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One Star Classics

Porno

/ Devilish

Porno cover
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Set in 1992, Porno follows five movie theater employees who, after hours, are getting ready to watch a film on their own. (The options: A League of Their Own or Encino Man.) Just as they’re about to sit down, they spot an unwanted guest still lingering around the cinema. Knowing he’s spotted, he makes a run for it, breaking through a boarded-up wall that reveals a hidden movie screen.

Unable to find the intruder, the crew settles on grabbing an untitled film from the newly uncovered projection room. Its contents: a nudity-laden movie they mistake for a porno; for the rest of us, it clearly is a satanic ritual. One, as it turns out, that sets free a blood-thirsty succubus.

Porno is a dense spectacle that doesn’t quite manage to keep the craziness going all the way to the climax. That’s a letdown, but while the destination is dull, the journey is at least colorful. Literally. The aforementioned movie is an over-saturated nightmare that Argento and Bava would be proud of. It looks gorgeous.

Title aside, this is not a film that could be classified as porno in any sense of the word — the most graphic scenes are more violent than anything. There’s nudity, but nothing overly gratuitous. That’s not to say what’s there, in the context of violence, won’t make you cringe: An injury a male theater worker sustains at the hands of the succubus is both painful and graphic, to say the least.

Again, the movie is dense and rarely slows down long enough to allow the viewer any sort of introspection. Does Porno have anything to say beyond being a parade of visual explosions? I suppose. There is a commentary on the hypocrisy of the moralistic religious right in there. The too-pious-to-be-true theater owner is just that; a man with hidden, dirty secrets. If the plot offers anything more below the surface, I never saw it.

Toward the end, Porno veers into sort of a Hellraiser territory, and the chase between the succubus and the theater crew grows surprisingly stale. The reasons the intruder had to trick them into raising the succubus ring hollow, particularly seeing it never is made clear how he got himself into the situation he is in.

Which is too bad. The movie is anything but boring through the majority of its run-time but whimpers out at its climax.

In the end, the lack of any real depth lets the film down. The graphic violence might be a bit too much for some, too. Weigh the positives and negatives, and your final take-home from Porno could ultimately land on either side. Yet I found myself somewhere in the middle. I can appreciate the good part parts, but man, I wish Porno didn’t stumble at the landing.

By Remi,

Letterboxd summary: When a group of naive teens working at a movie theater in a small Christian town discover a mysterious film hidden in its basement, they unleash an alluring succubus who gives them a sex education…written in blood.


Ratings from around the web

Icon Site Score
One Star Classics logo One Star Classics 3/6
Letterboxd logo Letterboxd 2.6/5
IMDb logo IMDb 5.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes logo Tomatometer 80/100
Shudder logo Shudder 3.35/5
One Star Classics logo Cumulative Score 60%

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