Total Pageviews

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Pornography: Entertainment or Evil? - Part 1

Welcome Everyone,

Pornography: from the Greek word "pornograph", meaning "writings about harlots": a word that is usually shortened to just five simple letters "p-o-r-n-o": a word that has a social stigma attached to it, like leprosy. A word that carries a moral punch, that as soon as you mention it in public, you'll receive frightened looks and nagging fingers!

It is the 21st Century evil, that is bringing down society as we speak, and which - for Britain at least - has caused problems in recent times, after Government minister Jacqui Smith put in an  Expenses Claim  which included the viewing of two adult films courtesy of her husband. (For those of you outside of the United Kingdom, in 2009 the national newspaper The Daily Telegraph broke a major international news story, about members of the Houses Of Parliament who were  falsely claiming money ,for so-called "expenses" which they felt they were entitled to, for their duties. In and of itself, this would not be a problem, as most major organisations let their employees claim for certain expenses. The problem for the MP's, were that there claims were being deliberately exaggerated and falsified in vast amounts, sometimes into figures totalling  hundreds of thousands of pounds! Money that belonged to the British public, the tax payers! The  story , which ran daily for over three months, with new revelations daily, caused an outcry amongst the public, and major hostility towards any and all politicians. So much, that major claimants included Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, David Miliband, Yvette Cooper, and Peter Mandelson.)

Now, under normal circumstances, if this had been any ordinary member of the public, the charges would have been for fraud, theft, or deception, and would have likely entailed criminal proceedings and a prison sentence. What staggered the British electorate, was that the vast majority of MP's simply apologised and paid the money back, once they had been caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar, and that was it! In a few cases, they lost their jobs, but that was about it! No legal repurcussions, and hence, a simple slap on the wrist!

Jacquie Smith, the then Home Secretary, was the woman in charge of decisions relating to internal affairs, citizenship and immigration. Her position also allowed her to dictate what we, the public, were allowed to watch at cinemas and at home, via the British Board of Film Classification, and she was against pornography. After the Expenses Scandal, she produced a radio documentary, as mentioned in a previous Blog entry of mine. Sadly, most of it was her views, and her opinions, which were most definitely anti-pornography, with the opposing side not being allowed to give their side of the argument.

As a Blog about extreme cinema from all over the globe, sexual material is something that comes up frequently in movies. From the titillation of 70's Sexploitation films, to the Nudie Cuties of the 1950's, the Cheesecake Pin-Ups of the 40's, and the pornogaphy industry of the late 1980's. Sex sells, more so than ever before. Yet in a world that is increasingly sexual and sexualised, why is pornography still seen in such a horrific light?

And it is this, which led me to write this article.

I am not, personally, a fan of pornography. I am not against it. I don't actively discourage those who work in the industry, nor do I have an axe to grind to those who produce it, create it, endorse it, or are involved in any other aspect of it. What I am against, is the far more seedy end of pornography, where women (or men) are coerced into performing for a video producer, into taking part in something that is clearly illegal, and which the actress (for it is usually the woman) is forced into performing against her free will.

Now, I am not saying that all pornography is like that. And I certainly don't believe that all extreme pornograhy should be banned. However, there have been cases, where the men making the films, are pretty much raping the women in the films, and forcing them to take part in material that is reprehensibly degrading. Take American pornographic film-maker and actor  Max Hardcore  aka Paul Little! (Oh, the irony!) I've mentioned him before, but he is currently finishing a prison sentence, after being convicted of producing and starring-in films that were classified as obscene, because of their content. His films have included women who are borderline legal in age (16-18) starring in his works; actresses being forcibly coerced into performing hideous acts of depravity, such as eating faeces, or drinking urine, whilst naked; and being dressed-up as pre-pubescent girls, and indulging in hardcore sexual acts against their will, in scenarios that are ultimately window-dressings for child pornography.

Now, I'd like to think, that the people reading this article, irrespective of your gender or age, would agree with me, that no one acting in the pornography industry, should ever be forced into performing against their will. Pornography, for me, should be all about consent! And likewise, no one reading this, would ever condone child pornography of any sort.

Whether an actor (of any gender) is paid thousands or millions is not the point here, but they should be able to give or withdraw their consent at any time, for any reason, even after a contract or verbal/written agreement has been decided upon. At no point should anyone feel that they cannot say "no" if they decide they aren't happy moving forward with the filming of a certain act or event. After all, we're talking about real human being here, and real human bodies. This is not fiction, in which people aren't open to harm or pain. That is, people like you and I! It's something many viewers and users of pornography forget! What you see on screen may be fictional, in the sense of the story or acting, or whatever else, but the cast are real people, with real emotions, and a real need for absolute protection during the making of the material concerned!

So why does pornography cause so many problems, and seem to be on the increase in society?

