If it’s true that the 1970s were the Golden Age of Porn in the U.S., then with the advent of the internet and the increase of porn piracy, the late 2000s have seen something of the Dark Age of porn. A new documentary premiering Friday night on Showtime, X-Rated: The Greatest Adult Movies of All-Time, chronicles the period of rapid change by featuring the top 32 films between 1971 and present day.
While many entertainment industries affected by piracy have come up with new distribution mechanisms, the adult film industry is still struggling to adapt to the internet era. Bryn Pryor, the documentary’s director, told ANIMAL that studios today spend barely any money on production, and have shifted the priority to making content that’s “difficult to steal.”
But the internet hasn’t been the industry’s only agent of change. “Frankly, EVERYTHING has changed,” (emphasis his) Pryor said. “When I got into the business in 1990, it was driven by low-budget features. Sex scenes were shorter and much more tame. Very little concern was given to making or marketing anything good. Video was king, and video quality was terrible.”
“Slowly, quality crept back in to the business and people began releasing some really great stuff. Gonzo porn became more of a driving force,” he explained. “Sex scenes got longer and wilder. In the interim, there were small waves…the amateur craze, parodies becoming dominant and then fading, fetish becoming more prevalent and more explicit.”
The film, which premieres on Showtime at 11 PM Friday night, features commentary from Jenna Jameson, Ron Jeremy, James Deen, and Marilyn Chambers, and others.