Sunday 30 November 2014

More Data: Title IX Complaints

I seem to be having a data-heavy weekend. This resource might be potentially useful for fellow researchers who are interested in sexual violence.  This utterly depressing but incredible database lists all known Title IX complaints in US higher education institutions

Description from the Harvard Crimson website:
'The Crimson's searchable database details the outcomes of more than 7,500 Title IX complaints received and closed by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights between Jan. 1, 2002 and Sept. 22, 2014. The data was obtained by The Crimson through a Freedom of Information Act request and includes the opening date of each complaint case, the date it was closed, the OCR's description of resolution, and whether or not the complaint resulted in a policy change.'

Saturday 29 November 2014

Most Popular Porn a Diagram

What could be sexier than a visualisation of the 500 most popular tags assigned to streamed porn? Prepare to be uncontrollably aroused by Max Eistein's "vital statistics": 

For more information about how he compiled the information, see: 

Friday 28 November 2014

What is Rob Black Doing Now?

The last I saw of Rob Black was on Louis Theroux's Twilight of the Porn Stars documentary, and he did not look well (neither, in fairness, did the industry). For anyone wondering what Black is up to these days, Vice have an interesting article about him. It is worth reading for his claims about the PBS documentary that nominally triggered his arrest, and his claims that the extremity he has become associated with was an exaggerated performance.    

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Freddy NES Time

Remember that old NES Friday the 13th game that was unplayable? What could possibly make that game more fun? Well, for $40 you can find out whether playing as Freddy will do the trick. Somehow I doubt it, but this hack is great in any case.

You will also probably need to pick up one of these to play it on:

Saturday 22 November 2014

AVN Awards 2015: "Clever" Titles

It is that time of year again - the 2015 AVN award nominations have been published. Most categories fail to interest me (and there are so many categories). In fact, I'm only ever really interested in Clever Title of the Year (see my post here). Make no mistake, these are rarely "clever", and are most often patently offensive. For instance, this year 12 Inches a Slave has been nominated, and that is a title that definitely falls into the offensive category (see my previous post here). Other candidates include fellow nominees 1 in the Slit 1 in the Shit and (the rather boring) Pregnant and Pounded. 

There are the usual batch of parody titles, which do verge on being witty:

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Gapes
  • The Little Spermaid
  • Trans Formers

We have also been treated to some titles that don't really work, including Two Chicks at the Same Time, Man!, Romancing Her Rectum and I’m Not 50, I’m 5 Perfect 10’s

Since this is all quite dizzying, let's pause for a reality-check:

Clever (klɛvə), adj.

  1. quick to understand, learn, and devise or apply ideas; intelligent. (antonym: stupid)
  2. skilled at doing or achieving something; talented.
  3. showing skill and originality; ingenious.
  4. (informal) sensible; well advised.

Draw your own conclusions about how these titles measure up.

Over the last few years, my favourites have been those titles that are so long and cumbersome that they don't come close to working. The industry did not let me down this year, offering My Black Stepdaddy Disciplined Me Now My Pussy Is Sore! and She Divorced Me So I Fucked Her Hot Slutty Attorney. Surely the latter already has the "Clever Title" trophy in the bag. 

Wednesday 19 November 2014

New Article Now Available

My article “Torture Born: Representing Pregnancy and Abortion in Contemporary Survival-Horror” has been published in the online version of Sexuality & Culture (print version to follow).

Here is the abstract:

In proportion to the increased emphasis placed on abortion in partisan political debate since the early 2000s, there has been a noticeable upsurge in cultural representations of abortion. This article charts ways in which that increase manifests in contemporary survival-horror. This article contends that numerous contemporary survival-horror films foreground pregnancy. These representations of gravidity reify the pressures that moralistic, partisan political campaigning places on individuals who consider terminating a pregnancy. These films contribute to public discourse by engaging with abortion as an individual, emotional matter, rather than treating abortion as a matter of political principle or a political "means to an end." This article not only charts a relationship between popular culture and its surrounding political context, but also posits that survival horror - a genre that has been disparaged by critics and largely ignored by scholars - makes an important contribution to sexual-political discourse. These films use horror to articulate the things we cannot say about abortion.

