Monday With Mildred: “Porno”

Porno movie poster

Porno

Back in the day, porno was the cool way to say pornography. We’ve since dropped the “o” in the common vernacular, but the type of film is still something most people have issues with. In this throwback style film there are still issues with sex movies, but the punishment that has to come with sex in the movies is a little more creative than the slashers films of yore.

In 1992, in a super cute hometown theater the likes of which has been gone from my town for twenty years, the two (two!) movies on tap are Encino Man and A League of Their Own, which the male ushers obviously don’t want to watch because duh chicks don’t play baseball. The assistant manager and head usher, though, is a woman so it’s up in the air what they choose for the end-of-shift free viewing. After a lot of praying over it they end up seeing neither because a muttering old nutter crashes the place and then crashes through a forgotten door hidden behind a curtain in the lobby. They follow him through and discover a porno palace, covered in dust and cobwebs. Despite knowing for a fact Jesus would not want them to watch, they queue up a film and are soon slack jawed with shock over the Argento-style sexy film with Full Frontal Nudity! And blood, of course, because watching the film casts a spell summoning a succubus that proceeds to terrorize the hapless ushers.

Well, I think it’s supposed to terrorize because I believe Fangoria, the famous horror movie magazine that released the film in 2020 was attempting to create a horror movie. There are dark and supposedly creepy sets, some at times nicely creative lighting, blood and screaming and rending of tender body parts, but I never got a horror movie shiver. It’s atmospheric but that doesn’t necessarily translate to scary. Occasionally there is some clever camera work, my favorite being an ingeniously placed toilet flush handle. Made me chuckle. The art department hung a nifty photo very much like the one of Jack Torrence at the new year’s eve ball at the Overlook on the wall of the cobweb-strewn porno palace. That was a great period touch, especially since the photo was just kinda there without being remarked upon.

The score has a nostalgic feel that really evokes the kind of cheap, tv movie horror film Porno most closely resembles. The acting was about that level, and the writing as well. The characters are all stereotypes we’re familiar with from those days, all performed very seriously. I noticed other evocative effects, like the sound being muffled as a mechanism for heightening the scare in a scene. Yeah, it didn’t work for me then, and it doesn’t work for me now, but I did appreciate those touches to set the tone of early nineties film.

Twenty-first century sexual politics makes its way into the film, and I for one appreciated it. While the characters themselves were sexual stereotypes, the way they’re dealt with in the film was very different than we would have seen thirty years ago. Since I had my fill of the old fashioned ways of dealing with sexuality a long, long time ago, this aspect of the film was much appreciated by this viewer. Best of all, the victims of sexual punishment is updated.

Unfortunately, as the film nears the end the plot becomes somewhat disjointed and the action jumps around in an increasingly random manner. Some things made no sense, or really should have been more deeply explored. Seems odd, but it made me wish the movie had been little longer.

While Porno isn’t a bad movie by any means, it’s not that good, either. If you’re interested in watching a nostalgic take on cheap, old fashioned horror movies you should check this out. And they did “cheap” on purpose, as revealed by the title card at the end of the credits, “A thoughtful low budget horror film LLC.”

LINKS:

  • Porno – IMDB
  • NOTE: Trying to find this movie on the web without getting a lot of links to things I don’t want to see is well, no words.

TRAILER

Click on the above IMDB link and watch it there. I didn’t even want to try to find it.

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