Controversy? What is the Melbourne International Film Festival without controversy? In fact, who is Bruce LaBruce without controversy?
The profanely gay Canadian filmmaker has suffered the wrath of the Film Classification Board, which has refused classification of his latest sleaze epic LA Zombie. The board requested a copy of the film when it became aware of “wound penetration” and “implied sex with corpses” in the film. The board members watched it, popped their monocles, then banned it to suppress the constant threat of a scourge of necrophilia.
It’s the first ban since 2003, when Larry Clark received the official finger wag for Ken Park. That film saw an attempted underground screening led by loveable silver vixen and noted anti-censorship campaigner Margaret Pomeranz, but the Morality Police shut it down.
That LaBruce has whipped off some confronting material is no surprise to anyone aware of his work. I actually got to speak to him when he visited as part of Melbourne Underground Film Festival in 2003, plugging The Raspberry Reich, his hilarious and very pornographic satire of upstart revolutionary groups (see: Symbionese Liberation Army).
He told me he often has to submit two versions of his films — the explicit one and the clean one — with each release, even though the graphic sex scenes and the savagely witty storylines in his films work concurrently in context.
LaBruce said in a media release at the start of filming LA Zombie,“Not unpretentiously, I consider myself not so much a p-rnographer, as an artist who works in porn”, and he’s not unpretentiously correct.
This unfortunate news comes on the back of news that the Suicide Girls alt-porn franchise has released “the first reality horror movie”. It’s called Suicide Girls Must Die! (and hopefully will be as trashy and entertaining as Troma’s Surf Nazis Must Die! but we doubt it). The “reality” bit is that apparently these tattooed honeys who hate their daddies were unaware that the producers were fucking with them as they presumably disrobed and pretended to be lesbians in a remote (but sexy) cabin.
So, filming supposedly-alternative ladies with br-ast implants actually getting terrorised in the woods is fine with everyone. But a presumably cheeky zombie satire featuring consenting actors poking their docks in rubber cement is a crime. I wonder if it would make a difference if the fake wounds were on women? Or if it was a giant knife repeatedly bludgeoning the wound, instead of a giant wang?
Australia, you’re standing in it (it being a quagmire of hypocrisy and puritanical censorship laced with subtle homophobia).