Despite the belief that this humble viewer may have been drawn in by such a provocative title, Porno, (also cringingly known as Fangoria’s Porno) premise was enough to pique my interest. On the promise of seeing horror in a theater (remember those?), Satanism and hints of homage to exploitation films of the golden era, I decided to jump in. Despite having one of the worst and misplaced names in all of horror cinema, how did the actual film fare?

Poster for Porno From Fangoria

What is it?

A theater run on Christian values, showing Encino Man and Field of Dreams, is staffed by teens who willingly buy into the owners moral approach to running a business. As a reward for good behavior and hard work, the staff get to kick back and watch a film together after the theater closes. However a confrontation with a crazed man leads them to stumbling across a hidden room, containing a reel that shows, essentially, a poor mans version of Invocation of My Demon Brother.

The film awakens a Succubus, that begins to feed off of the teens repressed desires. The fight leads to many an exploded nut, heaps of gore, and some satanic explosions, as the kids struggle with both their faith and the real threat of death.

What I Liked About It

Having a rather reserved sense of humor works well for the film, and avoid the low hanging fruit of just mocking the kids religious beliefs. Undeniably, it is not a favorable view of religion, but the characters themselves stay empathetic and interesting despite any perceived disconnect due to their beliefs.

This also speaks to the strength of the cast which all do a great job of balancing the comedy and the seriousness that is asked of their characters for the audience to stay invested. Every character has their own quirk and flaww that makes them interesting. As a result their interaction with one another are always engaging. I would particularly like to note Robbie Tan and Jillian Meuller, who I think have the most commanding presence.

Finally, the special and practical effects can be really fun and over the top. Whether it be a mangled penis with exploded balls being tied back together or a town of villagers exploding, “Porno” has some really memorable effect work that help drive the gross out humor and horror.

porno-fangoria-horror-film

What I Did Not Like About It

Did I mention I hate the title? Because I really hate the title… It really does not work for a production of this ilk and reeks of a cheap way to help raise interest. Additionally, it guarantees that the film will become a lost relic as search engines bury the film under a plethora of hardcore sex images and scenes. I know because I had to google search for images and had to find the magic combination of words to not just get explicit images. It makes the poster look neat, but there is so little actual pornographic content and the film is more geared towards being a light horror comedy. 

Certain elements seem to express a filmmaker that has not yet found their voice, which makes sense with this being Keola Racela’s first film. It seems to lack a certain confidence and sometimes feels geared towards pandering towards audiences. At times the film just seems to be try-hard, including an opening shot of two people having sex which is drastically different then the tone in the rest of the film. Consequently, It seems shocking for the point of establishing why they named their movie Porno, instead of something better.

 

Overall Thoughts

Did I mention I hate the name? Joking aside, Porno is a perfectly fine horror comedy which I had a lot of fun with. It may not be a standout, but it makes me really excited to see what Keola Racela will come up with next, particularly off of the great script that made for some memorable and endearing protagonists.

The film is also available on Shudder, at least here in Canada. Which makes for easy finding.

 

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