Sucking cocks in Hell: Porn stars discuss horror movies

[A month after I ran this piece last year, my friend David Aaron Clark died. But I am confident that he would be pleased to give you his horror recommendations from beyond the grave.

And I am very interested to hear new horror recommendations. Leave them in the comments section for an update.]

This inhuman place makes human monsters” – Danny Torrance

Visceral stimulation can be as powerful as the clitoral or prostatic kind, so it should be no surprise that porn luminaries enjoy horror movies. As Halloween approaches, I asked several adult industry professionals what got them off the bed so they could get under it.

As you can imagine, many of the pornsters I contacted were filled with fear, so I am especially grateful to Ashlynn Brooke, David Aaron Clark, Ernest Greene, Sasha Grey, Gia Paloma, Mike South, Aiden Starr, Bobbi Starr (no relation), and Madison Young for their bravery and ability to press the goddamn Reply button.

(To her credit, Nina Hartley declined by saying, “I’m sorry to disappoint but I don’t watch scary movies. I’ve never liked them, I’m afraid.” Very afraid.)

  • The Shining” (1980. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall, Scatman Crothers)


While there is an 8-hour miniseries that is more faithful to the letter of Stephen King’s book, it is not as cinematically proficient in conveying the dread, cabin fever, and family breakdown that Kubrick’s version did (although what happened to poor Scatman after his needless – it turned out – cross-country trip was unforgivable). Sasha Grey likes it. Bobbi Starr likes it. Madison Young likes it.

“Kubrick, Nicholson, King. I think that pretty much says it,” said Ernest Greene.

Lone detractor: Mike South. “‘The Shining’ is middle of the road horror,” he says. “‘The Exorcist’ is much more deserving.” (I’m thinking South relates the Overlook to the AIM Clinic. South is the only person on this list to recommend movies while trashing other ones. As a Navajo, I believe that this is how South maintains balance. “You want Horror that can happen to you?” says South, “try ‘War of the Roses.'”)

How does it relate to porn?

Depending on who you ask, family breakdown is porn’s Human Resources department. But particularly evocative is the woman in forbidden room 237, whom young Danny Torrance sees as a rotting corpse but who is experienced by his father as a frankly naked, cold, and accessible bathing beauty.

  • Several by Takashi Miike


I admit that I solicited these responses because I have been too-often burned by sucktastic movies like “The Orphan” and “A Haunting in Connecticut” and I needed something for my Netflix queue that would keep me in my home rather than doing bong hits in a Hollywood bathroom with an 18-year-old Best Anal Starlet nominee. Why is that so bad? Because you can’t say “You’re only the Number Two Best Anal Starlet nominee” without laughing. At least I can’t).

So I am eager to check out Takashi Miike’s work, having not heard of the Japanese director before Clark, Gray, Gia Paloma, South, Aiden Starr, and Madison Young suggested him.

Aiden Starr recommends a Miike piece she saw on Showtime’s  “Masters of Horror.”

“I recently saw ‘Imprint,'” she said. “Sufficiently fucking disgusting.”

“‘”Imprint’ is on a level very different than anything you will see out of Hollywood,” said South. “The subject matter, the visuals and the color are truly disturbing; the man is a master.  It will leave images in your head that you will never get out. ‘Audition’ is pretty creepy too but not even in the same category with ‘Imprint.'”

“‘Visitor Q’ is a disturbing and taboo-bashing experimental work,” said Madison Young. “The film presents a harrowing, absurdist take on the phenomenon of reality TV, depicting the chilling disintegration of a family. Starring Kenichi Endo, ‘Visitor Q’ seals Miike’s reputation as one of the world’s most daring and dangerous cinematic visionaries.”

But the biggest vote-getter was Miike’s “Ôdishon” (“Audition,” starring Ryo Ishibashi and Eihi Shiina, based on the novel by Ryû Murakami).

“I don’t consider ‘Audition’ a horror movie,” said Clark. “I consider it a melancholy domestic drama illustrating how unfortunate the results of looking for love in all the wrong places can really be.”

“Audition” looks very scary. Gia Paloma is the only person on this list to have appeared in “Audition” (albeit Julie Simone’s bondage-themed movie of the same name).

