Sunday, July 25, 2010

Movies: They don't have to die; it'd be fine if they just went away.

The man who queues up SuicideGirls Must Die gets what he deserves.

Billed as the world's first "reality horror film," SGMD is a clunky, tedious mix of Jersey Shore, Blair Witch, the Syfy channel's Scare Tactics, and those old Making of the Swimsuit Issue specials that HBO used to run between airings of Supercop. The premise of the flick is that ladies at the SG headquarters decide to hoax a dozen or so of their bepierced and heavily-inked ladies by dragging them up to a cabin under the guise of a calendar shoot and then convincing them that they've become the targets of some stalking, murderous creepy person or persons.

I'm vague on the number of actual models involved in this fiasco because, despite their professed commitment to individual expressions of sensuality, I'm incapable of telling apart most of the ladies in the film. One of them is a bit tubby, one's a red headed giantess, one's black, and one is named Fractal (she only does this sort of thing to help pay for rental time on the LHC in Geneva - time is money and mommy's willing to flash a little flesh if it means new a conjecture resolving the hierarchy problem). Otherwise, they're all "that mouth-breathing one with the tattoos ."

On a conceptual level, there's plenty that's interesting about SGMD.

First, there's the play on the perceived authenticity of porn, a subgenre that even film scholars tend to mistakenly invest with an aura of the real. As one of the two "body genres," there's a myth that situates pornography as an unmediated experience: You're really seeing sex laid bare and you consume it at a gut level. In contrast, there's at least three levels of performative fakery at work in this flick. There's the schtick of the SuicideGirls company, the America Apparel of softcore. Its rebel pose and for-women-by-women pitch ignore the fact that the biz is owned by a gent and the SG look has produced a factory-standard monotony in its visuals. Then there's the stated hoax-centric filming process. Then there's the fact that, in actuality, the hoax was a hoax and it is pretty apparent from the jump that everybody is in on the joke (in several of the scenes involving the girls wandering off on their own, shadows of sound crews are visible).

Second, the flick gets dangerously close to a neat idea when it pulls this L'avventura bit with Fractal. Over the course of the film, a small crew of girls (and an unacknowledged, poorly hidden sound crew) go to a small island to shoot Fractal's pin-up shots. After the shoot, Fractal walks into the woods to take a leak. She vanishes. The island is searched and she's gone. Had the movie milked this surreal idea - that a model just vanished from this tiny little island in Maine without reason and then let the other models puzzle out what this inexplicable disappearance meant - you might have gone somewhere. Sadly, it never gets that interesting.

Third, there's something bizarre about a porn company that's been accused of exploiting its models creating a flick that involves them pretending to vanish models after they've served their purpose. Was this a brazen provocation aimed at critics? Or an odd slip that revealed the real ideological stance of the company?

But that makes it sound more interesting than it is. SuicideGirls Must Die pulls off the trick of making nudity and murder dull as a particularly slow Real World episode and achieves the miraculous in doing what I thought no film could: It made me nostalgic for Blood Monkey.


Sarah said...

It sounds like that Sam Raimi & Robert Tapert-produced horror-reality show that was on Fox or the CW a couple of years ago that was reallyreally boring.

And the island bit sounds like Bava's Five Dolls for the August Moon, which was a failed black comedy that was just kind of boring.

I wonder if the models were as poorly paid for this as they are for their photos online.

Is this on Netflix Autoplay?

CRwM said...


You've actually got to secure the disc for this one, it lacks the "play now" feature.

I have no idea what the pay grade was, though I think the fact that nobody mentions money at all - and this despite the fact that several girls are pressed into double duty as crew and they end up producing what, if the whole thing weren't staged to begin with, unscheduled "free" pics and footage - is one of the standout pieces of evidence that the thing fake from "go."

Sarah said...

Yeah, I'm not going to put this in my DVD queue. I'm trying to move to the "bad movies are watched on Autoplay only" option in my house.