Category Archives: erotica

“Men in Love: M/M Romance” edited by Jerry L. Wheeler— Eighteen Stories

men in love

Wheeler, Jerry L. (editor). “Men in Love: M/M Romance”, Bold Strokes Books, 2016.

Eighteen Stories

Amos Lassen

I am not much of a short story reader and those that I do read are either for review or academic reasons. I am not quite sure why I am not wild about short stories but I think it has something to do with my wanting to sink into a longer work. Nonetheless this is an excellent collection that for a couple of days took me away from the mendacity of cold spring days in Boston where we are still wearing winter clothes and coats. There is diversity and variety galore here. I have read several of the authors before and it was like rekindling old friendships and I was surprised by the qualities of the new writers here—new to me, at least. The authors included are:

 

Nathan Burgoine

Kassandra Lea

W. Clinger

Vinton Rafe McCabe

Richard Natale

Maryn Blackburn

Gregg Shapiro

Colton Aalto

Evey Brett

George Seaton

Jerry Rabushka

Dale Cameron Lowry

Michael Bracken

Erzabet Bishop

Thom Collins

Matthew Bright

Megan McFerren

Kevin Klehr

Each writer has his own story to tell and it is a matter of taste as to which appeal to whom. I learned long ago to never name favorites and so I won’t but I will say that the two of the stories by authors that I have never read before are stand outs for me.

“ENEMIES WITH BENEFITS”— We’ve Come a Long Way

EWB poster

“Enemies with Benefits”

We’ve Come a Long Way

Amos Lassen

Babaloo Studios seems to be a step ahead of other video companies that make films about the way gay men live today as you will see in their latest release, “Enemies with Benefits”. It is not only clothing optional but is filled with sex and lots of erect penises on young gay guys. I actually had to stop watching to catch my breath a few times. This is an adult comedy that does not have many laughs but sure has a lot to see—-I often joke that this is the kind of movie to watch with a mop nearby. Steven Vasquez wrote the screenplay about Jamie (Chance Feandro), a nineteen-year-old guy who is looking for love but because he has been unable to find the right guy, he contemplates ending his life. But just as he makes his decision, he gets a visitor from the other world who shows him that life has meaning and that it is best to stay alive and deal with destiny rather than just disappear.

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However, we see that this advice might not be the best for someone who is floundering and a life of casual sex replaces a life of importance. With a full cast you young gay men who made for wonderful eye candy we get a look at gay life that we used to only be able to see in porno films. The cast includes Edward Guiterrez, Desi Santana, Steven Bright, Marshall Thomas, Grayson Lange and Addison Graham.

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I understand that the film is made up of deleted footage and odds and ends from other films of director Vasquez. He smartly decided that we should all have a chance to see it and he built a story around it but I doubt that anyone watching this will be looking for a story when they can feast that eyes on penises doing all kinds of things and attached to all kinds of hot young guys who seem to have no problem with doing it all on camera.

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This may be something new for others to follow—never throw away what is on the cutting room floor; you never know when you get piece together a film out of it. I am sure that took more work than shooting an entire new film. Speaking with Vasquez, he shared how this came to bit and I was amazed listening at all he had to especially with the shots that were filmed before digital when analog was the way to go. We also forget how quickly youngsters change from year to year so I must admire the technique used here even if this is not the kind of film that I usually watch.

“The Biggest Lover” edited by R. Jackson— Big Love

the biggest lover

Jackson, R (editor). “The Biggest Lover”, Lethe Press, 2016.

Big Love

Amos Lassen

“The Biggest Lover” is new anthology of twenty-one stories about bears and cubs and is a very diverse read about one of the groups that makes the LGBT community so diverse. “Our LGBT community is as diverse as the bigger world and it should come as no surprise that there are men out there who are into cute little twinks or muscle bound paragons”. While each story stands on its own, they all share being well-written erotica. IO always have a bit of difficulty when I review anthologies or collections because I have to decide whether to l write about each selection or to review it as a whole so I usually wait until I sit down to write and let my thoughts lead me. What I did find the overall theme here to be one of love and acceptance for the bigger men out there. I do need to emphasize the word “erotic” because these stories are sexy and while I am not a chaser or a bear, I can certainly see why thee are those out there and it is about time that they have their say literarily.