I draw on case studies including Dark Corners (dir. Ray Gower, 2006), Frontier(s) (dir. Xavier Gens, 2007), The Hills Run Red (dir. Dave Parker, 2009), Inside (a L’interieur, dirs. Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury, 2007), Madness (dirs. Sonny Laguna, David Liljeblad and Tommy Wiklund, 2010),Resurrection County (dir. Matt Zettell, 2008), Timber Falls (dir. Tony Giglio, 2007), and The Wreck (dir. James K. Jones, 2008).

The article is available here (subscription only):

Tuesday 18 November 2014


Wow, I just burst a geek-vessel. Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series featured a Nightmare on Elm Street inspired story-line featuring the voice of good ol' Bobby Englund himself. 

Monday 17 November 2014

15 Second Review: Shame the Devil

Several questions haunted me while I was watching Shame the Devil:
  • In a broadly secular age, why are so many serial killer films still so obsessed with religion (particularly Catholicism)?
  • Why burden what is otherwise a standard religious-themed serial killer film with Saw-style "trap" sequences?
  • Why rip-off the iconic tropes of Saw so long after the trend, but not long enough after that anyone has yet forgotten where the tropes originated from?
  • Why are the Saw elements even present when they are at odds with the killer's general ethos? Why point out the contradictions in the dialogue?
  • Does anyone want to see unspectacular, gore-free Saw-style traps? By the close of the Saw series, the traps were grandiose contraptions, so what made the filmmakers think Shame the Devil's electric collar and pitch-shifted voice-over would cut it?
  • Does anyone want to see a murder-mystery without any mystery? When it is perfectly obvious from the the film's earliest moments who the killer is and what their motives are, why include a reveal that implies that the audience is meant to be surprised?
  • Why have I accidentally seen so many Paul Tanter films this month? Why does Tanter insist on making genre films that struggle to match the genre he is cloning (e.g. a whodunit with no mystery; three football hooliganism films with barely any football and virtually no hooliganism... and so forth)?
 Shame on you Paul Tanter. Shame on me too.

Sunday 16 November 2014

15 Second Review: Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero

I'll get straight to the punchline: Cabin Fever 3 is entertaining, but largely forgettable. There are two major drawbacks here. The first is fundamental: the plot and situations fail to rise above mediocrity. There is nothing new (or all that interesting) going on in the story and some of the set-pieces felt as if they had been lifted from the previous movies. Second, the approach to sex would benefit from some major revisions. For instance, one female protagonist (Penny) is veritably ogled until she contracts the flesh-eating virus. The now very tired joke is that her (conventional) beauty is severely undercut by her later state of decay: that is, a "male gaze" is established so that the leering audience can be 'shocked' by the inversion of her beauty. The central problem is that in both scenarios, Penny is treated as a "piece of meat", since the joke hinges on that connection. A more adept scriptwriter could make something of that inversion, but here the enterprise comes across as crass. Still, there are a number of pluses here. The narrative does not outstay its welcome and moves at an appropriate pace. The performances are good (certainly good enough for the movie's purposes). The practical effects work well, and the film is gory enough to satisfy most horror fans. What is more, I really enjoyed the opening and closing credit sequences, which hinted towards a distinctive directorial voice that was (unfortunately) missing from the rest of the film. Best of all, Cabin Fever 3 was a much better film than the previous sequel, giving me hope that Cabin Fever 4 might really hit the mark... if the filmmakers can adopt more mature attitudes towards sex, characterization, and storytelling.

Friday 14 November 2014

Uterus Man: The Game

During a seminar about the 2008 rom-com The Women, my students and I had a discussion about femininity, power and child-birth, leading to the question of why child-birth is so "unfeminine" (in stereotypical terms) even though it is a) an ability only women have, and b) is so powerful. The point was to explore how "femininity" is constructed, and the powered connotations of gender constructions. As part of that stimulating debate, I began to ponder how the cultural connotations of child-birth would change (and how gender stereotypes might shift) if men could give birth instead of women.

