Evil Angel was started by producer, (former) performer, and free speech/civil rights activist John Stagliano in the late 1980s. Stagliano is one of the most influential members of the adult industry, and “The Evil Empire” is one of the most highly regarded production and distribution houses. The company has a fascinating history, an overview of which is here.
Stagliano developed the “gonzo” style of adult content production early on in his career. As I recently explained, gonzo content “is when the camera ‘talks’ – imagine someone walking around a family gathering with an old school camcorder. The person filming the action was also (usually) involved… talking to people about whatever was going on, narrating, saying silly embarrassing things, occasionally getting in the frame, etc. That style of shooting is gonzo.” This production style has since been widely imitated across various genres of adult.
Anyway, there is an endless amount of things that can be said about John Stagilano and Evil Angel; but for our purposes here, let’s focus on the fact that Evil Angel distributes content from a collection of directors. This is how John himself explains the arrangement:
“Evil Angel, or ‘The Evil Empire,’ is a company owned by me, John Stagliano, that is organized in a completely different way than any other video porno company. I sell my videos, and I also sell the videos of several other directors. We are different in that I do not own the videos of these other directors. I only sell their videos and keep a percentage of the gross sales as a fee for my services. I started this arrangement because of my experience selling videos to other porno companies. They would buy my videos and own them themselves. I found that it was very difficult to build my reputation with the public this way, and also, I did not get any more money if I did a video that sold exceptionally well.
At Evil Angel I wanted to create a situation where the directors could be rewarded for the hard work they put into creating their product. Here the directors make more money if their videos sell more. This is a great incentive for them to find new and better ways to make videos. All indications are that this system works very well. The DVDs that we make are the best-selling in the business. Each one of our directors is unique in style and content, but similar in their commitment to create the best product possible.” (original text here)
So basically, Evil Angel is a studio by which John produces his own content and a distributor through which select directors can make their products available. One newer director currently with Evil Angel is Bobbi Starr.
Bobbi Starr is many things – pretty and polite, well-spoken and super smart (you should read her blog). She can play a bunch of musical instruments and has a college degree. She is also one of the most well-respected, prolific, and hard core adult performers around today (here are some of her credits). She recently started directing for Evil Angel. Bobbi’s World marked her directorial debut. Shut Up and Fuck was her second and has received serious critical acclaim. Let’s take a look at both, shall we…
[fyi and before we get started: none of Evil Angel's content, John's or Bobbi's or otherwise, is for porn amateurs]
If Bobbi’s actual world is anything like Bobbi’s World… well, let’s just say it’s pretty dang interesting.
Bobbi’s World has a fairly simple premise: Bobbi Starr has been camcorder documenting much of her daily life lately. Consequently, she speculates, she’s been having all sorts of wild sex dreams. She is telling Kimberly Kane about these dreams, the enactment of which are the first two scenes in the film. Then she and Kimberly have sex. Then Bobbi runs in to Mark Wood on the street. They chat about tax stuff, go back to her place, suck some cock, and eventually bang this “pet” (Tori Lux) Bobbi has tied up in the other room. Then Michael Vegas and Amy Brooke come over because they’ve heard how freaky deaky good at sex Bobbi is. So they all fuck (really, Amy gets fucked). Then they leave, and Bobbi has sex with Manuel Ferrara. And then the day is done…
Bobbi’s World isn’t supposed to be a documentary, or even mockumentary, film… but it does constitute some pretty interesting, and sometimes pretty jarring, adult content.
This film is stylistically unique. Throughout, Bobbi is camcording her world while a regular, wider shot of everything is being captured. These perspectives are edited together such that Bobbi’s World bounces back and forth between a (relatively) full frame of content and what can only be described as extreme close-ups. Sometimes the extreme close-ups are a little much. Especially in the Michael/Bobbi/Amy scene. Actually, extra especially in the Michael/Bobbi/Amy scene.
Bobbi’s World is somewhat fractured. It seems like it’s supposed to be a sort of staged “day in the life,” but the way it unfolds isn’t quite as seamless as it could be. For example, I found myself caught up on her hair… Bobbi’s relatively current hair is pretty distinct – just past shoulder length dark brown with cropped bangs. But in the first “dream” scene and in the film’s bonus scene with Alysa Gap, Bobbi has significantly different hair. Now yeah – it could be that Bobbi has different hair in her dream. But it played out like two scenes that had been shot at Time X put togther with others that had been shot at Time Y. This is all well and good, but it contributed to the somewhat fractured feeling present throughout.
Which really is a silly thing to get caught up on because it was Bobbi’s first time directing – come on!!
The thing that’s most notable about Bobbi’s World is that, be it an actual slice of life or super staged, it’s pretty hard hardcore. From the spitting cum back on her sub (scene #1) to putting her entire hand in her own mouth and others’ mouths to the full on the laying out of Amy Brooke to the entire scene with Manuel Ferrara, Bobbi Starr doesn’t just bring extra-intense content… for a girl. She brings some extra-intense, hard core hardcore. Period.
