When the 2005 AVN award for best classic DVD was announced earlier this year in Vegas, winner Jason Green, co-owner of Paradise Visuals, was out getting some food with friend and porn actress Felix Vicious.
“We never thought we’d win; we were up against some big, well-established companies, like Caballero,” he said, adding that Paradise Visuals didn’t have the ad budget — and thus the exposure — that some of those bigger companies have. So he and Felix decided not to bother attending the awards show.
“I found out we won at about 4 a.m. when I saw it on AVN.com,” he said.
Although many in the business pooh-pooh the monetary significance of winning an AVN Lucite slab, Green said it helped his company tremendously.
“I was selling Ginger Lynn DVDs out of my kitchen. I had 2,500 DVDs,” he recalled. “Then we won the AVN award, and it helped. People started to realize we were back in business. The older fans remembered us, but we're trying to get this whole new generation to find these movies too.”
Although Paradise Visuals was something of an underdog in this year’s competition, the company is by no means a new kid on the porno block. It was born around 1983, but owner Michael Paulsen eventually decided it had become a headache, for various reasons, and let Metro Interactive use the company name and sold the VHS rights to his library.
Two years ago, Green said, “I got the rights to it. We [he and partner Cecil B. Watkins] kind of inherited it. Nobody died. Basically Cecil had the rights to the movies — he made a verbal agreement before DVDs were even invented — but he waited so many years to do it that I told him, 'Listen, I'll do all the work. I'll run the company, I'll do everything, just cut me in as a partner.' So I went in as a partner with him, and I renegotiated to get the rights back to the movies.”
But as Green told AVN back in September, his approach to the re-release of those classics on DVD was a deviation from the norm.
“What happens is most of these companies seem to rush to put their classic movies out,” Green said. “The first one we had was called Ginger Lynn: The Movie. Which was two Traci Lords movies that we edited together to cut Traci Lords out of the movie [due to Lords’ underage scandal]. It was also Christy Canyon's first movie.”
“We basically started selling them ourselves,” he continued. “We bought space in AVN. We got Paladin to distribute for us, at first as a favor. They started helping us out distributing the movies.”
To increase modern-viewer interest in such classics, Green took care in putting together fresh extras on the DVDs, including lengthy interviews with Ron Jeremy and Christy Canyon for Ginger Lynn.
Paradise Visual’s next re-release, all but guaranteed to generate interest, is John Holmes' last movie, The Devil in Mr. Holmes.
“He had HIV when he filmed the movie,” Green explained. “It basically brought him out of retirement; no one knew he had HIV but his wife, his doctor and manager. They didn't tell Paradise Visuals that. So he'd been overseas and made the movie, and luckily nobody was infected. That's the next one we're putting out, that movie originally came out in 1988. But it's never been available on DVD before.”
“It has an hour-long interview with his ex-wife, Laurie Holmes. I think she pinpoints exactly how he got HIV. It's a really good interview,” Green enthused. “It was like, now we can get people who are 18 to 25 to hear of our company, too. Then we started getting interest in making new movies.”
Given his background in mainstream movies and TV — Green worked for Troma Entertainment and on MTV’s "Real World" series and "The Geraldo Rivera Show" — as well as screenwriting experience, Green decided to write a new movie for Paradise Visuals to shoot.
“Since the classic PV features had a story, we had to come up with one. So we made this movie called X-Rated Heiress: The London Holton Story,” Green said, explaining the germination of the tongue-in-cheek porno loosely based on the real-life blond, barnyard-dwelling moronic heiress everyone loves to hate. “Everyone says, ‘That’s hot’ over and over again. It was Paradise Visuals’ first movie in 15 years. Christy Canyon directed it; she's never directed a movie before.”
When asked how he scored such a coup getting Canyon to direct for him, Green said simply, “She dated the original owner of PV for a long time. We started hiring her to do signings at the AVN show. I think she looks better now than when she was young. … She's done interviews where they're like, 'How did they get you [to direct]?' And she says, ‘They asked.’ We were pretty lucky, and also to have someone who was a classic PV star direct it appealed to us.”
Green said he wants to have The Devil in Mr. Holmes out by summer; London Holton, which stars Felix Vicious, has a tentative release date of July.
Although Green said he wanted to keep in line with the tradition of Paradise Visuals by making plot-based porn, London Holton, a comedy with a solid story line, exemplifies Green’s personal taste for porn movies that have a story, and can stand on their own even without the sex scenes.
“I want to see something that holds my interest,” he explained. “I think we can get the reputation of making movies that have stories, have acting. Our movies are filled with non-sex roles, because I put all these people in them that I know can act and tell the story.”
He continued candidly: “There are aspects of the adult business I don't really like. Me personally, I like women, so I don't like to see women get donkey punched. Or women getting pissed on or getting beaten. I'm not into seeing how many cocks you can stuff in a girl’s ass. In our movies, we make fun of all these things.”
Another thing missing from new Paradise Visuals releases, aside from the donkey punch, are fresh-out-high-school talent.
“I think the age [to start in this business] should be 21,” Green said. “I think 18 is way too young for these girls to get in the business. I think you get a lot of girls who had an odd childhood or whatever, and at 18, they make a snap decision.
Although he takes casting and the hiring of his crew very seriously, Green said he likes to lampoon some of the envelope-pushing tenets that many in the industry hold dear. “In the next movie we have coming out, me and Felix are going to play a couple having trouble with their relationship. We got to this resort for couples, and it turns out to be a swingers’ place. In each room there's a different disgusting fetish. All we do is make fun of the industry. How ridiculous it is,” he said.
Green has a reverence for the classics, however, not to mention the possibilities for the porn auteur.
“With Paradise Visuals, I realized, this is my chance to make my movies and get my stuff across,” he said. “In Hollywood, you'll struggle forever. You're in porn for a month; you get an award. It's like instant gratification. I really believe in this potential of these porn movies.”
Visit ParadiseVisuals.com for more information.