NY Times: Vintage Porn on the Rise

Jan 24, 2014 10:00 AM PST

NEW YORK — The old saw “what’s old is new again” is now a seemingly apt description of what's happening in porn, so much so it's spawned a new streaming service set to launch in 2014.

Perhaps a reactionary move by consumers saturated with every kind of explicit sex act on the Internet, a new wave of restored classic adult video has emerged.

The New York Times has reported that Vinegar Syndrome (VS), a company founded in 2012 by Joe Rubin and Ryan Emerson is cataloging, restoring and releasing old X-rated films from 1969 through 1986 for the home video and theatrical markets.

Although vintage porn is nothing new — what with classic “Deep Throat” and other ttiles and remakes on the market for years — VS, named after the smells films make when they begin to decay — is bent on resurrecting the golden age of hardcore from its 47,000 square- foot Bridgeport, Connecticut building.

“Yes, the films are X-rated,” Emerson told the Times. “But many of them are interesting and fascinating once you get into them. These films are time capsules.”

Albeit still small, the market is buoyed by “fierce” collectors who want preserve the history, according to the report, that also includes buying ancillary items like posters and photos. Robert Chisholm, an owner of he Chisholm Larsson Gallery in Chelsea said he sells a few porn posters a month at about $250 each.

Vintage porn is also making a comeback in some trendy movie theaters and mainstream museums. The Times pointed to an exhibition now at the Museum of Sex in Manhattan devoted to Linda Lovelace, a show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, featuringhomoerotic works of the illustrator Touko Laaksonen, a.k.a. Tom of Finland, and photographer Bob Mizer, and last year’s screenings of “X: The History of a Film Rating,” a film series that included showings of “Last Tango in Paris” and “Midnight Cowboy” at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

VS is also working with Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn on a yearlong series, "Nitehawk Naughties," devoted to restorations of films from the ’70's, including “The Opening of Misty Beethoven,” that screens on Jan. 31. The CineKink festival is also interested in featuring some of Vinegar’s restored releases at its next festival in February.

The new “porn chic” is also being put forth by Anthology Film Archives with its “In the Flesh” series of hardcore films from VS and Distribpix, a distributor that produced porn in the ‘80’s. All of the titles will be shown on original 35 millimeter.

“In the ’70's, adult films were made on 16 or 35 millimeter, and were projected to an audience,” Casey Scott, who programs the Anthology series, told the Times. “They were reviewed by Variety and The New York Times. That era, when films were made under threat of legal action, ended in the early ’80s, when home video brought pornography into living rooms.”

Despite the renewed interest, The Times pointed out that not all old porn is classic — some were done on the cheap — and there was a “darker side” to producing them, especially for women.

But VS said that next year it plans to restore and release some 40 DVDs, about two-thirds of which will be vintage porn, and the next stop is “lost sexploitation films and some popular ’80’s slashers.”

But this year, VS and Distribpix are launching Skinaflix, a 1080p streaming vintage porn Netflix-like service aimed at hardcore cinephiles.

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