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September 26, 2010

Movie Review: Graphic Sexual Horror (2009)

by Jeff Dolniak

Directed by: Barbara Bell and Anna Lorentzon

Synapse Films

Buy Graphic Sexual Horror on DVD

Generally, when a documentary appears on television (no matter what the subject matter) I tend to, at the very least, give it a watch. Real people, doing real things in this fascinating world of ours. Scripted film can rarely touch the drama or depth of what all we living humans do. Documentaries on adult entertainment have always appealed to me, but they tend to be all over the place. Graphic Sexual Horror, from producer and director's, Barbara Bell and Anna Lorentzon, is not one of them. It's not about adult films, or even straight up "screw-and-chew"; it's about the notorious and highly popular site called, INSEX. INSEX is not your average site for those seeking sexual gratification via the internet; it's a website solely committed to outrageous bondage and sado-masochism. Many of the acts shown on INSEX were so extreme it eventually led to their demise courtesy of The Department of Homeland Security.

PD (Brent Scott) runs INSEX, and he's an engaging fellow who really doesn't come across as the stereotype of what some of us "puritans", would assume would host an extreme bondage website. PD comes across as more of an artist than a pornographer. His meticulous nature is evident when watching him set-up the various shots, that are later shown on the INSEX website. He's also incredibly articulate on camera, a former professor at Carnegie-Mellon University, a Vietnam veteran, and most importantly very good to the ladies he puts in vices, nipple-clamps and submerges under-water. At one point during the documentary PD shows genuine concern for one his models. You don't really see that in too many documentaries that focus on adult entertainment. On the flipside, PD, in one instance on a live-feed does cross the line with a model by slapping her for, "copping an attitude" and trying to "gain control". He didn't quite clear the smack with her beforehand that he'd do that. The exchange is certainly one of the more memorable highlights of Graphic Sexual Horror.

All INSEX models are paid very well ($4000 for each session. More if you "play" with PD.) for what they contribute to the website, but it's important that you make it through one of PD's painful and rigorous sessions without saying the "safe word". PD will still pay you; even if you do scream out the "safe word" ...but, you're not coming back for any more lucrative sessions. The majority of the girls featured in Graphic Sexual Horror don't say the "safe word" because the money is simply just that good, but you do get to see a few women in the film use it. Why give in during a session when you can essentially pay your way through college working for P.D? These models know what they're doing, and it benefits them…once you get past the humiliation and intense pain part. The torture scenes in Graphic Sexual Horror, while not too bloody or grotesque, seriously get under your skin. There is one scene in particular that had me fall off my couch. All I can say is it involves labia and hot pepper spray.

Synapse Films has provided some excellent supplementary material for their release of Graphic Sexual Horror. None of which bored me in the least bit; it's STILL really juicy stuff. The deleted scenes really don't feel like real "deleted" scenes. "Molly's Foot Torture Fantasy" was an especially eye-popping little nugget. Something about getting needles stabbed into the bottom of the feet, and the fact that her toes looked like they belonged on a T-1000 made this bonus a winner among the excised material .In addition, Co-Director, Barbara Bell sits down for an interview. Bell, talks about how she started this collaboration with her partner, co-director, producer and cinematographer, Anna Lorentzon. More interesting facts on PD are exposed as well; most notable, a comparison to Kubrick is pointed out, which seems to be a very fitting once you get to see PD in action. We're also treated to a supplement called "More from the Models". The jaw-dropping theatrical trailer is also featured.

Graphic Sexual Horror is a superb journey into a world, I knew existed, but never really explored. Sure it's "Graphic" and very "Sexual", but it's so much more. It's beautifully shot by Lorentzon. Bell and Lorentzon also create a wonderful pace; with its focus not solely on PD, but also with the ladies who made these frightening set-pieces so haunting. This is truly what brings Graphic Sexual Horror to a level above those "other" documentaries. I found out by the conclusion of Graphic Sexual Horror, that it's not the INSEX website that's a "threat" to society, it's the moral will being imposed by The Department of Homeland Security, saying "it's the terrorists". Yes, in the end, INSEX lost…but they're not the real losers. Highly Recommended.

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