King Cobra And The Price Of A Name
After much anticipation, James Franco's King Cobra has finally been released. A true story of lust, greed, murder, fame, and the gay porn industry, I remember when this was quite the story on Castro Street in San Francisco a decade ago. Everyone pretty much knew who Brent Corrigan was due to a scandal that dubbed him the "Traci Lords of gay porn," but it would be a homicide that would cement his name in history.
Although I am already familiar with the story I had no idea just how in depth and sordid the affair actually was. Here I will attempt to break down the incredibly complicated series of events that would lead to the rise of a star, the death of a director/producer, and the name that started it all.
Who Was Bryan Kocis?
King Cobra (a nickname he used for himself) was the owner, director, and producer of Cobra Video, a studio he founded in 2001 after filing for bankruptcy and several other failed business attempts. Having once made a career in the medical photography business, Kocis found a way to perfectly mesh his professional life and private life. With his propensity for twinks, both on and off screen, the director produced well-made amateur bareback porn at a time when most studios refused to shoot raw.
Kocis' residence in the quiet suburban community of Dallas, Pennsylvania, was a modest home he bought at the age of 24 and it would be the site of his murder 20 years later. For years, Kocis was a well-liked and respected member of the community. This would change when his appetite for barely legal boys got the best of him. It was an incident that would result in probation made Kocis a pariah in his neighborhood. Nevertheless, Cobra Video continued producing content and the work of a very prolific star, one so sought after, his popularity would result in King Cobra’s demise.
The Traci Lords of Gay Porn
Sean Paul Lockhart didn't have the best upbringing and learned early on to depend on himself. While dating an older (21), aspiring porn star, Sean would be introduced to the man who would change his name and his life forever. Sean's then-boyfriend was deemed too old to work for Cobra Video, but Sean was exactly what the studio wanted.
Lockhart was blessed in the looks department when it comes to what his fan base wanted. His body was fit and still very boyish, his dick was the perfect size, and he had a hypnotizing ass. Combine the innocent face of an angel, silky smooth skin, and seductive on-screen personality, Sean Paul Lockhart was destined to become the most sought-after twink the gay adult entertainment industry had ever seen. Nevermind that he fudged a little on his age.
Although Sean couldn’t possibly have known what would eventually happen, he agreed to perform and Brent Corrigan was born.
The Value of a Name and A Price Too High
Sean Paul Lockhart apparently chose the alias Brent Corrigan while on a Cobra shoot in Florida. The young man certainly did not know the power of the random name chosen from a phone book at the time. It would be a name that would cause a scandal in the gay adult industry similar to that of the aforementioned Ms. Lords back in 1986.
Just the name "Brent Corrigan" was solid gold; he was on top of the world and Bryan Kocis was reaping in the rewards.
Corrigan was indeed Kocis' cash cow and everyone wanted a piece of Brent; at the time, he didn't realize just how much he was worth. Life was an endless party for Kocis and Brent was a star, but he was kept under Kocis' thumb the entire time with promises of grandeur and success. Not only was Brent the biggest moneymaker for Kocis, he was also the bait and the prize for many aspiring Cobra performers. Who wouldn't want to perform with Corrigan? The guys came flooding in and Kocis greedily dipped into them for his own enjoyment using Brent as his tackle.
Brent himself was not only living two lives, but three. He had used falsified and doctored identification when signing on with Cobra and was in constant fear that he would be found out and arrested for performing while not legally of age. There was also the fact that Kocis had the boy painted into a corner financially; he did bareback porn and there was nowhere else he could find work at the time. The final straw was pulled as Brent, who now worked odd jobs for Kocis when not performing, was confronted by a neighbor who wanted to know how old he was and threatened to call the authorities. Brent fled Kocis' Pennsylvania home and moved back in with his mother in San Diego.
Life was once again a stark reality of living hand-to-mouth and for Brent, this was not the life he wanted.
And Then There Was a Way
Grant Roy and Brent Corrigan formed a relationship after Corrigan had left Cobra. Grant was twice Corrigan’s age with what has been described as a volatile temper. The man was instantly attracted to Brent, whom he had seen perform in Cobra titles, and soon enough they were in talks to make Corrigan a successful businessman.
The hitch was, of course, the name. Brent Corrigan made Kocis a rich man and Kocis was not about to let that go. His piggy bank was leaving him for a bigger studio and a lot more cash. Needless to say, a legal battle was about to begin when Corrigan's attorney made it public that his client was not of age while filming several titles for Cobra.
The Name Became Even More Valuable
Later Kocis, who provided the falsified identification that Corrigan had submitted prior to filming, suffered no repercussions; he would counter sue Corrigan over the Brent Corrigan brand trademark.
It was at this time that Brent began performing again but under the less lucrative Fox Ryder pseudonym for Falcon Studios (who were threatened with legal action by Kocis). The scandal of Brent's introduction into porn naturally fueled the fire as his popularity soared. He would just have to wait for the litigation process to end.
