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Wait, how have I been missing this thread?!!!



Love that the spoiler tag turns it into a pseudo-Rorscach test. Is that really a cat with a cape or two Batmen kissing?



Love that the spoiler tag turns it into a pseudo-Rorscach test. Is that really a cat with a cape or two Batmen kissing?

Obviously the face of death. Grimacing and staring at me. And missing a bunch of teeth, just like my brother.



Obviously the face of death. Grimacing and staring at me. And missing a bunch of teeth, just like my brother.
WARNING: "Here be" spoilers below



Hopefully, you don't mind me posting this here, but I just finished watching Not Quite Hollywood, a documentary about the Australian New Wave (mainly covering the exploitation genre of the 1970s and 80s). Afterwards, I looked up all the Australian films mentioned in it and assembled them into a list, so I figured I'd post it here. You've probably seen some of them, but there's also a bunch of obscure films on there which I think would be right up your alley.

https://www.listchallenges.com/the-australian-new-wave



We'll see how it goes.


I liked the special. I like that Chappelle is taking a stand on the value of provocative comedy, but I disagree with many of his critics that these provocations are either gratuitous or based in hate. I think that what Chappelle is interested in - concerning gender specifically - is language surrounding the subject. It's interesting as an aside that the first use of the genus-rooted term 'gender' as a synonym for biological sex started in the Middle Ages when writers wanted to avoid the more erotic associations with the word 'sex'. The use of 'gender' to refer to the exclusively social construct of gender roles is much more recent. The language is also fluid, and complicated.



"Gender is a fact" may have been too crass a simplification, but sex is certainly a fact. (I personally don't care for the term "assigned"; assigned by whom?) But it's worth considering that if gender, as a larger concept of sexual identity, was not a fact, then why would there be any significance in asserting one's gender identity? If gender doesn't exist then it wouldn't make any difference for someone to transition to another gender. Clearly these gender distinctions have significance one way or another. Gender can be a fact, and transgender identities can also be a fact within this masculine/feminine pole. So I don't feel that Chappelle was denying the reality or value of transgender people so much as questioning the implications of the language being used, language which many well-intentioned people aren't familiar with (which Chappelle has pointed out in an earlier special) and language which, frankly, isn't always coherently consistent.


There's also the more general social engineering interest in eliminating gender and sexual distinctions entirely, which actually does nothing to forward the transgender movement at all, in that it would also eliminate the need to have a gender identity at all. Transwomen who assert their womanhood today would likely be as ridiculed tomorrow as much as the more classical "terf" feminists today. I'm personally not convinced that gender neutrality - the elimination of gendered language, sex on birth certificates, etc - is the net benefit that others see it. Like Chappelle, I would prefer more equitable gender distinctions than no gender distinctions at all. To me, this 'gender-blind' vision is as naive and counterproductive as a color-blind vision. I want to be gender and color aware and appreciative.



One critic I saw was saying that Chappelle was reducing women down to their reproductive faculties, ignoring that these faculties lie at the heart of why women have been historically oppressed in the first place, and why reproductive autonomy became a specific and significant point of pride for women. It would be like taking James Brown's "I'm Black and I'm Proud" and saying that he's reducing black people down to their complexion, which requires enormous ignorance of the history and context of their oppression.


In this language and context, there are some unsettled implications which would be desirable to investigate and discuss. I think that positing these questions as coming from hate or fear is a convenient and not-very-respectable way of shutting down this discussion, and the taboos that Chappelle is poking is based on the fact that a large segment of the audience has been made to feel uncomfortable discussing it even in the best of intentions. And this kind of rhetorical coercion, rather than the realities of individuals' sexual proclivities and identities, is what Chappelle is attacking. As he pointed out, the only transgender person harmed in this was the one who was bullied to suicide by the toxic mob on Twitter. (I strongly suspect that Dave's reference to this as "not a real place" offended his critics more than anything else.) The self-righteousness can be blinding, but it's worth considering that Twitter outrage is just as toxic as Instagram when it comes to the shaming and alienation of vulnerable people. We've seen a number of examples in the last few years of progressives engaging in dehumanizing those who they disagree with, and trying to excuse this toxic habit in increasingly facile rationalizations. To reference Michelle Obama, everyone's going low these days, and everyone is deluding themselves that they're the ones on high ground.