Bobbi’s World is not for the faint of heart.
Shut Up and Fuck starts off with an explanation – a disclaimer of sorts, even. Bobbi Starr talking to the camera, explaining how the film came to be.
Apparently, performer and co-Evil Angel distributed director Nacho Vidal was in town after a long absence. Bobbi wanted to have sex with him, and so she devised a “scheme” to make it happen – hire him to come over and do a scene for her website. And, as luck would have it, when Nacho arrived, they went directly to the banging. No scene blocking, not really even much of a greeting… perhaps the sex was the greeting?… just fucking. The camera folks, who were there to capture the scene intended for Bobbi’s site, just started filming. Hence, Shut Up and Fuck Scene #1.
It was intense. Like, really intense.
Bobbi then decided (attempt to) to mirror that experience/intensity through a collection of partnerings with the same basic set up: two or three people come over, and the simply shut up and fuck.
Each scene was intense. Like, really intense.
They breakdown as: Bobbi and Nacho; Annie Cruz and Toni Ribas; Bobbi again with Ash Hollywood and Xander Corvus; Aiden Starr and Sinn Sage; Dana DeArmond and Tommy Pistol; Bobbi again with Sparky Sin Claire and Ethan Hunt; and Skin Diamond, Mark Wood, and Mr. Pete.
The whole thing was 5 hours and 17 minutes long. I liked Dana and Tommy’s scene best – Dana DeArmond is beyond words in terms or versatility, intensity, and realness, plus she and Tommy seemed generally awkward around each other at first. But they weren’t at all 10 minutes later… at least not in the same way. It was pretty awesome; but, like Bobbi’s World, not for the porno faint of heart.
I also found Skin, Mark, and Mr. Pete’s scene compelling for several reasons. The scene itself was good, but you could definitely see that Skin was extending herself in what was a new and intense environment for her (she’s a relatively new performer). It was an interesting dimension that added a rare tension to the tryst. Whatsmore, even though I know race operates in a slightly more complex-than-conventional way in porn, the race dimension in this scene got to me. Something about a blindfolded black woman getting slapped (“slapped” is not the correct word) in the face by two white cocks twisted up some socio-feminist thing in my brain. I need to work through this more fully.
Shut Up and Fuck was intense and interesting and different. I honestly don’t buy the content’s “fully unscripted and this is just what happened” proclamation, at least not totally. Folks knew going in that they were shooting for an Evil Angel-affiliated director, which brings with it a certain series of performance expectations (as occurs with any director or production company). Whatsmore, a small measure of conspired planning for the Ash and Skin scenes (at least) had obviously occurred before the respective ladies arrived.
But what can be said about Bobbi’s World and Shut Up and Fuck collectively? Well…
In rhetorical arguments for and against porn, its impact on women (all women?), and the ways in which women in front of and behind the camera “behave” (construct dimensions of their images and self images) in adult, very normative gender discussions inevitabely occur. Women (all women?) are often expected to want or enjoy a specific range of content and/or depictions, and really hard hardcore is not included in this range. Women who perform in and/or create adult content also have a certain series of expectations attached to them; and more often than not, women who produce or perform in very hard hardcore are questioned – they don’t really like that, they’re just trying to act like dudes, etc etc. Think Jewel DeNyle and Platinum X Pictures here.
Bobbi Starr and her films really challenge these bits of tired and presumptuous rhetoric. (incidentally, so did Jewel)
Personally, I didn’t “enjoy” either of these films – they were both far too much for me. But I liked how raw and open they were, and I liked the people in them. And I really liked how Bobbi Starr, with her midwestern-while-being-from-California good looks, very proper posture, and wide open eyes, fucked your shit up on screen. Many wouldn’t expect that from such a nice young lady.
Recommended for: individual’s looking for pretty hard hardcore; people looking one woman’s vision of adult content; and anyone who says women only want romance, don’t like fucking, can’t be aggressive and nice and smart and all sorts of other things simultaneously, and any other stereotype that needs to be broken down – go Bobbi!!
Bobbi’s World (2011)
Performances from Amy Brooke, Ashley Fires, Bobbi Starr, Dia Zerva, Kimberly Kane, Marie Luv, Tori Lux, Alysa Gap, Danny Wylde, Manuel Ferrara, Mark Wood, and Michael Vegas
Shut Up and Fuck (2011)
Performances from Aiden Starr, Annie Cruz, Ash Hollywood, Bobbi Starr, Dana DeArmond, Sinn Sage, Skin Diamond, Sparky Sin Claire, Ethan Hunt, Mark Wood, Mr. Pete, Nacho Vidal, Tommy Pistol, Toni Ribas, and Xander Corvus
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