Gay Porn Memories: Steve Hammond, A Hazy Shade of Winter


Confession: I've been in love with He-Man
on some level since childhood.

The Olympian physique. The baby blond locks. The Neo-Primitive get-up. The sturdy earnestness that could be corrupted in the right hands.

Jejune yes -- yes! -- but you can imagine my erupting boyish glee upon laying eyes on the icily gorgeous Steve Hammond for the first time. There he was on the cover of Stryker Force beside Jeff Stryker, camo-clad, oiled to a sheen, sporting a bandolero around his glistening torso -- Dolph Lundgren to Jeff's Sly Stallone -- as perfect an approximation of jingoistic Big '80s machismo as I think gay porn has ever managed.

Not only did I think "He-Man!," but I damn near exclaimed it.

Hammond's porn introduction is said to have occurred circa 1984, but he wouldn't make a splash until the tail end of the decade when Falcon snatched him up. His assets were obvious, and he did typify a well-rounded sort of beauty that wasn't reliant on one single feature: the Nordic cast to his face, nicely-defined jawline, intense eyes, full lips, skin that was as blond as his hair, a firm-but-not-too-pneumatic upper body, an upturned obelisk of a dick, and a phenomenal high-sitting ass.

He made only about a dozen features from 1988 to around 1990 -- some of them thankfully arriving back in print after long absences. Billed as Darren Culmar, he appeared in Playgirl in 1988 -- this after his porn debut and during the mag's rather self-defeating embargo against the gay porn industry -- and even managed a curious porn creep cameo in the mainstream movie Miracle Mile that same year, suggesting that like many gay porn stars, he had an eye on a legit acting career that never took root.

Stryker Force is probably his highest profile credit, largely because it's an awesome piece of porn cheese produced at the height of Stryker mania, the pair memorably cast as rival cousins coded by hair color. Boasting a ludicrously high concept plot out of a Republic serial, it throws everything at us: incestuous conflict, a seriously heavy-handed gay tolerance set piece involving shirtless gay bashers and a box car, a lost family fortune, a Predator-style jungle expedition, quicksand peril, the kind of python not dangling between Stryker's legs, a nekkid-ass jungle boy, and some climactic cousin-fuckin'.

Hammond turned up in John Summer's solo-devoted Backstrokes, as well as his Matt Ramsey/Mike Henson-headlined Big & Thick. He snagged the cover for Mission: Accomplished, a spy spoof that cast him as a secret agent, as well as Touch Me, which had him welcoming back wayward boyfriend Troy MacKenzie with some make up mounting up. The Next Valentino is one of those fun a-star-is-born porn biz parodies, a nice showcase for his languid, wooden-voiced, ethereal ice prince persona. Strong assertions persist that all of his insertion scenes -- particularly his spreading for Stryker -- were simulated and stunted, but somehow that only seems to add to his unscalable, glacial allure. Hammond always seemed like they type who you were grateful to get whatever favors you could beg, cajole, or entice from his opaque presence.

By the dawn of the '90s, Hammond had vanished from the industry, either uninterested or unable to capitalize on fanfare and star quality that should have him today mentioned in the same breath as Rex Chandler and Ken Ryker. He made a brief, blink-and-you'll-miss-it attempt at a comeback in 1998 in the subpar Das Butt II. From there, his bio reads as a hazy WEHT? mix of supposition and occasional sightings about town.

Of all his titles, Falcon's The Pledgemasters is rightly his show in my book, immortalizing him as the sadistic frat bastard of your dreams, Hammond gracing the cover in his briefs with legs spread, cocked and implacable face conveying "Get the fuck on it. Now." A dildo-wielding frat house president-cum-dictator decked out in jackboots and brandishing a riding crop, he enjoys disciplining unruly and rebellious pledges a little too much, the whole flick such an iconically '80s gem that you'll wish you could experience it in the grips of a K-hole.