NakedSword Originals has snagged XBIZ Awards hardware for Best Gay Studio two years in a row and they’re staking a strong claim for a threepeat in a summary of the year’s top all-male skinflicks, but labelmates Hot House Video and Raging Stallion Studios won’t go down without a fight: each has a number of strong titles that have been released the first half of 2018, with rival studios Men.com, TitanMen and BelAmi, among others, spoiling for a rematch.
In the NakedSword Originals arsenal is “Berkeley: Sophomore Year,” a sizzling follow-up to one of their most popular titles of recent vintage, which explores hookups between campus residents, such as the respective heads of the progressive and conservative student groups. “Paris Perfect,” featuring the return of erotica legend Francois Sagat, is a jaunty overseas adventure from San Francisco to the City of Lights and a superb showcase for co-leads Johnny V and Colton Grey. Meanwhile, “The Devil’s Deal and Other Sordid Tales” comprises a quartet of spooky vignettes, including a supernatural love story starring Ruckus and Casey Jacks, and a mysterious hookup with a demonic figure played by Viktor Belmont, who is the first transman to be cast in an all-male sexpic in over a decade. “Pool Mates” is simply straightforward poolside frolicking and yet Francois Sagat, Seth Santoro, Roman Todd and Arad Winwin contribute some of the best onscreen sex of the year. All of the flicks were helmed (or co-directed) by mr. Pam, two-time XBIZ Awards winner for Gay Director of the Year. Like last year’s winning “MXXX: The Hardest Ride,” this year’s crop of titles from NakedSword Originals showcase Pam’s penchant for spotlighting sensuality and personal connection between the men (as well as welcome humor, such as in “Making Rent,” co-directed by Leo Forte, which explores what young hunks will do to earn their rent in an expensive city like San Francisco).
NakedSword Originals has snagged XBIZ Awards hardware for Best Gay Studio two years in a row and they’re staking a strong claim for a threepeat.
Perennial nominee TitanMen boasts a new title from legendary helmer Joe Gage — “West Texas Park & Ride” featuring Matthew Bosch and Luke Adams — and again spotlights the slow-burn sensuality among blue-collar, uniformed studs and teasing anticipation for which Gage is infamous. Over the past few years, house director Jasun Mark has embarked on ambitious project of interlinked titles — many of his films include recurring characters and plotlines that allow an opportunity for his roster of studs to stretch their muscles, pun intended, as they do in “Bad Cop 2” (a superb showcase for XBIZ Awards nominees Bruce Beckham and Micah Brandt), “L.A. Cruising” (more great work from Beckham and Brandt, who are on fire this year), “Muscle Daddies” (stellar work from studpup Luke Adams and burly Liam Knox, a leading contender for Performer of the Year) and “Big Brother,” a sterling showcase for Luke Adams and costars Jesse Jackman, Jason Vario and Daymin Voss.
Men.com and director Alter Sin have earned recent XBIZ Awards nominations with erotic parodies of “Tarzan” and “Star Wars” and in 2018 they’ve continued to put an all-male twist on cinematic blockbusters with XXX parodies of “Spider-Man,” starring a perfectly cast Will Braun, and “Justice League” with A-listers Colby Keller (current XBIZ Awards winner for Gay Performer of the Year) as an openly gay Green Lantern, Johnny Rapid (adorable as ever) as The Flash and Francois Sagat as Aquaman, with a pitch-perfect Ryan Bones as a gravelly-voiced Batman and a playful Paul Canon as Robin (and featuring “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Manila Luzon as a campy Wonder Woman). Men.com also broadened their scope with such flicks as “Paranormal,” featuring Paddy O’Brian, an erotic twist on ghost-hunting TV shows that employs editing and sound tricks to striking effect, and helmer Chi Chi LaRue’s apocalyptic thriller “Dangerous Days,” set in the near-future when a virus has wiped all women from the population.
Elsewhere, Hot House Video turned heads with a series of sexpics that center on athletes and gym sex, among them “Gear Play” — featuring fitness model Aaron Savvy plus A-listers and Performer of the Year contenders Beaux Banks, JJ Knight, Arad Winwin and Austin Wolf — “Spot Me” (highlighting terrific work from newcomer Dante Colle as well as veteran horndogs Micah Brandt, Jimmy Durano, Ryan Rose and Winwin, among others) and “Jock Doc” (the latter featuring an all-too-rare appearance by erotica superstar Dean Monroe). Lablemate Raging Stallions earned critical kudos for a wide variety of skinflicks, like sex comedy “TSA Checkpoint” (among other scenarios, Alex Buldocek and Lorenzo Flexx can’t resist trying out the imposing pleasure products they uncover when inspecting passenger luggage), psychological thriller “Trapped” (featuring a splashy role for Keller), all-sex romp “24-Hour Boner” (with excellent work from tattooed Rikk York, burly Sergeant Miles and sex bomb Seth Santoro) and the feature “Vice,” which courted a bit of controversy in the blogosphere for its depiction of a drug that turned its users into cock-craving studs. It’s starry cast includes Beaux Banks, Damon Bolt, Jack Hunter and Daymin Voss — all of them contenders for Gay Performer of the Year — and Keller, who is making a strong case for a repeat win.
BelAmi is celebrating its 25th anniversary with its massive “Jambo Africa” series that teases out the release of 150 sex scenes featuring 65 performers throughout the year. In the meantime their sterling roster of titles includes “My Name is Nils,” a spectacular debut for newcomer Nils Tatum, as well as a new installment of “Lovers in the Night,” which mixes in fan-favorite studs like Adam Archuleta with striking newcomers such as Helmet Huxley and Dylan Maguire, and puts a sensual spin on the studio’s typical bright, sunny formula by depicting nighttime encounters and allows room for its directors to play with light and shadow to set the scene.
CockyBoys, a multi-XBIZ Awards winner, contributed “Blind Hookups & Other Fantasies” without a clinker in the bunch — Keller and rising star Jeremy Spreadums, pups Taylor Reign and Josh Moore in a hotel room assignation involving a blindfold — with “Fleapit” on the horizon, a sex-packed feature written and directed by indie auteur Bruce LaBruce.