Shanghai-based artist Lu Yang may have provided an answer with UterusMan. I am reticent to describe or comment on the video in too much detail since it is such an affecting experience. However, it is a fascinating thought-experiment. UterusMan is a superhero, but he is divested of the muscularity that is so often employed to denote masculine might in the comic-book context: his power instead emanates from his uterus (and his Pelvis Chariot, of course). Via his radically re-sexed body - which disassociates birth from the genital region - UterusMan produces weapons. The latter evinces that this is not an unabashed celebration of birth-as-power, but rather an exploration into alternative perspectives on pregnancy in a hypothetical post-sex epoch. UterusMan's violence stems more from his essence as a superhero rather than his essence as a man, since his biological sex defies the "male/female" dichotomy: even though he is explicitly called UterusMan and has XY Chromosomes, he also has a vagina.

For more on Lu's intense body-related art work, visit this article and her Vimeo page.

Thursday 6 November 2014

Drone Porn (NSFW)

One of the standard tropes of hardcore porn is the "meat shot": close ups of genitalia. Personally, I'm not a fan of the kind of anatomical detail such shots provide (especially in HD). There are other parts of the body that are more interesting: faces, for instance. 
For those who are bored or turned off by meat shots, the kind folk at Ghost+Cow Films have an alternative to offer: long-distance porn shot via drone. Surely this counts as an "extreme" form of porn?

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Monday 3 November 2014

Texas Dildo Masqueade (1998)

For anyone who though Rob Rotten's Texas Vibrator Massacre was the first porn film to parody Tobe Hooper's sexless terror-fest, I bring you...
The Texas Dildo Masquerade 1998

Dear pornographers, no more of these are necessary.

Sunday 2 November 2014

'I’m Into Survival': A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Nancy, 30 Years Later

From The Atlantic: although it is standard (dated) stuff, it is nice to see Elm Street getting some birthday recognition

