Well, it had to happen eventually I suppose - the underlying sexuality of Lewis Carroll's children's classic must have sorely tempted many a porn director in the early 70s but it eventually fell to Bud Townsend to turn the story into a fully-fledged skin-flick classic. Alice wasn't alone in taking the unlikely leap from the pages of children's literature to the bump and grind of screen sex - Cinderella, Pinocchio and Goldilocks had all been pressed into service already.
Townsend's film is head and shoulders above that collection - it's as technically primitive as any other no-budget 70s porn escapade (a sweeping statement to be sure, and there are some examples of the genre that are as technically proficient as any low-budget non-porno, but generally they are a pretty hopeless lot), but there's an energy and sense of oddball invention in Alice that's missing from so many of its contemporaries.
By necessity, the film deviates in important details from Carroll - even in the pre-PC, anything goes milieu of sexual adventure that characterized 70s porn, the idea of casting a pre-pubescent girl as the lead character was decidedly beyond the pale. Upgrading Alice to a virginal, uptight early 20-something was not only necessary but also opened up some interesting avenues of sexual exploration that Townsend is only to eager to explore. Once through the looking glass, Alice finds herself in a sexually-charged Wonderland where a female Tweedledee fellates her brother Tweedledum, and the Queen of Hearts lusts after the innocent Alice, who in turn finds sexual liberation and solace with, of all 'people', a rather tatty-looking White Rabbit - incest, lesbianism, pseudo-bestiality... There's nothing Townsend won't show or allude to in this thoroughly bizarre effort.
And it's made all the more bizarre by Townsend's decision to stage the whole thing as a musical - when the cast aren't enthusiastically shagging each other senseless, they're bursting (not very well, it has to be said) into song. In fact at it's oddest, the film actually stages song and dance routines during the sex scenes, something that really does have to be seen to be believed.
At the centre of all this surreal wackiness is the lovely Kristine DeBell who had enough acting talent - something that seems to be positively discouraged in more recent porn efforts - to enjoy a mainstream career later, appearing in many popular TV shows of the late 70s as well as opposite Jackie Chan in The Big Brawl. No-one would ever claim that she's even a good actress, let alone a great one, but she's engaging and enthusiastic, projecting just the right air of innocence to make the madcap story work.
The rest of the cast are largely unknowns, though Juliet Graham turned up uncredited in the legendary atrocity Blood Sucking Freaks (1976) and 70s porn regular Nancy Dare (The Devil Inside Her (1977), Erotic Dr Jekyll (1975)) turns up as a nurse and Teri Hall, another 70s skin-flick starlet, had already been in Through the Looking Glass (1976) which, despite the title, had nothing to do with Carroll. There's also a small role for Flesh Gordon himself, Jason Williams, and most bizarrely, the White Rabbit is played by US TV regular Larry Gelman who had previously worked for Walt Disney (Now You See Him, Now You Don't (1972), The Strongest Man in the World (1975)) and who still had one more sex film appearance to come, playing Dr Pearl in Tom De Simone's truly odd Chatterbox (1977) about... a talking vagina.
Alice in Wonderland seems to exist in a number of cuts, some more sexually explicit than others. At its most explicit, the film is said to be something of an endurance test, with clinical, lingering close-ups that allegedly bring proceedings to a shuddering halt. The 'soft' version (which is actually still quite suggestive) zips along at a fair pace and emphasises the silly joie de vivre of the whole daft enterprise.
Carroll purists would recoil in abject horror at the very thought of an adaptation featuring an almost constantly nude fellatrix in place of their more traditional Alice, but anyone with a taste for the weird, the off-the-wall and the downright silly will find much to enjoy in this unique reworking of the novel.