Ah, this is where the Chapelle talk is.


Ever since watching his new special, I keep expecting to see complaints about him using the 'I have a trans friend' card as proof of his transphobia. Because, you know, ignoring the entire point of that story can't help but be expected. It's much easier to have opinions when you can reduce everything others say to a pre-packaged argument you've already designated yourself as the winner of. Such is the state of modern debate.



Thankfully, I don't really use Twitter so have probably avoided the dumbest of the dumb comments. But I know they are out there. And I know they are from people completely immune to any kind of self reflection. The kind of thing that will be necessary from everybody if there is every going to be any hope of understanding or empathy in todays' society.



Other than this though, it's another great set from Chapelle. As Rock mentioned, I don't think it was as funny as others, but looking at his work at this point through the lens of 'how much laughter' would be to miss everything else he is offering.. Chapelle is likely one of the most compelling thinkers out there at the moment. He understands that lines of communication need to be redeveloped between us, and if what this requires is for him to grab at all the exposed wires that run through the hot topic issues of the day, and unflinchingly unpack the outrage and hypocrisy and terror and potential for community that runs through all of them, he's happy to be the one to do it. Because the guy knows he's at the top of his game. Is fearless. He, in fact, might be one of the only ones out there I have any confidence in to do it properly.



Ah, this is where the Chapelle talk is.
Yeah, we discuss all kind of hard hitting topics here:


Dave Chappelle
ABBA
Porn
Vinegar Syndrome
Misleading movie posters



Speaking of which...
Also of note is this awesome but wildly misleading poster for the movie.





*mic hitting Dave's knee*



Ever since watching his new special, I keep expecting to see complaints about him using the 'I have a trans friend' card as proof of his transphobia.
Oh, there's been plenty of that. Transpeople who don't stick closely to the script are not immune from the bottom of the bus by people who are working so hard at performing their empathy for transpeople, as Eddie Izzard learned the hard way. Transpeople deserve to be seen, until the moral arbiters don't want to see them.


Chapelle is likely one of the most compelling thinkers out there at the moment. He understands that lines of communication need to be redeveloped between us, and if what this requires is for him to grab at all the exposed wires that run through the hot topic issues of the day, and unflinchingly unpack the outrage and hypocrisy and terror and potential for community that runs through all of them, he's happy to be the one to do it.
As I said, his primary concern is language, not people, and his critics have shown a tendency to willfully conflate these two things in their selected quotes. So when Dave says that "gender is a fact", the presumption is that this fact is mutually exclusive with the fact of transgenderism. But why would that necessarily be the case? And in this confusion of gender/sex, where many people continue to use these terms interchangeably, (as opposed to recognizing the difference between the social construct and the anatomical attribute, because 'gender' - which shares etymological roots with "generation" and "genitalia" - has only relatively recently been used to refer to exclusivey the social construct), Chappelle then makes it clear in referencing the anatomy that he's actually referring to biological sex rather than projected social gender roles. It's an important distinction, and one that his critics seem to relish in confusing. If Chappelle had said something like, "because of your genitals, you have to have certain personalities and traits and behaviors that have to conform with your junk", then, yeah, I could say that he's denying the lived reality of transpeople. But of course he said nothing like this. He's asking a question that probably needs to be asked, which is that in our newfound gender neutral norm, how does this affect what it means to be a woman, as in the lived experience of being a woman, inherently involving the biological factors as well as the social presumptions that, historically, have tended to be inextricable from their reproductive function, presumptions that have been central in the fight for suffrage and liberation.


The mission should be enhancing trans-acceptance. I don't see how Dave is working counter to this mission. But if we can accept transpeople, or specifically transwomen, then why is it necessary to then say that there is no difference between a transwoman and a cis-woman? I believe that there is a difference, not a value difference as human beings but a difference that creates very different experiences for each of them. And just as I, as a cis-man, wouldn't presume to understand the lived experience of either, then why should either presume to understand the lived experiences of each other? Why can't we have both woman and transwomen? But instead, as Rowling was suggesting, the current narrative is that transwomen are identical and indistinguishable from cis-women. What does this gain either of them?



