Graphic Sexual Horror (2009) Poster

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8/10
Excellent subject for discussion
Navin Ramaswaran5 May 2009
Just watched Graphic Sexual Horror at the Hot Docs screening at Bloor Cinema. The film is well put together and documents the topic of discussion in a neutral, non judgmental manner; the way any good documentary should. The subject matter, while graphic and disturbing (yes, the title is very appropriate) is very interesting and thought provoking. It's a great study of human behavior, sex, society and culture. How far is too far? How thin is the line between pornography and art? Is torture alright if it's consensual? If you're looking for a film that will definitely spark discussions, give this a shot. Whether you like it or not, this film will certainly get you thinking.
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9/10
Important because of the details.
peedur30 December 2011
I wanted to give the film a 10 but frankly as a documentary, it seems a little too in love with the subject to be objective - this subject certainly requires a wider context.

Here is a very personal fetish/addiction/compulsion for viewing young women being elaborately bound, sexually humiliated and objectified and assuming the appearance of being tortured - it has then been carefully funneled into a form of artistic expression. Neat fact about the internet is that as long as what you've deeply expressed is authentic, someone out there is likely to share your passion.

What I found most satisfying after viewing this film is the very obvious ambivalence that the women feel about their "enthusiastic" and/or "willing" participation in the bdsm scenarios conjured up by Brent. With him, they access profound issues relating to childhood/pubescent trauma and have found an echo in another which promises to normalize feelings which are un-normalize-able. It's a truth which flies under the radar in our desperate-to-be-glib-with-our-addictions culture.

I have always felt uncomfortable in the way that kink.com (a popular descendant of insex.com) and it's family of sites display by the interviews placed at the end of each performance. Performers speak with giddy joy at the delights experienced by one or other aspect of the treatment that they'd received, ignoring the entire subject of HOW such outré experiences would be wished by (or to) anyone. The film doesn't address this aspect other than in passing, but it doesn't hide it either. I am very glad the film exists and hope it does provoke conversation about a very complicated part of our varied communal experience.
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10/10
2009's best documentary
Alex Marx5 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I am so impressed with Slamdance for picking this film for their 2009 program. talk about brave film making. Though the subject of Graphic Sexual Horror might appear to be marginal - an extreme porn website? - the ideas are anything but.

The documentary explores the issue of freedom of expression in an open-minded manner that shows just how important extreme cases are to establishing the precedence of freedom.

The government uses the same arguments they made for shutting down Insex.com as they use to put people into jail for being verbally rude to an Airplaine stewardess.

Freedom of speech is always taken away in the name of safety.

"Somebody think of the children"

The film was sold out both nights, I saw it on the second night, and everyone in the audience seemed to react very positive. I felt like I was seeing something historic... This is definitively a first in so many aspects of documentary film-making, as far as subject matter goes.

This film asks a lot of hard questions,refuses to spoon-feed answers, and its funny too, it doesn't take itself too seriously. I also felt like it had a strong feminist message.

Easily my favorite film of Slamdance 2009
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10/10
Graphic, but not dirty.
Andrew Breland19 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
We all need a job to make money. Some jobs we enjoy and some jobs we do not care for all that much. Anna and Barbara capture the true working environment of women involved with a website called Insex.com, a bondage and sado-masochism website. The women involved are actors that get paid, and they feel like wimps or poor workers if they do not follow through with the filming. I am so glad that someone finally decided to take the world in-depth into the reality of porn sites that some may consider extremely disturbing. Instead of being disturbed, I found myself enlightened, inspired, and educated from viewing "Graphic Sexual Horror." It is the best documentary I've ever had the pleasure of viewing. Before viewing this film, I found websites like Insex.com to be degrading to women and disgusting. After viewing this film, I thought differently. Some people are into these acts, and they are done in the privacy of some people's homes. GO SEE THE DOCUMENTARY!
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10/10
Something to think about
astarta levenbacher15 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this film at Slamdance and was very impressed. I consider myself somewhat of an extremist, having been drawn to the margins of culture and society from an early age, that's where the light gets in. This film was very inspiring to see. First, it's great to see women film-makers foray into fields dominated by men and come out with a story that is truthful, objective, and empowering to women. If we are free to make any choice, then some choices we make can be questionable to others.

In today's consumerist society, where everything and everyone is for sale, it is very important to ask the question- who am I selling myself to and for what? Things that we take for granted is what takes away our freedom. This film is a brilliant metaphor for the most important question of human existence- do I know myself?

