I really have to give a fuck flick like Naughty Pines 2 credit, and not just because it could've easily been the Twin Peaks gay porn tie-in of my dreams. It frankly looks great -- full of towering pines, dappled woodland interiors, amber autumnal hues, enough flannel and khaki to keep Abercrombie & Fitch from selling off its corporate jet, and one of the intrepid performers casually doffing his clothes during the credits sequence. If you're bored to death with all those prefab rented "porn house" sets that have overtaken the medium, this makes for a pleasant little vacay away from the suburban sprawl.
Uniforms, badges, nightsticks, and various other forms of disciplinarian regalia trigger instant hard-ons, so it's really not a surprise that there's an entire gay porn subgenre devoted to the male power structure. This is why male strippers and centerfolds are so much more occupationally-defined than their female counterparts. Straight men tend to like to see women in more infantile costumes in order to make them pliant and non-threatening, but gay men want to see commanding male stereotypes made sexually accessible and overtly carnal. They're like red wine stains on our psyches, meaning they'll never come out in the wash.
Let's face it: no matter how mainstream the porn biz may aspire to become, it can never shake off its trashy skin trade origins. Porno may not be controlled by the mafia, relentlessly hassled by the government, and play 42nd Street and The Tenderloin these days, but like dark roots underneath all the platinum blonde, it can sometimes be a Babylon for America's downtrodden beau hunks on-the-take. I see now that what initially attracted me to the medium was my love of classic film noir and lurid crime pulp novels -- for me, my favorite dirty pictures are redolent of paperback titles like Donnie & Clyde, The Dungaree Jungle, and Caves of Iron -- and so I've often quipped that you can collect gay porn star mugshots like you could bubblegum cards. For every male starlet who takes his walk on the wild side and emerges unscathed, there are any number of doomed ingenues, mercenary party boys, sneering sex pigs for hire, Brass Knuckle Bobbies, and blonds-on-bum-trips who walk down that long, mist-laden street leading into the Twilight World.
Gay porn is more mutable now than it ever was, meaning that more and more models bear little resemblance to their former selves after they make their debuts.
So somehow it seems apt that Jacked, the latest entry in Falcon’s Edge series, is very nearly synonymous with the two-years-ago trendoid fitness super-product yanked from shelves (“Jack3d – So many workouts in one little bottle!”). There's a veritable pipeline that extends from the porn biz right into the fitness industry, and surely Jacked's resident Maciste Sean Zevran embodies that symbiosis. Looking like he could uproot a lamppost if provoked, he's all over noir-ish male starlet Brent Corrigan, who it seems wanted badly to be Traci Lords but ended up more Ginger Lynn Allen.
That term “edge” (the noun and the verb) has a double-meaning for me; there's nothing wrong with having iron-clad pelvic floor muscles in order to delay climax, yet the notion of man-on-man contact having to be either Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots or Cirque du Soleil can be daunting and even alienating. I prefer something akin to Li'l Abner by way of Tarzan, so when I'm met with the prospect of an entry in Falcon's Edge video line called Turn It Up, I hope that I've done enough pelvic contractions this week so that I can keep up with today's bionic standard for Kegel muscles.
Luckily for me, Easy Inn is on...erm, hand to provide such much-needed escapism. Full disclosure: this title was used by Titan back in the late '90s for a delightfully sleazy – and comparatively geographically downmarket – production starring my kind of man, so in many ways I wish that these two movies could enact some sort of time-warp mash-up, but I dare to dream. Everyone involved in this Easy Inn in uniformly attractive to be sure (maybe a little too uniformly, if you get me), but I still wouldn't mind if Jason Branch – who always looked like he strode in out of a Spaghetti Western – came back to steal the show.
I'll go on record saying that I like my porn kinda cute, sorta exploitative, brightly-lit, and full of humor, ironic self-awareness, and zany machismo – basically, a live-action comic book or cartoon acted out by the real life incarnations of Steve Trevor, John Bravestarr, or both of Jonny Quest's dads. Porn tends to lose me when it eschews its goofy charms in favor of arty body-painting, hazy visual effects, extreme sex play, and yes, food theatrics. I have no burning desire for a man to spatter whip cream all over me during sex like we're reenacting 9 ½ Weeks, nor do I want to have chocolate drizzled all over me. I can definitely live without being sprayed with beer by a tongue-wagging lothario in a chest harness, and never – not once, not ever – have I fantasized about going at it in a butcher shop. A pizzeria? Maybe (well...yes), but an actual meat market? No.
Intensity is the perfect example of what was once known as “Aspirational Porn.” This was a popular skin flick genre back in the heady 1970s when the line between hardcore and softcore was starting to blur. The '60s had been more about carefree, even goofy sex between rednecks and their frolicking nymphette gal pals, but as the decade came to a close, viewers craved more glamorous, kinky screwing with high-class trim – fashion models, international playboys, well-heeled journalists, live-in whores -- showing plenty of pink in far-flung locales. It was all so...refined, dahlings.
For me, that's the downside to gay porn: just as trashy daytime talk shows leave me wondering if I'm the only man in America not having illicit dalliances 24-7, rough-and-tumble gay porn leaves me feeling callow by comparison. Even if – if – I showed up in full sex pig regalia at an orgy in a Hellraiser-style sex dungeon, I would worry that the genuine leather hogs involved would ask me if I was playing hookey and offer me Sunny Delight – all this while referring to me as “Scout” or “Kiddie Car.”
Just how an American gay porn actor ended up being cast in an Italian adventure epic only adds to his mystery. Director Umberto Lenzi has no idea how he became involved in the project. Portions of the film were lensed in South Dakota (the buffalo stampede in particular, I'm guessing), so the producers might've wanted a muscular American lead to round out the international cast. I have to appreciate the synchronicity of The Ironmaster playing on The Deuce's grindhouse circuit in 1983, this as Pasco's other films like Grease Monkeys and Dunes were likely available in decidedly smaller venues along the very same stretch of pavement.
Falcon's latest fuck-fest Stunners isn't particularly interested in establishing the viewer with a relatable sense of place like a frat house, a barnyard, or a beach. It opens in this chilly, industrial, blue-lit otherspace -- a sexual netherverse or an impossibly avante-garde strip club out of a Roger Corman movie like Stripped To Kill or Midnight Tease -- complete with chain-link fencing, fluorescent tube bulbs, and wooden go-go boy pedestals. This is the kind of place where sex is serious business.
Many of the charms of Falcon's Alpine Wood Part 1 are likely lost on me. The presence of way too many tats, de rigueur fade haircuts, and trendoid beards had me put off at first, but Lifestyle Porn has its admirers, and luckily, the largely untanned acres of snowy male flesh on display had me not wishing the whole thing was set in a biker roadhouse bar.
There are different shades of blond -- platinum blond, baby blond, ice blond, sandy blond, trashy blond -- and though the social significance may vary somewhat with the tone, I figure that when it comes to gay porn, most male viewers want to see blonds get fucked. Controlled. Surmounted. Defiled.
No, the Expanded Orgasm is not unlike climbing Mount Everest to reach The Valley of The Dolls -- it’s a brutal climb to reach that peak, which so few have seen.
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