Normally, as soon as you mention the "p-word", people will give you a dirty look, or wink at, and nudge you. There's almost no inbetween actions. It's one extreme or the other. And the world is divided very clearly, between those against pornography and those for it. Yet, no one appears to aim to look at the industry and try to make comment on the area in the middle. I am not implying that views should sit on the middle of the fence, but there does need to be much more balance in how people look at such an emotive subject. Pornography doesn't have to be one thing or the other. It is possible, I believe, to view the subject dispassionately, and retain your emotional views under wraps, whilst still being free to condemn or accept parts of the industry.

If any of you have seen the film THE GOOD OLD NAUGHTY DAYS / POLISSONS ET GALIPETTES (2002, Michel Reilhac and Cecile Babiole), you will see that before cinema, there was pornogaphy! The film is a collection of adult shorts of varying lengths, including animated sequences, originally shown to patrons awaiting time with a lady in various Parisian brothels of the early 1900's. Although it's very funny at times, it's also extremely hardcore, despite being over 100 years of age. Bestiality was common. Oral, anal, threesomes were all quite common and blase by comparison! Material depicting nuns and monks getting up to all kinds of sexual shenanigans, maids and their bosses, postal workers, everyone and anyone was doing it, and doing it in as many ways as they could. If you don't like the gynaecological detail of modern pornography, but desire something more than traditional tits-and-ass, then this is a very eye-opening historical film to own, and I heartily recommend it! Just be warned, that if you import it, it may well breach your own countries laws on obscene material, so please be very careful! You import this at your own risk!

If, as that film demonstrates, that pornography is nothing new, maybe there is something to be said for pornography having a valid existance in today's society. Before film, there was literature, and pornography existed even back as early as 1785, with the Marquis De Sade's mammoth opus THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM, which in turn, was filmed and reworked into a controversial commentary on Fascism by Pier Paolo Pasolini as SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM (1975). One hundred years later, and you had the erotic novel/diaries MY SECRET LIFE written by "Walter", which - over some 1100-plus pages - lists in graphic detail every sexual depravity the author got up to, from his pre-pubescent years, through to his death! It can be legally read or downloaded and printed  here  as an 8mb-sized PDF file.

As such, pornography is nothing new! Not by a long shot! Nor was it new to record details - extensive and graphically-described details - for others to access; for others to purchase for their own edification. Yet, the production and selling of pornography as we know it today, in the form of magazines and DVD's/Blu-Ray discs is considered a modern phenomenenon, that needs to be stomped-on and stamped out!

In the second part of this extensive, multi-part article, I will examine modern pornogaphy, and the social issues it raises. We shall examine why people have a love-hate relationship with porn, examine those involved in the making of it, both infront and behind the camera, and ask why pornography has become the mass cultural event that it has.

Thank You for reading! See you soon!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

The English Defence League - Or how to become Internationally-Reknowned For Being Thick!

Hello Everyone,

I simply couldn't pass this chance up to post a link to an amazing video clip that is doing the rounds this weekend, courtesy of the English Defence League (EDL). I'm not a supporter of the EDL, and this clip has nothing at all to do with extreme cinema in any way, shape or form, but it's priceless!

For those who don't know, the EDL are a group of white, heterosexual men who have formed a semi-political action group that aims to keep Great Britain "British". The problem is, that most of their members are socially-inept, morons who have neither the brain-cells to understand what their aim is, or to even comprehend what being "British" actually entails. They hate any non-Whites, and hate "outsiders", that is, foreigners: Jewish, Muslim, Blacks, etc, etc. Their hate-list is long and extensive.

Essentially, they want, like the British National Party (BNP), to keep Britain for whites! Now, unlike the BNP, the EDL aren't seen or viewed as anything more than an irritant. Their membership numbers aren't massive, and like many groups of their kind, other then when they protest - for protest read, cause a lot of racial tension and unrest, because of EDL hooliganism - they're not really an issue.

Anyway, enjoy the clip: it's work-safe, and contains nothing remotely offensive, crude or even vaguely naughty! It's an EDL supporter demonstrating his incredible skill of why the EDL hate Muslims, but in a way that demonstrates why the EDL are ultimately a joke!

I shall be back soon, where I will be discussing the constantly shocking world of "Pornography", in my next post, looking at the rights and wrongs of the industry, the legal issues about use and ownership of porn, and examining if pornography is really the great disease of the 21st Century! See you back here!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Some minor changes!

I have made a few subtle style, font, and colour changes to my blog. I hope you like them.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Cuts, Cuts, And More Cuts!

A couple of new pieces of news, that have come to light over the past few days, that I thought I should announce and discuss with you all, regarding two very controversial shockers:

A SERBIAN FILM is to be given a censored US cinema release, in mid-May, courtesy of Invisible Pictures, despite previous press releases to the contrary. The uncut release will only be available to view, by US audiences, via FlixFling - a kind of US version of pay-per-view. No details have been announced as to how cut the film will be, but I suspect it won't be vastly different to the already released UK DVD/Blu-Ray version that is now being sold for just £8 in branches of HMV as of right now.

The reason for the US having a cut release, is due to the news that Sitges Film Festival itself, and its director Angel Sala, have been charged with the exhibition of child pornography, after the festival screened the uncut edition of A SERBIAN FILM last year! The law's in Spain regarding child pornography, appear to be far more extreme in their definition, compared with the US or UK. As such, Sala is facing a prison sentence and/or a heavy and extensive fine, if he is convicted.

