Today we’re venturing into a bit of a grey area… Queer Adult Films. I’m sure with those words alone, you’ve got a certain kind of film in mind. But wait – Michael, are you actually going to review THOSE kinds of films! Nope! While many folks might not see the difference, there actually is a subtle distinction between queer adult films and porn. So what makes a film an “Adult” film instead of just calling it an erotic pornographic film? Well, let’s dive in!
Let’s first head towards IMDb’s definition of an “Adult” film, since I base most of my genres and ratings off of IMDb. According to IMDb, an adult film is a genre “reserved for explicit works of consenting hardcore sex or sexual activity, or strong fetish material involving adults, specifically those created for the purposes of titillation or arousal. Must be used with the plot keywords of ‘hardcore’ and ‘sex’ or ‘special-sexual-interest’. Subjective.”
But Michael, … that’s the definition of a porn too!
Well, let’s have a look. According to Wikipedia: “Pornographic films, or sex films, are films that present sexually explicit subject matter for the purpose of sexual arousal and erotic satisfaction of the viewer. Pornographic films present sexual fantasies and usually include erotically stimulating material such as nudity and depictions of sexual intercourse.”
Ok, yes, they are rather similar. But I’m sure you can think of a handful of mainstream films where full frontal nudity and even full sexual intercourse is depicted. Most of the time, directors and the actors involved artistically place the camera to avoid showing too much, and many times prosthetics or other thin coverings are used to avoid direct contact. But let’s be honest, the effect remains the same! So what really is the line between an queer adult film and a porno? The story.
While many porn films try to include one, can you recall a single porno where there was a legitimate story told? One that had scenes of non-sexual activity in between the sex scenes? THAT is really the crux of the divide: does the film tell a narrative utilizing characters, actual dialogue, and intermediary scenes in between the sexual encounters – or not. For my own personal definition (since even IMDb notes theirs is subjective), I draw the line on a simple what if question. If you remove all of the sex scenes, is there still a story being told? If the answer is yes, then it’s a queer adult film. If no story remains, then it’s merely a porn.
For this month’s topic, I will confess that it was a challenge separating the two! Especially because there are actually a lot of films that I would classify as an “adult” film that don’t actually have that genre on their IMDb listing! (But that’s a topic for another time…) To keep things a bit easier, I focused only on films that are classified as “Adult” according to IMDb. From there, I tried to find a good balance between the film’s IMDb rating and the actual story of the film itself.
So how do these five queer adult films hold up to that subtle definition between an adult film and a pornographic film? Well, read on to find out!
5 Queer Adult Films
Jerome (Alain-Guy Giraudon), a Frenchman, arrives in New York from Paris with only one idea in mind: to find his lover Paul (Bob Bleecker), ‘swallowed’ by the New York S&M gay life. Encounter after encounter, Jerome will delve into the leather pit… and find Paul.
“New York City Inferno” is an appropriate title for this queer adult film. It’s dark, gritty, raw, and gives new meaning to pit of despair – fully embracing the BDSM definition! This French film is not quite a porno, yet it also shows way too much hardcore sex and nudity to even remotely be considered a theatrical film. Yet somehow it manages to weave an adequate storyline (something even the best porn films are unable to do!). However, the main reason why I opted to highlight “New York City Inferno” is because this queer adult film depicts the now lost world of cruising in the 70’s and 80’s of NYC. In that sense, the film takes on almost a documentary style approach. In fact, it was the precursor to “Cruising” and the more recent “Interior. Leather. Bar.” Some of the sex scenes could have been trimmed back to better tell the story, however it’s actually a decent film to watch.
“New York City Inferno” is not available to buy/watch online.
In Paris, hairy French Yves (Marcus Giovanni) and blond American Adam (Michael Hardwick) play games and relate sexual tales and fantasies to one another.
“Adam & Yves” is a tricky film to review. Of all of the queer adult films on this month’s post, this one has the smallest narrative in between the sex scenes. However, these intermediary scenes are themselves rather odd and disjointed. It’s more an art film than a pornographic film – but it’s not really your typical film that tells a narrative. Yet there is one thing that is absolutely certain about “Adam & Yves” – it IS a Peter de Rome film! And I must give credit that while it’s clear the hardcore sex scenes occur frequently through this queer adult film, they’re told in a very artistic way. One recounting visually recounts an erotic narrative poem about a hookup. Another attempts to recreate a classic film scene, but with gay sex. Does it work? Not for me. If I were to rate and review “Adam & Yves”, there’s only two reasons why I’d consider giving it any points – and that’s because I cannot deny that it IS an art film.
Unfortunately, “Adam & Yves” is almost impossible to find through normal channels. But if you have time to spare and can find a copy, perhaps you’ll get more enjoyment from this queer adult film than I did.
“Adam & Yves” is not available to buy/watch online.
