The series debuted a decade ago with "Skuff: Downright Dirty." A pair of sequels followed in 2003 ("Downright Filthy") and 2005 ("Downright Wrong"). Studio topper Steven Scarborough has helmed every installment, including the latest — "Skuff 4: Downright Fierce."
When the first films were produced, leather-BSDM was considered a rarified sub-genre of interest to a small, devoted group of consumers. Today the film is being released into a market saturated with extreme fetish play.
Brent Smith is the Hot House VP/Creative Director. "We find it interesting to read about how fetish is so trendy right now," he told XBIZ. "Steven practically invented the genre with the 'Abduction' series at Falcon Studios and the fisting scenes they would add to the mail-order versions of their films."
He notes Hot House has been at the forefront of the genre with two long-running subsidiary labels devoted to leather, BDSM, fisting and other fetish play — Club Inferno and Plain Wrapped Video — that make up two-thirds of the company's catalog.
"We believe that other studios have seen us running unchallenged in this arena and are trying to muscle in on our turf," he said. "But we also have an enormous, devoted fan base that understands the authenticity of the Hot House brand."
Other studios "dress their models in chaps and call it a leather movie," Smith notes. "The 'Skuff' movies have become the most recognized series in the leather genre because we cast sexy, muscular leathermen who are into the leather lifestyle. Set them loose to fuck on our fantastic, operatic sets and you've got one beautiful product that's hard to beat."
In addition to Gunn, King, Wagner and West, the "Skuff 4" cast is filled out by fellow exclusives Vince Ferelli, Ross Hurston and Ethan Wolfe.
Supporting players include Race Cooper, real-life partners Brendan and Luke Davies, Derrek Diamond and Andrew Justice.
Smith and Scarborough stress the new film's art direction and set decoration spearheaded by Richard Board. "He has been our lighting and set designer pretty much from the company's inception in 1993," Smith noted.
As they planned out the film's content, the company decided to add a twist to a threesome anchored by Kyle King with Luke and Brendan Davies. "We had been talking about doing a latex/rubber scene for some time. During our last few trips through Europe we noticed that leather is considered part of the old guard and almost passé. The rubber and latex scene is what the new generation has embraced." Smith said.
They decided to add such a vignette to "Skuff 4" as a nod of appreciation to the company's European fan base.
"Given rubber's properties, it is ideal gear for a piss scene," Smith recalled. "But then we decided it might be really interesting visually to add rain. The models were real troupers; we had a little trouble keeping the temperature of the water constant. The scene took almost an entire day to capture."
The fifth and final "Skuff 4" vignette debuts online in the Hot House Backroom membership site next week.
The DVD will subsequently go on sale May 18 at the official Hot House site and hit the wholesale market June 19.
For wholesale inquiries visit Paladin Video online or call (800) 228-8395.