It’s 1995. Adult film star Mark Anton (Jared Grey), praised for his “boy next door” image, is retired from the jizz biz. He’s now going to college and has settled down with a boyfriend. Despite this, he still needs to make ends meet by turning a trick from time to time. After all, a boy’s gotta eat! A sleazy porn producer arranges Anton a high-priced ($40,000) meeting with a fan. The star believes will be his last sex-for-money episode before finally leaving his life as a porn stud/escort behind for good. Indeed, it does turn out to be the “last time”… but not the way it was anticipated. The porn star known as Mark Anton disappears, becoming the fodder for all kinds of rumors and speculation in gay XXX lore. Fourteen years later, we meet Michael and William, a cute couple who just moved into a new apartment in Brooklyn. Michael (Matthew Montgomery) is working on a book about the history of gay male pornography from the past few decades. (Now, that’s a man after my own heart!) He spends most of his time tracking down retired performers from that era and watching vintage XXX-rated films for some insight, recruiting the help of a video store clerk who’s an expert on porn. By accident, Michael soon discovers that the couple’s fantastic new apartment was used for shooting porn years ago. He also discovers a “snuff film”—a film that depicts actual (not simulated) violence. The man in the movie? Mark Anton! Michael starts receiving mysterious pictures in the mail, and soon his video store clerk friend disappears. Just what is going on here? In David Kittredge’s highly stylized film “Pornography: A Thriller”, we suspect that there’s something dark, almost metaphysical, brewing underneath the surface… even before the sinister things start happening. This is due in part to the film’s moody, ominous, probing soundtrack… as well as the tense atmosphere that the director creates from the beginning.

in the first scene of the movie, one of the characters states, “Pornography is important because it lets people fantasize.” In porn, the sex is real… but the situations and actors’ personas are fantasy. The sex scenes last only a few minutes, but the movies themselves last forever. Like porn itself, “Pornography: A Thriller” blurs the boundaries of reality/fantasy and past/present as well. The movie progresses like a voyeuristic probe inside a schizophrenic mind, where what’s real and what’s make-believe become indistinguishable. Director Kittredge doesn’t feel the need to mark each character as a “good guy” or “bad guy”, or to uncover their true motivations too deeply. As a result, we continuously wonder if the characters are really who they say who they are… and/or if the situations are really what we see at face value. In the third segment of the movie, we meet a porn star named Matt Sterling (Pete Scherer), who wants to transition from being a star to being a writer/director. The name of his screenplay? “The Mark Anton Story… a Porno Thriller in Three Acts”. By the time Matt starts filming his big project and more eerie things start happening, the audience will likely be climbing the walls wondering what the hell is gonna hit them next.

“Pornography: A Thriller” is smart, suspenseful, and VERY sexual, complete with some explicit, well-shot “behind the scenes”-style sex and a generous amount of full-frontal nudity. It also makes some smart reflections on pornography in general, offering some answers to the question, “Why do we watch it?” Kittredge even injects some humor into this bona fide thriller: When someone asks Matt Sterling, “You’re versatile, right?”, he responds, “Not on camera!” The adult film biz may be the backdrop that brings these characters and the story together, but David Kittredge’s film is more than just a probe into the world of erotic films. Through atmosphere, just the right directorial touch, and a good dose of creativity, he shows us the RIGHT way to bring on some big screen thrills. “Pornography: A Thriller” is a also a cautionary tale about how, perhaps, some “urban legends” are better left alone…
“Pornography: A Thriller” opens at Manhattan’s Cinema Village on Friday, April 16th. Visit for more!

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