After Porn Ends 2 poster

Is there a genre more responsible for turning out sequels than porn? I don’t think so. Horror is the only genre that tries but doesn’t even come close in turning out successors to movies. There are at least 145 Barely Legal movies. So it makes sense that a documentary about porn would get a sequel as well. So, 5 years after the release of After Porn Ends we can welcome its sequel, the logically titled “After Porn Ends 2”.

After Porn Ends 2 doesn’t take much of a different approach compared to its predecessor. It features a series of interviews with people who have a background in porn but are no longer working in the industry. At least not in front of the camera. Most of the people being interviewed come from the golden age of porn (70’s-90’s) while a couple were active until recently like Lisa Ann who became mainstream famous for playing Sarah Palin in the Who’s Nailin’ Palin series. Next to her the main people interviewed are Janine Lindemulder, Ginger Lynn, Chasey Lain, Georgina Spelvin, Tabitha Stevens, Brittany Andrews, Johnnie Keyes and Darren James. These people have a wide variety of stories to tell, some of them ending on a happy note, some of them not.

The concept of After Porn Ends is an interesting and entertaining one. People always love TV-items in where they catch up with a TV or movie personality who has been out of the limelight for some time now. Pornstars are no exception, though they have an added layer of mystery because their real names are often unknown to the public. In this day and age you can follow your favorite retired mainstream personality on Facebook or Instagram, but when you don’t know your favorite pornstar’s real name, that tends to be somewhat more difficult. Lucky for us we’ve got the After Porn Ends series.

There isn’t a real narrative going on here and almost all of the segments deal with ex-porn stars talking about how they enrolled into the business and what kind of an impact it had on them. Most of these people have no problem talking about their past and are quite proud of if actually. Sounds logical, because if you’re ashamed of your background in porn you probably would not go and sit in front of a camera talking about it.  Most of these people are doing pretty well for themselves nowadays. There are even snippets of an interview with a psychiatrist who discusses that having sex for money rarely damages a woman mentally. Those who are expecting an anti-porn pamphlet should look somewhere else.

That doesn’t mean After Porn Ends 2 ignores the dark side of porn. There is an interview with Darren James who was responsible for the HIV-outbreak in 2004 which resulted in a 60-day industry shutdown. Another tragic story comes from Janine Lindemulder who got wrapped up in a custody battle over her child with none other than Sandra Bullock and lost herself in substance abuse.

One of the recurring comments in this documentary is how the movies have changed. They went from scripted feature films to simple “Gonzo” style movies. Movies now often consist of a set of scenes without much of a story. Not having a global narrative either, After Porn Ends 2 is a lot like Porn movies nowadays: a series of standalone segments. Because of this I think this documentary would work better as a Youtube show. A show where they visit an ex-porn star every week or so. As interesting and fun it is to catch up with ex-porn stars, it doesn’t really seem to warrant a complete documentary without an underlying message.

Another problem this series has is that it’s probably hard to get people in front of the camera who are not so proud of their often short-lived porn career. Most of the girls these documentaries feature have built an entire career and headlined movies. These women were successful due to porn, so they tend not to be all that critical about the industry. And why should they? They made a shitload of money by simply having sex (and having a bit of marketing instincts). They could counterbalance it by trying to get girls who only had a run of six months to a year in front of the camera. How do these girls look back at that period? Where they doing it out of pure free will or was there an addiction that had to be paid? Do they mention it to their current boyfriend, husband or children? That is a territory left uncharted by this series, but which could enrich a documentary like this. The closest thing we have covering this aspect is the documentary Hot Girls Wanted.

After Porn Ends 2 is an entertaining, sometimes funny and sometimes touching documentary about the porn industry.