Saturday, June 02, 2007

Hardgore (1974)

What audience was this insane thing made for? One of the first and best-known entires in the slim but notable '70s horror-porn genre, Hardgore involves a young woman suffering (if that is the word) from nymphomania who is forcibly checked into a mental institution; once there, she discovers that the place is a front for Satanic ritualistic activity... unless she's dreaming the whole thing. The filmmakers, to their credit, understand the mechanics and purpose of both the average gore flick and the average porn flick. I'd love to think that what they're doing is something along the lines of A Hole in My Heart or Cafe Flesh, where two genres are combined in an effort to short-circuit the pleasures of each. However, Hole works because it's not actually interested in being a porn film, while the aggressive anti-erotic sterility of Cafe works thematically as a reflection of the society within the film (and thus, a comment on the whole of pornography). Hardgore doesn't have any fallback intellectualism behind which it can hide -- on all evidence, the guys behind this sincerely believe that explicit gore and explicit sex can comfortably coexist just as is. The contrast does result in some truly shocking juxtapositions and memorable images, most notably in the early bit where a man receiving oral sex has his penis unexpectedly severed, thereby replacing the traditional facial pop shot with a shower of blood. The wholesale lunacy of the film, too, at least deserves respect. But viewing this is like eating chocolate-covered calamari: While the experience is certainly different and unique, it's not pleasant in any way.

Grade: C


Blogger Paul C. said...

"Chocolate-covered calamari..."

Well played, sir. Even if I didn't know ya, lines like this would keep me coming back here regularly.

Also, isn't Toronto going to be friggin' amazing this year?

12:39 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Hell yeah. Toronto is going to freakin' RULE. Gah, I'm so geeked out for this. Between the fest and the wedding, it's going to be quite the eventful summer for me...

1:23 PM  

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