Hank Edwards (whose writing I always enjoy) is a cat lover in his personal life (have a look at his Facebook page) uses a cat as a matchmaker in his sweet “Fur Ball”. “A Man of Substance” by Dale Chase is set at the turn of the century in San Francisco and is about an actor who is looking for what he refers to as a man of substance and he does not mean intellectually. The age of computers takes off in a story of Ben Bauchlein about a techie who knows a good deal more than the newest technology.

Jeff Mann who never disappoints introduces us to Jamie in his story “The Last Gift”. Jamie, in his own mind, thinks that he is over the hill, age-wise (he is 50 plus) and he figures his days for finding lust…er, love or passed. But then he meets a hot chubby bear cub while having breakfast one morning. This is followed by another of my favorite authors, Jack Fritscher who gives us a fascinating look at a father and son relationship. Most of you will get a jolt from “Bulk City Gym”. This was the first story by John Genest that I have read and I really enjoyed disliking the main character in “Temet Nosce”. Everyone knows a guy like Don.

Charles O.V. Lyons brings us a story about the end of a relationship in “Rainy Day” and Jay Neal’s “He’s Five One, He’s Beautiful, And He’s Mine” pulled me with the first sentence. It is well written and a fun read. “Filled” by Tom Farley is a story that I am quite sure that some readers will not like because of the subject matter but looking at the way it builds says something about constructing a short story. If you are into anal play, this is a story for you. Matthew Bright is a rising star at Lethe Press with two new anthologies. Here he gives us a story about looking back. He shows that it is possible to go home again after being away for a long time and meets the guy he has always wanted to know again in “Burning on the Edge of the World”. Another new writer for me is Landon Dixon. In “Hustler’s Endgame”, we meet a good-looking young hustler who puts in an appearance at a pharmaceutical convention where every eye is on him but especially Brent, a married man who is about to learn what man on man sex is all about.

In “Golden Walrus” by Jerry Rabushka, we meet a man who has been hiding from himself and then he meets an overweight guy at the gym who asks him to spot him and you can pretty well guess the rest. Jay Starre brings us “Dionysus Tamed”, a look at what went on between Zeus and Dionysus in ancient times and there is a bit of surprise here. Moving into the paranormal, we get Skye Eagleday’s “Coming in the Night” and this one may rattle you a bit. Yes Shane Allison is here with his own special erotica in “Heavy Set”. I do not think that I have to say anymore. Dan Jaffe is another favorite writer of mine and he gives us a story about Dirk who lives in a small town and is turned on by nipples.

“Tag Team” by Larry Faulkner is about a wrestling tag team and what goes on behind the scenes. In “The Story Next Door” by Karl Taggart, we meet Perry is dealing with life after his partner died because of a heart attack. He has published his first book (porn) and is okay with life but things change when new neighbors move in and start swimming naked. “Moby Dick” by William Holden might be considered a parody of Melville’s original but instead of a great white whale, we have a great white whale of a man. “Indivisible” by Dylan Thomas Good, another new writer for me, is about accepting oneself in something of a supernatural setting. Finally there is “A Slice of Pie” by ‘Nathan Burgoine and this is one that you will just have to read to find out what is happening in it.

For those who do not want to read short synopses, here is a list of the authors and story titles”

“Furball”  by Hank Edwards

“A Man of Substance” by Dale Chase

“What the Hell?!” by Ben Bauchlein

“The Last Gift” by Jeff Mann

“Bulk City Gym (Boys to Men, Men to Giants)” by Jack Fritscher

“Temet Nosce” by John Genest

“Rainy Day” by Charles O V Lyons

“He’s Five-One, He’s Beautiful, and He’s Mine” by Jay Neal

“Filled” by Tom Farley

“Burning on the Edge of the World” by Matthew Bright

“Hustler’s Endgame” by Landon Dixon

“Golden Walrus” by Jerry Rabushka

“Dionysus Tamed” by Jay Starre

“Coming in the Night” by Skye Eagleday

“Heavy Set” by Shane Allison

“Tag Team” by Larry Faulkner

“The Nip Man” by Daniel M. Jaffe

“The Story Next Door” by Karl Taggart

“Moby Dick” by William Holden

“Indivisible” by Dylan Thomas Good

“A Slice of Pi” by ’Nathan Burgoine

If you have ever felt that you do not fit into the LGBT community, you need to read these stories and discover that there is a place for everyone. Kudos to editor R. Jackson.

