Saturday, 23 June 2012

TV Review - Louis Theroux - Twilight of the Porn Stars

Since the internet has invaded the popular consciousness pictures of naked ladies which were once as rare and treasured as ancient Babylonian scrolls are now as common as a discarded Metro on the Underground. In the time it takes to say "where's the Kleenex?" porn can now be accessed by your average punter for free on their phone with the minimum of fuss. Or so I'm told.

Louis first dipped a toe in the adult entertainment industry over 15 years ago when as a fresh faced reporter he went behind the scenes to document the curious lives of L.A's porn stars. Now he is back in San Fernando to find the porn business on it knees, an appropriate metaphor, in the face of this abundance of free amateur smut.

For a while the adult industry tried to combat the insidious threat of D.I.Y. productions by making ever more hardcore movies, as popularised by extreme director Rob Black.

"I created genres no one had ever seen. Assholes shredded open..."

Even he has had to tone it down when faced with ever dwindling sales which have forced the industry to aim for the more lucrative couples market by ditching the shocks and upping their production values.

Louis is on one such set and chats to Sander, a performer with 18 months in the business. His solution to "getting wood" with unattractive performers is the "boner pill" Cyalis. If there was any doubt about the tawdry nature of porn it is here in all its glory. The performers don't know the name of the film, the crew are busy texting and the director doesn't even remember the performer's name despite having had sex with her.

"Its work. Its not sex for pleasure"

Louis then visits talent agency L.A. Direct where performers can get €3000-$8000 for a gang bang, paid for with cash in a carrier bag. One of their office staff Fran Amidor is surprisingly candid about the respect they have for the performers in relation to the rest of the staff.

"I don't go to set and fucking suck cock...I don't want to be a mother of a whore"

So, in this age of the internet domination how do porn stars do to make ends meet? Webcams obviously. Louis interviews Kagney Linn Carter who performs regular live shows and has an unorthodox relationship with Monte her boyfriend and full time assistant. Its unorthodox because as Monte runs errands, cleans the kitchen and plays his video games he is fully aware that different men are regularly shagging his girlfriend. Despite this reality he appears relatively non-plussed. Does Kagney's career choice not bother him?

"I expressed a preference that five guys didn't jizz over her." he says diplomatically

Kagney tries to explain Monte's sanguine approach is down to her plan of action.

"He knows I'm always thinking about the future. One day I won't have to do this no more"

I don't know whether to be shocked or impressed by her incongruous professionalism. Its a strange and bizarre partnership but it seems to work despite itself.

"I've had 5 great years and whatever more we can get I'll take"

Of course not all relationships are able to withstand the obvious tensions between a career in porn and the monogamous expectations of would be partners. Louis interviews Tommy Gunn a porn veteran with 1100 films under his belt (who could forget the classics Chow My Puntang, Incredible Expanding Vagina and Grand Theft Anal 4) who has

"won everything they make".

it seems the industry has affected him badly. He is desperate for a family but his career has made that impossible. He readily acknowledges that porn hardens a person to the emotional feelings that civvies take for granted and this leads to a loss of self. Despite the good looks, cut torso and abundance of sex he cuts a lonely and insecure figure.

"Would girls be fucking me if they weren't getting paid to do it?"

Understandably the human side of relationships suffer when

"you leave someone you love to go and have sex with someone you don't"

Its not just relationships that suffer. A common strand running through the documentary is the suicide of Jon Dough a leading figure in the adult movie world who Louis interviewed in 1997. Many of his peers remember him but seem reluctant to go into detail about his suicide, the vulnerability of one of their own a thorny subject for a profession that prides itself on its emotional and physical "hardness".

Louis tracks down his widow who confirms a life of sex drugs and rock and roll took their toll on him

"He felt like he failed in life as a man"

Life in the fast lane lead to a life of addiction that was far harder and far more damaging than the world of porn. He leaves behind a daughter who wants to be a police officer whose desire

"to stop people doing the wrong things"

is perhaps a reflection of her father's unfortunate life choices.

Twilight Of The Porn Stars plays out like a real life Boogie Nights and is impressive for only having been shot in a week when a alternate documentary about the Conservative Tea Party fell though. However Louis has set the bar very high with his recent output and the programme is neither funny enough to match Louis' work on Weird Weekends nor a serious enough expose to rival his recent exemplary documentaries on Autism and Dementia.

His underlying point that the porn industry is a heartless, damaging and exploitative business is hardly the stuff of revelation. Whilst Louis is still the master of uncovering the human elements underpinning any controversial topic Twilight of the Porn Stars really offers little that viewers haven't seen before and whilst still entertaining, suffers from being neither fish nor flesh.


  1. LLLookAtYouHacker18 July 2012 at 00:18

    "His underlying point that the porn industry is a heartless, damaging and exploitative business is hardly the stuff of revelation."

    To me, that's more of an internally desired conclusion, rather than one that's been deduced from sincerely substantial research.

    Your points are verifiable and considerable, but whether you like it or not, a number of participants embrace it without shame nor reluctance. Just my two cents.

  2. Thanks for your comment.

    Exactly, whether we like it not, porn is here to stay and fills a fundemental need in

    Can you imagine how much sexual violence, war and general misery would be perpetrated if men (and it is mainly men) couldn't release their sexual energy.

    Kudos tot he porn stars. they keep us safe at night.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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