Imprisoned pornographer Max Hardcore gets a beat down
Notorious pornographer Max Hardcore (real name: Paul Little) is currently serving out a 46-month prison sentence at La Tuna Federal Prison in Anthony, Texas for trafficking in obscenity, but a new adult movie stars a Hardcore lookalike getting the crap beaten out of him — by a girl.
NB: This post features graphic sexual depictions. Many if not most of the links are NSFW. Read on at your own peril.
Not long ago, I received an email from an old friend, the proprietor of the popular sex blog Daze Reader. “I thought you might get a kick out of this,” the note read. A link sent me to “This Ain’t Max Hardcore: A XXX Parody” on PornParody.com. These days, porn parodies are one of the increasingly limited number of adult movie genres still selling. (Read my story on how the recession has affected the adult movie business: “They Shoot Porn Stars, Don’t They?“) From “The Cosby Show” to the Sandra Bullock and Jesse James sex scandal to “Star Trek,” there is no subject the porn industry is unwilling to send up.
Even those with only a passing interest in porn may have at least a vague knowledge of who Max Hardcore is. Directorially-speaking, he came of age in late-’90s Porn Valley, when competition was harsh, obscenity prosecutions were seldom, and extreme porn was the hot new thing. Even back then, Hardcore was at the vanguard. Surely, he had his peers in extreme porn — Greg Dark, Jim Powers, and Rob Black among them — but Max? Well, his brand of porn was something else altogether.
In his movies, women are urinated upon, forcibly fellated until they vomit, their orifices cranked open with speculums. They are pile-driven, skull-fucked, and fish-hooked. Mostly, they are dressed and behave as if they are underage girls — somewhere in the neighborhood of, say, six or seven. These women-as-girls are accosted on playgrounds, where they suck provocatively on lollipops and respond to Hardcore’s come-ons with baby talk. In their sex scenes — if they can be called that, as they seem more like systematic attempts to break the human spirit recorded on videotape for posterity and profit — Hardcore, who wears a cowboy hat and whose prop of choice is a hideous canary yellow sofa, violates their holes while spewing forth a stream of degrading language.
Assuredly, Hardcore’s movies are not for the faint of heart. They are targeted at a demographic one would perhaps rather not dwell upon the existence of for any length of time. They are less “movies” and more political demonstrations: of power, of violence, of one man’s seeming frustration with the opposite sex: porn’s very own final girl, who, no matter how hard he tries, will not lay down and (pardon my language) fucking die, leaving poor Max with no choice but to return to the scene of the crime and do it all over again. Its brothers can be found in the MMA, war porn, and your average, sloppy neighborhood bar fight.
I can’t remember the first time I came across Max because, like any good dysfunction, it was as if he was always there. I recall meeting him, say, a decade or so ago, at a party in a downtown Los Angeles loft owned by a porn star who got her start in the sex business, I was told, as a teenager when her single mother sent her to a nearby airport to turn tricks so her family would have enough money to eat. I believe he was drunk. I seem to remember him threatening me. I gathered he didn’t like the way I was looking at him. I recall finding this somewhere between amusing and frightening. I never saw him again.
Of course, like cockroaches that reappear in the spring after the long, cold winter, Max didn’t go away. He continued to make his freaky movies, even when George W. Bush was elected to office, a development that sent Porn Valley’s denizens running around like Chicken Little, proclaiming the great War on Porn was about to begin. Although, it didn’t. Not really, anyway. Not for a while, at least. Even then, not so much. Looking back, you have to wonder if, towards the end, Max thought he was safe. Until he wasn’t.