The answer may very well need to be graphic, sexual, and horrific to get across.
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10/10
Amazing Documentary!
eelectricdave23 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I was a member of Insex for the last three years that it was online. Some of the articles on the site were troubling for me in that I did not enjoy what was being presented. Other articles and this is what kept me coming back to the site, were pure beauty in the presentation and pacing that PD took the models through. Personal preference is a common thread that binds us all. The thing about Insex that set it apart from any other BDSM site was the beauty and artistry of his work with the models. In each of the articles that he produced he always strove to create his vision. I read in an online forum that the directors were making this documentary and I had hoped that their work would do justice to the site. And they have through not only showing us what I as a member would see but the cast of characters from models, production crew to PD that made it all possible. Even the government has a bit piece in this with their "war on terror". Throughout the documentary we as the viewer are taken behind the scenes into the insanity and genius that was Insex. It is a tragedy the way that the Insex site and other online BDSM sites were targeted by those with power. Yes, a tragedy but out of that tragedy comes the work of art, Graphic Sexual Horror, that does honor to the side of humanity that some of us have to keep in the closet because of the intolerance of others. I look forward to future collaborations of this creative pair.
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7/10
graphic indeed
trashgang9 November 2010
It's funny that this one pops up in the horror section. But after watching it I must agree that it isn't for pussies (pun intended). If you think you will see a documentary about porn than you are completely wrong. This flick is all about extreme torture in a sexual way. For example, one of the girls her private part is covered with hot pepper cream, guess what, she screamed it out. If you want to know the why and how of sexual torture or SM than this is really for you,a lot of interviews and a lot of examples and I admit, it looks that it hurts but look at those juggs what they did with it, guess you never guessed it could bend like that. But be warned, it's explicit in all ways and surely not for the easily offended!
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10/10
Excellent Provocative work of art
info-1875816 February 2009
I was not aware of the subject matter before I saw this film. I am a horror fan and collect horror films. Why did I go to see the film at Slamdance? This really should be in any horror fan's collection. Because the horror is real. There are no super villains here, except maybe greed, cowardice, and the desire to control others. People doing things in this documentary are doing them at their own free will. Let us not go into discussion of what free will is. But no one forced the models to be forced to orgasm or experience pain. They got paid for it too. So anyway, its a very good film.

This is like what would happen if Hannibal Lechtor was not a douche and he gave an honest interview.

And didn't listen to classical music. Why must all villains listen to classical music? Evil has a human face. This film is genuinely scary because it is true. Like those experiments they did when regular people would torture others when told to do it by authority figures.

This is a good film to see with a date. If she likes it, she'll probably be fun in bed.
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7/10
Intelligent, despite the cheap shock value title.
surge900014 January 2011
There isn't much I can add about this film that hasn't already been said. In a sentence; it's a logical, somewhat non-biased insight to the BDSM porn industry in America. I'm a little disappointed with the whole 'PD is so original' thing when most of this kind of thing was copied from Japan, but if you go with the flow, it's easy to ignore. "Plagiarism is the most sincere form of flattery" or so they say.

I will add that I had low expectations for this film given the outrageous title; "Bah! A couple of (probably stereotypical lesbian) feminists making a crockumentary about female oppression!" I thought at first, but was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be a sensible adult film about, well... sensible adult films. If you have your head screwed on right, it's an absolutely fascinating and informative look at the "darker side" of pornography in the west.

In the end, my only complaint is that the ending was abrupt (I would like to know more about the Homeland Security stuff, what money did to BDs personality, etc.), but I'm led to believe the producers share the same sentiment. Time and money is always a constraint I guess, whether you're submissive or not!
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9/10
Montreal Premiere Screening
Julez20 July 2009
I just got back from the Montreal screening of GSH as part of the Fantasia Festival. As someone who has been interested in and played in the BDSM scene for many years, and who was also an Insex member back in the good old days, it was quite something to witness first-hand your documentary. The interviews with the cast were enlightening and for the most part candid and brutally honest. It was interesting to see, feel and hear the crowd having their first "insex" visuals, as I am sure most of them were unfamiliar with the source material beforehand judging by their uncomfortable laughter and comments at times. I found you did a very good job of keeping the material tasteful while illustrating well the depths that it could go to. You captured well an important period of internet and sexual history, and also an important part of my younger life in my 20's. Thanks to both of you for making this documentary. And especially thank you for all of the the vision of the cast, crew and models that made Insex possible over all those years.

Julez
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10/10
I knew, now I know more.
pydoclrm21 February 2009
Let say that my first contact with Insex was almost exactly 10 year ago, but the real membership started in 2001. I needed time to adjust to the Insex content. Many of us were in that mind at the beginning, already in the BDSM or not we needed to adjust to something so perfect, so extreme...

