Jim Powers: Two Decades of Comedy Gold
Controversial. Irreverent. Hilarious. Resourceful. Dedicated. These are just a few of the words used to paint a picture of one of the most colorful personalities in porn: veteran director Jim Powers. For the past 20 years, the self proclaimed industry lifer has dedicated himself to creating the kind of adult entertainment that makes people feel good about masturbating in their love-less living rooms. We caught up with the zany award-winner to discuss humor, the art of parody, and his latest spoofs for Smash Pictures.
Gonzo killed the parody in the ’90s. What brought it back?
In the late ’80s, it was common to do a rip-off of a movie, but because porn companies were so scared of being sued, they didn’t do the full-on parodies that have become the rage … Gonzo killed features in the ’90s because they were very cookie cutter and safe. [John] Stagliano reinvented the Amateur market; and we all followed along. You could do anything in the new gonzo world. I made short, storydriven horror/science fiction/freak movies, gangbangs, etc. It was Hunter S. Thompson. It was the summer of love. We were on drugs.
What is it about mixing sex and comedy that works?
You have to laugh when you’re alone jacking off. Otherwise, you’ll start crying.
JM Productions’ “Perverted Stories 22” featured a parody of “The Exorcist” in which Mila, Queen of Nasty, masturbates with a banana and squirts pea soup out of her asshole and onto the faces of two priests. How important is it to find the right project to parody?
I take my parodies very seriously, but not myself so seriously — which is what separates me from a few of these geniuses out here. This is fucking porn! But, let’s make it the best we can because we got to live with it. When I do a parody, I watch the movie. I look for the scene that has the obvious sexual set-up. What’s the most memorable? In the “Exorcist,” Regan was fucking herself with a crucifix. It was set up for porn.
As a horror fan, did you feel any added pressure spoofing John Carpenter’s “Halloween” for Smash?
I approached “Halloween” as if I was remaking the original — just with no time or budget. Shit, every sex scene was laid out for me already. Classic horror porn. I just didn’t want to make it like a lame-ass generic “look-at-us-we’re-porn-stars” type parody. I went out and found houses never used in porn. I tried to really convey the feeling of the original.
It’s better than Rob Zombie’s “Halloween.”
I’ve never made a movie I’ve been happy with, but I did shoot a couple of my all-time favorite scenes. Lily LaBeau was amazing, and I thought we nailed the scene where Michael tries to get her in the closet and he rises up behind her afterwards. The shooting of Michael is pretty much spot-on.
Tell us about “An American Werewolf in London.”
“American Werewolf in London” is another movie that had an obvious sexual element to it. This is another shooters/camera angle type movie with little actual special effects and no CGI. I tried to convey the feel of a werewolf chasing you. But, my favorite part was going to London with Ben English to film the pub scene. Who can say they’ve done that — other than a prostitute he’s trying to bring to America?
Horror and porn are good bedfellows, but how challenging was it to spoof the huge comedy hit “Bridesmaids,” which is now up for some Academy Awards?
You mean I’m not up for the Oscar? The “Bridesmaids” parody has every relevant scene to make it a great copy of the original. And, yes, she does shit her dress. Every girl in that movie saved my ass because they could act. We had two days to shoot a 35-page script.
How did your deal with Smash come about?
I met [vice president] Stuart [Wall] in Berlin. We hit it off. I appreciate that he truly cares about the movies he puts out and who is in them. I’ve shot for companies in the past where they never even watched what I turned in.
Smash isn’t as hardcore as most. How has that influenced you as a director?
The one misperception about me has always been that I’m some sort of maniac that hates people and treats women like whores. It’s so far from the truth it’s laughable. I’ve always been about getting the job done. I started out as a feature guy. I use to shoot all the movies for Spice Network back in the old days of cable.
But if you want a slut tossed in a trash can and 20 degenerates jerking off on her, then — God damn it — we’ll make it. I pride myself on being able to shoot the nastiest of the nasty to romantic softcore. I think I’ve found the perfect place at Smash to make a lot of the stuff I have a talent for.