Because the guy knows he's at the top of his game. Is fearless. He, in fact, might be one of the only ones out there I have any confidence in to do it properly.
He's the [guy] who left 50 million dollars on the bus. He's proven that he has no obligation to kiss anyone's ass.



And one last thing, because I think this gets at the nub of what I'm saying. It's interesting to compare the quotes from Izzard, in defense of Rowling, and Daphne Dorman's sister in defense of Dave.


Originally Posted by Eddie Izzard
Women have been through such hell over history. Trans people have been invisible, too. I hate the idea we are fighting between ourselves...

Originally Posted by Brandy Dorman
This was a call to come together, that two oppressed factions of our nation put down their keyboards and make peace. How sad that this message was lost in translation.

It's crazy that such sentiments are considered 'harmful' and 'hate speech'.



Oh, there's been plenty of that. Transpeople who don't stick closely to the script are not immune from the bottom of the bus by people who are working so hard at performing their empathy for transpeople, as Eddie Izzard learned the hard way. Transpeople deserve to be seen, until the moral arbiters don't want to see them.
This is one thing that bothers me especially about these kinds of discussions.*It's like people have had their brains rotted so thoroughly by the "discourse" that they can only digest things in overly simplified tropes and can't wrap their heads around real human behaviour or recognize what real compassion or human connection looks like.*


Not quite the same issue, but as someone of South Asian descent, this one kind of stung. I remember a few years ago there was a thinkpiece being lauded that called out Kumail Nanjiani and Hasan Minhaj for making a movie and stand-up special respectively that dealt with their romantic experiences with white women. The author was adamant that they were pushing a harmful trope, apparently not grasping that both works were based on their real life experience.*(Aziz Ansari called out this kind of thinking in a later special: "Y'all don't match!") Just absolute brainrot.


Anyway, this is very serious talk in a thread that's also about vampire pornos, so I'll leave it at that.*



Drilller (James, 1984)



In 1983, Michael Jackson's Thriller dominated the charts and the John Landis directed music video for "Thriller" dominated the airwaves. Without trying to dissect its enormous cultural impact, I will sum it up thusly: if there's a music video everyone has seen, this is it. In 1984, in an attempt to craft a midnight movie crossover, Joyce James, Timothy Buckley and Roger Watkins came together to make Driller, a pornographic parody of MJ's video. Needless to say, this didn't make quite the same cultural impact, but is worth checking out as an amusing oddity. The movie starts with Taija Rae and her boyfriend (who resembles the lovechild of Allen Sherman and Rick Moranis) attending a concert for the Hot Star, a Jackson-inspired pop musician who performs a ripoff of "Billie Jean" wherein he informs us that he is the (or actually our) Hot Star (the song is called "I'm Your Hot Star"). Now, we can see that the concert seemingly takes place in a small auditorium and the set design resembles a high school talent show, but still the crowd goes wild, with a few rowdy audience members taking off their tops and needing to be put in check by a portly security guy. (Apparently the audience was mostly played by critics from adult magazines.)

Now, me attempting to fully navigate the topic would be highly ill-advised given my knack for being indelicate, but I will only say that making a porn persona based on Michael Jackson is extremely ill-advised, and probably would have been so even in the '80s. The movie acknowledges this unfortunately through homophobic speculation on the part of the male audience members. Rae steps up to defend him to her boyfriend, who responds "I bet you'd like it if I turn into a werewolf or something. A wild beast could teach you a thing or two." After a bout of extremely unappealing looking sex during which Rae voices her annoyance repeatedly, Rae goes to her bedroom and falls asleep to a late night horror program which she fearfully watches through her fingers. ("There's something evil the air tonight, I can feel it my bones." "That's only your arthritis acting up.") Her slumber is interrupted by who else other than the Hot Star, this time in ghoulish makeup and accompanied by a couple of ghoulish looking ladies, and in the movie's raison d'etre, they perform a "Thriller" parody, complete with a mock Thriller dance. As far as ripoffs go, this is pretty catchy ("It's got a good beat and you can dance to it", to take a line from Lawrence Welk), even if it lacks the immaculate songcraft of its inspiration and the singer (a woman dubs the Hot Star) can't hit the high notes like MJ. (The song is called "Driller in the Night", completely different than "Thriller", please don't sue.) Paying respect to the genre, it concludes with the Hot Star rubbing up against Taija Rae, transforming into a werewolf, and demonstrating what exactly the "Driller" of the title refers to. (Spoiler alert: it's his dick, and the title is more literal than I expected. I understand it was operated mechanically by a few production assistants. If one is truly interested, there is a clip of the sequence on Youtube, but be warned that it gets extremely NSFW right at the end.) Rae reacts: "I'm gonna get rabies!"