With the time, like many others, I dived in Insex deeps and learnt a lot about the site, Brent and the staff and models. Some members, some models, some staffs became friends, real friends. Graphic Sexual horror brings so many new details and understanding that I am proud to be one of those keeping alive the fire of the Insex community.

Rope
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10/10
Incredible Documentary
michael-poley-908-70513226 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not a member of Insex - I learned about this documentary through Robin Bougie's livejournal (livejournal.com/bougieman). After reading that the film was being released through Synapse Films, I bought it because I really enjoy Synapse's taste and sensibility.

This film was shocking.

A few of my sexual relationships have involved light bondage - so I felt like I knew something about what was involved. Well, I didn't.

This film shows you another world.

If the goal of film is to transport you to another world, this documentary does it.

The doc makes it clear that what you're seeing is special, and that no one had put together a bondage website like InSex before...with live feeds, and metal traps and cages.

The 'bondage' sensibility that InSex shows off seems borrowed from a million places, and yet, what they show you is something that other media has only hinted at.

This documentary is a little terrifying.

Many of the women who appeared in InSex's videos and live feeds talk about their experiences. And when you hear about the money involved, the money that they made for their performances, you understand how they could agree to allow themselves to be involved with InSex's extreme bondage.

*** POSSIBLE SPOILERS *** Not to mention the fact that InSex's bondage videos had the impact that the Ramones did on tour, inspiring everyone who was even remotely involved with them to start their own bondage website.

InSex is the bondage website that changed everything for bondage. And this documentary is the story of how it happened. And while I don't know enough about bondage to verify the story, I enjoyed the story that this documentary told.

All you have to do is get past the 'do or die'* title.

* By 'do or die' I mean that while the title is provocative, when you tell people only the title, they either want to see it or not at all. Black or white. Do or die.

Of course, the same people that say no because of the title also deliberately avoid any/all horror films.

Sorry if my review is annoying.
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10/10
Striking
boogzbons15 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Sometimes when you decide you can go all the way in life and nothing can stop you, sometimes it's like an addiction that keeps you going further and further, but addiction is always about the escape, the refusal to partake of reality, the insistence on dreams, or is it obsession, is it what makes you desire to fall and fly at the same time ,to become one of time by being freed of it, is it the poisonous gift that is all the sweeter. We create our own hell, and when others, the ones obsessed with control, come, they will come to dispute that you have infringed on their territory, that only they can tax and levy and punish and hurt and teach and demand and insist and be loved and worshiped and respected and by respect they mean fear, there is a boundary that one can cross be it art or pain or fear or all other things, all but love, and once you cross it you will have to look yourself in the face,what do you see there now that your money is spent and your strength is gone and you are growing fat and your biggest enemy, old age, has finally arrived to turn you into dirt that cannot scrape itself off others anymore.
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9/10
Dark and sordid, yet undeniably fascinating and illuminating
Woodyanders12 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
In 1997 Vietnam veteran and S&M enthusiastic Brent Scott launched the BDSM adult fetish website Insex.com. The website was a huge success that attracted 35,000 paying members before it was eventually shut down in 2005 by the Department of Homeland Security on the preposterous charge that terrorist organizations were using violent porn websites as a means to funnel money (!). Directors Barbara Bell and Anna Lorentzon bring a matter of fact nonjudgmental sensibility to the seamy subject matter that thankfully avoids lurid sensational while exploring in an intelligent and provocative way the distinction between art and porn as well as the complex interrelationship between pleasure and pain. Scott comes across as a basically smart and articulate guy who alas went astray once his website began raking in big bucks and he used the money as a means to get the gals on the website to go farther then they initially agreed to for the sake of scoring a huge payment and getting additional work down the line. Moreover, it's noted that all the crazy and warped stuff the women did on the website was consensual, everything was rehearsed in advance, and numerous safety checks were done on a regular basis. The various women who worked for the website who include Claire Adams, Lorelei Lee, and Princess Donna look back at working for Insex.com with mixed feelings: While they were all well paid for the assorted punishing ordeals they were subjected to and achieved a certain degree of fame in the BDSM community, some of them take rightful issue with Scott using money as a means to coerce them to do a bit more than they originally consented to. It's also interesting to see how the Internet enabled folks to take an interactive role on the Insex.com website, right down to a chat room for members to discuss the content of any given show and even requesting particular things during a live broadcast. Twisted and unsettling for sure (the extremely explicit clips from the website that are featured throughout are at times downright painful to watch), but compelling and informative all the same.
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