How does it relate to porn?

Porn is wok-full of Asians.

  • Let the Right One In” (2008. Directed by Tomas Alfredson. Starring Lina Leandersson and Kåre Hedebrant)


The title of this Swedish vampire movie refers both to how a vampire (in this case, a girl who has been 12 for 200 years) chooses her mortal helper and the rule that a vampire has to be asked in order to enter a house. Therefore letting the right one in is a way of choosing one’s doom.

“Creepy and beautiful,” said Madison Young. “I’m in love with this little vampire tomboy.”

“Fantastic!” said Gia Paloma.

How does it relate to porn?

While there are scary moments, “Let the Right One In” is all about secrets, alienation, and making the choice to go on a journey that will end badly. It is like visiting Adultcon.

  • The Ring” (2002. Directed by Gore Verbinski. Starring Naomi Watts)


This movie scared the shit out of me, Aiden Starr, and Sasha Grey. And I won’t speak for them because they have reputations to uphold, but I liked the American version better than the Japanese originals based on the novel by Kôji Suzuki. The American version got to the point much more quickly and did not water down the plot with extraneous (what others might call “culturally significant”) information.

“The Ring” and its Asian forebears have in common something that has become shorthand in horror movies: the evil, hair in the face, Butoh ghost.

“Ghosts weren’t portrayed that way in Japanese visual art,” said David Aaron Clark, “but the Butoh dance is very scary and creepy and evocative of the spirits, so I can see why it shows up in horror movies.”

Butoh is a Japanese dance style originated in 1959 by Tatsumi Hijikata. The term derived from Ankoko Buyo (Dance of Darkness) and was characterized by white-painted figures moving across the stage in extreme contortions and sharp angles. Butoh was protest dance and employed taboo themes as a reaction to traditional and Western-inspired dance styles.

I don’t know the first film that employed Butoh-dancing ghosts, but watch any of the “Ring” or “Grudge” movies in their American or Japanese incarnations and you’ll see how chillingly it is executed, as well as in the South Korean film “A Tale of Two Sisters” (2003), which used the effect cheaply.

How does it relate to porn?

“See the ring, then you die” is a very apt metaphor for most sexually transmitted diseases. Also, Gore Verbinski directed “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which made for several successful (so I’m told) porn adaptations.

Several films follow that were mentioned by two or more people.


“The Exorcist” is one of my favorite movies. Set in the autumn and populated with characters who are coping in one way or another with mortality and despair and loss of faith, it keeps returning to hopeful themes which are themselves subverted. The movie takes its time, and each supernatural scare has its own real life equivalent. There is also plenty of smoking in hospitals and in churches.

“The Ring” also has an element of autumnal dread to it, and movies like 1978’s “Halloween” (this version is the best of the 12 or so reissues) underline why Fall is the scariest time of year.

Sasha Grey, DAC, and Ernest Greene were both big fans of David Cronenberg’s “Videodrome” (1983, starring James Woods and Deborah Harry). Said Greene: “Cronenberg’s vision is even more disturbing than his visuals. The characters are basically cyphers and Harry and Woods play them accordingly, but the subtext of media-crit is edgy for its time and the kink factor predicts the later and very different approach of (1997’s) ‘Crash‘ – not of this thread but one of my faves anyway.”

“The dean of body-horror, at his most luminously prescient and unrelenting,” said Clark of David Cronenberg. “The video tech may be out of date, but the themes are immutable. More than anything, I love this film because time and again, it gets me laid. Seriously. What greater love?”

Kink factors into a lot of horror movies, not only because it is so easy to clean entrails off leather but also because there are rules. 1987’s “Hellraiser,” written and directed by Clive Barker and starring the great, typecast Doug Bradley as Pinhead and the lamentably never-nude Ashley Laurence, was one of those movies whose concepts survive even if the movie slowly devolves into cheese.

“The ideas were so fresh then,” said Greene, “and the first appearance of the Cenobites was so evocative and shocking, it challenged audiences to reconsider their comfortable notions of what was attractive. It’s more Clive Barker’s source material and bravura art direction than it is anything else, but I’m guessing it will have a long shelf-life. It’s also a really good intro to Barker’s literary work, which is a blessing in itself.”

