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Monday, 13 June 2011

The Human Centipede II - Passed Uncut In Australia!

A quick piece of news for you all.

Yes, as bizarre as it sounds, the OFLC in Australia have given THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II: FINAL SEQUENCE an R18+ rating, meaning it can be shown completely uncut for theatrical exhibition, as shown  here . All you lucky Australians will soon, therefore, be able to see the film us Brits were eagerly awaiting!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Pornography: The Rise And Rise Of Everything - Part 3

We are in the United States of America.

Lyndon B. Johnson is the Nation's presidential leader.

It is the height of the Vietnam War crisis.

A Supreme Court decision upholds the view that the citizens of your country, should be free to view whatever material they wish to, as long as it is in the privacy of your own home.

The President and the U.S. Congress are asked to fund the President's Commission On Obscenity And Pornography to analyse pornography, the rise in pornographic entertainment, as well as the industry itself.

The report advocates pornography and erotica citing that there was...

"no evidence to date that exposure to explicit sexual materials plays a significant role in the causation of delinquent or criminal behavior among youths or adults

"no evidence that exposure to explicit sexual materials adversely affects character or moral attitudes regarding sex and sexual conduct.

"that "Federal, State, and Local legislation prohibiting the sale, exhibition, or distribution of sexual materials to consenting adults should be repealed."

The year is 1969.

Whilst pornography as a visual medium had already existed for over 70 years, from the works of French directors Eugène Pirou and Albert Kirchner (using the trading name of "Lear"), it wasn't until the hedonistic days of the 1960's in the United States that pornography really began to go mainstream as entertainment for the adult masses. (For a look at old-time erotica, from the turn-of-the-20th Century, I heartily recommend the DVD of POLISSONS ET GALIPETTES / THE GOOD OLD NAUGHTY DAYS (2002, Michel Reilhac and Cecile Babiole). It is very explicit, certainly as hardcore as any mainstream title, and may even be illegal in some countries, but it is incredibly fascinating to view.)

The release of cinematic works like JAG AR NYFIKEN, EN FILM I GULT / I AM CURIOUS (YELLOW) (1967, Vilgot Sjoman) and UR KARLEKENS SPRAK / LANGUAGE OF LOVE (1969, Torgny Wickman) were being released to audiences in the Netherlands, and 16mm prints were being routinely smuggled into the U.S. and Europe "under-the-counter" where they were then shown in Gentleman's Clubs and/or Member's Only Cinema clubs. Porn was now an industry all of its own, in the Western world.

By the early-70's, adult cinemas were springing-up all over the U.S. and in Soho, London, bringing in a lucractive trade from punters. Sex shops began to gain a foothold in communities, introducing a flood of European "filth" from more progressive and pervasive nations such as Denmark and Sweden, via magazines, film-loop booths, and even literature. Sex was money. And money meant great business!

In 1972, pornography went mainstream with the release of DEEP THROAT (1972, Gerard Damiano), starring Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems. The controversial history of this movie has been well-documented over time, so I won't delve into that area in this article, but suddenly pornography was cool, chic, acceptable! No longer a haven for middle-aged married men, or lonely single males. Now, DEEP THROAT was a movie event that couples could go to view together, and talk about with their friends. The news media lapped it up, and much was made about this new form of entertainment hitting the country. DEEP THROAT was followed by more infamous films: BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR, DEBBIE DOES DALLAS, THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES, and many, many more. Two years later, and one of the biggest film hits of the time, EMMANUELLE (1974, Just Jaeckin) was being shown around the world, based on the semi-autobiographal literary hit of the same name, loosely based on Emmanuelle Arsan's novel.

Pornography was improving, and making millions at the box office. No longer consigned to dingy, grubby back-rooms, or strange underground, unnamed bookstores. Porn was here, it was proud, and it was going to stay! The term "filthy rich" was never more apt!

