than life buttocks to the degree I had hoped, I took solace in the fact that her curves were representin' something fierce.

However, until Shanna shows up, we have to endure Eric Edwards' wannabe film noir narration. Playing Sam Cooper, the night manager of a modest motel on the outskirts of town, Eric bemoans the fact that it's Friday night, his least favourite day of the week.

When Sam arrives to start the night-shift, he finds Taija Rae's Daisy the prostitute's skinny ass not making a dent in his office couch. I will say this, even though Taija no longer has the curves to properly fill her super-tight neon yellow tiger print hooker dress, the thrift store garment itself is quite fetching.

After we learn that Daisy prefers to be called "Sunshine" (she thinks it's more skank-appropriate), Martha (Tantala Ray) and George Tirebiter (Wayne Stevens) walk in the door. While Martha is paying the 27.50 for room 13, George is getting a cup of coffee. Well, at least he's trying to. You see, the coffee is as thick as molasses. And in order to stop the flow, you need a pair of scissors. Even though the cutting the coffee gag is only employed twice, it feels like it's employed at least five times. What I think I'm trying to say is: Would somebody fuck someone already.

Just kidding, I'm a big fan of character development. Besides, I loved it when Martha Tirebiter calls the front desk to complain that the toilet in her room doesn't have a sanitation strip on it, and Juanita (Ona Z), the night maid, misinterprets Sam's instructions to put a sanitation strip room 13's toilet (there's a bit of a language barrier between them). Instead putting a strip on their toilet, she performs a striptease, complete with black fully-fashioned stockings and wacky sound effects, for a befuddled Martha and George. I know this is an odd thing to say, but pay close attention to Tantala's face as Ona Z strips, her exaggerated facial expressions are pure gold.

Unlike the coffee cutting gag, the language barrier bit between Sam and Juanita is actually employed several times over the course of the film. (Several?!?) Okay, maybe three or four times. But still, it's more than two. Anyway, Juanita ends up in a three-way with a couple of truckers (Billy Dee and Jon Martin) and screwing Robert Bullock's Al the bug guy, who can be usually found hanging out in The Rusty Pipe Lounge, which, I have to say, is nowhere as cool as The Reptile Room, the motel-adjacent club from Squalor Motel.

After Sam gives newlyweds, Tom (Mike Horner) and Trisha (Shanna McCullough), a room on the house, Daisy/Sunshine finally hooks up with her trick for the evening. Now, I have to say, this guy (Nick Random) could be viewed as weird. I know, he seems harmless, but that puppet sex routine involving Mr. Weasel she makes Daisy/Sunshine partake in was not even close to being normal. In fact, you could call it abnormal. Either way, after some puppet-based foreplay, Nick Random sticks his dick Taija's primary fuck-hole... and the crowd goes wild.

(How come you didn't mention the fact that we get to see the tops of Taija's stockings during the puppet scene?) If Taija's thighs were the size they were a year ago, than, yes, I would have mentioned the tops of her stockings. But her thighs aren't the size they were a year ago, are they? No, they aren't. So, screw Taija's scrawny thighs.

As for Shanna McCullough... damn, girl! Sure, she doesn't wear stockings, but Shanna McCullough's rooftop sex scene with Mike Horner pretty much saved this movie from being an exercise in tedium.

Actually, Nikki Knights' "Devilina," who wears red suspender hose, does her best to fight tedium as well, with her devilish performance as "The Devil." While I liked Taija's hooker dress, I couldn't help but laugh when Devilina calls it "god awful" and tells her to "burn it."

You could say the same things about Motel Sweets. But it's not really all that bad. And, yes, the raincoat crowd must have found the thirty minute wait for penetration to be excruciating, I could care less. No, the film's biggest problems are simply this: Taija Rae is not hot as a skinny slut (Marlene Willoughby, on the other hand, is a hot skinny slut) and the film is basically a poor man's Squalor Motel.


  1. Love the site! You have to check out Thunder Valley It's the GREATEST unknown films the 80s.
    Bye now

    1. I've actually had Thunder Alley on my radar for quite some time. Anyway, thanks for re-reminding me of its existence. I love movies about bands struggling to succeed, especially ones from the 80s.

    2. The Fabulous Stains, Breaking Glass, Scenes From the Goldmine, etc.

  2. Yum I couldn't find a "contact" button, just wanted to say your blog is a pleasure. I have linked to your reviews, hopefully that's a good thing. ~Dr. Kaiju,

    1. Thanks.

      "Kaiju" means "strange creature" or "giant monster" in Japanese. I just looked it up. Learning is fun.

  3. I remember this one well. One of the first porns I ever bought. I thought Taija Rae was great back in the day and picked up this movie becuase she was in it. But yeah, she is one of the cautionary tales of porn. Sadly I heard soon after this she went into escorting to pay her drug addiction. It might not be a true story, I rather hope she is living anonymously in the suburbs somewhere, but sadly I think it is most likely true.

    1. Wow, you've actually seen this movie? Weird, wild stuff. Anyway, I always assume everyone in porn (especially vintage porn) is high on cocaine (I find it makes the movies more entertaining). And if I find out they weren't, I'm pleasantly surprised.

    2. Saw it and owned it. But Shanna McCullough...damn!