In 2007, Hardcore was handed a 10-count obscenity indictment, care of the Department of Justice’s Obscenity Prosecution Task Force. As it turned out, “Max Hardcore Golden Guzzlers 7,” the promotional copy of which describes its starlets as “urinal-sluts” and its contents as “utterly filthy,” was a problem. As was his ode to fisting, “Fists of Fury 4: Euro Edition.” As was “Planet Max 16: Euro Edition,” the description of which is redundant enough to its sister videos that it doesn’t really merit repeating here, but, suffice to say, there are plenty of exclamation points involved, and everyone with a vagina gets what she has coming to her, thanks to Max, her self-appointed punisher.
Finally, in 2008, Hardcore met his fate in a Tampa, Florida courtroom, where he was found guilty on 10 counts of shipping obscene material through the USPS and 10 counts of selling obscene material over the internet. “It just seems a very high price to pay, I think,” he pleaded with Judge Susan Bucklew at his sentencing, “and I ask you to understand how much I’ve suffered.” The lady was unmoved. “Mr. Little, I find this almost incredible,” she replied. “You seem to look at this whole thing as a big joke.” Bucklew gave Little three years and ten months of incarceration to think over the matter. In addition, he was forced to surrender three of his websites, including but not limited to pissedonpornstars.com, personally fined $7,500, and his company, Max World Entertainment, fined $75,000.
Across the country, liberals and free-thinkers were sent into a tailspin, bellyaching and blogging about the wrongheadedness of sentencing a mere pornographer to prison. Shrieky pundit extraordinaire Glenn Greenwald saw the downfall of America in Hardcore’s conviction and sentencing. Conjuring up torture memo writer John Yoo and visions of Abu Ghraib, Greenwald posited Little as a sacrificial lamb slaughtered by the hypocritical swinging axe of the US government.
“So, to recap, in the Land of the Free: if you’re an adult who produces a film using other consenting adults, for the entertainment of still other consenting adults, which merely depicts fictional acts of humiliation and degradation, the DOJ will prosecute you and send you to prison for years,” Greenwald wrote. “But if government officials actually subject helpless detainees in their custody to extreme mental abuse, degradation, humiliation and even mock executions long considered ‘torture’ in the entire civilized world, the DOJ will argue that they have acted with perfect legality and, just to be sure, Congress will hand them retroactive immunity for their conduct.” All this, I was to find, Greenwald had decided without ever having laid eyes upon a Max Hardcore movie.
At the time, I weighed in with a blog post of my own, “To the Max“:
Reading Greenwald’s post, I wondered if he had ever watched a Max Hardcore movie. I sent him an email, asking if he had. A few minutes later, I received a reply. ‘No, I haven’t. But I read about its content. Why?’ I replied: ‘You should.’ He replied: ‘I really don’t care what consenting adults do with one another in order to entertain themselves or please themselves sexually–I’m not a busy body trying to sit in judgment of what other adults choose to do with themselves, especially in their sex lives. Not even the Government claimed that these films involved minors or non-consent, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s nobody’s business what they do, and whatever they do isn’t going to change my mind in the slightest.’ In 1964, US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart opined famously of pornography: ‘I know it when I see it.’ In Greenwald’s case, one would imagine it would be hard to know what one has seen if one has not, in fact, seen it. If one hasn’t seen ‘it,’ how can one know what one has seen?
I had seen Max’s movies. I found them terrifically depressing. To be clear, I have seen many, many (far too many, really, come to think of it) movies that fall into the explicit, depraved, and explicitly depraved category. I’ve seen cophrophagy porn, senior citizen porn, a porn in which Ron Jeremy appeared as a baby in an adult diaper and a bonnet, midget porn, world-record setting gangbang porn (I was present for one of those, and it’s hard to say which was worse), so-called “ready to drop” pregnancy porn, and a movie in which a series of young women had sex with men and then promptly threw up onto a black tarp spread over a sagging bed after taking what I assumed to be Ipecac. Suffice to say, it takes a lot to shock this reporter when it comes to porn movies. Max’s movies aren’t shocking — not most significantly. They are sad. Everyone suffers. No one is happy. If joy is located at one end of the spectrum, this is where its opposite resides. This is the monstrous mating of unfulfilled longing and untenable hate. Their progeny: an abomination.
