Don’t Blame it on Ginger

I was really pleased that the reaction to New Wave Hookers was so positive. While it was not the first porn movie I’d ever watched (that was Flashpoint, if you really want to know), in some ways, I think it resonated with me even more because I saw it after I’d been working in the industry a couple of years and had a ton of formulaic gonzo movies to compare it to.

There was a lot of nostalgia in the positive comments about the movie, which might suggest to some that rosy glasses may have been donned during its re-watching, but I don’t think so. More than once as an adult, I’ve had the chance to watch a tv show I loved as a kid and been completely disappointed that it was nowhere near as great as I remembered it. Very few movies hold up over time and I’d argue that NWH is one of those few.

A lot of people credit Ginger Lynn for what porn has now become. I think it’s meant as a compliment, but to me it seemed like an indictment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not saying all porn now is bad and all porn made in 1985 was great – far from it. But when I watch the DP scene in NWH, I couldn’t help but think how different it is from what it eventually spawned.

If you’ve ever watched any reality tv, you know that the concept of “reality” is kind of a farce. After years of watching reality tv themselves, the participants are hyperaware of the camera and play their “parts” the way they’ve seen them played by the people who went before – pretending to be real people. This is exactly what happened to porn. Because of women like Ginger Lynn who really seemed to love having sex on camera, people think they know what a “porn star” is supposed to act like. They’re not enjoying having sex on camera; they’re pretending to enjoy having sex on camera.

It’s not the bush or the natural breasts that make NHW great (although they certainly don’t hurt). That Jamie Gillis is an entertaining actor and the scenes are short and to the point are good things, but they don’t make the movie. What makes this movie great to this day is that it looks like fun.

Sex is fun and somehow that gets lost in what’s become a cookie-cutter, churn-‘em-out industry. While there are a few performers who really do love what they do, most are there solely for the paycheck. It seems so serious. Watching stuff like New Wave Hookers or Misty Beethoven every now and then helps remind me that it’s not supposed to be.

Tags: ,

21 Responses to “Don’t Blame it on Ginger”

  1. allcomers3 Says:

    I never saw NWH back in its day, but I certainly can relate to the comments on its groundbreaking/foundation laying effect. I saw porn for the first time circa NWH.

    The first porno I remember seeing was “Black Throat”…it had Traci Lords/Christy Canyon/Peter North among others. I think I was twelve or so. It was eye opening to say the least. I don’t remember the porn I watched yesterday, but I remember “Black Throat” fairly well seeing how it was over 20 years ago.

    Alison, you are seriously one reason why I keep my membership with VB current. You’re blog posts and interviews are enjoyable. I’ll agree with the others that I was focusing more on you than Bobbi Starr in the previous post’s interview. You’re not only a cutie, but fascinating (for me at least) to watch!

    Keep up the good work!

  2. allcomers3 Says:

    you’re = your

  3. doppyman Says:

    Yes, porn performers should be having fun. I would not want to be watching stuff that the performers didn’t want to do, that’s for sure. But the main purpose of porn should be to turn on its audience. And this is where the topic gets a bit dodgy. What happens when what turns people on is disturbing? I don’t think that doing porn is necessarily degrading; however, some of it certainly is. From the comments to scenes, VB seems dominated by gonzo loving anal fans, who seem to associate degrading, dominating and brutalizing the girls with hotness. Today’s cookie cutter gonzo stuff is not only repetitive and unimaginative, it is often disturbing. The benefit of feature type porn is a variety of context for scenes. That to me, can be erotic, or can be more erotic than throwing a girl around and gagging and choking and spitting on her and violating her holes with three of my best tatooed steroid freak buddies while calling her names.

