Clockwork Orgy?

Xavier Mendik, Peep ShowsIn his chapter from the book Peep Shows: Cult Film and the Cine-Erotic, edited by Xavier Mendik. I. Q. Hunter takes on the phenomenon of porn “interpretations” of mainstream films. More specifically, he offers a reading of A Clockwork Orgy arguing that “hardcore versions, in spite of their low cultural status, represent a distinctive mode of adaptation. Rather than mere parasites upon their originals, they, like exploitation films generally, are often subversive commentaries on the mainstream’s erotic and ideological subtexts.”

Hunter goes to explore the ways in which porn resists “integration into the taxonomy of film genres.” He writes:

Appraising porn by the standards of mainstream cinema is highly problematic, not so much because of porn’s transgressive content, as because its prioritising of structure and duration over narrative makes it closer to avant-garde films….Porn can also usefully be compared with both pre-classical cinema and the alleged “regression” to plotless blank spectacle in contemporary post-classical film. Furthermore porn has elements of CCTV footage, amateur film, reality TV, found footage, and wildlife and medical documentaries in which narrative possibilities co-exist with fugitive glimpses of “unmediated” actuality. Associating porn with narrative film may simply be a category mistake, rather like the assumption that video games aspire to the cinematic, when they are an entirely different, visceral and experiential form of textuality.

Hunter concludes by focusing on the one, very important aspect of porn film that rarely is discussed when talking about the genre: “To consider porn without mentioning masturbation is rather like discussing comedy and not worrying about humour.”

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