Surviving 70’s Porn Tropes And What We Can Learn from Them

“Bomp chicka wow wow.”

jennifer connelly ponante gamelink

The other night I was watching the 1980s Muppet-and-Bowie movie “Labyrinth” with a woman I am very fond of and her teenaged daughter (I am the Luke Danes to their Gilmore Girls). It was my first time seeing it (I was also exposed to “Xanadu” and “The Dark Crystal” as part of my grooming), but close to the front of my mind was the knowledge of the later filmography of its teenaged star, Jennifer Connelly. Look up Connelly’s work in “The Hot Spot,” “Inventing the Abbotts,” and “Requiem for A Dream” to understand how I contextualized her fraught dance with the Goblin King.

At one point Connelly leaves behind her comfortable teen-on-a-quest clothes to appear in a full ball gown. As the whole movie teeters between innocence and experience (and finally chooses the former, quite sweetly), her arrival in a ball gown prompted the mom in our viewing party to say “Bomp chicka wow wow.”

I’ve been watching porn as part of my income for more than a decade and I have yet to see a movie featuring that kind of soundtrack. The closest I ever get is “Seinfeld” reruns. For the most part, classic porn movies feature bad folk rock, bad rock, repurposed public domain classical, and the sound of the director’s heavy breathing. Disco is rare.

I asked the mom if her daughter got the reference, or if it was just for me.

“She got it, but in a cartoon wolf ‘Ayoooga!’ kinda way,” the mom said, “as a vague sexual reference, not as a porn reference.”

I asked my own daughter (whose internet behavior I monitor very closely) what she thought of when she hears the five syllables of “Bomp chicka wow wow.”

“In movies where there’s douchey guys in sunglasses riding slowly by schools with one hand on the wheel and their elbows hanging out the window, that’s the sound you hear,” my daughter, who is 11 and who has unknowingly met more porn stars at Costco than most guys who buy tickets for the AVN Awards, says.

So that’s one thing porn has given us: five syllables that innocents who have never seen a porn movie immediately associate with some kind of depravity.

Cheeseball Moustaches And Pubes

Deep Sleep ponante

In one of my favorite conversations with a porn personality, veteran performer/director Paul Thomas told me about the time when he, as Phillip Toubas, co-starred in the 1973 film adaptation of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

“Yvonne Elliman (Mary Magdalene) had just seen ‘Deep Throat’ but wanted to know what one was like,” he said. “So we went off to the desert and she practiced her deep throating techniques on some of the, er, saints.”

Harry Reems pornstache ponante

Such was the crossover appeal of “Porno Chic” back then (as well as now) that we tend to forget these days that everyone sported a moustache and pubic hair, from porn star Harry Reems to gay icon David Hodo (the Construction Worker) to Thurman Munson to your mom. But do you tell Magnum P.I. that he had a pornstache? Do you tell your mom she was Sasha Grey before Sasha Grey was born?

Inappropriate Sexual Partners

family parody ponante

One of the major trends in pornography in the 2010s is the “Family Parody.” Stepbrothers getting it on with their hot stepsisters (they’re all in college), stepmoms hooking up with their stepsons (they’re all over 18), and step-uncles being like regular uncles. Each movie makes it clear that these hookups aren’t between blood relatives and that all participants — despite wearing pigtails and a schoolgirl skirt, let’s say — are of legal age to ruin their lives.

Kirsy Stevens Taboo ponante

But in the 1970s and 1980s, porn often reflected its non-legal status, with movies like Kirdy Stevens’ incest-ridden “Taboo” films (to be clear, viewers were not watching actual incest but trysts between characters playing — for example — a mother and her son). Then there were films that didn’t follow Paul Cambria’s or Adam & Eve’s guidelines of consent, and then, of course was Linda Lovelace‘s infamous “Dog Fucker,” featuring an unpaid German Shepherd.

While we can find our share of gangbangs and consensual non-consent in many of today’s movies, we are aware that even the cheapest production has carefully tied up loose ends to avoid the low-hanging obscenity indictment fruit.

This was far less true back in the 1970s, and you’d be able to soak in the drug-addled essence of fun and impropriety if the lighting were better and there wasn’t so much hair in the way.

Rule-proving exceptions

In searching for some Bomp Chicka Wow Wow, pubes and moustaches, and inappropriate partners, I happened on a mother, as it were, lode.

Deep Sleep ponante

We’ve got a movie in Gamelink’s library called “Deep Sleep” and it’s about a guy who can’t get it up so he goes to a doctor who helps him out. I watched it because it features Jamie Gillis, who was one of the porn world’s great free-thinking freaks.

The problem is that the movie that plays when you click “Deep Sleep” doesn’t appear to be “Deep Sleep.” Instead it features a mother and dad leaving their oversexed third-grader alone for the night with mom’s BDSM diaries. We watch flashbacks of mom’s fetish escapades and then watch the daughter realizing fantasies of her own, including hooking up with dad. There are no credits at either end and at times the audio is for a different movie.

Deep Sleep ponante

But there is questionable fuzz pedal music, inappropriate partners, lots of hair, and a general sense of an all-too-porny “what the fuck?” production aesthetic. It made me happy. I look forward to finding out what the movie actually is.

But I’m not going to show it at movie night.

One thought on “Surviving 70’s Porn Tropes And What We Can Learn from Them

  1. Pingback: 1970s Porn Tropes In 2015 – ErosBlog: The Sex Blog

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