  • Sasha Grey likes Dario Argento


Can you imagine Grey taking on the role of the mirror-loving Jessica Harper in a porn version of “Suspiria“? I can (of course, I would call it “Hesperia” to double the scare factor). She also likes Argento’s “Tenebre.”

“‘Suspiria’ is breathtaking,” said Clark. “A singular golden moment not only in Dario Agento’s career, but in that of cinema itself. A nightmare, a fairy tale, an amazing visual experience. Susie Banyon thought she was just going to study dance at that exclusive German academy…you can watch this movie over and over and over … “Tenebre” and “Creepers” were on the same quality level, but “Suspiria” is the essential Argento film, in my book.

  • Bobbi Starr and Kay Parker and Elsa Lanchester


One of porn’s classic titles is Kirdy Stevens’ “Taboo,” which featured Kay Parker in an incestuous cougar relationship. The roles are reversed in 2003’s “Oldboy,” directed by Chan-wook Park, in which a poor guy finally gets sprung from an undeserved prison term, goes on a vindictive killing spree, and then finds out that his girlfriend is, well…

“Oldboy” was on the top of Starr’s list along with “Audition.” Starr, who will be a cougar herself in ten years, can next be seen as the Bride of Frankenstein in the 2010 Nerdcore calendar.

  • “Martyrs” at the Sawstel


Both David Aaron Clark and Gia Paloma liked the French torture-porn “Martyrs” (2008, written and directed by Pascal Laugier).

“I found myself more horrified by our society rather than the ‘ghosts,’ said Paloma.

“Yes, that movie stays with you for a while,” said Clark.

More like flays with you for a while. While movies like the “Saw” and “Hostel” series are criticized for being pornographically empty of redeeming value, and filled instead with a crazy joyride of violence, “Martyrs” has all that torture plus a message. My problem with “Martyrs” was that the message was not nearly as effective or thought out as all the exquisite gore that preceded it.

“Dude, Seriously,” I found myself saying to the screen, a burrito sitting suddenly revolting on the table in front of me.  “Seriously, Dude.”

  • Vampires and Zombies


Ashlynn Brooke recommends the original “Night of the Living Dead” from the set of the porn version of “True Blood.”

Brooke doesn’t at first appear to be a horror fan, but she played a pretty convincing succubus in “The Sex Files.”

“Zombies terrify me,” said Brooke. “And ‘Night of the Living Dead’ did me in.”

  • The Wailing Woman


One of my recent favorite horror movies is last year’s “Km 31,” written and directed by Rigoberto Castaneda.

All our Spanish-speaking readers know about La Llorona (The Crying Lady), a Latino folktale about the woman who drowned her children in order to gain the affections of some dude who had no time for a single mom. Well, her plan backfired and now she wanders the countryside shrieking and, depending on what Latin American country you’re in, stealing your kids.

There have been several awful movies made about La Llorona but “Km 31” weaves the story into a standard horror movie and makes it that much more terrifying.

  • Help Eleanor Come Home

I was also reminded in the comments section of 1963’s “The Haunting,” based on Shirley Jackson’s novel “The Haunting of Hill House.” This is a movie where you don’t see the ghost but, as Jackson said, “It is the house that is insane.” This is a brilliant movie (directed by Robert Wise, who could do anything)  about how loneliness is worse than death.

“Suicide” Girls

“‘Suicide Circle‘ is Sion Sono’s modern-day classic,” said Clark. “It starts with a line of 50 Tokyo schoolgirls joining hands and jumping in front of a subway train. It ends in a (literally) dark corner of hell. Everything in between is either horrifying or hilarious. Sono and Shinya Tsukamoto are neck and neck for the title of reigning intellectual horror director of Nippon, and I think Sono may be pulling ahead.

In Porn Valley we think of Halloween as Amateur Night. If everybody is dressing up as a Sexy Nurse or Sexy Witch or Sexy Cat, the Porno-American community might as well just stay home.

Previously on Porn Valley Observed: I Love Black Dick 3; Ashley Laurence v. Britney Spears; Ladyboy or Cenobite?; Doc Johnson releases Hellraiser line of marital aids; Cthulhu is my copilot; Strippers, Cthulhu for Halloween