Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Brief History of Gay Zombie Porn and Australian Film Criticism

In 2010 the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) attempted to screen L.A. Zombie, the latest work by avant garde filmmaker/art pornographer Bruce LaBruce.* It didn't work out. The Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) (now the Australian Classification Board) stepped in and refused it classification, effectively banning it from being screened in Australia.**

Predictably enough the Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF) (no really, that's its acronym) rode to the rescue of sickos everywhere and scheduled an illegal screening. Despite being widely advertised (with the location omitted, presumably the details were e-mailed to ticket buyers) the screening went ahead without interference.**** However the organiser's house was later raided by police and charges were laid.***

For me it's in the immediate aftermath of the screening that the real story lies. Luke Buckmaster - quite possibly Australia's most middlebrow film critic - attended and was unsurprisingly outraged. Somewhat disingenuously he supported the OLFC's decision to "...ban the film from screening in general cinemas."**** Strictly speaking that is indeed what the OFLC had done. Of course in practice the film was never going to screen outside of MIFF (with the possible exception of the Sydney Underground Film Festival) and was always going to be shown as an unrated film for 18+ attendees. However Buckmaster is not one to probe technicalities.

The Young Turks of Screen Machine, then Australia's premier journal of smarty pants film criticism, were incensed at what they saw as shameful wowserism and philistinism. The stage was set and on 13 September 2010 the curtain lifted on what I believe to be simultaneously the greatest and pettiest stoush in the history of Australian film criticism.

Ladies and gentlemen, courtesy of the Internet Wayback Machine I present to you Luke Buckmaster vs Emma Jane and Brad Nguyen. Be sure to read the comments: https://web.archive.org/web/20150423172850/http://blogs.crikey.com.au/cinetology/2010/09/13/a-different-opinion-on-gay-zombie-porn-in-defence-of-bruce-labruces-la-zombie/

*http://miff.com.au/festival-archive/film/23584/l-a-zombie
**https://www.theguardian.com/film/2010/jul/21/gay-zombie-porn
***http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-11-12/filmmaker-questions-timing-of-zombie-porn-raid/2334866
****https://www.crikey.com.au/2010/08/30/cops-didnt-show-but-maybe-they-should-have-gay-zombie-p-rno-sickens/