Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Recently, VICE made me spend a Sunday afternoon on a quest of sexual perversion and depravity at a place so disgusting it may have changed my fundamental views on sex forever. Nearly at the edge of Brooklyn, the Kings Highway Cinema isn't your ordinary multiplex showing the latest Harry Potter movie. It's actually a brothel doubling as an old-folks home. XXX is permanently on the menu at KHC, but my hunger was quickly dissipated as I made my way through Gravesend, a neighborhood that is as pleasant as it sounds. When I finished stepping over homeless guys and arrived at the theater, I was immediately confused by the decoy that was the cinema's shell. Posters in the lobby advertised Scary Movie 2 and Freddie Got Fingered, and the ticket booth listed prices for adults ($12) and children ($4), but as soon as I saw the clientele lurking behind the swinging doors, I understood what this ruse was about. Predictably, most of them seemed to be married guys there to escape their annoying wives and the daily stresses of normality.
I scanned the main entrance, and it looked like the lobby of a shitty European hotel. There were no windows, and a few arcade game machines lined the back wall. I walked around to to figure out what the system was here and what films were actually playing. I grabbed a coffee and entered room number two, only to end up slightly disappointed when all I found was an empty room with a screen playing baseball. I decided to ask around and figure out what the fuck was going on.
Back in the lobby, I walked over to a guy who looked like he worked there, a strangely happy and helpful Indian man. He pointed at screen number one and explained, "This is the Euro Mystery room, but it's out of order at the minute. The other two rooms are split into gay and straight porn." I was naturally curious to check out both.
I chose the straight porn first and took a seat on the corner, from where I could see the three rows of seats, 15 seats in total. Most of the patrons looked at least 50 years old and above. I immediately noticed half of them rubbing their crotches and gazing at the girl-on-girl action developing in front of them. I glanced down at the seats and realized that cum had created patterns on the chairs and carpet. Over the years, hundreds of films, thousands of men, thousands of orgasms, and piles upon piles of jizz had filled the cinema. Then the smell hit me. It was like an ointment-coated geriatric janitor had poured bleach onto a million porn stars and then mopped it up with diarrhea. I needed a cigarette.
Outside, I convinced myself that there was nothing wrong with the place, and that I could find a way to enjoy myself. I reclaimed my seat in the porno dungeon that was room three. The previous film had just wrapped up so I sat patiently waiting for Young Sluts 8 to start. I heard the sound of clunking boots on the floor behind me as someone new entered the room and passed me. He sat directly in front of me and was breathing funny and making noises like a crying dog. He had long gray pony-tailed hair, wore a black 70s-cut shirt with matching pants, and gave off a serial killer aura, which was only enhanced by his black duffle bag. (I pictured that it was stuffed with prostitutes' heads.) He grunted and occasionally emitted an "Oh my God" as a reaction to the more detailed shots.
The porn itself was pretty generic, so I wandered over to the doorway to see what was going on back there. This was the mother lode I had been searching for all day! Private rooms, more than 50 booths in four rows, waiting in complete darkness. Some of the booths contained guys staring at the screen. Other men were waiting by the door, while others jacked off with the door open. I saw a few guys go in rooms together. Confused and scared, I locked myself in one of the cubbies. It was painted black, and there were cum stains on every surface. I stood in the middle of this black box for about 15 minutes not really knowing what to do with myself; there was no way I could feel horny in there. It felt like I was trapped in a homeless man's underpants. I enjoyed the detailed cock drawings on the walls and did some light reading with the several phone numbers offering services of the sexual nature, but there was some other fucked-up shit written on there about killing Jews, Mexicans, and black people, as well as agreements that Osama bin Laden was a total babe and genius. I bailed out of the cell and returned to the lobby.
I still didn't feel like I had uncovered anything major, so I tried watching another movie. This time it was generic gay porn, but the show was way more packed. It was roughly the same size as the last one, and I had to shuffle past some of the most disgusting people on earth to get a seat. I felt like fresh meat in a rotting pile of crap. The guys were grey, bald, or dying, and I can only assume the young guys were working the oldies for their pensions. I had been in my seat for about five minutes when a Chinese guy in his mid-40s, who wore head-to-toe white clothing, sat down next to me, and started whispering in my ear. At first I couldn't understand a fucking word he was saying, but after a minute or so, I translated his native speech into what amounted to "You wan beej?" It was time to leave. I made one more lap around the private rooms and was offered a threesome with a ripped black guy and someone he had in the room behind him. I ignored him and headed for the exit, and then I realized the Chinese man was following me into the lobby. I hurried past another guy who started making fart noises with his mouth while staring at me. I hit the door and bailed as fast as I could, happy to be done with the weirdest day of my life.
This isn't to say it isn't totally worth the $12 they charge at the last bastion of porn in New York City. It's survived this long, and seems like it will be there for as long as guys enjoy watching porn, a.k.a. forever. But now that every real porn theater in Times Square has been taken over by Disney's hold on Broadway, who knows what will happen to the Kings Highway Cinema's niche in Gravesend? Ride the Q train to 711 Kings Highway and make sure to leave your own territorial mark before this one disappears too.