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porno-137832.jpg

'Porno' Is a Schlocky Low Budget Horror Comedy That Is Perfect For Drunk Midnight Viewing

By Seth Freilich | Film | March 12, 2019 |

By Seth Freilich | Film | March 12, 2019 |


porno-137832.jpg

Working at a movie theater has always been one of those quintessential high school, summer-type jobs. In Porno, first-time director Keola Racela uses this as the setup for a one-location horror comedy. Set in the summer of 1992 (established by Encino Man and A League of Their Own being the pre-megaplex-era theater’s two movies), five teen employees are tasked by their hyper-religious boss with cleaning and closing up, after which they get to privately screen one of the two films. However, the kids wind up discovering that there’s an abandoned old theater under their theater, complete with mostly burnt canisters of porn films. One can remains pristine and calls to one of them (no red flags there), so they decide to screen that one instead. And maybe just kinda accidentally release a succubus.

Now, in full disclosure, Porno is not a good movie. The dialogue is stilted, the themes about teen sexuality and religion are both convoluted and heavy-handed, and the acting is … rough. The horror is not really scary or gory (though I do have a note I wrote that simply says “stop. showing. it!” and a second reading “so much succubus bloodvomit). And except for a few lines, the comedy is… not. And yet, I’m not here to shit on this movie. Because at the right time and with the appropriate amounts of alcohol or other substances running through you, Porno can be good, old-school, schlocky fun.

Porno is exactly the kind of movie I used to love watching with friends, drunk at 1 in the morning, as part of a bad movie marathon. That’s the right mindset to be amused at the Argento-like style of the evil porno film, of the cheesy ’90s dialogue (“hooters,” “poppin’ wood,” etc.), and of the intentional vibe that makes this film feel like a distant cousin of Manos: The Hands of Fate. This exchange from the post-screening q-and-a basically sums it all up better than I ever could:

Audience Member 1: So… the penis scene?
Racela: Which one?
Audience Member 2: The one with the string.
Audience Member 1: Where did it come from? And why?

I think the takeaway of this film is that between watching A League of Their Own, Encino Man, or a bad porn that releases a demon that might just rip your dick off, Encino Man is definitely the worst option.

Porno had its world premiere at the 2019 South by Southwest Conference.



Seth is a Senior Editor and sometime critic. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.


Header Image Source: Official SXSW Image


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