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In the late 1970s, the adult film industry began the transition from celluloid to home video. Smutty Little Movies traces this change and examines the cultural and legal efforts to regulate, contain, limit, or eradicate pornography. Drawing on a wide variety of materials, Smutty Little Movies de-centers the film text in favor of industry histories and contexts. In so doing, the book argues that the struggles to contain and regulate pleasure represent a primary starting point for situating adult video’s place in a larger history, not just of pornography, but of media history as a whole.
List of Illustrations
Prologue. Naked Ladies and Ice Cream Bars
Introduction. Smaller Than Life: Adult Video, Pleasure, and Control
1. Panorams, Motels, and Pirates: The Origins of Adult Video
2. Adult Video News: Selling XXX without the Sex
3. The Means of Production: Vivid Video and Femme Productions
4. Saving the Family: Video Rental Stores and the Toxicity of Pornography
Epilogue. Limousines and Legacies
Peter Alilunas is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of Oregon.
“The future of pornography studies is secure! Alilunas’s beautifully researched and written history of the Boogie Nights era is the best book on pornography I have ever read!”—Linda Williams, author of Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the “Frenzy of the Visible”
“That pornography was essential to the success of home video—and vice versa—has long been taken as a given, but this is the first book to successfully reveal the important and elusive industrial history of adult video.”—Lucas Hilderbrand, author of Inherent Vice: Bootleg Histories of Videotape and Copyright
“It has become axiomatic to observe that pornography drives changes in communication technologies. With Smutty Little Movies, Peter Alilunas delivers the goods, blending deep archival research and sharp analysis with expertly handled detail to show how porn shaped the video era and how video changed the adult film industry.”—Eric Schaefer, author of “Bold! Daring! Shocking! True!”: A History of Exploitation Films, 1919–1959
“Alilunas doesn’t just take us behind the ‘adults only’ curtain into the video-store back room, he reconstructs its elusive history, ushering us beyond the familiar story of porn theaters and into the forgotten but critical realms of adult motels, obsolete technologies, and marketing ephemera. Smutty Little Movies is at once a fascinating narrative, a brilliantly executed feat of scholarship that resituates the entire field of Porn Studies, and also something of a methodological nail-biter, as Alilunas recovers glimpses, traces, and fragments of an otherwise lost history.”—Whitney Strub, author of Perversion for Profit: The Politics of Pornography and the Rise of the New Right