Matt Forney
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Athena Massey, Softporn Cinema and Video Games

By the time he’s old enough to legally watch porn, the average boy growing up today has seen more tits than all of his male ancestors combined. Big tits, small tits, cute little bee-sting tits, fake tits, real tits, tits with creepy dinner plate-sized areolae, mismatched tits where one is smaller than the other, pointy tits, round tits, firm tits, floppy saggy fat girl tits, shrunken mastectomy tits, wrinkled tits, and a billion other kinds of tits too grotesque to imagine. He’s seen tits getting sucked, fucked, slapped, bitten, and fondled. He’s seen every variety of degradation humans inflict on each other in search of the orgasm.

Given that every variety of hardcore porn is just a mouse-click away nowadays, do people even bother making exploitation movies anymore? As I’ve already written, all of human literature revolves around two themes: sex and death. Straight-to-video B movies dispensed with the pretense and got straight to the point: hot women getting naked and having fake simulated sex and protagonists eviscerating their foes in a multitude of gory ways. But nowadays we have video games with hyper-realistic graphics letting you personally shoot bad guys in the face and more naked women on the Internet than all the men in the world could ever whack off to. Why bother seeking out softcore titillation when the hard stuff is so freely available?

It’s like choosing to smoke marijuana when you have an unlimited supply of Vicodin.

athena-masseyAthena Massey is best known as the actress who played Lieutenant Eva in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, appearing alongside better-known actors like Ray Wise (Leland Palmer in Twin Peaks) and Kari Wührer (Maggie Beckett on Sliders, plus a million direct-to-video sexploitation flicks). Massey also had a bit role in C&C: Tiberian Sun as one of the Kodiak’s pilots. After trying to play Red Alert 3 and quitting out of boredom, I dug out my old Red Alert 2 and Yuri’s Revenge CDs for a whirl. I never thought I’d look back fondly on that game—given that when it was released, it was a complete raping of Command & Conquer’s core principles—but compared to Red Alert 3? Christ.

It’s not like any video game with FMVs is going to have Oscar-quality acting, but Red Alert 2 at least had a cornball charm to it. Red Alert 3 went high budget with the likes of Tim Curry, George Takei and Jenny McCarthy… and did nothing interesting with them. The acting has this weird dullness to it, with the only memorable—or at least funny—performance coming from J.K. Simmons (best known for playing the CIA director in Burn After Reading) as the red-baiting American president. McCarthy looks ridiculous playing Agent Tanya, a special-ops commando wearing mascara, while the generic blonde model who replaced Massey as Lt. Eva can’t seem to decide whether she’s supposed to be English or Scottish.

Anyway, after I got bored playing, I Googled “Athena Massey” out of curiosity and discovered that she has her own filmography of straight-to-video skin flicks, peppered alongside bit roles in mainstream productions (SeinfeldThe Nutty ProfessorStar Trek: Voyager). Curiously, Red Alert 2 was one of her last acting roles; according to IMDB, she basically dropped off the face of the Earth circa 2001. According to this forum post, Massey retired a decade ago to raise a family, the only visible remnants of her brief career remaining being her Wikipedia and Facebook pages.

Trying to dig up some info on Massey was a surreal experience. Her Wikipedia page looks like it was written by one of her kids. Her Facebook page has a distinctive whiff of Norma Desmond, with Massey posting stills of herself from back when she was still young and hot, the thirstiest dudes in the world leaving slobbering comments on them, and her Liking them. That said, she seems like a nice lady, so I’ll lay off and commence to my reviews of two of her more notable films: Virtual Combat and Undercover Heat.


Virtual Combat (also known as Grid Runners)

I actually kind of liked this one, cheap and derivative as it is. It stars Don “the Dragon” Wilson, World Kickboxing Champion (no seriously, that’s how his name is written in the credits) as a cop who spends his free time kicking asses in a virtual reality kung-fu game in the Las Vegas of the future. Despite his mad skills in fake-karate chopping dudes in tight spandex, Wilson just can’t beat Dante, the final boss, who looks like a gay Fabio and is voiced by Michael Dorn. The same company that provides the kung-fu game also operates a virtual reality brothel: in a hilarious scene at the beginning, we watch a hideously obese couple on vacation pick out cybersex models to fuck.

I’m guessing in the future, “having sex with a machine” doesn’t count as adultery.

Shortly thereafter, a scientist discovers a way to bring characters from the virtual reality world into the real world, and naturally, Dante comes through the portal and starts wreaking havoc. Despite being a real boy, he is still forced to communicate exclusively via telepathy, presumably because the director didn’t trust gay Fabio to dub his own lines. The scientists also bring two of the cybersex models into the real world, one played by Massey (who has a delightfully vacant expression of joy on her face for most of the film), and a blatantly evil one who wears leather and wields a whip. In one scene, she coaxes a guard into opening a door for her by sliding her whip underneath it and lashing him in the balls, in complete defiance of every single law of physics.

Oh, and Wilson has an inexplicable prejudice against the idea of cybersex, which leads to some huh-larious shenanigans after the obligatory scene in which Massey jumps his bones.

Virtual Combat is good in that so-bad-it’s-good way. The acting ranges from passable to hideous, the fighting is goofy-looking, the special effects are terrible: the reason why there’s so much hand-to-hand combat is because the laser effects look like they were done on a Super Nintendo. Half the time, the lasers don’t even line up with the guns that they’re being fired from, never mind their laughably bad “pew-pew” sound effects. But as far as B-movie effluvia goes, you could do a lot worse. Virtual Combat has a dopey kind of charm to it, a endearing earnestness that makes it a decent way to kill an hour and a half.

Click here to buy Virtual Combat.


Undercover Heat

This was apparently Athena Massey’s breakout hit, and you have to admire just how quickly it gets to the point; within seconds of the movie’s start, we’re treated to a shot of her breasts as she gets dressed for work. She plays a uptight, tomboyish beat cop who volunteers to go undercover at a brothel run by Meg Foster (best known for playing Holly Thompson in They Live) after a prostitute who bears an eerie resemblance to Kristin Schaal is found strangled in her bed. After her contacts repeatedly screw up, Massey ends up having to service clients herself… and enjoys it a little too much.

Bow chicka wow wow.

athena-massey-undercover-heatThe nicest thing about Undercover Heat is that it doesn’t pretend to be anything more than a series of titty shots, so if you have fond memories of beating off to the outlines of womens’ boobs spotted through the Cinemax scramble static when you were a kid, you might like it. Personally, I was just bored, though the scene where Massey play-acts as a bad cop for one of her johns—complete with leather corset and fake pistol—made me laugh. I also snickered at the scene where Massey defends her whoring to her pornstached chief by saying that she’s “sowing [her] wild oats.”

It always makes me laugh when women try to co-opt male language to justify their sexual behavior, like calling themselves “playettes” or claiming that they “fuck” guys. In the phrase “sowing your wild oats,” oats are a metaphor for semen, hence it doesn’t make any sense when women use it.

Plus, if a chick really wants to ride the cock carousel, there are far better ways to do it than going undercover at a freaking brothel.

Nonetheless, if you like watching attractive women get naked and writhe their bodies around like they’re having sex, you might get some enjoyment out of Undercover Heat.

Click here to buy Undercover Heat.

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