Freddy Krueger turns 30 this Halloween season. Wes Craven’s 1984 supernatural slasher, A Nightmare on Elm Street, earned back its paltry production costs after just one week of theater runs, having ensnared its targeted teen demographic with the lure of body horror. Its infamous villain, Freddy—disfigured by burns, bursting with bile, armed with knife-fingers and the power to show up uninvited in teenage dreamscapes—was born to the '80s low-budget boom; he has since resurfaced in sequels, spinoffs, crossovers, and one (awful) 2010 remake.
Freddy still manages to resonate. And so, too, should his original vanquisher, Nancy Thompson: an obstinate, foul-mouthed, hyper-feminine high schooler, who remains one of the most progressive female representations in the teen horror genre.
Nightmare shares plenty of rhetorical patterns with its turn-of-the-decade predecessors—John Carpenter’s Halloween, Ken Wiederhorn Eyes of a Stranger, Sean S. Cunningham’s Friday the 13th—particularly that of the Final Girl. Coined by feminist film scholar Carol J. Clover in her book Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film, the Final Girl is a filmic trope referring to the last female character left alive after a string of serialized murders. She survives, in part, by virtue of being both virginal and vice-free. She’s Not Like Other Girls. As Randy, the meta-voice of Craven’s '90s comedy/slasher Scream, informs a party of potential teenage murder victims: “There are certain rules you must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie. Number one, you can never have sex. Sex equals death, okay?"
Nancy is an oft-cited example of Final Girldom—though the label, in certain respects, is an imperfect fit.
If the Final Girl is narratively rewarded with survival for exhibiting constrictive and conservative modes of femininity, Nancy more or less meets the mark. She dresses in barely varying shades of baby pink, from her sweater-vests to an enviable football jersey, which she uses as a nightshirt. Nancy also sleeps apart from her boyfriend, Glen (played by a baby-faced Johnny Depp), when he and her friend Tina’s guy, Rod, crash the girls’ sleepover. After Tina and Rod giggle their way upstairs, Glen tries to make moves, but Nancy sighs him off—“Not now, Glen”—preoccupied by a nightmare Tina had the night before; Nancy’s over at her house to begin with because Tina didn’t want to sleep alone.
Nancy’s exasperation at Glen doesn’t suggest discomfort, but distraction—Freddy’s wrath hasn’t yet had real-world implications, but Nancy seems to sense something her friends don’t. Terror’s afoot; why think about sex right now? Her survival-earning superiority is not necessarily of a moral brand, but an emotional and intellectual one. Sure, she’s plenty virginal when compared to her hormone-heavy peers; Tina’s gruesome death is post-coital, and later, Glen meets his demise while preparing to objectify Miss Nude America as he watches her muted (“Who cares what she says?”). Blatant misogyny aside, sex in Nightmare is construed less as punishable teenage deviance, and more as punishable teenage sloppiness. Glen falls asleep—against all of Nancy’s constant warnings—with a naked woman on TV and music blasting in his ears. Neither he, nor Rod, nor Tina, employs constant vigilance against the threat that awaits them after getting off and closing their eyes.
Nancy is different; she actively prioritizes her own safety. The first time she encounters Freddy in a dream, she cleverly burns herself on a pipe to wake herself up, after screaming “Goddamn you!” in his face. This is relevant, too: Though Nancy curls her hair and calls her father “Daddy”, she’s far from prim and proper. She swears like a sailor. When her mother tries to get her to rest, Nancy—knowing full well, by this point, that what happens in nightmares doesn’t stay in nightmares—she yells “Screw sleep!” and smashes her mother’s vodka bottle on the kitchen floor. She is a girl who speaks, loudly and often.
While her peers are thinking about typical teenage things, Nancy’s thinking about methods of maiming and killing. Glen, when he’s still alive, catches her with a book about building booby traps. “What are you reading that for?” he asks, dubious, as if two of their friends hadn’t recently been brutally murdered. “I’m into survival,” Nancy says with a shrug and a smile, in a tone she may use to declare being into high-waisted jeans.
Nancy survives by thinking, strategizing, building. When her body demands sleep, she positions Glen as a sentinel so that he can rouse her when things get rough. Glen, being a useless teen boy, falls asleep, and Nancy has to get herself out of a Freddy-plagued dream all on her lonesome. Upon waking: “You bastard, I asked you for ONE THING, and what did you do, you shit? You fell asleep.” (Nancy tells it like it is.)
Her goal, even after all her friends have perished at Freddy’s knife-hands, is to “whack the fucker.” Prepped with a plan, Nancy booby traps the hell out of her house, falls asleep, grabs onto Freddy in her dream, and again forces her own wakefulness, this time dragging Freddy into the woken world along with her. After some Home Alone-style horror hijinks, Freddy and Nancy meet in a bedroom face-off.
One of the most central tenets of the Final Girl trope is her eventual masculinization. In order to kill off the villain, she undergoes phallic appropriation while hoisting a weapon—be it chainsaw, knife or gun—with which to slay her attacker. Nancy raises no such weapon; instead, she turns her back. “You’re nothing,” she tells Freddy. “You’re shit.” By declaring herself no longer afraid of him, he loses his powers. While potentially questionable purely from a plot perspective, the move is an otherwise bold one: Nightmare’s heroine doesn’t win with violence, but with smarts, emotional authority, and nerve. (Technically, Freddy does pop back up in a confusing dream sequence before credits roll, but so do all villains vying for their sequels.)
Nancy’s win is all the sweeter after she’s spent the length of the film being called crazy. The words “fruitcake” and “lunatic” are continually bandied about by clueless characters shaming Nancy’s shrill determination to convey an omnipresent danger. As a horror film that transgresses the boundaries between what is real and what is imagined, Nightmare is perfectly positioned to paint a portrait of the vindicated hysterical woman. Teenage girls—in fiction and in life—are called crazy on the daily, as a means of delegitimizing their concerns and desires. Nancy is dismissed as a girlish nutcase dozens of times, yet it is she alone who defeats the danger—she alone who even recognizes the danger for what it is in the first place.
Thirty years later, through slasher revitalizations and the ever-growing popularity of the psychological thriller, Nancy remains one of my favorite women in horror. While she doesn’t escape certain pitfalls of being a woman in film, particularly sexualization—think of the famous scene wherein Freddy’s knife-hand emerges through the suds of Nancy’s bath between her spread legs—as a standalone character, she does just that: stands alone. She’s smart and she’s bossy and she doesn’t take crap from anyone—be they parent, peer, or murderous dream demon.

This article was originally published at