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FALLEN ANGELS (1985).

This feature length documentary promises to be "the reality behind the fantasies" of the porno world. That's putting it mildly. Far from a high-gloss P.R. profile or (at the other end of the spectrum) a moralistic diatribe, this ends up a cynical and depressing glimpse into mid-'80s adult movies, the Lost Girls who appear in them, and the allure of Hollywood stardom at its skankiest. Produced by Wendy Apple, Richard Lerner and Greg Brown (a.k.a. adult-film auteur Gregory Dark, who also directed the doc), it's firmly R-rated and broken into three distinct segments. The film starts with the lowest rungs of the porno ladder, at a Figure Modeling Agency who finds low-grade, nude photo gigs for their gals, and lets us watch a cattle call audition. Half the time, it's hilarious, reveling in low-level scum and the ditzy, star-eyed girls. The rest of the time, it's simply sad, especially when the women frankly discuss how they have to lie to their boyfriends, have been outed to their families, and endure it for only one reason -- the money. A highlight is watching a (pre-porno fame) Bruce Seven filming a grungy sex loop. How does he prepare for a shoot? He gets laid the night before, so he won't be too horny. And the guy actually refers to his shitty li'l videos as an "educational source" for how to make love? Ego, much? The second part takes an upscale turn, with a look at the filming of the feature-length CAUGHT FROM BEHIND II, featuring the ubiquitous Ron Jeremy. This is the most purely entertaining segment, with the male lead, Eric Edwards, discussing the difficulty of capturing cum shots; the lead actress divulging her real profession as a call girl; and the film taken to court, due to its backdoor motif. Finally, bringing the film full circle, we re-encounter Kimberly, an Asian beauty who was one of the penniless models from the first segment. It's now 18 months later, and she's a high-profile, adult-movie starlet with the pseudonym Kristara Barrington. We even watch her attending the premiere of her latest epic, the now-classic NEW WAVE HOOKERS... Of course, we also check in on some of the other ladies who were there at the beginning, and have really hit rock bottom. This virtually-forgotten pic digs into the mindset of the porno industry with a cool (but razored) edge. For many viewers, the most nostalgic moment will be a visit to a porno video store, complete with pathetic and/or loathsome customers, and a brief shot of a new Traci Lords tape still on the shelf. Chock full of tawdry insights for fans interested in the minutia of the porn industry, this terrific exploration of The Wide World of Smut has just enough depth to keep non-believers interested too.

© 1997 by Steven Puchalski.