Comedy / Horror / Movie Reviews / Movies / Pop Culture / Reviews / Video / Video Reviews

Porno (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)

Porno

PORNO (2019)

Starring Evan Daves, Larry Saperstein, Jillian Mueller, Glenn Stott, Robbie Tann, Peter Reznikoff, Bill Phillips and Katelyn Pearce.

Screenplay by Matt Black and Laurence Vannicelli.

Directed by Keola Racela.

Distributed by Evoke. 98 minutes. Not Rated.

Screened at the 2019 Philadelphia Film Festival.

There is something nice about good-natured DIY productions, so you tend to overlook some of the problems you may point out in bigger films. Take Porno, a surprisingly funny – if often very uneven – celebration of old b-horror movies.

It’s not particularly well made. The storyline makes little sense. It tries to be a nostalgic look at the 1990s (the summer of 1992, to be precise), and yet it does not particularly feel like that era other than regular Madonna and Paulie Shore references. Even the title here is a bit off – the mysterious old film the plot revolves around, despite having nudity, is certainly not a porno. It is more like an arty European Giallo horror film.

And yet, for the most part, Porno was kind of fun. Not great, but worth the time if you’ve got nothing better going on.

The movie takes place in a small-town movie theater in the summer of 1992. Owned by a born-again Christian who tries to hire like-mindedly devout teens (or so he thinks), who he can trust to run the place.

The manager is Chaz (Jillian Mueller), a good girl experimenting with goth style. The projectionist is Heavy Metal Jeff (Robbie Tann), a musician who was saved from his vices by his boss, and now is horribly resistant to anything which may be a sin. The ushers are Abe (Evan Daves) and Todd (Larry Saperstein), two besties that share an interest in voyeurism. Then there is the cute jock Ricky (Glenn Stott), who Chaz has been crushing on for years, but has just returned from a mysterious church retreat.

After the Friday night screenings, the staff is allowed to stay late and watch a film together. While they are arguing about whether to see A League of Their Own or Encino Man, a wild-eyed vagrant breaks into the theater and knocks down a wall which leads to a boarded up and fire-damaged downstairs theater that no one knew was there. That theater obviously used to show “porno” movies. (Posters of films on the wall include the likes of 10 Foot Hole 10 Foot Pole, Orgy of Blood and Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em.)

They find some old films in the projection booth, most of which are melted by the fire. However, there is one film canister which is not only intact but emits a mysterious red light as if it were the briefcase from Pulp Fiction. (The kids wouldn’t get that reference, though, because Pulp Fiction did not come out until two years after this film takes place.)

Even though they have no idea what is on the film, their curiosity gets the most of them and the kids decide to watch the mysterious movie. At first, they don’t know what to think about the odd, psychedelic relic. “Is this a porno or an art film?” one of the kids asks, confused.

What they do not realize is that their watching the film has released a succubus (Katelyn Pearce), who uses her sex appeal, supernatural powers and regular nudity to exploit people’s temptations. She tries to hunt the kids down and uses sex and magick to violently sap them of their lifeforce.

Keep in mind, this isn’t a horror movie, not really. It is a good-natured satire. And while the jabs don’t always quite take – the film seems to want to say a lot more about the hypocrisy of evangelicals than it actually does – it does connect often enough to make it worth watching. The film sometimes goes way too far with the gross-out humor, particularly in one scene. I won’t tell you what happens, but you’ll know when you see it and no man will ever forget it. And that is not a good thing.

However, big props about the film within a film, the so-called porno which fuels the plot of this movie. It is a wonderful imitation of some crazy artifacts from the 60s. If they put as much imagination and craft into the rest of this film as they did this, Porno could have been a stone-cold classic.

Instead, it’s an imperfect, but often fun and funny, b-movie. There’s a place in the world for that. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2019 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: October 20, 2019.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s