Overlook Film Festival 2019: Horror-Comedy ‘Porno’ Gives a Whole New Meaning to Ball Busting

Everyone has a story about how they learned about sex. Whether it was a traumatic conversation with your red-faced parents or an awkward lesson given by your health teacher, learning about sex is never easy or enjoyable. In Keola Racela’s horror-comedy, Porno, a group of naive Christian teens get their sex education in a rather unique way: from a murderous succubus they accidentally summon in a movie theatre.

In a quiet, Christian town, four teens, and a self-proclaimed straight-edge burnout, spend their evenings working at a movie theatre, serving popcorn to townspeople heading to see Encino Man or A League of Their Own. But at the last customer leaves, the doors are locked as this group of misfits can settle in to watch a free movie. On this particular Friday night, their viewing is delayed by a strange old man who breaks into the theatre and reveals a hidden porno theatre in the basement.

As they investigate the porn-filled basement, they discover a mysterious film canister to serve as their Friday night viewing party. The film is threaded through the projector, the lights are turned off, and the film starts rolling. What seems like an avant-garde European art film turns out to be a method for summoning a succubus from hell. The teens must then face their deepest sexual desires when trying to fight the sexual creature, which is no easy task when you’ve avoided your sexuality for your entire life. Along the way, sacrifices are made, blood is spilt, and balls are literally busted.

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Playing With Zombies in ‘One Cut of the Dead’

The past decade has seen an absolute boom in the zombie genre. Blood, guts, a message of “humanity is the real monster,” you know the drill. The genre has, frankly, been exhausted and finding a decent film about the undead is difficult. It seems that perhaps the time of the zombie has passed. But, Shinichirou Ueda’s One Cut of the Dead says otherwise. While it is not the typical zombie movie, this film questions and makes fun of popular zombie tropes and finally made me excited about the subgenre again. It starts as one seemingly-mediocre thing and then becomes something else entirely.

One Cut of the Dead opens in the well-known found footage style. A crew is making a zombie movie in a secluded location, then all hell breaks loose. Each member of the crew falls into a well-known figure of the zombie film: the screaming girl, the attempting-to-be-masculine boy, the wise, older character who seems to know exactly why everything is going wrong. The found footage style and stereotypical characters look like any other zombie film, especially George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead. However, after an exceptional 37-minute long take, this film completely flips tone, style, story, everything.

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