“Threesome: Him, Him, and Me” edited by Matthew Bright— Stories

threesome

Bright, Matthew, editor. “Threesome: Him, Him, and Me”, Lethe, 2016.

Stories

Amos Lassen

One of the great gay fantasies is a hot threesome and I have heard so many guys make remarks when seeing two hunky and good-looking men walking down the street about what fun it would be to go to bed with both of them. Editor Matthew Bright has collected twelve stories about threesomes. The authors and titles follow:

“Call For Submission” by N.S. Beranek

“Time to Dance” by Matthew Bright

“Share and Share Alike” by Evey Brett

“The Big Match” by Lawrence Jackson

“Dr. Dave” by Dale Chase

“Fancy Dress” by Chris Colby

“The Guards of Governor’s Square” by Shane Allison

“Spring On Scrabble Creek” by Jeff Mann

“Vanilla” by ‘Nathan ‘Burgoine

“Invasion” by Rob Rosen

“Sea Glass” by Robert Russin

“Strawberries” by Jerry Wheeler

“Greedy, Deviant and Perverse: Living and Writing a Triad Relationship” – Redfern Jon Barrett

“Buy Guys” by RP Andrews— Working the Sex Trade

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Andrews, RP. “Buy Guys”, Wilde City Press, 2015.

Working the Sex Trade

Amos Lassen

Pete is a good-looking young gay man who is convinced by Blaze, his roommate to leave New Jersey and go to Fort Lauderdale with him. Blaze is anxious to get to a place with lost of sunshine and lots of gay sex. They decide to work as male prostitutes on the escort site, Buy Guys. At first, all goes well for them until Pete realizes that he has fallen in love with Blaze and this leads both of them into a dangerous world that can destroy what they have and them. I hesitate to call this a love story even though the two main characters do love with other. There is a lot of sex here as well as drugs and we enter the world of Pete and Blaze, a world of meaningless sex and murder. I naturally assumed by the title that the story would be about two guys in the sex trade but I had no idea that this would also become a kind of mystery.

The sex scenes are quite graphic and certainly not for everyone but if this is what you like to read, it is there in abundance. Blaze and Pete use sex and a way to bolster their finances and get out of debt. More importantly, they try to deal with their pasts and it is with this theme that they find themselves involved in kidnapping, murder and drug use.

The book is well written but it deals with topics that I usually do not read about and things do not all come together at the end to give us a happy ending. But then, this is a look at a world that most of us are not a part of nor do we want to be. Nonetheless, there are lessons to be learned here. RP Andrews gives us two characters that represent what can happen when the wrong choices are made and he does so in a way that they hold a fascination for us.

“Love”— Invitation

love poster

“Love”

Invitation

Amos Lassen

“Love” is a celebration of heterosexuality with a few adventures thrown in to keep things interesting. We have a threesome, a bit of S&M and a rather pointless interlude with a trans hooker. Take the sex away (which you cannot do) then this is a story of a young man’s self-imposed self-loathing because, his penis rules him. He makes a series of bad choices and silly decisions.

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“Love” is about love and sex and how both sexes interpret, compare and practice them. We learn that infidelity is not infidelity when both partners are present. Director Gaspar Noe has opened the door on sex that some will label immediately as porn. But this is a step above porn in that the sex is handled with style and sensitivity. “Love” is a love story with great passion, lots of sex and addiction. We also hear director Noe’s philosophies on life and love and he shares that love is clearly the meaning behind many of life’s prospects.

Electra (Aomi Muyock) replies to Murphy’s (Karl Glusman) question, “what is the meaning of life?” with the simple answer, “love”. The film is a treatise of love and perhaps a nostalgic love that not all of us are familiar with. Here we see an attribute that makes love the complex sensation that it seeks to be. Love is the foundation of our desires and heartaches as emotional human beings; no one learns these lessons harder than the character of Murphy.

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It is hard to watch this film without feeling something. We see magical moments of first love and the first night with a new partner are overwhelmed by the futilities of life’s needs and complications. The expression is bountiful and sticks with us.