Alas, this all makes up only the first third of the movie, and then Rae is whisked off to a castle (animated inserts are used for exteriors in an endearingly lo-fi touch), wherein she wanders around a few horror-inspired sets and expresses a lot of trepidation about all the ****ing and sucking she witnesses, which include a lesbian scene with illuminated dildos, a woman being encouraged to masturbate by a Quasimodo-like hunchback with the voice of Peter Lorre, a threesome where the men chant some Latin-sounding mumbo jumbo, and an orgy involving a couple with ghoulish makeup on their faces (but not their bodies) and guys in Nixon and Reagan masks. None of this is remotely hot (Lorre and Nixon impressions are pretty much guaranteed boner-killers), but there is a baseline of entertainment value in seeing these cheapo horror sets, usually with some fog machines doing overtime. In between the sex is a fair bit more Thriller dancing, this time set to a song called "Zombie Night". This is easily the worst of the songs in the movie, as it's not even clear what it's supposed to be parodying, in addition to being mind-numbingly repetitive. (Eventually I realized it was supposed to rip off "Wanna Be Startin' Something", but even more so than "Driller in the Night", this is like a child's crayon sketch of the real thing.) Rae looks fearfully at the two male dancers in speedos.

It's worth noting that Nixon goes all in with the portrayal ("They don't call me Tricky Dick for nothing!") and riffs with Reagan ("looks like Bedtime for Schlongo over here"), and folks, I laughed. Astute viewers will also recognize George Payne, but alas his role does not call him to exercise his genuinely impressive acting talents. (That being said, given the lightheared tone, it's probably for the best that he doesn't go full Taming of Rebecca in this.) I must also note that Rae gets accosted a few times by some ghouls, who each tear off pieces of her clothing. However, given that she still seems to be mostly covered after each encounter (until the climax when she's dragged into the action), it seems that either she was wearing more layers than I realized or they failed to maintain proper continuity in this respect. (Roger Watkins was supposed to be acting as production manager but disappeared partway through filming, and director Joyce James describes the shoot as difficult in a user review on the movie's IMDb page. It's hilarious to think Watkins was involved in this, given how caustic his own movies are. I suppose The Pink Ladies is fun, but he apparently thought poorly of it.)

As a parody, this isn't especially sharp, and mostly abandons the premise a third of the way in, but the mix of horror aesthetics, music and goofy tone it pulls from its inspiration make this a reasonably good time. This is less ambitious than the work of Gregory Dark in imbuing an MTV influence into pornography, but will likely be more palatable to most viewers given that the humour here isn't quite as offensive (aside from the unfortunate homophobic jabs). Obviously compared to the actual video or a Hollywood movie, the production values come up short, but for a porno, it doesn't look that bad, or at least does so with some charm. (Apparently the movie was done in partnership with a studio that specialized in BDSM movies, which allowed the use of stage and dungeon sets at a lower cost.) I do think the movie suffers from sex scenes, which go on far too long and never really tie the horror mise-en-scene to a sense of eroticism. (You can compare this to Nightdreams and see how that movie uses horror imagery to convey the urgency of the heroine's experience. Also, I, ahem, found that movie much hotter.) Like its inspiration, it's not effective as horror, but for certain viewers any excuse is good enough to hang around in horror movie sets engulfed in fog. And it helps that the narrative centre of the movie is carried by Taija Rae, who may not be a great actress, but has a wide-eyed innocence and extremely dorky demeanour that suits the lighthearted tone. Would I have preferred that her character prove more proactive during the proceedings or at least interact more closely with the other cast members? Sure (and I admit that some of my interest, ahem, might be prurient), but if we must be subject to werewolves, ghouls and the like getting into spooky (and sexy) shenanigans, she makes a pretty appealing guide.




They couldn't even afford Vincent Price?



They had an imitator.
As if there could be such a thing.