|Please take some time to guess just why I have put this image as the first image you see on the page... Answer at the end of the blog.|
The trend so far: to take sexual assault not limited to but including sexually related taboos and create “horror” movies out of them. It’s nothing new. Rape revenge definitely sells and while each of the movies I’m gonna review handle sexual assault and rape in a vastly different manner its safe to say there’s historical precedent for including this subject matter in modern film. We’ve seen cycles in every decade of film in which sexually charged content invades the horror genre to make you feel “icky” inside, test your limits and out and out shock the shit out of you. As people realized they could film ANYTHING they filmed EVERYTHING. That includes sex for pleasure, sex for pain and sex for punishment…say hello to sex for entertainment. What about sex for displeasure or rape as a plot device? I’ll start with a period in which I am somewhat familiar. H.G. Lewis gave us Scum of the Earth. Then Last House on the Left from Cunningham and Craven (which really sounds like a tin pan ally writing duo). Hell, throw in Virgin Spring on which Last House was based. What about the Christina Lindberg flick Thriller? Hitch-Hike also starring David Hess. Then I Spit on Your Grave. And so on and so forth and these are just the cult classic, popular ones that come to mind. What about Nightmare Maker in the 80’s or House on the Edge of the Park (more Hess)? Irreversible comes to bind as a more recent example of a rape related “thriller”. With remakes of Last House on the Left and I Spit on Your Grave busting out, indy studios putting out movies like Wound and then the Euro crowd putting out A Serbian Film and The Life and Death of a Porno Gang (which I haven’t seen and wouldn’t mention it except it hot shit right now) you can tell that shock cinema is alive, well and ready to screw (consensual or not).
The first movie that we’re gonna offer a brief review about today is Scalene from Breaking Glass. In all fairness this movie does not boast that it is part of our beloved horror genre. Breaking Glass has labeled it a thriller and rightfully so although I’m not sure there’s anything thrilling about the plot device in this flick.
Synopsis from Breaking Glass:
Scalene is a perceptual thriller told from three points-of-view revolving around the rape of a female college student by a mentally handicapped man and his mother’s subsequent breakdown. In the varying views, the absolute truth takes a backseat to who can tell the most convincing tale. What really occurred, and who will you believe?
The three points of view angle is well executed although I would prefer a better delineation as to which character’s perspective I am perceiving the story from at any given moment. Don’t get me wrong, the way it was shot works, but I think I was expecting that I might be played to more as if I was the judge, jury and audience at a trial. It doesn’t come off like that. It’s not the campy. This is a serious movie for serious people although the opening sequence didn’t immediately clue me into just how serious things were about to become. The three way story telling is organic; less in your face. I was ready to watch 36 Angry Men (3 times 12 Angry men). It’s personal bias and nothing more to prefer a more artificial and even more objective storytelling method.
Zack Parker puts together a fine feature that will be enjoyed by most watchers of indy cinema. Acting performances are positive all around with Margo Martindale playing the ultimate bat shit, protectivist mom. We love you mom. Keep fighting the good fight for us. Hanna Hall and Adam Scarimblo playing the other to “perceptions” and main characters do a fine job as well. Adam’s story is one that was not all too unfamiliar to me as we had some huffing related tragedies in my neck of the woods while I was in high school. I won’t give anything else away on that note, but if you’re huffing you might want to stop reading this now because there’s a good chance you won’t remember it anway… beeeeeeeeeeeeep. I feel for all three characters involved, and I think that’s the point. Love ‘em and hate ‘em in the same movie for doing the exact same things they do in each interpretation of the unfolding events. That’s where Parker gets the job done for his actors and where the editing crew and cinematographer get shit done.
Why I don’t enjoy Scalene is that it’s playing off the trend that we previously spoke about. Let’s take all the pent up sexual fears and exploit them to come up with a new way to shock people; a new way to make the audience uneasy and hell, even a new way to interpret sexual assault. Great. Just what I needed. Another reason to feel horrible after watching a movie. Let’s just take all the happy, cuddly vibes out of good ol’ fashion scare films and remove them for cinema altogether. I’ll ask this and then I’ll wait patiently for a response. Why is it that I’m not allowed to watch a movie anymore without feeling like the director wants me to leave the theater depressed as all get out? Why can’t I be entertained without feeling bad about it? (that’s questions number two for those of you keeping score). You’re being timed. I’d love to know why we’re watching movies that don’t make us feel good about anything. At least in I Spit on Your Grave Camille Keaton gets raped and assaulted something fierce and then gets her revenge with maximum awesome force.
The truth may be just a point of view, and I can appreciate the way in which the story is told, but I think I’m starting to long for the days of vanilla cinema where rape lead to revenge rather than heartfelt introspection. Maybe I’m not the movie’s target audience. Like I said, this ain’t a horror picture. The IFC crowd should eat this up and rightfully so. Don’t let my personal bias deter you if you like a non-traditional piece of anti-Hollywood fare. It's really quite good, but rest assured, this world is in need of some honest to goodness Cinema Percodan! Happy Thoughts Here People!
Onto The Bunny Game where the tirade continues and the scream/whine count grows just a little more intense.