(Unconvinced? Try this.)
So, with Max safely tucked away in prison, I was intrigued to find out someone had made a movie about him, starring a fake Max, wherein, I saw, as I clicked through the link, the tables were turned, if only as a fantasy. For, I could see by the box cover of this movie, this Max, this fake Max, was the one getting violated this time around, by a smiling, pretty young girl, who, I peered closer, had stuck her foot up his ass — quite literally. How far the mighty had fallen. Perhaps equally fascinating was the name of the company that had made the movie: Debi Diamond Films.
Debi Diamond is something of a porn legend. Not in the Jenna Jameson sense. In the hardcore sense. In the ’80s and early ’90s, Diamond was doing extreme porn before anyone else was, as a performer. She had left the industry by the time I started writing about it, but every once in a while I would hear her name spoken in reverential tones, and I had seen some eye-popping, unforgettable photographs of her in Ian Gittler’s Pornstar, in which she was naked, covered in melted wax, and looked like she was out of her mind. In his book, Gittler had described her as one of the “hard-core ones [who] have some kind of need to go all the way.” She was the real deal.
For years, she’d been out of the business, but now she was back, producing porn movies, and she had taken on good ol’ Max, of all people, as her muse. I was curious as to how this had come to be, so I sent an email to her website, and, not long after, I heard back from her. “I’ve been a busy Bee,” she wrote, “and this is very good.” She had uploaded the video so I could watch it. So I did.
“This Ain’t Max Hardcore: A XXX Parody” is 51 minutes of pornographic hilarity. Granted, it helps if you’re the type of person who finds the sight of a man pretending to be an infamous, incarcerated pornographer with a foot inserted in his rectum amusing. There are only two people in the movie: Rod Fontana, who plays Max, and Kristina Rose, who plays Kristina, the girl. Fake Max acts like Real Max. Rose acts like a Max Girl. The scene starts predictably enough. The two fool around on a sofa. The girl acts coy. Max persists in his sexual advances. This time, the girl has had about enough. “You’re pissing me off!” she scolds as Max attempts to spank her. “You’re annoying me,” she announces, shoving her white stripper heel into his chest.
Soon enough, her foot’s in his face, and her tone is scolding. “You can’t even kiss my feet right!” she pronounces. “You’re so pathetic,” she decides, exasperated. “I’m gonna skull-fuck you,” she menaces. “Look how pretty you look!” she crows, standing over him, her foot stuffed into his mouth. He garbles incomprehensibly. Maneuvering himself around, he reaches for her butt. “I don’t think so!” she shouts and wallops him across the face. Things take a turn for the worse — for Max, that is — when she instructs him to pull down his pants, “Shut up and bend over,” wales him mercilessly with a paddle, and rewards his efforts by shoving her lollipop unceremoniously up his butt. “Stop struggling!” she shouts. “You’re being a little bitch!”
Over the following episode, she smothers him to the point of suffocation with her rear-end, threatens to push his penis so far in he will “have a vagina,” punches him multiple times directly in the rectum, screams at him, “Don’t be a bitch, don’t be a bitch, DON’T BE A BIIIITCH!!!”, deems him a “little baby” and a “pussy,” pins him down and spits in his face (“Good girls get spitted on, riiiight?” she taunts), wanders off-camera and returns wearing Susie Homemaker yellow rubber gloves, shoves the majority of one hand up his ass (“Don’t tell me what to do!” she hollers when he protests. “I do what I want!”), gets a significant portion of her right foot up his butt (“Can I put my cock in your butt?” he ventures politely, seeking reciprocity. “NO!” she retorts. “Take it like you dish it, bitch!”), sprints off-camera and reappears wielding a riding crop and wearing a (what else?) strap-on dildo (“Wardrobe change!” she sings. “Like my new outfit?”), finds him wearing a horse’s bridle with a bit in his mouth, proceeds to sodomize him with her plastic phallus, demands he tell her how much he likes it (“That’s debatable,” he responds. “No debate!” she barks.), until, finally, he delivers the money shot onto her backside, to which she responds, “OH, GROSS!”, and, for the finale, climbs aboard him as if he is her pony, a butt plug with a pony’s tail attached to it in his bottom, steals his cowboy hat and dons it herself, and, whooping, “Yippee ki yay, motherfucker!”, rides him off into the sunset.