Life Imitating Art
No one could have guessed that the plot line for Falcon Studio's The Velvet Mafia series, starring Corrigan as Fox Ryder, would foretell Bryan Kocis' fate.
Enter the world of The Velvet Mafia: a world of sex, guns and betrayal! The Estate, an upscale, A-List bar in Los Angeles holds a secret: it's the West Hollywood Gay Mafia headquarters. Warren Starr, the patriarch of notorious Starr family, and his "sons," Cassio (Matthew Rush), Duke (Derrick Vinyard), and Jordan (Chad Hunt), hatch a plan to kidnap Fox Ryder. Fox is the smoking hot young porn star discovered by Warren on an Iowa milk farm. Mason Avalon, the head of the Avalon Family in San Francisco, and "sons," Tony (Erik Rhodes) and Brandon (Omer), cleverly lure Fox away from The Starrs with an offer he can't refuse...but can only start a war...Will Fox Ryder get fucked...or fuck them all in the end? Find out in the conclusion The Velvet Mafia Part 2. Introducing Fox Ryder. Starring Falcon Lifetime Exclusive Matthew Rush and Falcon Exclusives Erik Rhodes and Roman Heart. Also starring Jason Ridge, Trevor Knight, Tommy Blade, Antonio Madiera, Cory Bolton, Richie Fine, and Talvin Demachio.
Looking for a Buck
Grant Roy discovered Harlow Cuadra online and it would prove to be fatal for Bryan Kocis. Cuadra was a rising porn star and escort in Virginia Beach, and his boyfriend Joseph Kerekes would meet both Grant and Brent in Las Vegas just days before Kocis' death. In the brief time the couples spent with each other both Cuadra and Kerekes attempted to woo the star and his lover into a partnership with their studio Boybatter.com (now defunct). The star/escort and boyfriend were desperate to make their studio more bank, but they knew that in order to do that they had to have Corrigan, and that name was still in limbo.
The couple hinted at getting rid of Kocis at the dinner, but neither Brent or Grant took the young men at their word.
Setting the Trap
Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes were fanatical about getting Brent Corrigan, deadly fanatical. The couple planned out their scheme and acted swiftly. Credit card and phone records revealed that after purchasing weapons, they then traveled to Pennsylvania to finish the job.
Like a Moth to a Flame
Kocis was known for his weakness for barely legal twunks and Harlow Cuadra fit the bill to a T! With dark hair, a smooth muscled body, and boyish good looks, Cuadra was working as an escort in Virginia Beach and had decided a career in porn was the way to go after being discharged from the Navy. It was almost too easy for him to get Kocis to take the bait. Having dubbed himself Danny Moilin, he reached out to the 44 year-old director and producer via email. It would be online that Kocis found his sparkling diamond (Corrigan) and his kiss of death (Cuadra). Agreeing to meet the seemingly shy and inexperienced persona Cuadra adopted, Kocis sealed his own fate promising that the two would be alone together that first and what would be last time.
The Heinous Crime
I won't go into the gory details of how Kocis left this world, but I will tell you it was not pretty. In fact, the killer went as far as to set the victim's home ablaze, rendering Kocis unidentifiable save for dental records.
What Cuadra and Kerekes didn't know is that the legal battle over the Brent Corrigan name had ended just days before, and Brent was now a free agent and Kocis was no longer a threat.
The following day, Harlow Cuadra would contact Brent Corrigan over the phone to instruct him to visit a Pennsylvania news website. He had made good on his word. Corrigan was naturally appalled, told Grant so, and, after speaking with their attorney, contacted police.
Cuadra and Kerekes would meet with Corrigan and Grant Roy twice more. Cooperating with officials, Brent and Grant were outfitted with wires to record the conversations between them, Harlow, and Joseph. Since there was no evidence like fingerprints or DNA found at the crime scene, the police had to have an admission of guilt to arrest the young men. Eventually they got what the needed, and Cuadra and Kerekes were taken into custody.
The case went to trial with Brent Corrigan taking the witness stand. Joseph Kerekes pled guilty to second degree murder, resulting in a life sentence. Harlow Cuadra was found guilty of second degree murder and is serving a life sentence. A unanimous decision of the jury for the death penalty could not be reached. Cuadra has since filed for an appeal.
While researching for this post I wondered how the police managed to wire Brent and Grant if they were going with Harlow and Kerekes to a nude beach. The answer: a key fob with a miniature recording device.
King Cobra, directed by Justin Kelly and starring James Franco in the role of Joseph Kerekes, is now showing in select theaters and on demand. The rest of the main cast includes Christian Slater as Bryan Kocis, Keegan Allen as Harlow Cuadra, and Garrett Clayton as Brent Corrigan. Film goers can also expect to see Molly FUCKING Ringwald AND Alicia FUCKING Silverstone! Squee!
Of course we do have plenty of Brent Corrigan's films here on GayHotMovies.com, the legal ones that is, so go check out his work. Then let me know what you think of Garrett’s portrayal of the star on Twitter!