Pornorama Review

I'm here for one reason only. And that's an IMdB description of what I thought was this film, an expose of the porn industry in Munich in the 1970s, in which someone writes of a cheap gag at the expense of a woman with a ridiculous amount of pubic hair. Given that I had always imagined that German porn stars of the seventies were, by nature, a rather hirsute bunch, for this to draw anyone's attention seemed to imply a veritable meadow of the stuff between the subject's legs. Anything less than what appeared to be an Aran pullover knitted out of coarse brown wool and I was going to be disappointed.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed but not on account of any shortage of pubic hair. Instead, what I found in my hands was not that version of Pornorama but another show called Pornorama, which isn't about Germans, isn't set in the seventies and doesn't feature a surfeit of pubic hair. Still, when Pornorama begins with a female porn star holding up a Fleet enema, any sense of disappointment was short-lived. And given that Pornorama stars Ron Jeremy, there's actually no shortage of hair, albeit that it's all-over-the-body hair rather than just pubic.

This show is was directed and apparently written by Paul Norman - the man responsible for Edward Penishands - is a short series that went behind the scenes of what is sometimes called the adult entertainment industry. Or the porn business it's otherwise known. Ron Jeremy and Alexis Devell introduce Pornorama and go backstage on the sets of various porn movies to video the action, interview the stars and film a truckload of what the late Bill Hicks called the hairy, bobbin' man ass.

It's all very frank stuff and features and equally frank cast. Jeremy, in particularly, isn't afraid to get straight down to the kind of questions that, well, any one of us might ask. Interviewing Marcello while a sex scene goes on in the background, Jeremy asks, "That's your girlfriend getting a dick in the old pussy!" He interviews Francesca Le whilst she's on the toilet, during which she seems surprisingly coy for someone who has sex on film for a living. He also asks who does anal - too many say no for their answers to be entirely believable - as well as who's gay and straight, who keeps what action for home and spends time with those who remain behind the camera on porn movie shoots (and why they do) and who lets out their homes for people to have sex in. And in the second episode here, he finds out whether the family and friends of porn stars know what they do for a living. Most of them say no as their families don't have - get this! - VCRs. If that's the case, there's a lot of surprised relatives of ex-porn stars who've had their eyes opened as a result of Google.

In spite of, well, stiff competition, the funniest part of Pornorama comes in the second episode in which they examine the part that the story plays in porno. No matter that Francesca Le asks, "It's a porno! What makes fucking sense in a porno?" We go behind the scenes of a movie in which Alexis DeVell has a fantasy in which she is murdered by and has sex with Peter North. There's also a movie in which female sex vampires seduce and kill two actors in the storeroom of a fruit and vegetable store. Only in porno and maybe 9½ Weeks, could anyone say, "You guys are so turned on by the strawberry shit they screw!"

It may also be good luck or very good timing but they seem to have a habit of appearing on sets in which things go wrong. An outdoors blowjob scene with Peter North is cut short and relocated when some kids are heard giggling behind the fence while an anal scene between Nick East and Francesca Le, who refuses to use pre-scene enemas, is interrupted a couple of times when things get a little messy. Other scenes go wrong when Le gets cum in her eye courtesy of John Dough and when Lilli Xene finds herself bleeding after some very vigorous fingering. Although Shady O'Toole gets my sympathy when he talks about a problem in the scene after cumming too soon. And how soon is too soon? Twenty-five minutes...which is usually enough time for foreplay, sex, afterplay, a shower and a couple of chapters of a book in my world.

Pornorama isn't that interesting and its release now seems odd given that so much has moved on. Everything was shot on fuzzy old video, which seems archaic compared to DVD, high-definition and even the Internet. Anal, for example, seems like the most outrageous thing that any of them can do and while some of them protest at doing such a thing, you suspect that changing trends and tastes in the porn business ground down any resistance that remained. This, then, is like a bygone era. There's no mention of HIV, none of the degrading babydolls-and-gagging sex associated with Maxx Hardcore and none of the extreme material available outside of the US. Watersports only gets the briefest of mentions. Instead, this tight little group of Paul Norman actors happily fuck one another in fantasy-land stories of sex aliens. When footage of grandmas reacting to Two Girls One Cup is available online, that seems a world away from where we are now.

Pornorama seems to have been shot in the very quiet time available on Paul Norman movie sets, which leaves little time to get interviews set up. So they take place on the same movie sets on which the action has been taped while the interviews are recorded via a single handheld microphone. So not really that different from actual porno then. Hence, if you've actually ever seen a porno from the era in which this was shot (1992), the quality of this presentation won't be surprising. Recorded onto videotape, this is bright and harshly lit but very fuzzy-looking. The soundtrack is no better. That one microphone means that, while it may be any great loss, some of the interviews get lost. Worse, though, is the lip-synch, which is just dreadful. Although, being honest, that's hardly the most pressing matter when a hood half of Pornorama's dialogue is no better than, "Oooh! Aaah! Fuck me...oh yeah!"

There are no extras on this DVD.

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