Brutal as Hell states (and was used on the Blu Ray cover) that this is “truly dangerous cinema”. Boy would I like to see the context from which that quote was taken. Wicked Channel said called it, “a violent fuck you to mainstream
Bloody Disgusting called it a “a powerhouse of uncomfortable!”. Fellas, with all due respect, do you watch
porn at all these days? I don’t mean Wicked Video or anything else Jenna
Jameson is trying to shove down your throats (pun intended). The internet isn’t
just for spouting opinions. It’s about looking at some of the most devious
sexual acts known to man, woman or animal. You can see it all. FOR FREE. You
don’t need to sit through 76 minutes of art porn in non-porno wolf clothing.
You can watch a five minutes clip of bondage and S&M that put the Bunny
Game to shame. I find it hard to believe that our three reviewers haven’t tuned
into PornHub to see what’s going on on the other side of the track marks. You
mean to tell me that a generation that has been raised on drunken viewings of
Two Girls, One Cup or Four Girls Finger Paint can’t handle The Bunny Game? You think
there’s something we haven’t seen!?
We can take your cinematic offering… … in the ASS… no lube.
Synopsis from Autopsy Pictures (who I have an exorbitant amount of respect for):
Junkie hooker Sylvia Great turns the wrong trick in demented trucker JR. After knocking her out cold and taking her to a desolate place where no one can hear her cries, JR subjects Sylvia to a series of increasingly twisted sadistic “games”. But will she survive the ultimate test when she wakes up with head sealed in a white leather bunny mask?
Synopsis (from me):
Lady of the night uses drugs. Gets conned. Gets locked up. Gets tortured. Gets turned into a sex slave and completely broken mentally and physically. And has her head shaved… and she’s hot. THE END.
While the Bunny Game starts off as a rather pretty picture about a prostitute having the shit kicked out of her and well… doing what prostitutes do to get by, it quickly deteriorates into something that just isn’t entertaining and it isn’t quite porn and if you really wanted porno, there’s an app for that I’m sure. The Bunny Game is trying to be what Richard Kern was doing twenty years ago as a film student only less effectively and without anything original except maybe that rad bunny mask which barely makes an appearance. These “games” are barely conveyed as games. I wish they were fun sexual games that were torturous and intriguing. Instead you get a gut churning series of flash back clips that make you nauseous solely based on the way the film was shot and not because of the actual content.
Positive things about the Bunny Game, Rodleen Getsic is absolutely hot. I can imagine that the performance she had to deliver was exceptionally difficult. I do not envy non-bondage folks the fate to which she must have at least partially been subjected acting in this role. She’s still hot and up until a point, it was nice to be able to appreciate her beauty. I’m afraid that Adam Rehmeier just made it look trashy and more porn than philosophical. Hey, you wanna make a “raw” movie that pushes the boundaries of cinema? You can do that, but if you make a piece of semi-porn, a work that doesn’t creep me out, doesn’t shock and doesn’t challenge anything, call it porn. Don’t let the audience be fooled by the Blu Ray package you’ll put in front of them and don’t use a bunch of quotes from industry folks to validate it. You know what Adam Rehmeier did right? He created a nice synthy duo-tone score. By the by, Jeffrey Renfro plays a damn fine madman. He’s creepy and perfect and I wasn’t entirely certain he was acting half the time… this is to his credit.
We don’t need another sexually hostile movie to challenge our conception of art. The Bunny Gamesdoesn’t move cinema forward, and it certainly doesn’t entertain (except that Rodleen Getsic is truly gorgeous). You know what’s really telling? What’s worth a watch? Watch the making of doc on the disc. I think its more entertaining than The Bunny Game and I think you’ll learn something about what filmmakers are trying to do to break into the industry. I’m not trouncing this poor bunny because it’s porn or porn-like or violent toward women or sexually hostile. I dislike this movie because it’s being sold to the horror community under false pretenses; as something new; as a piece of shock cinema that’s innovating. When you watch this movie, you don’t get the shock you deserve. Save you pennies for an uncut copy of A Serbian Film or a new Blu Ray transfer of Ms. 45 (even though I’m not particularly fond of that movie). Avoid all games that involve bunnies. If you must watch this movie, stick around for the first ten minutes. If you like rape revenge porn… if that’s your fetish of choice I’m sure you’ve seen better elsewhere and maybe the reason you should tune in is to see Getsic get it.
You know what I love about The Bunny Game? Being a Legend of Zelda fan from the NES days and seeing this fantastic production company name.
Remember this readers, I’m a horror fan first. I love movies though. I love pornography too. I do not like it when filmmakers try and cross the boundaries and try to sell porn as a work of narrative fiction with any other purpose than to arouse and stimulate our libidos. You like Bondage or S&M or any other fetish that consenting adults can entertain, go for it. Please enjoy responsibly. Use a safe word. Maybe use Bunny Games as your safe word and laugh about it with your partner after you watch this movie and ponder why someone might not just label this a artsy porno flick rather than an art film with that includes sexual content. Do you know what people are doing out there with three foot, six inch in diameter dildos these days or even their own fists?
Free your mind people and no, I don't feel bad about commenting on over violent sexed cinema and then finding Naziploitation strangely arousing.
Why was there an image of Link holding a TriForce image the first thing you see when you check out this double whammy review? .. The TriForce is a triangle. Triangles can be Scalene (having no equal sides or angles). Once you obtain all the TriForce you go to Death Mountain to defeat Ganon. See the connection there?
King of the dorks? or just a guy with a keyboard?
The Bunny Game (which I keep referring to as The Bunny Games) comes out 7/31 and can be ordered from DIABOLIK DVD (support good horror folks even if this ain't my favorite movie).
Remarkably, Scalene also release 7/31 and you can pick it up HERE from Amazon.