With the success of pornography in cinemas, and the likes of Hustler, Playboy and Penthouse magazines, porn appeared to be everywhere. Even TV was discussing the material on chat-shows, in documentaries, and in adult households around the globe. Time moved onwards, and so did technology. As would soon become apparent, the pornography industry based itself in and around California, and soon leapt onto the bandwagon, with the arrival of home videotape. (Betamax and VHS were the two formats duelling it out, with VHS quickly winning and becoming the de facto standard.) Now, not only did pornography become cheaper to make, you could make it more efficiently, and still turn out a massive profit. Anyone capable of holding a video camera, and hitting the "record" button, could become a self-made millionaire. Women (and a few men) could become famous quicker than ever before, whilst circumventing the normal route into acting, by simply becoming involved in the adult industry. And many did. Household names included the likes of Traci Lords, John Holmes, Ginger Lynn and Ron Jeremy. Porn was quick, cheap and could make (and break) your career overnight, like never before; like no other industry could. From nobody you could become a heavy-hitter and nationally famous, if you so desired.

With the continual rise and rise of Pornography, it seemed nothing could stop the trend. Yet, all bubbles eventually burst, and the porn industry suddenly realised its time was going to come much sooner than had been considered. Four single letters would bring the pornographic industry to its knees, and slap the entire world's conciousness around the face.


Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome - reared its ugly and very deadly head from the parapit, in June of 1981, and became the world's most deadly health issue to ever hit mankind since Cholera almost a century earlier.

With the rise in sexual activity for profit, came a rise in other sexual practices for money, such as escorting, prostitution, and one-night-stands. Unprotected sex was rampant. The drugs culture was also on the increase. Away from the light days of the 60's household common use of Marijuana, now Cocaine and Heroin were the drugs of choice. Coke, as Cocaine became known by, took a hold of young people quickly, and became normal for people to enjoy socially. The heady days of the 1970's and early 80's were rich and prosperous for many, with millionaires, multi-millionaires, and billionaires being created, through hard work, luck, chance and fate. Prosperity was there for the taking, and pornography took its own slice of the pie, failing to even remotely consider at what cost that pie might have.

But some might say that cost was inhumane.

A.I.D.S was transmitted via blood and other body fluids, usually via unprotected sex. In the 1980's, people felt invincible. Life was good. No! Life was fucking great! Clinch a deal at work at Noon, celebrate with Champagne hours later. End your day with a few lines of Coke, and then try and get a couple of hours of sleep, before starting the whole day over. Unprotected sex was common in the pornography industry. It even coined its own term - "going bareback" - for men and women willing to have intercourse without using condoms. Going Bareback meant more pay! It was, after all, far riskier, but at that point in time, people felt invincible.

Safer sex wasn't a consideration in the Porn industry, least of all by the film-makers and cast members. As far as they were all concerned, life was for the taking, and getting rich quick was the name of the game.

A.I.D.S soon put a heavy and much-needed brake on that culture! Some say that A.I.D.S. was the porn industry's own fault! A way of curbing its own excesses. Some people claim the industry got what it deserved! But whilst the porn industry suddenly ground to a halt, no one was sure if the deadly disease would curb, kill or cure it. Time would tell...

In the next part of my article, I'll discuss the effects A.I.D.S had on the industry as a whole, and look at the steps it was forced to take to deal with the rising death levels amongst its stars. Porn was still profitable for many, but was the cost of your own life, worth it? Is success in the afterlife worth paying for, if you weren't around to enjoy its rewards? We'll examine the way Porn began to try to clean-up its act, and look at what happened once the wings were torn off, and the industry found itself in a health and financial criss.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) Banned In The UK!

T'is a sad day for British fans who were eagerly awaiting the home-viewing release of Tom Six's THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II: FULL SEQUENCE (2010), as it was announced yesterday - Monday 6th June 2011 - that the film has been Rejected by the BBFC, due to the...

"explicit presentation of the central character’s obsessive sexually violent fantasies is in breach of its Classification Guidelines and poses a real, as opposed to a fanciful, risk that harm is likely to be caused to potential viewers".
According to the BBFC  Press Report  on the film, the BBFC said that the 86 minute 50 second film...

"would risk potential harm within the terms of the VRA (Video Recordings Act, 1984, renewed 2011), and would be unacceptable to the public"
and even...

"may be in breach of the Obscene Publications Acts 1959 and 1964 (OPA)"!

Even cuts could not be considered, because of the unacceptable content that runs throughout the movie, hence the only remaining decision was to Reject the film for certification, and thus effectively ban it! (It was never formally submitted for a theatrical release in Britain!)