  4. ropeadope Says:

    Very astute observation, Alison. I wonder if part of the reasoning may be as follows. New Wave Hookers was released in 1985. I don’t believe home porn consumption was as readily available or as widespread as it is today. If I’m not mistaken, Al Gore hadn’t invented the internets yet. DVD players were still off in the distance. VCR’s had gained popularity (although someone forgot to memo Pee Wee Herman), but XXX cassettes were still considered taboo. It seems to me that performers of the 70’s and 80’s felt they were part of something “naughty” and had a good time with it. This allowed their natural feelings to come through and a fun time to ensue. Nowadays, porn is accessible through many different avenues and vehicles. It’s become commonplace and (as you correctly noted) the cookie-cutter atmosphere prevails.

  5. FakeTitsSuck Says:

    great video. I am so glad to see VCA finally being added, and more classics coming. Please keep them cumming. Thanks

  6. roboduckie Says:

    Yes. In 1985, performers probably thought they were making movies. What’s on offer at VideoBox is “scenes.” Nothing wrong with that — it’s just not as “naughty” a business — it’s a business, as Sasha Grey explains in this article:

  7. roboduckie Says:

    so here’s the link:

  8. MonkeySpanker Says:

    NWH was one my first porno video tapes. What struck me seeing it again for the first time since 1987 is how contemporary and relevant to the times the video was when most porn was following the same forumla adn tired strories for years. NOw we take for granted that porn merges the current fashion trends, film style, and popular fetishes as soon as they change. It took years for shit to change in mainstream porn back then.

  9. danebly Says:

    Alison, you and Rope hit the nail squarely on the head. The lost concepts of rarity, naughty and quasi- real B movie are long lost in the era of super cheaply produced gonzo.
    Clearly, not all classics are pleasant to watch today. Nostalgia can indeed be disappointing. However, every attempt to bring back vintage movies that illustrate the early days of quality porn is greatly appreciated.

  10. Papayaman1 Says:

    I think that in the earlier days some porn (by no means all, but some) had some aspirations other than getting you off. There was a story with at least a little character development. OK, they weren’t Citizen Kane, but there was something there beyond today’s formulaic, strip, suck, vaginal, anal, come on face. The only way that porn can stretch itself now is by rendering this formula a little more shocking, for example Max Hardcore’s unpleasant penchant for making his female costars vomit, or his even more egregious propensity for engaging in what certainly appears to be non-consensual abusive behaviour. This isn’t a good direction for porn. Given that very occasionally an intelligent porn star with some talent can emerge (Sasha Gray?) maybe its time for at least some porn to raise its aspirations a little.

  11. jfro21 Says:

    I know what you’re talking about Alison but I don’t think that NWH is necessarily the example of this phenomenon that I would endorse. I tried to watch it last night and didn’t really get Ginger’s intensity from Scene 3. I actually am partial to the “Return of Catwoman” as an example of something that is missing from porn today which is seduction and partially clothed sex. In recent porn, the performers just flop together with each other or occasionally do stripteases on demand from the POV director. I want to see people turning each other on and I also don’t want to hear the director giving commands. One thing that is sexy about sex is that people are choosing to have it, not responding to commands like puppets.
    I think the Pinko releases that I have seen so far have some of this seduction going on and, it is no accident I think, there is a very high percentage of finishing going on. The (Italian I guess) Pinko directors have made a rediscovery that it is sexier to watch people turning each other on and getting each other off rather than watching masturbation in parallel.
    In general, in LA porn and also some Euro porn, the directors are either demanding or letting the performers perform routines rather than deliver “authentic” performances that are a little spontaneous. Alternatively they are not allowing the performers to get to know each other on camera and “disrobe” but instead they just remove their clothes without any tension being built. It’s all about tension and the release of tension, not just bodies colliding.

  12. jfro21 Says:

    You probably know this but Sasha Grey, one of our favorites here is on a publicity tour for her role in Steven Soderbergh’s Girlfriend Equivalent

  13. Juanxyzzy Says:

    I like the old classic stuff and with five updates a day on the main site I’d like to see more of it. It must be cheap to pick up anyways?

