The prehistory of modern pornography is the classical American stag film, a body of clandestine short pornographic films produced during the first two-thirds of the 20th century. While the exact corpus of the distinctive stag film remains unknown, scholars at the Kinsey Institute believe there are approximately 2000 films produced between 1915-1968. Stag cinema is a form of hardcore film and is characterized as silent, usually filling a single reel or less, and was illegally made and exhibited because of censorship laws in America. Women were excluded from these private screenings that were shown in American “smoker” houses such as fraternities or other exclusive institutions. In Europe, films of the same kind were screened within brothels. The mode of reception of the all-male audience of stag films was raucous, collective sexual banter and sexual arousal. Film historians describe stag films as a primitive form of cinema because they were produced by anonymous and amateur male artists who failed in achieving narrative coherence and continuity within their diegesis. Today, many of these films have been archived by the Kinsey Institute, however most are in a state of decay and have no copyright, real credits, or acknowledged authorship. The stag film era inevitably ended due to the beginnings of the sexual revolution in the fifties in combination with the new technologies of the post war era, such as 16mm, 8mm, and the Super 8.
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A stag reel or stag party film is an erotic, often explicitly pornographic, film reel produced from the 1900s to the early 1980s. The term stag refers to single men (“to go stag” = “to go alone”). Some pornographic shorts made in the 1930s even had a fictitious “Stag Films” company logo showing the head of a male deer. These “blue movies” were originally shown in brothels, fraternal organizations and social clubs, private all-male parties (especially bachelor parties), as well as “members only” cinema clubs.
Stag reels (aka film-loops) were initially highly illicit and nearly always produced anonymously for fear of legal prosecution. These “nudies” were primarily clandestine 8mm and 16mm silent, single-reel short films (5 to 15 minutes in length) made for private viewing and sold under the counter at adult book shops.
By the early 1950s, nonpornographic reels featuring nudism, striptease acts, and various fetishes (bondage, spanking, role-play, etc.), were being sold through mail order ads placed in mainstream girlie publications and underground fetish/spanking magazines (Bizarre, Corporal, et al.). Cheap film projectors and hand-held viewers were also sold through men’s magazines. (In the late 1960s an 8mm fetish reel (200 feet in length) sold for around $20-$25.)
Fetish-oriented reels generally did not contain sex acts (or even nudity in many cases) while pornographic sex reels did not include fetishistic content. (Some films produced in France starting in the 1930s are the exception.) By the seventies, color films, some with audio music tracks, were introduced as the line between hardcore pornography and non-sex fetish reels began to blur.
Stag reels produced on film became obsolete in the early eighties with the introduction of the videocassette and VCR home-viewing technology. Many of the earliest bondage/spanking videotapes were compilations of silent 8mm stag reels converted to Beta/VHS format, often with public domain music added to the soundtrack.
The earliest stag reels with fetish and BDSM sexuality come primarily from France in the 1930s (later, other countries followed). Several Paris-produced spanking/whipping reels still exist, including some by erotic/fetish photographer Jacques Biederer (Ostra Studio)
Since this page is just a small side project don’t expect a large collection stag movies. I did however try to bring together a nice collection movies that reveal some fetish themes. Some are stag movies, others are hollywood movies with spanking or fetish subjects presented in the movie.
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