When Vinegar Syndrome released Kirdy Stevens Taboo on Blu-ray, it was a cause for celebration. One of the great adult films was finally available in HD, with all stops pulled out. And that naturally lead to questions as to whether (at least some of) the sequels would be handled by VS in the future. The answer turned out to be yes, and now we have Taboo II and III available as one package with Taboo IV coming up solo.
The most noticeable thing on the surface of Taboo II is the lack of Kay Parker, who is notorious for her portrayal of the lustful mom in Taboo. Filling her void (no way to not make that sound dirty, I tried) is a whole new family of incestuous members, including a brother and sister played by Kevin James and Dorothy LeMay; and their parents played by Eric Edwards and Honey Wilder. Parker does appear briefly, along with another outside of the family friend, played by Juliet Anderson. Where Taboo primarily concerned Parker and her son, Taboo II goes the usual sequel route and ups the ante with more incestuous couplings (siblings together, parents seducing children and vice versa). No stone of family love is really left unturned here and the sex is plentiful, shot well and performed by a capable and energetic cast. It’s not as groundbreaking or austere as Taboo, but it’s a whole lot of fun and Stevens and co are clearly having a great time building this world.
Taboo III attempts to right the first sequels main wrong by bringing Parker back in a major role, and it’s definitely a step in the right direction. That said, putting the focus back on Parker does allow for a more subdued affair than Taboo II‘s more playful group approach. Taboo III finds Parker seducing her son again, only this time its the younger brother of the son from Taboo. But what really sets Taboo III apart from the rest of the series is its emphasis on narrative, a lot of the runtime is devoted to the son’s job as a band manager – with some music moments that bring some unintentional humor. Honey Wilder reprises her role from Taboo II, but for the most part it stays focused on Parker and son. Taboo III isn’t as serious as Taboo or as crazy as Taboo II but it’s a worthwhile entry into the series and brings Kay Parker back into the center of attention, which is a hard thing to shrug off.
Vinegar Syndrome brings Taboo II and III to Blu-ray for the first time with as great results as expected. Taboo II isn’t as clean as some of VS’s other jobs – including the stellar restoration done on Taboo – but amidst its noticeable physical damage, there’s a gorgeous source with sharp colors and a nice layer of grain intact. The damage isn’t plentiful or drastic enough to take away from the experience and VS present the film faithfully and, likely, as cleaned up as they could. Taboo III looks better and has a more vibrant palette (weird how much more “80s” it looks after only two years from Taboo II). It also remains faithful to its film origins and never looks scrubbed or otherwise like video. Audio on both is DTS-HD 1.0, with Taboo III getting the more dynamic soundtrack due to its obvious lean on music. Taboo II sounds good, but like its image, has some damage problems that give it minor hiccups. Issues aside, this is another fantastic job from VS and it’s great to have both of these films in HD, blemishes and all.
Supplements include a 20 minute interview with actor Blake Palmer, who mostly discusses working in the industry rather than focusing solely on his work in the Taboo series. Taboo II gets a theatrical trailer and Taboo III gets Kay Parker’s personal script.
Having Taboo II and III on Blu-ray alongside Taboo is a welcome addition to the Vinegar Syndrome library. Adult cinema fans can’t go wrong, but anyone who hasn’t seen Taboo yet should start there. Highly Recommended.