Posted August 29, 2013 4:24 AM by with 19 comments

Falcon Studios Gay Porn Box Covers

Falcon Studios founder Chuck Holmes once notoriously declared that he wasn’t in the porn business, he was in the box cover business. Before the internet, the idealized-versions of the god-like stars on the covers of oversized VHS tape boxes would call out off the shelves of adult video stores, beckoning the consumer to take them home with them in the split-second they made eye contact.

This was before photoshop, too, so in many cases the photographs were physically retouched with actual airbrushes like they did with wedding portraits: eyes and teeth whitened, wrinkles and skin folds smoothed over and tattoos — considered too trashy at the time — were de facto removed. Case in point: Notice Joey Stefano’s skull tattoo is missing from his right arm on the cover of Falcon’s 1989 release Plunge, but is quite visibile in his scene with Lon Flexx.

Gay porn star Joey Stefano in Plunge

Fast-forward to today, however, and a box cover is about as relevant as a fax machine. Fewer and fewer people are even buying porn — let alone on DVD — but when they do its usually online, and probably after getting to know the stars of the movie after following them on Twitter and reading their blogs and meeting up with them for a milkshake after finding their profile on Rentboy.

Falcon Studios Gay Porn Box covers

Would Mike Branson be as hot if you saw a picture of the egg white omelet he ate every morning on Instagram? Would you still think Eric Hanson was a god if you had to hear him whine about every bad experience he had on @americanairlines? Would you still jerk off to Jeremy Penn if you had to read him Tweet about how excited  he was whenever a new episode of True Blood was on? 

Falcon Studios Gay Porn Box covers

Blame the economy or the changing landscape of porn consumption, but I used to get 10-15 DVD screeners in the mail per week. Now almost every studio has stopped sending them out in lieu of emailing bloggers .zip files of images, trailers, and FLV clips. I’m guess I’m kind of old-school about all this, but — even in today’s cash-strapped churn-’em-out-as-fast-as-you-can-so-you-can-start-on-the-next-one porn market — when a producer puts a little extra effort in their box covers, they get my attention (check out some faves of the last couple of years: Body Shop, In Yer Face, Picture Perfect, Wetter Than Ever).

Which brings us to StagHomme’s 15th DVD release, Spunk Rush. While I can hear Chuck Holmes spinning in his grave over a pink box cover, and Jessy Ares is covered with more oil than an entire troupe of Turkish wrestlers, the cover is 100% awesome (as are most of their box covers). The ever-charming Francesco posted a clip of the making of the box cover which you can watch here.

Jessy Ares in Stag Homme's Spunk Rush

So, bottom line (if any porn producers are reading this far down): the extra effort you put into the box covers is still very much appreciated. Plus, it gives us something to write about.

RELATED:
FalconStudios.com
Watch vintage Falcon Studios porn on NakedSword
StagHomme.com
Buy StagHomme DVDs

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

19 responses to In Defense Of The Gay Porn Box Cover

  1. Luke August 29th, 2013 at 5:29 AM

    Great article. The box cover definately created the “porn star.” They never showed cock or their hole like today. It was all left to the imagination. Today they photoshop cocks and the model looks silly.

    Reply

  2. Chris Baker August 29th, 2013 at 5:41 AM

    I have to agree Shamama. I’m a bit old school on this as well. Granted I also like a great action cover shot as it draws to the action. But the boxcover does still sell – whether it be a hot model or the action. This cover did stand out to me as well. Thanks for this post.

    Reply

    • Shamama August 29th, 2013 at 12:57 PM

      thanks for reading, Chris!

      Reply

  3. James August 29th, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Oh, Falcon. Why did you screw up K. Williams porn return with Betrayed? What coke addled director thought guys with strap ons was what Williams needed?

    Reply

    • Shamama August 29th, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      Why do you blame Falcon for fucking up Kevin William’s return in Betrayal? (I’ve heard it in the wind that he was hard to work with.) I agree that the movie was somewhat of a disappointment, but regardless — the cover is pretty stellar.

