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Graphic Sexual Horror - Synapse Films Print E-mail
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Written by Ray Casta   
Saturday, 31 July 2010
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Directed by: Barbara Bell & Anna Lorentzo
Written by: Barbara Bell
Produced by: Barbara Bell & Anna Lorentzo
Edited by: Barbara Bell & Anna Lorentzo
Cast: Peter Ackworth, Claire Adams, Cyd Black, Princess Donna, Genevieve, Barry Goldman, Jazz, Lorelei Lee, Maya Matthews
Year: 2009
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 84 Minutes

Distributor: Synapse Films
Official Website: Graphic Sexual Horror

Pain.  What motivates people to inflict pain on others?  On themselves?  These questions are among the many which are asked in Barbara Bell and Anna Lorentzo's probing documentary, Graphic Sexual Horror.  The documentary explores pain to the absolute extreme by recounting the story of Brent Scott, known as "PD", and the inception and eventual destruction of Insex.com, his extremely hardcore BDSM website.  It opens by introducing Brent as an artist with a deep, lifelong fascination in BDSM.  Brent's hauntingly photographed school films and artwork are shown in graphic detail.  His amateur work morphed into the creation of Insex.com.  In 1997, his unique, taboo-breaking vision was online.  Little did Brent know how largely profitable Insex would become.  Even in its early stages, he was earning far more money than he ever received teaching for the art department at Carnegie-Mellon.  Soon afterwards, people began to notice Brent and his infamous website which eventually had nearly 35000 subscribers in the end.

As an unwavering behind-the-scenes look, Graphic Sexual Horror delves into the dark complexity of sexual gratification.  You can say what you want about the site and why you don't agree with it.  Everyone has their own opinions, but at the end of the day Brent received a written consent by the models who starred in his bondage videos and live feeds.  The filmmakers interview many different models, who worked for Brent.  Featuring such bondage models as Princess Donna and Lorelei Lee, they tell of how they got into BDSM and their first encounter with Brent.  Brent himself is the prime subject here, and he is a fascinating subject who warrants the attention.  He has a grand vision and he desires to please his viewers, who log into his site and pay with their credit cards.  During the live feeds, his customers even text in their requests on what they would very much like to see.  In the longest footage from one of the Insex shoots, Brent slaps a model in the face at a viewer's request.  She looks extremely pissed at him, perplexed and shocked.  Apparently, she expressed beforehand she did not wish to be slapped.  It was her "limit".  The footage is a power play of the two.  There is a lot going on here which is very fascinating.  Brent may have forgotten this was her limit, but he tells her she can quit, at any time if she utters the "safe word".  And of course, the model who simply cries and does not quit as Brent suggests.


The documentary later reveals what happens to models if they did say their safe word.  They would never be called back for another shoot, and we realize why they wouldn't quit a scene: Money.  The shoots paid incredibly well, and some models would even get paid 4,000 dollars a shoot at one time.  Money is the overall motivator in this world of pornography.  People will do anything they have to do if they are strapped for cash, and it is graphically portrayed here.  In the most explicit moments where models are crying and pleading, we ask: Why don't you quit?  But it's deeper, more complicated.  There is no way we can probe their minds -- we don't know what is going on in their head at the time, and some of us are not in their shoes to ask their motivation or judge them.  At no point does it judge its subjects.  This is a frank, honest investigation into Insex.com and the colorful, interesting people who were involved in it.

For those unaware, Insex.com was shut down by the US government through the anti-terrorist Patriot Act.  The government claimed that extreme bondage sites fund terrorism.  This is very interesting and deserved more time devoted to it in this documentary.  I strongly believe the filmmakers should've delved deeper into it.  The documentary briefly talks about the reason why it was shut down towards the end of its run time, but it's given approximately four minutes and that's it.  Disappointing, yet there may not be much more to say about it.  Regardless, it is in this respect that Graphic Sexual Horror is important in the way it makes the viewers think about censorship and freedom of speech.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Graphic Sexual Horror was the brief mention of serial killers.  Surely, much of Brent's disturbing imagery would arouse and titillate the worst sexual serial killer in a variety of ways.  I thought of Ted Bundy's final interview with James Dobson, where he's comparing hardcore pornography to an addiction.  He describes how once you become addicted to pornography, you later seek out the rougher, more graphic material.  Notorious serial murderers and sex sadists like Bundy would look at hardcore bondage imagery to fuel their dark desires and homicidal urges whereas Brent Scott and others look at their inventions as "art".  Their inventions are fantasy.  Barbara Bell & Anna Lorentzo, in their feature debut, depict BDSM as an entirely consensual practice between responsible adults.  Hence making Graphic Sexual Horror an unblinking exploration into a world where artistic and sexual limits are pushed to the maximum.

Not for the easily offended or the squeamish, Graphic Sexual Horror assaults the senses.  Even with its startling visuals, we truly cannot take our eyes off the screen as we hear the piercingly loud screams of terror and as we watch in awe, disbelief and horror.  Synapse Films bravely present the award-winning documentary to DVD in a crystal clear 16x9 transfer.  Supplemental material includes deleted scenes, additional interviews with the models and one with Barbara Bell, one of the creators of the documentary.  One of the deleted scenes, include a model with an extreme foot fetish whose wish is granted by Insex.com.  She is brought to tears afterwards, absolutely grateful her fantasy was finally made into a reality by the Insex team.  To the viewer, the foot torture looks absolutely painful yet to the model, it was brought instant pleasure.  A moment in her life in which she will never forget.



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 RATING:
 VIDEO: 1 
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 AUDIO: 1 
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 DVD: 1 
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 MOVIE: 1 
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 DVD SPECS:
 Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 16.9 Anamorphic
 Region: NTSC 1
 Audio: Dolby Digital
Stereo


 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:
 - Deleted Scenes
 - Interviews


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