Porno

“Porno” belongs in the “hot and murderous butt nekkid lady” sub-genre of horror alongside “Species,” “Lifeforce,” and the film it shares its villain with, “Def by Temptation.” Like that 1990 Troma movie, this horror-comedy details the exploits of a succubus, a female demon who tempts men to their own destruction via the deadly sin known as lust. Here, she’s named Lilith (Katelyn Pearce) and her job is to give her victims la petite mort before serving them une vraie mort. She’s an equal opportunity killer; she can take a male or female guise. But her primary target is the horny, hot-blooded, heterosexual dude. Once under her spell, Lilith does all manner of horrible things to their whooziwatzits, things director Keola Racela is more than happy to show you.

Unfortunately, if you’re looking for some of actual porno, you won’t find any of it here outside of some flaccid pseudo-softcore scenes. For a film unafraid of occasional full frontal nudity, this is surprisingly puritanical, especially when you consider the plot. Lilith is housed in the reel of a dirty movie. While that’s a really good argument for switching to DCP, the movie she’s in is tame enough for the Cinemax channels they have in Hell. The reel is discovered by the good Christian teens who work in the movie theater that belong to Mr. Pike (Bill Phillips). When viewed, it looks like the tamest Jess Franco movie ever made. Despite starring a succubus and a guy with a raggedy looking love rocket, the scariest thing in the possessed picture is a clip from George Pullman’s 1965 smut-prevention PSA, “Perversion for Profit.”

It’s 1992, and Mr. Pike’s bijou is running the family-friendly “Encino Man” and “A League of their Own.” Before opening for the day, he prays with his crew: new manager Chaz (Jillian Mueller), projectionist Heavy Metal Jeff (Robbie Tann), ushers Abe (Evan Daves) and Todd (Larry Saperstein), and Ricky (Glenn Stott), who has just come back from a camp that sounds suspicious. Like all good group prayers, this one takes pointed swipes at the sins of those in the prayer circle. Abe and Todd could use an extra dollop of the Lord; they’ve been peeping in the window of a neighbor enjoying a very energetic bout of what Roger used to call rumpy-pumpy.

The biggest sinner in the theater crew would appear to be its eldest member, Heavy Metal Jeff. He’s a college kid who dropped out of school, moved back in with his parents and recently weaned himself off cigarettes. HMJ idolizes the kind of purity Mr. Pike represents, good old-fashioned clean living and the mantra of CBTL (“Christ Bears the Load”). CBTL will eventually stand for “Chaos Between The Legs” but I’m getting ahead of the story here. For now, it’s the end of the shift and everyone’s debating whether to watch the baseball movie “with Madonna and potential locker room scenes” or “Encino Man” which, like “Porno,” is also a horror movie.

But I digress.

Suddenly, a deranged, presumably possessed old man charges into the theater. He busts through the wall like the Kool-Aid Man, leading the teens to a hidden room full of trash and old reels of film. Someone suggests watching one of the newly discovered movies, perhaps the one that’s glowing and has the weird looking symbol on the can. The teens’ inexperience with raunchy fare leads them to believe that this is an “art movie,” albeit one with blood, strange weapons, and the aforementioned butt-nekkid succubus. Heavy Metal Jeff scolds everyone for partaking in such cinematic debauchery, but it’s too late. Lilith is out and she’s itching to raise a few, um, eyebrows.

Mini-dramas occur before the carnage begins. Chaz has a crush on Ricky, Todd is considered a pervert after being caught peering into windows, and Ricky has a secret you can see coming a mile away. Everybody’s horny, however, and curious to sip the sweet nectar of temptation. Good news for the succubus, bad news for everyone else. After Lilith’s mysterious appearances overstimulate a few of the guys (and light a fire in Chaz’s loins), everyone becomes suspicious of what exactly is happening. Then Mr. Pike shows up for his midnight check-in and all Hell breaks loose.

A movie like this is only as good as its temptress. Pearce gives good face (and even better cigarette) while eagerly being supported by Carla Patullo’s score. She’s not even remotely scary, however, and screenwriters Matt Black and Laurence Vannicelli never get a good handle on the rules of her engagement. In their defense, they do create a credible group of religious teens without mocking their beliefs. Tann, in particular, stands out as Heavy Metal Jeff. He nails the projectionist vibe effortlessly and with humor. His most amusing line reading comes back to haunt him in the worst way imaginable, which leads me to my final point.

I should mention that “Porno” is presented by Fangoria, the magazine that used to deliver delectably gory content to 12-year old me before I discovered Penthouse Forum. Their reputation continues onscreen with some gruesome and exceptionally painful gore effects, including a use for a shoelace that I’m sure Florsheim would not endorse. And if you like seeing pilly packers, you’ll find them here, though the condition they’re in might give you pause. That trauma takes precedence over pleasure here shows “Porno” isn’t daring enough to buck the ways sex is depicted in American cinema as opposed to violence. I mean, you can’t show anyone yanking their Johnson in this movie, but you can show someone getting their Johnson yanked off. Sue me, but this pervert wanted this movie to be a better succubus.

Odie Henderson

Odie "Odienator" Henderson has spent over 33 years working in Information Technology. He runs the blogs Big Media Vandalism and Tales of Odienary Madness. Read his answers to our Movie Love Questionnaire here.

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Film Credits

Porno movie poster

Porno (2020)

Rated NR

98 minutes

Cast

David Arrow as Man

Evan Daves as Abe

Blake French as Burly Man

Jillian Mueller as Chaz

Amber Paul as Woman

Katelyn Pearce as Lilith

Bill Phillips as Mr. Pike

Director

Writer

Cinematographer

Composer

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