It’s a black and stormy night on the prairie, as the rain hammers down and rising rivers wash out the bridges. Alone in her dilapidated mansion, Mrs. Gert Hammond (Marion Eaton) drinks – heavily – to the memory of her dead husband and her son who “no longer exists.” Out in the storm, travelers Sash (Melinda McDowell, Roo (Moira Benson) and Toydy (Rick Johnson), a hitchhiker they’ve picked up, crash their car! Passersby Chandler (Phillip Heffernan) and Bond (Ken Scudder) rescue them, and they all converge on Mrs. Hammond’s house, the only shelter for miles around, where they change into dry clothes and spend the long prairie night squabbling with each other, forming random sexual liaisons and dragging out each others’ deepest, darkest secrets. Late arrival Bing (George Kuchar), having crashed his circus truck on the treacherous roads, stumbles in with what may be the strangest tale of them all, and Mrs. Hammond, who has some pretty dark secrets of her own, tries hard to be a gracious hostess as the night unfolds.
Part hardcore porn, part parody and with a dash of surrealism, “Thundercrack!” is quite simply – weird. Yet it’s also fabulously wonderful! If you took the campiness & cult following of “Rocky Horror Picture Show”, throw in a horny gorilla, classic horror tropes, and a group of sex obsessed and sexually confused strangers – then you’re only halfway able to comprehend what makes “Thundercrack!” a captivating film. Is it cheaply made? Absolutely! Does the script make sense? NOPE! Does it push the boundaries between what is a porn and what is an art film? Of course! Although the surprising bit is the entire cast & crew’s approach to the film; there truly are some memorable scenes. This black & white, nearly three hour long film is truly a queer adult film that you simply have to watch in order to believe it even exists. It’s not the easiest film to find, but if you can find yourself a copy – enjoy!
Watch “Thundercrack!” on Amazon.
A happily married bisexual swinging couple, Jack (Gerald Grant) and Elvira (Claire Wilbur) who spend their days lounging around the villa making bets and having sex. One weekend, they turn their sights on a couple of naive newlyweds, Betsy (Lynn Lowry) and Eddie (Casey Donovan) and bet on whether or not they can seduce the two. Their small get together at their luxury Riviera villa turns into a night of secrets, seduction, and sexual discovery like no other.
A titillating explosion of swinging and bisexuality, “Score” is one of few films that fall into IMDb’s “Adult” genre. When it was released in theatres, it was both shocking and quite divisive; it’s also one of a very small niche of films from the 1970’s “Golden Age of Porn”. But perhaps more surprising is that it’s actually based on an off-Broadway play of the same name. In fact, Claire Wilbur is the only play cast member to reprise her role as Elvira. But while films have sex scenes woven into the plot and porn films “try” to have a storyline, “Score is an actual film that centres around sex – though it’s kinda hard to sort out exactly what audience “Score” was created for. Gay guys will turn away at the lesbian scenes, lesbians will not be keen to see the gay sex, and straight persons will enjoy neither. (Though bisexuals will love it all!)
Whichever part of the sexual preference spectrum you are coming from, there is one additional thing to keep in mind: choose the right version to watch. Personally, I prefer the unedited version… but I leave that up to you to decide! Either way, I highly recommend watching “Score” at least once in your life. At the very least, you can learn some great & cheesy sexual innuendos for the next time you play “bingo”!
Check out my full, in-depth review of “Score” to learn more!
Watch “Score” on Amazon and Prime Video.
When lead singer Jimmy Taranto (Jimstar) dumps his girlfriend Candy (Amy Cater) then his rock band Gutter Filth, Candy decides to take his place in the band. Together with anal bass player GB (Rupert Owen), cross-dressing drummer Dee (Butch Midway) and Jennifer (Anthea Eaton), their loyal manager, they begin a journey to stardom. While their success eclipses Jimmy’s, Candy still can’t find the true love she is looking for. But sometimes the things you want are right in front of you.
Honestly not sure how to describe “The Band”; it’s almost as if you took a porn and gave it an actual plot. Except while there is a plot to this queer adult film, it doesn’t go anywhere. Nor do we get any real acting through the entire film. Heck, even the sex lacks a real connection. However, we are certainly treated to unabashed sex – nothing is covered up! In the making of featurette, director Anna Brownfield remarks that the film is a feminist twist on porn, all told through the female gaze. Perhaps that explains why there is an abundance of male genitalia on screen instead of the typical nude female body that we’re accustomed to in film. (This is perhaps the one thing I love about “The Band” – not only is the sex real instead of simulated, but we are treated to men at full mast!). If you’re looking for erotic sex scenes, this queer adult film may suffice. But if you want a semi-decent storyline – you’re almost better off watching actual porn! I would not recommend “The Band” unless you’re truly intrigued.
“The Band” is not available to buy/watch online.
Well… what did you think? Do you agree with the five queer adult films I selected – or do you disagree? Let me know in the comments below!
(Or you could Pin your favorite Queer Adult Film to your Pinterest account to save for later!)