It was unlike any other movie I had ever seen. Whose idea was this? Why Max? What was the movie trying to say? I called Diamond to find out.
Today, she is 45, a mother, and an adult movie producer. The idea came about when she was talking to her director, Michael Kahn, who specializes in fetish videos (“He, you know, beats people,” she explained.). Together, they came up with the idea. At first, they were reluctant. “We said, ‘No, do we want to do that?’ Then I said, ‘No, we have to.’” Fontana was perfect for the part, so long as a cowboy hat was pulled halfway over his face. They hired Kristina. Off they went.
Diamond hadn’t met Max, but she was familiar with his work. In him, she saw a kind of doppelganger, a mirror of her former self in front of the camera. Once upon a time, after all, she was as hardcore as Hardcore. “I’ve watched everything. I’m disgusted, I’m chilled, I’m in love with the freedom that we have. Things he did are unbelievable to me,” she said of his oeuvre. “On the other hand, I haven’t met anybody who said Paul Little wasn’t, like, the nicest guy on the earth. I hope he takes this as a compliment.”
When she started out in the business, shooting porn was illegal. “We were running around and hiding. I was so young at that time, I didn’t realize what I was watching, the progression of our rights, our freedoms,” she said. “I feel bad, you know, because a pornographer is a pornographer. I don’t feel sorry for him, but I admire him, in a way, because I have that inside me, that line pushing thing inside me. You do the crime, you gotta be prepared to do the time. But I can’t put down another person who’s in my same business, because pushing lines is a beautiful thing. You have to know when to back off a bit.”
In Hardcore movies, “The girls were always the losers.” She wanted to change all that. “It was totally, ‘Let’s work this guy over. I wanted to turn the tables on him.” Once on set, the performers improvised. “We told [Kristina] she didn’t have to take off her clothes, inflict as much pain on him as possible, and still stay cute.” The cameraman couldn’t stop laughing.
“Maybe it does come from a little anger inside,” she said. It sounded like an afterthought.
Rod Fontana, who played La Tuna FCI prisoner #44902-112, is no more your average woodsman than Paul F. Little was your average pornographer. If his name rings a bell, it may be because he was the subject of a New York Times profile, “Man of the Flesh to Man of the Cloth.” Three years ago, Fontana was planning on becoming a preacher. Now, this.
When I reached him by phone, he had not yet made it to divinity school, but he was still planning on getting there. In addition to having performed in what he estimated to be over 4,000 sex scenes and directed some 400 adult movies (his resume includes roles in “Ass Clowns,” “This Ain’t Gilligan’s Island XXX,” and “Just Another Porn Movie 4″), Fontana, who is in his late fifties, is a former Army lieutenant colonel. He is 6′3″ and speaks with a slight southern lilt from having grown up Southern Baptist in South Carolina. “I’m pretty much known for being the freakiest guy in the business,” he informed me.
He sounded tired. After the Times article came out, he said, “the Episcopal Church just threw me under the bus.” He has continued making porn, but his dream is to be ordained. “I didn’t think one way or the other” about playing Max, he recalled. “I’m a performer and actor. I’ve been doing this for 34 years.” Max is his friend, but “It’s hard to do him” on camera, he confided. He explained channeling Max to me thusly: “You gotta be anal retentive, and purse your lips, and speak through your teeth.” What does he expect his friend will think of this impersonation upon his release from prison? “I think he would laugh, I really do, and he would have a good time with it. I don’t think he’d be upset at all.”