The laws in Spain state that "no simulation, no real footage, and no audio or visual depiction of any kind of material that deals with child pornography must be depicted in any format, nor edited to simulate any kind of explicit sexual material featuring a child/children".

As A SERBIAN FILM does feature material that is borderline child pornography, it is understandable why the Spanish authorities are commencing legal proceedings. The true test of the law, will however, only come when the authorities demonstrate if a puppet of a newborn baby being sodomised, and/or the aural effects that same sequence incorporates, constitutes "child pornography".

Whatever the result, this is a film that is going to be the 21st Century's CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1979, Ruggero Deodato).

And talking of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, Deodato is working on a censored version for a new Hi-Definition master, to be released in the UK on Blu-Ray (and possibly DVD) by  Shameless Films  in the near future.

The film is being re-edited by Deodato himself, to remove the animal cruelty sequences, which have plagued the film's notoriety for over 30 years. Deodato has been quoted on several occasions, stating that he is unhappy with the animal-cruelty footage, and is hesitant to allow this material to be edited out by censors, or to have the film constantly banned outright. His intention is therefore to prepare a new, alternative version, which keeps the film's integrity, but minus the graphic animal killings. Alas, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST is not CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, without the animal-cruelty, and even as reprehensible as the footage may be, it was filmed over 30 years ago. No one is going to be able to bring the animals back to life, and it won't matter to hardcore fans of extreme cinema, that said material is now being cut. If anything, the censoring of the notorious material, is likely to anger fans of the film, irrespective of their moral stance.

Still, it is hoped that the HD master will be of a complete version, that may then be released elsewhere around the globe in the future, if not in the UK.

For those of you waiting for my article on pornography, it is still in the works, and will appear in due course, I promise.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Two Research Studies and An Update!

Hello once again, folks!

I hope that all of you are in good health, and enjoying what I've produced thus far. I know my blog is very, very infrequently added too, but I simply don't have the time to write something as often as I'd like to.

... And anyway, I prefer quality over quantity!

For those who care, I've just written a new review for Nico Mastorakis' Greek-shocker ISLAND OF DEATH (1978), which can be read  here,  over at the excellent Sex, Gore, Mutants website. Thanks to Alan Simpson, for sending me the review disc!

My next update, which I am hoping to have completed in the next couple of weeks for this very blog, however, is on the perennially controversial and taboo subject of pornography. There is a new British research study currently being undertaken at  asking for peoples opinions on their own use of pornographic material. The research is 100% anonymous, and the intention is to compile a proper, decent-sized sample of what modern-day Britains use pornography, and more importantly, why they use it and what they think of it.

The results will then be distributed to places like OFCOM and the BBFC, who will hopefully use it when it comes to some of their classification and censorship decisions.

The study is actually being undertaken by two women, Clarissa Smith and Feona Attwood, accompanied by Martin Barker, who was strategic when he undertook research into Video Nasties back in the early 1980's, at Aberystwyth University. So, this could prove to be immensely significant when it comes to classification of Extreme Cinema in the future.

My forthcoming blog entry on pornography, will be examining the many different aspects that make-up this modern-day phenomenon. This behomoth industry, that channels millions upon millions of dollars into its production and dissemination, is as provocative today as it always has been. From the humble beginnings of 8mm reels from the 1920's, through to the big VHS porn-explosion of the 1980's, I will be examining the controversy that surrounds it, the problems (both legal and moral) of working in this field, and why even in 21st Century Britain, pornography is still a very dirty word indeed.

You may have heard that the great pillar of our social conscience, Jacqui Smith (ex Labour Home Secretary), recently produced a radio documentary about the pornography industry for Radio 5 Live, which can be listened again to (until Thursday 10th March) by clicking here. Sadly, the problems with the show, is the lack of actual open discussion about why the sex industry as a whole, is still being viewed in such a negative fashion, when we could move forward with it, and turn-it into something less seedy, if we really wanted too.

Pornography doesn't have to be demeaning, desensitising, or dirty. It could be made legal and moral, if government and society chose to do so. Yet, in Britain, we seem to be hell-bent on keeping the people who work in the sex and pornography industries down, and treating them as the lowest of the low.

And talking of Extreme Cinema, there is a second research study being undertaken at  that all my blog-readers should pay a visit too. Focusing on the censorship and classification of films from the Far East, such as ICHI THE KILLER, GROTESQUE, or BATTLE ROYALE, Aberystwyth University PhD student Emma Pett wants to know whether you have seen these kinds of works, what attracts you too them, and what you feel defines an Asian Extreme movie.

I would thus politely ask any and all of you, to visit and complete both these studies as soon as you can please, as the research for both is extremely relevant and significant when it comes to censorship issues.
I hope you will enjoy reading my report on pornography, and look forward to hearing your comments upon the subject, very soon. For now though, I bid you a fond adieu!