Retro Porn Review – Taboo

January 19, 2014
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The first year of every decade tends to feel like it still belongs to the previous decade. When a creative endeavor happens in this first year, there might be an air of optimism and uncertainty, but aesthetically and culturally speaking, it’ll probably end up being grouped with the last lustrum instead of the next.

Such is the case for Taboo, the first non-70s film we review in this column, though it feels right at home with the others. Released in 1980, Taboo dealt with the uncomfortable issue of incest. It’s not easy to justify incest in today’s very active political correctness. I mean, even this previous sentence might be taken out of context and make me sound like a deviant.

Speaking of political correctness, you might want to try to overlook a couple of misogynistic or racially insensitive moments. I don’t think their intention was to insult, as much as it was a product of its time, but holy shit, sometimes you can’t believe your ears. It’s still a bit shocking to see how natural some of these things seemed to be 30 or 40 years ago without a major incident or protest.

Maybe it’s because there was a bigger issue at hand. Taboo follows Barbara Scott (Kay Parker,) a sexually frustrated middle-aged woman who’s been recently abandoned by her husband. After a significantly over the top sex-crazed friend of hers plants the idea of going after younger men, Barbara starts developing feelings for her son Paul (Mike Ranger), who from the start is not shy about his Oedipal desires.

Parker, a British-born actress of very natural and awe-inspiring proportions, has an obvious chemistry with Ranger, and has been very open in interviews about their mutual attraction, regardless of their age difference. There’s a huge build up to the scene, which helps the sexual tension a lot. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of sex in the movie, but the one thing you know will happen brews through the whole story for almost an hour.

Another honorable mention should go to a young Dorothy LeMay, who got her big porn break as Paul’s girlfriend and had a couple of very hot scenes of her own. Dorothy and Kay would go on to act in a couple of other Taboo sequels, which we might be reviewing in the future.

Just like anything that you’re not supposed to do, dare I say, erm… taboo, it’s easy to see the appeal, even if your own Oedipal tendencies are not particularly strong. There will always be the old “Oh shit, I can’t believe she’s fucking her own son!” factor. You know what I’m talking about, reader.

Taboo is one of the best-selling adult movies ever, and up to this day it’s had 23 different sequels with all kinds of creatively incestuous relationships. I’ve seen the first four or five, but if you prefer to keep it simple and can only catch one, this is definitely the one you want.

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