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Night at the Erotic Museum

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Release Date: 
Smash Pictures
Aspect Ratio: 
Directed by: 
Jim Powers
Riley Reid
Zoe Wood
Elizabeth Bentley
Bottom Line: 

A common theme for many mainstream adventure films has been that they often center on the story of a single, mild-mannered, quiet man who is magically transported into an alternate dimension of pleasure, wonder, and fancy.  This is also a common theme for many pornographic movies, only instead of a lovable loser character being “sucked into” a world of impossible fantasy; more often than not, they are often merely “sucked off” by it, literally onscreen, in the most literal interpretation of the phrase.  Completely and perfectly bridging the gap between these two sorts of movies is Smash Picture’s version of A NIGHT AT THE EROTIC MUSEUM, based on a very similar themed movie starring Ben Stiller.  Let us take a tour of this film and see if it “exhibits” any semblance of quality…

James Deen plays the everyman night watchman a hapless security guard by the name of “Harry” (instead of Larry).  Due to an incident in the opening scene where a young couple has sex in the museum (interacting with the ghost of John Holmes), Harry has stern orders to be on the lookout for any type of after-hours impropriety while on his patrols.  Of course, what Harry fails to realize is that the EROTIC MUSEUM is an enchanted, magic place where the porn stars of yesteryear interact with the living in the only way that you could expect them to by reading the XXX rating of this. As something of a porno historian myself (however unintentionally), I have to say that some of the actors representing adult film stars of old really provided an unmistakable likeness of the vintage actors they were supposed to.  Of particular note was Ana Morna’s portrayal of Linda Lovelace performing that agonizing, excruciating oral scene that would serve as both the rallying point of both classic porn collectors and anti- porn crusaders for decades since its filming. Of further note is Marcus London’s portrayal of Malcolm McDowell’s  “Caligula”.  I thought the guy made a perfect porno version of the long time cult actor when I saw him play Dr. Loomis in HALLOWEEN XXX and he is as close to a lookalike actor for Mr. Mcdowell  (as a young man) as anyone currently appearing in adult film. Heck, much like Malcolm Mcdowell himself, he is even a proper English chap, (at least as “proper” as you can expect from a porn star).  As for the other characters, even in the cases where the resemblances between a vintage porn star and their modern day incarnation weren't perfect, there was always enough props and attention to costume which certainly left no clue about the real identity of the current player.  Of course, no review of this film would be complete without some mention of the museum itself because honestly I have seen few sets so meticulously and fantastically crafted, purposefully designed for people to have sex on.  Even most of my favorite, modern adult movies of all time were admittedly shot on crummy sets with interchangeable plywood walls.  It turns out the bulk of this film was actually filmed inside the Erotic Heritage Museum of Las Vegas. Trust me, this choice of setting (along with its already aesthetically varied erotic exhibits) does provide a surreal element of “magic” to the film especially since the background sets are often the most overlooked element in the scenes of adult films I review.  Think about it, how many sex scenes have you ever seen that take place in “anonymous warehouses”?  Personally, I would have to say that every porn movie I have seen in the past 10 years uses that setting at least once during its running time.  Suffice to say, The Erotic Museum in this film seemed like a real public place…populated by real porn stars…because it was.

Yet there are a couple of things that disappointed me despite the awesome use of place, props and performers which all were utilized; customized to some degree in this film. For one thing, there are way too many instances of plastic penises being “switched out” during sex scenes, first  to symbolize the “natural gifts” of John Holmes and later, during the DEEP THROAT tribute.   That seems like bait and switch, a way to needlessly “save ratings” in a film that was already XXX, and kind of a distraction.  Moreover, while all the characters were workable facsimiles of their chosen classic porn star inspirations (right down to Chanel Preston’s/Marilyn Chamber’s trademark long, pearl necklace from the cover of BEYOND THE GREEN DOOR’S poster art), their personalities of the were kind of approximated for the sake of usual mainstream porno pleasantry. At one point, Harry stumbles into Caligula’s bedroom and finds the Roman Emperor to be quite an amicable, almost gentlemanly sort of fellow if not an accommodating host.  Anyone who knows the little nuances of Caligula the historical figure as well as CALIGULA the 1979 movie by Bob Guccione, knows that there would be no way that walking in on Caligula’s bedroom could have turned out pleasantly for even the most adventuresome sex tourist, were they male or female (or sister or brother, for that matter). Of course, because CALIGULA is my favorite (adult) movie of all time, perhaps I am just being a little fussy here?  All in all, A NIGHT AT THE EROTIC MUSEUM is worth a visit, but it really helps if you have a healthy respect for older films, because many of the scenes were meticulously filmed tributes and if you don’t appreciate the painstaking details taken to make these new scenes resemble “every shot” of the classic material, most of the more delicate, artful visual nuances of this will mean nothing to you. A NIGHT AT THE EROTIC MUSEUM, it’s a sex attraction with an eye for history, in every sense of the word.

Extras include: Behind the scenes, bonus gallery, smash previews, “pick a position”.





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