Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rape-revenge of a different sort...

I have been meaning to write about this movie for a long while now, especially since someone asked me if there were any movies featuring female rapists. Well, not to give too much away, there are elements of this in Paul Thomas' Cry Wolf (2008). This is a truly great adult film - well-acted, well-shot, brilliantly scripted and directed... I could go on.

The plot is pretty complicated, and I had to watch it three times to even establish an opinion, but it roughly goes a little something like this (and I'm going to try to avoid major spoilers, but if I didn't give anything away this would be a three sentence review): the film opens with Sylvia (Monique Alexander) and Roger (Marcos Leon), a failed child star, arriving at his apartment after a date. They fool around, almost start having sex a few times, but things are weird as Sylvia is something of a tease, and Roger is definitely insecure about his masculinity. Things take a turn for the worse, and it appears that Roger rapes Sylvia, though much of the film is taken up with flashbacks and different stories regarding exactly what happened.

After Roger has attacked Sylvia, he calls his friend Danny (the delicious and wonderful Mr. Marcus) to help him clean up the situation, and from there things get darker, more tangled, and more intriguing. This is a far cry from your regular rape-revenge movie - think a pornographic, Hitchcockian I Spit on Your Grave with a true tit-for-tat revenge (no castration though). The acting, particularly on the part of Marcos Leon and Monique Alexander, is excellent, and the always-reliable Steven St. Croix turns in a memorable performance as a coked-up drug dealer/pimp. His speech about "spending your entire life trying to get back into the pussy" is awesome. 

Really, though, everyone in the film does a great job - including the editor. I don't think editors get the credit they deserve, probably because the majority of the time, if they do a good job it should go unnoticed. However, on this occasion, with all the twists and turns, flashbacks and multiple narratives, the editing is truly outstanding. Finally, as Sylvia, Monique does a great job in a role that calls for more than simply a stock "rape victim." Sylvia is a complex character, party to blackmail and revenge, as well as a woman who experiences a grueling rape.

The thing I found most fascinating about this film is the way in which it grapples with cultural expectations of masculinity and femininity - Roger is so painfully insecure about his masculinity that he takes it out on women, blaming them for his failures and his sexual misadventures. Ultimately, the film ends up being a commentary on itself; on the reasons for much of pornography's existence. Roger's initial attack is prompted by one of the best lines in the movie (made even more awesome by Monique's fantastic delivery), when Sylvia feeds Roger Viagra, telling him, "It'll help you, and that's not your cock anymore - now it's gonna be my little blue dildo, and you're gonna fuck me all night." Lines such as this, as well as Roger's rant about the ease of "fucking hookers," and St. Croix's tribute to the warmth and safety of the womb/pussy, surprised me with their directness in addressing Western male sexuality, particularly in relation to pornography and aggression. 

Complex characters, right down to the cameos, intelligent scripting and directing, excellent acting...hell, even a healthy dose of psychoanalysis - these are things a porn nerd waits years for in a movie. I seriously recommend checking this one out.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rape, Necrophilia, Incest...What More Could You Want from a Porno?

...actually, quite a lot more. And none of the above. The only reason I would want to see any of the above is if there were a reason beyond your basic sadistic, misogynistic delight in brutalizing women. My god, this film was hard to get through. 

Ok, before I get to my ranting and raving, here is a little plot for you (noting that the plot was rather detailed, and somehow I lost my way a bit...): Count Dracula, back in the day, has a major lust-crush for hot virgin whom he wants to marry. However, his dad doesn't want his high-born son marrying the wench and so forbids the marriage. Dracula tries to convince her to become his mistress, she refuses, he gets wasted with a bunch of reveler friends (including a young and cute Ron Jeremy!! See previous post...), and decides to go and fetch his lover for a spot of rape on the table surrounded by his friends. Not to worry - after they all get a good grope in, Dracula sends them away and gets down to business. Following his climax (a money shot to the face), his no-longer-virginal lover/victim promptly stabs herself, and when Dracula awakens to find her dead body, he damns himself for eternity to only thrive on blood, and live in the dark, and stuff like that, and kills himself too.

Cut to...present day. Dracula's castle is a tourist attraction, with Yankee visitors chuckling at the guide's tales of bloodlust and the sacrifice of virgins. One visitor in particular seems to connect with the pop-art portrait of the Count, and from this point I'm not sure exactly what happens. I know Dracula decides to go to America, and makes passport arrangements (yes, I know...). Some people do a coke deal, which, it is implied, was stored in Dracula's coffin on his trip over...the lady with the special connection is also a prostitute/agent of some kind, working with a complete asshole (who I think turns out to be a vampire, but not sure why). Yes, this is getting confusing. 

Aside from plot, I think the director, Shaun Costello (he of Forced Entry fame), was trying to put as many taboo sexual scenarios in the film as possible. So, we begin with a wench being put in the stocks and raped, followed by Dracula raping his virgin beau. Then, later, one of the coke dealers (Vanessa Del Rio, who is completely fucking awesome in this film) gets killed by Dracula - who bites her coochie and drinks the blood from there - and is "raped" in the morgue by some dude who has the hots for stiffs. It's a horrible scene. I kept praying that it was just a set-up for her to turn into a vampire and bite his dick, but alas, this awakening only happened at the very end, and we are not treated to the necrophile's death. I have to say, rape is extremely unpleasant to watch, but there are few things less arousing than watching someone fuck a dead body. 

It should also be noted that, aside from these "set pieces," the film is just peppered with violence and aggression toward women. The only sexually active woman in the film is Vanessa Del Rio, and she is reduced to a lifeless body for an entire sex scene. Similarly, near the beginning there are two vampires (sisters, according to the credits - but this isn't the incest I reference in the title of this post) who are hot for each other, and then for Dracula, but a) their hissing and fangs get in the way of anything close to a sexy scene, and b) Dracula's henchman comes in with his holy water and dowses both girls to death. I have to note at this point, however, that the special effects for this scene were surprisingly good, if brief.

On a very slightly positive note, the incest I refer to turns out to be a role-playing game between the prostitute/agent and her client. Nevertheless, the scene was extremely unerotic - the woman dressed in pigtails and little dress, pretending to be the client's daughter, while he keeps badgering her about his "snake" wanting to come and do all manner of things to her "butterfly" - and they didn't reveal that she was in fact an adult (porn often represents child characters with adult bodies - see The Passions of Carol (Dir. Shaun Costello, 1975)) until after the scene was over. My giant "THANK GOD" did not save the scene.

In closing, I want to assert that I went into this film hoping for a truly great experience. I have been waiting for this film to arrive for a long time, and have been so impressed with Costello's work that I really didn't think the movie could fail. I have been researching Dracula porn for a forthcoming sourcebook on Dracula imagery in film and comic books that a colleague is editing (I will let you all know when it's available), and was thrilled when a Costello movie showed up, and with Jamie Gillis no less! I could have cried with disappointment. 

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