A group of teens release a succubus in PORNO

Genre film lovers can get a little of everything at The Overlook Film Festival. This year the festival brought plenty of horror, comedy, and just plain weird films. One film that manages to check all of those boxes is PORNO.

PORNO is the feature film debut of director Keola Racela, as well as for co-writers Matt Black and Laurence Vannicelli. The film centers on a group of teens working in a movie theater. The theater is run by a strict Christian man who expects his employees to be just as faithful as he is. After a busy Friday night the teens are allowed to stay after hours to watch a movie of their choice. When they accidently unearth a hidden reel, they unwittingly unleash a succubus from a satanic porno.

While the clues are a bit subtler, it eventually becomes clear the film takes place in the early 90’s in a small town. PORNO definitely feels like a film from that era. It is hilarious, has lots of nudity, and has plenty of gore.  All of the kids working at the theater are misfits in their own way and they are a hilarious little group. They all fit into some 90’s kid stereotype from the goth chick to the peeping tom. As the film progresses, the group becomes the endearing ragtag group common in 90’s films.

When the kids first start to watch the mysterious porno found hidden in the theater their Christian values tell them they shouldn’t watch, but their curiosity is stronger. You know what they say – curiosity killed the cat. The film establishes a mythology that is generally familiar to most horror fans. We know about succubi and how they kill. Even the general premise feels reminiscent of Lamberto Bava’s Demons. PORNO takes place entirely in a single movie theater, a film unleashes the demon, and the kids are trapped inside with the evil entity. It might not be the most original idea, but it is highly entertaining.

The cast of PORNO delivers on laughs and gives the audience characters they can root for. Jillian Mueller makes her feature film debut as Chastity (aka Chaz). She is the badass goth leader of the group and the lone female. Mueller does a great job of walking the line between vulnerable and strong as she takes charge when things go to Hell. Another endearing performance comes from Evan Daves (Harold) as Abe. While Abe may seem like the most normal of the group, he is hiding a secret. The thing that makes this character and Daves’ performance entertaining to watch is seeing the internal struggle to do the right thing on his face, even while dodging a murderous demon. Equally fun to watch are Larry Saperstein (Fan Girl), Glenn Stott, and Robbie Tann (Hedgehog) who round out the motley movie theater crew.

Between the gore and the overall look of the film, audiences will simultaneously want to soak in every detail and look away. The evil film itself in PORNO is a technicolor fever dream of satanic imagery that is repeated throughout the film. What might surprise audiences among all the female nudity is the numerous scenes with mutilated penises. This will likely make some of the male viewers more squeamish, especially since the practical effects in these scenes are absolutely superb. The theater set, the satanic reel, and the practical effects help make this campy film more eye-catching.

The filmmaking trio behind PORNO created a whacky and wild ride that transports the audience to a different era of horror films. It has the gore, nudity, and camp of a 90’s horror flick, but the striking visuals of an artistic indie film. The plot itself isn’t the most original, but the characters and visual aspects still make the film hilariously entertaining. PORNO might not be the best film to come out of the Overlook, but it is probably the most fun to watch. If you enjoy 90’s films, practical effects, and mutilated penises then this is the film for you.

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Molly Henery

Molly has been writing about horror films for various outlets since 2015. In November 2018 Molly earned an MA in professional creative writing, which she plans to use to write her own horror fiction and horror film screenplays. When she's not writing, Molly enjoys spending time with her husband and numerous fur babies. Be sure to follow her on Twitter (@BloggingBanshee) and Instagram (@blogging.banshee).
Molly Henery
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