Now, as much as I am against censorship for adults, I can understand why THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II: FULL SEQUENCE has been banned. If the film does contain "graphic images of sexual violence, forced defecation, and mutilation," and the viewer is invited to witness events "from the perspective of the protagonist", "the sexual arousal of the central character", "the spectacle of the total degradation, humiliation, mutilation, torture, and murder of his naked victims", then I can see we may be getting into very dark cinematic territory, not unlike SRPSKI FILM / A SERBIAN FILM (2010, Srdjan Spasojevich) or even SNUFF 102 (2007, Mariano Peralto). Yet, even SRPSKI FILM managed to pass through the labyrinthine halls of the BBFC, with just over four minutes of cuts for both cinemas and DVD - and anyone who has seen that film can testify that it's hardly a walk in the park!

Admittedly, the BBFC state there is an early scene in which the main protagonist masturbates whilst he watches a DVD of the original HUMAN CENTIPEDE (2008, Tom Six) film, with sandpaper wrapped around his penis, and a sequence later in the film in which he becomes aroused at the sight of the members of the ‘centipede’ being forced to defecate into one another’s mouths, culminating in sight of the man wrapping barbed wire around his penis and raping the woman at the rear of the ‘centipede’.

Now, I'm certain that there was a Channel 4 documentary shown on British television, back in the late 1980's or early '90's, in which a similar scene was shown - that of a man masturbating himself with a cheese-grater of all things! The elderly gent was with a professional dominatrix, in her appartment, and this guy was really enjoying himself. Clearly, I'm not posting this as an advocate of such actions, though if that's your thing then good luck, but simply because of the double standards that appear to be being applied here. The documentary was shown among much controversy, and the Independant Broadcasting Authority (now OFCom - Office of Communications) hauled Channel 4 over the proverbial hot-coals (no pun intended) for allowing this scene to be shown on national television.

If such a scene was shown over 20 years ago on TV, why is such a similar scene being restricted so that any adult is unable to view it? The scene is obviously going to be simulated. No one is going to be being hurt or jeopardised, and no right-thinking adult would ever condone this sequence to be considered acceptable behaviour. It merely depicts the lead character as being mightily unhinged.

I admit that the rape of the woman, with barbed-wire could be considered by the BBFC as dangerous or inimitable behaviour, and they may wish to cut or censor the scene for those reasons, but I don't buy that the film is "obscene"! Anyhow, "obscenity" under English Law is defined as being

of material that has a tendency to deprave or corrupt the person who are likely to read, see or hear it

Bizarely, no one has ever challenged this definition, which in my view seems fatally flawed. If the very person or people who intend to view THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II are adults, and such adults define themselves as being individuals who aren't likely to be offended, depraved or corrupted by the film, then surely the film cannot be "obscene" in the legal terms. Hence, it could not be a breach of the  Obscene Publications Act 1959  to release it, within the UK. (However, it would be a breach of English Law to release the film without a BBFC Certificate! Something that is mandatory.) I've never been personally depraved, corrupted or offended by any of the numerous pieces of extreme cinema I've viewed over the past 20 years or so. And I've seen most of the worst titles, and even at least one scene of semi-snuff, albeit taken from a real-life legal case where the footage found wasn't filmed to be sold, but was filmed for the murderers' own sick enjoyment!

Just last month, the BBFC certificated a version of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, for legal home viewing release in the UK, with just 14 seconds of cuts. Despite all of the animal slaughter footage that it contains, only the killing of the coatimundi, (the creature that is knifed through the throat, and which everyone claims is a muskrat), has been censored for British audiences. The turtle, the monkey decapitation, and the various other animals that are mutilated on-screen are being allowed through for the first time in over 30 years!

That's progress!

However, yesterday's banning of THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II is almost a complete back-tracking of that progress. It's almost as if the BBFC are saying that the slaughter of animals is acceptable, as long as they are eaten afterwards, but the simulation of masturbation with sandpaper, and rape with barbed-wire is somehow more offensive, more obscene, and illegal.

With the Centipede sequel having filmed in London, last Summer, British horror fans were eagerly looking forward to watching how Six was intending to progress the storyline, especially with the mad doctor, played so beautifully psychotically by Dieter Laser. What a huge disappointment it is, that we will now have to wait for another country, to release the film, so that we can see whether the ban was reasonable or not.

Tomorrow, after a long delay, I will be posting online Part 3 of my article on Pornography! For now though, I will leave you with the Teaser Trailer for THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II. For UK fans, this is as close as we're going to get to seeing actual footage of it, for the time being.