While there is more crappy porn in the world than truly exceptional porn, there are still a handful of producers that do understand how to create stylized, erotic and memorable erotica. But even the good ones have yet to re-capture the golden days of all-male porn which ran from the late 1970s into the mid 1980s. In recent years, it seems that the best porn and quality of models comes from independent Web sites who create exclusive and original video shoots of hottie-patotties in action. Even so, the style and energy that used to drive porn behind the camera just ain't what it used to be.

The first major difference between classic and modern porn is that, back in the day, porn was shot on film as opposed to video. Film and video are galaxies apart in regard to texture, lighting and the overall quality of an image. Where film can be colorful and stylish, video tends to be murky and monochromatic. Aside from the difference in image quality, when porn was being shot on film, directors behaved like directors of mainstream Hollywood films. In other words, porn was shot with strong production values. They took their time and allowed room for creativity. You used to see some amazingly sexy low-angle close-ups of massive dicks in action. You could see multi-angle cum shots from various speeds and perspectives that simply blew your mind and went on for several minutes. The filmmakers took ordinary sex and made it extraordinary by artistic camera placement and movement, and many of the films in those days were full-length two-hour features. You definitely got all the possible bangs for your bucks. Sure, the 'acting' stunk, but that's just one of those porn staples; we expect the acting to be horrible and it's amusing fun.

Unfortunately, as the video industry developed in the early 1980s, porn producers discovered that they could make features a lot cheaper and faster on video. There was no need to wait for developing the film negatives and time consuming editing, and the cost ratio between film stock versus videotape as well as re-production was substantial. The businessmen in the industry decided to join the wave of the future, and adult films quickly became adult videos. This left a number of filmmakers severely distressed, for they felt video lacked what was needed to make good film. It might seem amusing to talk about porn as if it's 'real' cinema, but you must understand that to the porno directors in the golden days, they were making films, not trash. To them, video completely limited what they could do. As Burt Reynolds' porn director character stated in Boogie Nights in regard to videotape: 'If it looks like shit and it sounds like shit'it IS shit!'

As the porn industry evolved into pumping out one videotape after another, the quality began to suffer. While some filmmakers managed to adapt to videotape, many of them stopped working altogether. And the newbies who were making a videotape a day were hiring mediocre models with no charisma and often a limp dick, resulting in a surplus of shitty porn being sold at outrageous prices. If you look back at some of the classic works of filmmakers like William Higgins, you'll see some amazing camerawork that really takes you into the action. You rarely see that kind of creativity in porn anymore. And as the industry grew, everyone who knew how to turn on their VHS video camera that they purchased at K-Mart suddenly thought they knew how to direct. You know how that goes; too many cooks mixing a big stew that isn't very tasty.

The second major difference between old porn on film and modern porn presents an argument that is actually in favor of modern porn. The fact is that the prettiness factor of the models in classic porn was pretty darned low. It was all about the cock'cock, cock and more cock. So, filmmakers usually got the biggest, longest, wettest, stickiest cocks they could find, cocks that were naturally photogenic and looked awesome on camera from any angle. When you have a perfectly formed massive dick on screen, you can't go wrong. Unfortunately, most of the dudes attached to those cocks in early porn fell outta the ugly tree. Most of the performers looked like slobs, truckers, rangers, ape-like cowboys, ordinary guys that you probably wouldn't give a glance to if you saw 'em on the street. Most of them were far more mature than you see in porn these days, and even the younger models weren't terribly hot. What ultimately comes out of this is a trade-off. We sacrificed quality filmmaking for hotter models, and truth be told, that's a reasonable trade. But I do wish that porn producers of the modern world would put more effort and style into what they create. A pretty face and a big dick are great, but if they're boring and have the charisma of roadkill, the viewer isn't likely to revisit it, especially with poor editing, out-of-synch sound and botched cum shots.

Like many great creations of yesteryear, some arts are long dead. Luckily, we are able to screen DVDs that preserve the classics and remind us of how things used to be. I was just a little kid in the early 80s when porn was still being shot on film, but that was the first kind of porn I was exposed to, and there are some images from those impressionable days of my youth that I've never forgotten. And to those producers today who try to emulate classic approaches to porn, they deserve recognition and thanks for trying to make something that stands out and gets our dicks harder. Bless them.

JRE

Editor


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