The Canadian grindhouse homage "Dead Hooker in a Trunk" screened in San Diego last year at Horrible Imaginings but the film has run into controversy trying to get a screening in Saskatchewan for the Dark Bridges Film Festival.
Censorship really ticks me off. The case involving "Dead Hooker in a Trunk" is the kind of censorship that business folks like brush off by saying they are not really "censoring" they are just responding to the marketplace. Only problem with that is sometimes the "marketplace" is just one person or a few complaining people trying to force their narrow boundaries of acceptable fare on others. And to make matters worse, the people who claim to be offended have never bothered to actually see what it is that they are trying to ban from public view. But wait, I get ahead of myself.
-Beth Accomando, Cinema Junkie
There is almost nothing in the world that I love more than a smart feminist. There are so many misconceptions on feminism and every time a 'feminist' speaks out without having all the facts, they make the rest of us look stupid. Like the 'feminist' that anonymously called complaining about the screening of DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK who also cowardly ripped down all posters advertising the screening festival in the middle of the night. Thank you for trying to get us bare foot and pregnant, making a delicious dinner in the confines of the kitchen. That said, 'anonymous' probably didn't think that far or farther than her own knee-jerk reaction to something she didn't have all the facts for.
Thank God that isn't the situation in all cases. One of the most brilliant and well spoken feminists I have ever had the pleasure of knowing is Beth Accomando. She has heard about this banning bullshit and she decided to look into it with this expertly articulate article and interview with John Allison, the programmer for the Dark Bridges Film Fest. Beth doesn't pull punches and says it like it is with a full knowledge of the entire issue and I love her for it.
Now I'm not saying that these films are inoffensive or that if the complaining folks had seen the films they would change their mind. Quite the contrary. These films are almost designed to be offensive and the the outraged parties might have become even more outraged if they had bothered to see the films or even watch the trailers. But the films serve up a gleeful kind of offense, the kind John Waters would be proud of because it offends as it skewers conventional values and suggests anarchy is better than a tame status quo. Plus there is such a sense of joy in the inventive, do-it-yourself filmmaking that if you love horror or just film in general it's hard not to take some delight in the filmmakers' passion. The real question is, "Are these films not just offensive but obscene, and obscene to the point that audiences should not be allowed the choice to see them?"
In my opinion these films are not obscene, and people who want to see them on the big screen should have the opportunity. A midnight screening with viewers made fully aware of the films' ratings and content seems perfectly reasonable. No one is being forced to watch and the late hour restricts who would be able to see the extreme films. So there has to be a very clear distinction made between merely offensive and obscene. Because as John Cleese once said: "Some people deserve to be offended."
Please take the time to check out the whole, informative article. It explores the whole issue without any sugar-coating which is precisely the way an adult discussion about censorship in today's world should be handled. I would like to thank Beth for looking into these events up North and sharing the story with people. Even if this wasn't our film that had come under attack, I would still be in an uproar that a film was banned from a theater without being viewed based on a satirical title.
I don't think the nay-sayers expected this kind of response from the horror community which has been looked down upon like a group of sadists with no artistic merit in the work they love. In a way, I'm happy that this happened. It gave outsiders an opportunity to find out who really makes up the horror community: intelligent, responsible, and informed individuals interested in an open discussion and exchange of ideas. So many beautifully put together thoughts, while they were probably just expecting us to say 'fuck you' and run away like frightened animals.
It's a great day for horror indeed. Despite the fights we will all be fighting for a very long time to educate those who don't understand us and why we are impassioned about what we are.