With 35-millimeter film being replaced by the cheaper option of video, the 1980s was the death of big budget porn, however it was a time when dirty movies became incredibly accessible. There was the VCR player, which allowed people (like your dad, for instance) to rent and buy XXX movies to watch while you were in bed.
Finding ’80s porn to watch was way easier than the prior two decades, as there was just so much out there. When I talked to ’80s porn alumni, Christy Canyon, she had only good things to say about shooting in the era: “The ’80s was so much fun, because there weren’t many people in it—you knew everybody. It was like one giant family. Everyone got along, everyone knew everybody. There was so much work, it was unbelievable…you never had a day off; you had to ask for time off. If you wanted to work a lot, the ’80s was great. There wasn’t much pay, but it was fun.”
Production of pornographic movies went from hundreds per year to thousands. My first critique had to do with the quality of the movies themselves; because these guys didn’t shoot on 35-millimeter film or high-definition cameras, the movies just looked blurry. It just wasn’t enough for my millennial eyes. I was left high and dry, so to speak.
“It’s worth mentioning all the pubic hair.”
However, I realize now that this was the porn that all porn movie tropes were based on—the cheesy saxophone music, the big hair, the bad dialogue, it all started in the ’80s!
However, you also got a real sense of freedom with the way the performers acted in their scenes—as if they were getting off on escaping the conservative shackles and pressures to provide good dialogue, compelling story, and strong acting of decades prior.
The ’70s gave birth to big-budget porn, but the ’80s was the truly decade of the porn star: Ron Jeremy, Christy Canyon, Nina Hartley, Ginger Lynn, and so much more.
It’s worth mentioning all the pubic hair—not just in the ’80s, but in every decade prior. Tons of pubic hair. Mt. Fuji-sized mountains worth of it—not that I have a problem with it, I think it’s just worth mentioning. When Salon interviewed porn star Kelly Nichols, she summed up the industry’s evolved stance on pubes: “I was a Penthouse model in the early 1980s and I posed with a full bush. No one in adult entertainment shaved back then. Now everyone does.”