      Reply

      • James August 29th, 2013 at 4:27 PM

        Listen, I never said I was rational when the topic is Williams. He was perfect and any problems were ALL due to the people around him. How dare you suggest otherwise. :-)

        The cover is perfect, though.

        Reply

  4. Josh August 29th, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    I was breathing heavy and heart racing even before I got to the video store isles the porn was in just in anticipation of WHAT might be out and new that week. The worst times wee always when the number of new video copies they carried were already rented out to someone else. Oh, those were some days indeed!

    Reply

  5. Josh August 29th, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Also, I remember every one of these box-covers. The videos inside were equally as hot! California Kings was (still is)on my all time top 10 list. I used to throw some infamous sex parties on weekends back in the 90’s and these porn videos playing in the background were always a welcome component. (especially when the hot, 20 year old muscle boys who had RSVP’d ahead of time, showed up and they were beer bellied 35+ balding liars!

    Also, (lol) back then, porn stars really were stars. There was no internet so they were as mysterious and unknown as they could possibly be outside of their hot sexual performances.

    In many ways, the internet wrecked everything like that.

    Thanks, Jack, for this trip down memory lane.

    Reply

  6. mick August 29th, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    Yes, shooting the box cover photo was a big deal. But when I first started shooting for Falcon, 1997?, Chuck Holmes would look at all the edited photos of the glamour shots on a huge screen and pick what he thought was the best photo of the best model to place on the box.
    He definitely had an eye for what image would sell the video. I’m not sure it is his quote but “you can sell a crappy video with a great photo but you can’t sell a great video with crappy photos”. NDS take note. After Chuck passed the box cover shoot became its own session where the model was chosen ahead of time and usually the location as well. But often times a great photo of another model would be chosen, thus pissing off the ‘star’ of the video who was suppose to be on the box. Of the box covers you posted I shot the No Way Out box with Billy Brandt and the Betrayed box with Kevin Williams. The Williams box was a last minute thought to have soap suds running down his butt. The photo shoot was centered around his washing a boat. Lots of memories looking at those box covers. Thanks
    Mick

    Reply

    • Josh August 29th, 2013 at 4:58 PM

      If there were more people like Chuck Holmes (RIP)alive and working in porn today, I’d love to see the difference it could have made – even in such a vast differing manner of distribution of its content today.

      I met Chuck twice. Everyone’s life is a bit less than it could have been for not ever having met him just once.

      Reply

    • Shamama August 29th, 2013 at 5:29 PM

      Mick —

      Thanks for commenting! Its pretty incredible that you are the one who actually shot some of these box covers and I’m glad you got to see my entry.

      I started working at Falcon about 5 years after Chuck died. Back then, Terry Mahaffey oversaw the notorious 2-3 day long “House of Pain” sessions where everyone would sit in a conference room and pick out the glamor and box cover photos. I got to sit in on some of them — and they were certainly quite a trip. I couldn’t believe how heated and emotional people would get over picking images. Poor Otto would struggle to keep up as everyone barked at him to pull up something different.

      As I’m sure you’re well awzare, budgets were tightened and the number of shoot-days were cut . This, in turn, resulted in fewer pictures and therefore much zzzzzzless to chose from. After Terry passed away, they continued with “house of pain” … but they just became less and less important to the whole process.

      On paper it seemed like it would save so much time and money to pick a cover model before-hand and then set up a shoot with him for the box cover image, but for some reason it just never seemed to work out: While I was there, this was something that they went back-and-forth on quite a bit. I am fairy certain that now that they don’t do a cover shoot and just go by “best image wins”.

      Anyway, thanks again for contributing to the conversation.

      Cheers,
      Jack

      Reply

      • mick August 29th, 2013 at 5:55 PM

        Yes, the ‘house of pain’ was quite intense with Chuck. He would use a laser pointer and zero in on what was wrong with the photo. An arm out of place, something distracting in the background, the dick going the wrong way. Any number of things. It was nerve racking. And that big booming southern voice, “Mary, what were you thinking in this picture.” But he would also give great praise when he saw a photo that he thought was worthy. He, David Lam and John Rutherford really made me a better photographer after several years of house of pain. In my opinion, after John left the whole company went to hell. Especially during the reign of the crack head who was there for several years after Terry.