Murphy is an American living in Paris who enters a highly sexually and emotionally charged relationship with the unstable Electra. Unaware of the effect it will have on their relationship, they invite their pretty neighbor into their bed. I have no doubt that there will be those who will criticize the film because of the sexual content. However, it is so much more than just sex. We see its importance and that it is natural in any loving relationship. Noé indulges in the fantasies of a young couple, in what is an honest attempt at the intricacies of the sexual relationship within the hunger of love. These scenes can be explicit on the eye, but they are without doubt thoughtfully and breathtakingly crafted sex scenes.

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Murphy himself is an aspiring film director and has his own philosophy on the medium that he wishes to share with Electra. He wants to now why no one has made a film of partners in love having explicit sex. Of course, there is irony here especially when we see Murphy’s own desires through Murphy himself. He also believes that blood, sperm and tears formulate the essence of life and can’t understand why movies don’t reflect this. These aspects of the human being certainly stand true to many manifestations, notably the tears that come with one’s outward suffering, the sperm with an essential private pleasure, and the blood as the component fuelling the interior toxins of life. We see an explosion of such fluids in the film.

When a film has such a strong vision and an abundance of things to say, it is difficult to review. The sex we see is not gratuitous. It is justified in a story that focuses on the trials of young love. “Love” was filmed in 3D because it is designed as a completely immersive experience. In the opening scene, Murphy wakes up and announces that “I wish I didn’t exist right now.” His ex-girlfriend and love of his life, Electra has gone missing, and the news knocks him into a state of complete unrest that aligns perfectly with the film’s artful style. We get a suggestion of the perverse. , Electra and Murphy, as well as Omi (Klara Kristin), the woman he lives with at the start of the film and his child’s mother, are constrained by Noé’s predetermined vision of the way that people talk, fight, and have sex, only here the talk is stupid, the fighting violent, and the sex unsimulated. It seems that the film is trying to represent on screen Noe’s nostalgia for the lack of inhibitions when there are few cares aside from sex.

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It is easy to discuss the film just through the lens of the movie’s sex. There’s a lot of it, and it’s explicit, with unsimulated sex scenes making up a significant portion of the film’s two hour running time. However, to only discuss the sex would mean ignoring the aims of the film that love is really just a act of provocation. What little narrative there is tells the story of the love triangle between Murphy, Electra and Omi and Murphy’s determination to find Electra after her mother (Isabelle Nicou) informs him of her disappearance. As a result of the news, he begins reflecting on their relationship, and the film becomes a non-linear exploration of the romance between the two.

Murphy and Electra’s relationship is interrupted through the inclusion of Omi who joins their life via a threesome. Soon after, Electra leaves town, and Murphy uses her absence as an opportunity to sleep with Omi without Electra’s interference. In the midst of their affair, a condom breaks, and Omi gets pregnant. The roles reverse, and he ends up in a relationship with her, with Electra as the subject of his adulterous desire.

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What the three-way demonstrates, as does much of the film, is just how much of a narrative one can tell through sex. Noé uses his sex scenes to delve into the relationships between characters. There are clear narrative implications when, for example, Murphy decides to pleasure Omi rather than Electra, and the scenes wouldn’t be able to convey the same meanings without this explicitness  Rather than merely featuring the scenes for the sake of depicting graphic sex, Noé uses the graphicness to get into a level of detail about the relationships between his characters most films are unable approach. Using these very details, Noe creates a somewhat disturbing look at gender relations.

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Noé then combines these details within the wider structure of the film to create a disturbing and powerful portrait of gender relations. We see many variations of sex and the differences are used to give us an intimate look at the arc of a relationship. What this does is make the film a story told through sex. As a result, “Love” becomes an all too rare thing in cinema: a story told through sex. Noé treats sex with the importance and reverence it deserves. Too many filmmakers simply gloss over it through elision and this deprives us of learning about the nature of a relationship. The use of 3D punctuates the action and allows for a powerful connection between film and viewer. This connection is only possible through explicit sex like we have here.

“CRUEL”— A Murderer’s Mind

cruel poster

“CRUEL”

A Murderer’s Mind

Amos Lassen

Pierre Tardieu (Jean-Jacques Lelté), a day laborer, lives with his sick father. He reminisces about his childhood and his mother but he cannot free himself from thoughts of her. The only way that he is able to understand and realize his existence is by murdering strangers. Then he meets a pianist named Laure (Magali Moreau) in a bookstore and falls in love with her.