  14. Papayaman1 Says:

    Just to say I think Jfro nailed some good points, certainly about directors trying to let a little sexual tension build between performers and encouraging some spontaneity.

  15. bigcall1 Says:

    I actually still have this tape on BETA no less!!!

  16. mister_handy Says:

    allcomers3 – “Black Throat” is one class film; I’ve only seen it in the current “Traci Lords deleted” form, and would love to see it on VB. Or pretty much any other Dark Bros content – “Deep Inside Vanessa Del Rio,” for example. Or their later “Between the Cheeks” films, even.

    In terms of the sense of fun, I’m reminded of some of my favorite porn films ever… not for the sex (which is only pretty good, frankly) but just the cast having fun both in sex scenes and in a ridiculous romp of a farce. It’s the Debbie Duz Dishes series. Nina Hartley stars in all of them.

  17. dunjuan Says:

    I’ve got you all beat. This was one of the VERY few XXX LaserDisc releases. I have 5 XXX LD’s from that era and an LD player that still works.

  18. ShowMeMo Says:

    Man, I when I saw the front page of movies available, without looking at the scenes, I couldn’t decide on where to start. So I was going to thank you (all at VB) for all the classic type porn.
    Then I saw Alison’ blog and I found myself 2 paragraphs into it and thought, damn, I should be d/l’ing something while I’m reading this. But then I thought, damn, I don’t want to stop reading this. sighs

    But how can I back up dunjuan’s comment?

  19. ShowMeMo Says:

    Gotta love when porn was real.

  20. zarafan Says:

    I was amazed and delighted by the posting of NWH 1 at VB, as with all the recent vintage titles that have been added. I remember NWH 1 very vividly from my folks’ stash back in the day–even the odd and compelling deleted scene–and am pleased to have instant/continuous access to it. I think in general we like vintage porn precisely because it’s vintage: the nostalgia factor increases the allure because (1) porno is predicated on impossibility; we see things in porn that we never see in real life, and some of the things we enjoy in porn we wouldn’t actually enjoy in real life. (2) Seeing a woman having sex 20+ years ago is, like porn itself, an impossibility: part of the allure of watching vintage porn is the aspect of “going back in time,” an aspect that’s more intensive in vintage porn than any other artifact of the same era because porn, unlike many other productions, is conceived of as a disposable art form and so ages very quickly and very drastically (every porn video from the 80s looks like a bad MTV video, and like these videos, instantly evokes the feel of the era by presenting it in exaggerated form).

    That being said, two things struck me in watching the video this time around: (1) I like it so much not because it seems “natural” where contemporary porn seems “staged,” but precisely because all the performers are enjoying the staginess of the film; they’re enjoying the chance to act, not just the obligation to fuck; (2) although the most famous/notorious performer in the film was necessarily excised from it, what remains is almost a who’s who of mid-80s porn. Ginger Lynn certainly steals the show, but Kristara Barrington, Brooke Fields, and especially especially the beguiling Kim Carsons more than hold their own.

    As ever, it’s great not just watching a good porno flick, but also discussing it in this forum. Thanks as ever, Alison!


  21. spankmonkey Says:

    The porn flicks today are mostly cookie cutter. Sure we all want to see hardcore, but the good flicks are those that are creative and unique in some way, have some sort of human element to them.

    Being creative and unique takes effort, and most in porn are just out for a quick buck and thats why most porn sucks.

    I love porn don’t get me wrong, but a lot of it is boring and repetitive. Play with the girl, get to know here, seduce her and show nice close ups of her pussy. I don’t need to see the guys cock jammed down her throat for 10 mins straight.

    It’s about the girl not the guy. That’s where porn goes wrong most of the time. If you think about it, you see way more cock and ball close ups then you ever do pussy, and the same is true about the attitude. You see way more male attitude and control, that just ends up masking the female spirit.

    Deep I know, too deep for most porn producers to get.