        Reply

      • Josh August 29th, 2013 at 6:31 PM

        “I am fairy certain.” A precious typo which should always be embraced and celebrated!

        -The ghost of Freud

        Reply

  7. Peter E August 29th, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    The great Falcon box covers from the recent past have never been equalled; Bjorn came close. I certainly was attracted to a film based on its cover art, and spent a small fortune on gay porn as a result. Very few films these days are of any interest to me, what with most models covered in that shitty ink, with plugs and piercings, and shaved to look like 16-year-old girls. Plus, there’s no story line that is carried throughout the films (or rarely), which always makes a movie hotter. God forbid one would ask a model to act. LegendMen still produces great photography, as does Bel Ami (but again, the shaving to an extreme). Falcon these days rarely holds my interest, and Titan has gone to hell these past two years. We can blame the Internet all we want, but true talent is rare when it comes to directing and cinematography.

    Reply

  8. John N August 30th, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    Why is everyone saying porn is ruined because of technology? Thanks to the internet, there is more porn available than ever, and tons more ultra hot guys doing it. There are so many to chose from and new scenes are coming out constantly. Yes, I agree, back in the day when a movie came out it was a bigger deal because porn wasn’t as plentiful, but isn’t it better to have much, much more porn to chose from? The quality on it is still very high, (yes, I agree some is crap). Isn’t it better to get porn with the convenience of being able to pick from tons of different types of men, and countless scenes without ever having to leave your home? Think about all the positives with today’s market.

    Reply

    • Casey August 31st, 2013 at 7:26 AM

      Porn hasn’t been ruined by technology, but quantity does not equal quality. The amount of good, let alone great porn today is minimal. Not “some” is crap. A LOT is crap. I think the above comments from people at Falcon demonstrate the care put into product that simply isn’t there anymore. Compare this to Men.com, a site that uploads one video a day. Probably more than 50% of them are garbage, poorly edited and unimaginatively produced. Frankly I think this all started with the use of video over film, but that’s another argument for another day. I would compare the situation to a meal. Would you rather have a buffet of terrible fatty fried food that makes you feel terrible after eating it, or a finely cooked steak dinner at Peter Luger’s that is filling and satisfying?

      Reply

      • mick September 1st, 2013 at 11:00 AM

        Casey: In my humble opinion the demise of the box cover was when the internet became the main distribution system for videos. There was not longer any need for a box cover. Shoot it, edit it, upload it and let the buyer view it. In a way the flash player photo that you click on to view or preview a scene has become the new box cover photo. It usually doesn’t leave anything to the imagination and is intended to make you want to see the scene. Most studios require a photographer to shoot the photo with both models looking at the camera while they are engaged in sex so the viewer feels as if he’s connecting with the models. Personally, I think the classic Falcon box covers with a hot man on the cover showing his hardon through his Calvins is a lot more arousing. But, again, that is just my opinion. And please note that I haven’t worked for Falcon in several years.

        Perhaps I should do a book of the box covers that I shot for Falcon, Studio 2000, Odyssey Men, Lucas Entertainment, Hot House, Bel Ami, Jet Set, Channel 1, Colt, Matt Sterling and a few others. :)

        Reply

  9. Brian August 30th, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    So basically the author of this piece only likes covers where the guy or guys are looking seductively at the viewer.

    Reply

  10. Casey August 31st, 2013 at 7:31 AM

    I would surely snap up a coffee table book of just video covers from not just Falcon, but Men of Odyssey, Titan, Hot House/Bullwhip, Studio 2000, and Vivid Man (maybe the most important part of their productions was the box cover). It’s interesting to note the complete lack of cock shots on the “classic” covers, which actually looks preferable to the glaring but beautiful dick of Jessy Ares on the Stag Homme cover. But that’s the changing market for ya.

    Just out of curiosity, when do you think the turning point was for video/DVD box covers?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Add a picture



ABOUT US | EMAIL US