Pierre is a very quiet person and the only way he can escape his lonely existence is by thinking about the past and his childhood and by murdering strangers. What one has to do with the other is for you to decide. When Pierre meets Laure, his murderous inclinations subside, but not for long. There is tension between his tender, burgeoning romance and his homicidal urges and these drive Pierre to the brink.

We see Pierre as a child in home movies and we hear a voiceover that relates his dreams— where he wants to go, what he wants to be, how he wants to marry his mother — but the man recalling these images seems to have achieved none of the goals of his youth. Instead, he works menial jobs and lives at home with a father who suffers from severe Alzheimer’s. He’s broke, he’s lonely and he only knows one outlet for his cycle of depression; abducting, toying with and ultimately killing carefully selected victims. When he meets Laure he discovers the urge to kill may no longer be a problem. But the promise of a new future for himself is no guarantee that the past let him go so easily.

Writer/director Eric Cherrière, a celebrated crime novelist, brings us in his directorial debut a depiction of a sociopath whose only outlet is murder. Genre elements come into play as the police enter the picture, but the majority of the film is focused on Pierre’s thoughts and behaviors.

Pierre’s madness is methodical. He researches his subjects carefully before kidnapping them and keeps a detailed journal of his time with them. When it comes time for them to die he spends one final meal with them before pulling the trigger, slicing their throat or bashing their head in. The only person he confides in is his father because he knows the man is unable to betray him in his current state, but the isolation and lack of attention that seem to be necessities for a serial killer in some ways actually cause his downfall.

This is more of a dark drama than a thriller, but the look, feel and performances make for an engaging and frequently suspenseful watch. It’s intentionally paced and focused on Pierre’s sad obsession with a time he spent with his mother that exists only in his head. Viewers are never abandoned in the man’s bleak psyche. Scenes of Pierre at work or hanging out with Laure offer a respite aided immensely by a playful musical score.

We see Pierre’s journey in and out of his own personal hell—planning and doing horrific acts — although the film prefers to avoid graphic depictions and we also see him clearly relaxed and in love when he’s with Laure. Lelté makes Pierre a convincing killer, but he never crosses into the realm of creepy. This actually makes for a more effective performance as he balances the “normal” and the unsettling with frightening ease. Early scenes of him and his victims highlight a severely scary lack of emotion, and they contrast beautifully with the actions of a man who finally finds love. He may not fully understand the feeling, but it changes him.

This is not a cruel film as the title might lead us to suspect. It is actually about the cruelty we find in ourselves. We realize by watching Pierre that his actions are certainly more damning and damaging than our own but it is revealed that all of us are capable of inflicting pain.

We see Pierre as an almost-banal serial killer and certainly not the kind that movies are made about. The fact that he is simultaneously unremarkable and monstrous is fascinating to writers and filmmakers, even if it often only appeals to a relatively specialized audience. “Cruel” is admirable and intriguing, although the story can be a rough one to swallow.

Lelté plays Pierre as a sort of everyman with just the tiniest bit of exaggeration around the edges in most cases, although his detached and asocial nature is noticeable. Sometimes it just comes off as being bored, though and this is very noticeable in contrast to the sense of humor that starts to emerge when the police finally start to suspect him of a crime. He also has a nice chemistry with Magali Moreau, who makes Laure seem a little more tentative than she actually is.

The best performance in the film, though, may be Maurice Poli as Pierre’s paralyzed father, a man whose life is already so twisted by pain and helplessness that the torment that comes from being in the care of a serial-killer son must be too much to bear, but he has no choice in the matter. He can’t speak, he can barely move, he’s trapped just as completely as the people Pierre kidnaps and locks in the hidden basement, the same basement that Pierre’s grandfather used to hide Jews during the war. In this, Pierre perverts his family’s legacy.

There are several riveting moments when Pierre spends time with his victims like something social and that is a difficult intensity to match. Cherrière builds a decent story of a serial killer who is successful because he takes great care to be invisible, but does not initially seem to put a hook in to really make it singular.

“Skin Effect: By the Award Finalist Author: More Science Fiction Erotica” by M. Christian— Original and Fresh Erotica

skin effect

Christian, M. “Skin Effect: By the Award Finalist Author: More Science Fiction Erotica”, ADS, 2015.