He wanted to be clear on something. “There’s not a lot of guys who can take a foot up the ass, let me tell you,” he said. “Please understand, there’s not a gay bone in my body. It’s an erogenous zone, and I think we ought treat it for what it is.” In another scene for another movie, he said, he’d had “two fists in my ass and a foot in my ass up to the ankle.” This was just another day at the office. For a little while, we talked about how some people might struggle to understand how Fontana reconciles his porn life and his religious life. “They really don’t know what Christianity is all about, and they don’t know what adult performing is about. I have no problem reconciling it,” he said. “I don’t have any problem reconciling it.”
Maybe, I thought, it was like how Paul Little and Max Hardcore weren’t the same person, and people had a hard time reconciling that. Or maybe it wasn’t.
A few days later, I called Kristina, who had served “Max” his just deserts. It was the morning, and she sounded sleepy. Over the past three years, she’s done around 230 scenes. She is 26. She’d been working all day the day before on a movie. She said she didn’t even know about the one I was calling about being “a Max Hardcore-theme thing until, like, the day before” the shoot. “Mark [Spiegler, her agent] texted me and told me to dress up like a Max Hardcore girl, and I was like ‘Okayyy.’” She’d seen Max’s movies, which was important, because, in a way, they were both playing Max, just from different positions.
As she saw it, this was a comeuppance. “Years and years of Max Hardcore dominating girls, and doing all these girls, you’d think one would come back and want her money back,” she laughed. She had seen “some of the things he does, like the skull-fucking and the fish-hooking stuff, so I could do that to Rod, like a real revenge thing. ‘Do we have a funnel available?’” She giggled. “‘Do I get to skull-fuck him?’” I asked what she thought of Max, whom she’d met. She described him as a “sweet, little old man.”
Eventually, I said, “OK, I think that’s it,” because I couldn’t think of anything else to ask, but, for some reason, one of us brought up what Max was like in bed in real life. What did a man who did these things publicly want done to him in private? we wondered. Was Max Hardcore, the OPTF’s public enemy no. 1, a mouse or a monster? “The ones that come off the most, like, dominating or aggressive, the ones in this business people are afraid of them, those are the ones that are the biggest pussies of all, those are the ones that want you to treat them like shit,” she explained matter-of-factly. “They want to be really dominated. The ones with the most power. That’s what I like to think, at least. I like to think every crazy Max Hardcore girl he’s with beats him. Then,” she said, “it’s even.”
A few weeks ago, I decided I would go interview Paul Little in prison. Then I changed my mind. I was curious about what was going through his head, but I knew that already. Every once in a while, he sends a letter to his cronies in the adult business. He says he is a victim of the United States government. He presents himself as a man who symbolizes freedom bound and gagged. He plays the role of a simple foot soldier serving out his sentence so one day he will be free from this tyranny. Regardless, he has always struck me as your garden variety sociopath. Sociopaths are a one-note. What makes them interesting — their utter impunity, their unabashed ruthlessness, their pathological lack of compassion — is what makes them dull.
During our chat, Diamond told me about something that had happened on the set that wasn’t in the movie. Kristina didn’t ride Rod-as-Max off into the sunset. She rode him into the backyard of whatever suburban house they were shooting at on that particular day, and, in the bright light of that day, she urinated on him. “She peed her whole bladder, and he drank every bit of it, and she walked away,” she said. “It was perfect.”
You see, she couldn’t put that in the movie, because urination is a no-no in porno. “Michael, we can’t put that in?” she pleaded with her director. “We have to put that in.” If you do that, he told her, “You’re going to go to jail.” People like Max “take a hit for our freedom, in a way,” Diamond observed.
She is trying to be careful. She doesn’t want to go to prison. She’s got bills to pay, mouths to feed, and more movies to make. She’s her own woman.