Cheri Caffaro and her GINGER movies must have been an influence on this sexy spy movie from Amero Brothers, a production company known for hardcore films. PEPPER features a lot of nudity and sex, much of it involving star Diana Wilson, but it earned an R rating from the MPAA.
In Pepper Burns’ first scene, we see Wilson getting it on with an anonymous dude while her phallus-shaped bedside phone buzzes with a message from her boss, who is for some reason shown petting a cat behind his desk while his face is blocked from camera view. A couple of minutes later, a different woman seductively and ferociously peels and attacks a banana. Then an old man plays pool while another naked woman lounges on the table.
Dragon lady Chang (An Tsan Hu) has four sexy assassins in all and is using them to engineer a dastardly plot to rule the world. Chang, a descendent of Fu Manchu (!), sends them to seduce four powerful men and steal a key from them. The four keys allow her to operate a satellite with nuclear weapons. I’m not certain who Pepper ultimately works for, but she’s in law enforcement and assigned by her headless boss to foil Chang’s plan.
PEPPER is basically ridiculous, like GINGER, but much less grimy. It has a lot of sex, but isn’t particularly sexy. The action is pretty much confined to the boudoir. The acting by Hu (“You have certain information I wish to require.”) is atrocious, and J.J. Coyle’s campy act as Chang’s right hand Snow makes Paul Lynde look like Big Jim Slade. The only competent performer is Caren Kaye (MY TUTOR), who plays Pepper’s office colleague and is PEPPER’s only actor to go on to a real Hollywood career.
As for Diana Wilson, well, she is only half bad. She can’t recite dialogue with authority, but she’s likable and unquestionably looks smashing in and out of her hot pants. Surprisingly, director Lem Amero and producer John Amero spring for cheap-but-acceptable visual effects to represent the satellite (I suppose it could be stock footage), and Amero’s director of photography is Roberta Findlay, one of the few women to direct hardcore films in the 1970s. Except for the original songs, the score is stock, but quite good. PEPPER has also been seen as CHECKMATE and PEPPER—AGENT OOX. If anyone has seen it.