Original and Fresh Erotica

Amos Lassen

Christian is one of the freshest and most original erotica writer these days. I have been reviewing him for about eight years now and every time he sends me something new, it is a surprise. “Skin Effect” is the sequel to “The Bachelor Machine” that I reviewed some time ago and that that really showed the skills of the author. I asked myself then whether he would ever be able to top that and he has. ”Skin Effect” is a new collection of short stories that both stun the reader and arouse his/her libido. Christian breaks the rules here—his erotica is innovative and totally original. He goes beyond bondage and sado-masochism, he continues past fetish kind and arrives at a new spot and possibly a new genre in erotic literature. He writes of the here and now and of the future as he explores the nth degree of sex and arousal. Below are the titles of some of the stories included here:

“[Title Forgotten]”

“Prêt-À-Porter”

“The Subsequent State”

“The Bell House Invitation”

“The Potter’s Wheel”

“Double Toil And Trouble”

“A Kiss Goodnight” and M. Christian gives us an informative and thoughtful afterword.

In this book’s precursor, “The Bachelor Machine” that I reviewed several years ago, we had dark erotic stories of desperate individuals. Now, this new collection is more hopeful and that seems to be because of new technologies that include data that streams constantly, sensors that are worn, the cloud that now called the media-sphere and that allows for every thought and action to be available to everyone. Add to that that a human being is looked upon solely based on the number of people who follow him/here electronically. Quite naturally, what comes out of all this can be different for different people and there has not yet been any evaluation as to whether or not this is good for the people. It seems to me that we are asking the same questions today. Does technology challenge individualism and make our lives open books and if so, it this good for us? Memory here becomes fluid and can be changed or done away with at will. Sex is affected also in that gender indeed becomes fluid and be changed at will.

We have the example in one of the stories that a character buys a piece of clothing that becomes whatever the wearer wants it to be and therefore is suitable for all occasions.

I can certainly see how what is written here can be upsetting but we must never lose sight that what we are reading is fiction and this is not necessarily how things will be (but we said the same thing about Dick Tracy’s watch way back then). I found the stories to be charming but also, without exception, highly erotic even though this is not quite the kind of erotica that we are used to. The writing and the erotica are both raunchy (for lack of a better word) and hallucinatory and the stories arouse us while at the same makes us worry about what the future may bring.

I am not much of an erotica reader except in the cases of M. Christian and a couple of others and that is because I concentrate more on the writing than on the sex. I must say that M. Christian is one of the most inventive writers I have ever read and when we combine with good plots, we become more than satisfied with what he has to say. He manages to take us into the future in exciting, provocative ways yet the does not lose sight of how important sex is in our lives.

“TOBY ROSS VINTAGE COLLECTION”— 10 Toby Ross Theatrical Features From The Golden Age

toby golden

“TOBY ROSS VINTAGE COLLECTION”

10 Toby Ross Theatrical Features From The Golden Age

Amos Lassen

The “Toby Ross Vintage Collection” is a collection of the following ten films that were made in the 1970s and early 80s.

*“Schoolmates”

*“Do Me Evil”

*“Reflections of Youth”

*“Boys of the Slums”

*“The Last Surfer”

*“The Diary”

*“Twins”,

*“White Trash”

*“Golden Years”

*“Cruisin 57”

“THE TOBY ROSS ANTHOLOGY”— Ten Hot Films

ross

“THE TOBY ROSS ANTHOLOGY”

Ten Hot Films

Amos Lassen

Coming on DVD is Toby Ross’ ten-film anthology. The blurb says that these films are “loaded with hot young dudes – both gay and straight – who have stripped down and acted out for legendary erotica director Toby Ross over the last decade!” There is plenty of nudity here.

The films included are:

*“Get a Life

*“Homosexual”

*“Moon Over Hong Kong”

*“Paper Dreams”

*“Peyton Collins: Serial Rapist”

*“Rock n Roll Dreams”

*“Straight Boys, Gay Boys”

*“Straight Boys, Gay Boys 2”

*“Straight Boys, Gay Boys3”

*“Toby Ross and the 70s”

I understand that this boxed set will only be available for a limited time. All of these films have been reviewed separately at this site.