• Graphic Sexual Horror



    Released by: Synapse Films
    Releasd on: August 10, 2010.
    Director: Barbara Bell, Anna Lorentzon
    Cast: Brent Scott, Claire Adams, Cyd Black, Princess Donna, Genevieve, Barry Goldman, Lorelei Lee, Maya Matthews, Barbara Nitke
    Year: 2009
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    The Movie:


    Brent Scott, better known to BDSM fetishists as ‘PD’ started a website in 1997 called Insex.com after giving up on a teaching career at Carnegie Melon University. A real life practitioner of bondage in his personal life, Scott took his legitimate knowledge and appreciation for the kink to more and more extreme heights and used the internet to bring it to an audience hungry for this type of content. He was quite literally in the right place at the right time and by breaking new ground in the now very common fields of live feeds and streaming video, he made loads of money doing so.


    Scott and his site were shut down in 2005 after increasing pressure from a right wing administration and the United States Justice Department. Increasing efforts from the F.B.I. to criminalize pornography and to target more sadistic content made it harder and harder to operate the site from within the United States but the final nail in the coffin was when the government forced the site’s credit card processor to stop doing business with them using a completely unsubstantiated link to terrorism funding as its reasoning. Scott was no angel, the interviews with the models will attest to this, but this documentary makes it seem pretty obvious that the government was going to do whatever it needed to do in order to shut him down.


    Barbara Bell and Anna Lorentzon’s documentary, titled Graphic Sexual Horror after a warning that used to appear as a precursor to entering Insex.com, gets Scott in front of the camera to give his take on how the site rose to prominence and what he and his collaborators did to drive traffic to record levels. He also shares his side of the story as to why the site was crushed under the government’s thumb, and talks about his relationship with some of the models that he employed during the site’s heyday.


    The models themselves, and there are quite a few of them interviewed here – Loralei Lee, Claire Adams (who know works a lot with Belladonna), Princess Donna, among others – talk about Scott with varying degrees of praise and damnation. Most admit to working with him for the money, as the jobs were quite lucrative and paid considerably more than most other adult sites at the time, though a few make it very clear that they were doing this as much for themselves as for the paycheck. Loralei Lee in particular discusses how she wanted to go further and further in what she was willing to be subjected to on camera. Scott, ever the creative type, would allow site members to comment on the action in a chat room and project that text onto a wall where the models could see it and react to it accordingly, upping the ante in terms of interactivity for this type of material.


    But did he go too far? Obviously that’s a matter of opinion. There’s a scene included in the documentary in which he slaps a model in the face after promising her he won’t do it. She breaks down in very real tears and the look of fear on her face appears to be completely authentic. Rather than apologize for going past the boundaries he had previously established with her, he chastises her, on camera, for the audience’s amusement (if not his own). It’s hard to feel anything but pity for the model, and anything but disdain for Brent Scott when we watch this clip. That said, it does appear that instances like this were the exception and not the rule. Though obviously it was encouraged that the models push things as far as they can, most of them freely admit that they could have used their ‘safe word’ and decided of their own free will not to. Money was obviously a deciding factor in this, as not finishing a session was a sure fire way to ensure you wouldn’t be called back for more work, but the choice was theirs.


    By leaving very little to the imagination and showing some clips that are both provocative and often very unsettling, Graphic Sexual Horror lives up to its name, but it’s a very thought provoking and intelligently made picture. The movie ultimately lets us make up our own mind about the people behind the site by providing evidence both for and against it. If the movie has one flaw it’s that it could have easily spent more time talking about the site’s demise and what happened to both the content and the talent involved in it afterwards (a follow up film wouldn’t be a bad idea as there’s plenty more to explore in that regard). Otherwise, this is pretty strong stuff, but so well done it really should be seen.


    Video/Audio/Extras:


    Graphic Sexual Horror was shot on digital video and put together with newly shot footage and clips from the Insex.com archives. As such, the quality varies a bit as the movie switches from clean looking interview clips to somewhat softer looking site clips. For the most part though, the quality of the 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is quite good. Colors look nice and natural and skin tones are accurate and lifelike, letting us revel in every bruise and welt on display. Optical fogging is used to cover up any penetration that occurs in the archival clips.


    The only audio option on the disc is a solid English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track, no alternate language dubs or subtitles are offered. Generally the dialogue is fine. The interview sections are perfectly balanced and easy to understand. There is a bit of echo in some of the archival clips, but that’s probably how they’ve sounded since they were originally created.

    Extras start off with a quartet of deleted scenes, one of which is an interesting alternate ending, which were cut from the movie for whatever reason. These are minor, but worth checking out. More interesting are the unused comments from the models who worked with Brent Scott during the time that Insex.com was operational. These tend to cover a bit of the same ground as some of the clips used in the feature, but they offer just a bit more insight into the way that the site was run and into Ackworth’s general line of thinking in that regard.

    The bets of the extras, however, is a nine minute interview with the film’s screenwriter and co-director, Barbara Bell, who talks about how and why she and co-conspirator Anna Lorentzon met and decided to work on this project. Additionally, she talks about some of the issues that arose while making this picture and what it was like working on a project as intense and unusual as this one.


    Rounding out the extras is a trailer for the feature, animated menus, and chapter selection. Inside the keepcase is a catalogue for other Synapse titles available on DVD.


    The Final Word:


    Alternately fascinating and harrowing, Graphic Sexual Horror is a telling look into the true story behind a site geared towards a lifestyle not everyone can understand, let alone appreciate. As much a statement on rights and freedoms in this country, it’s a no holds barred examination of an extreme fetish and those who both practice and profit from it. Synapse’s disc is a good one, with a strong transfer and a few decent supplements. Highly recommended for those with an interest.