Film #265: GRAPHIC SEXUAL HORROR
Graphic Sexual Horror
2.75 out of 5 stars
A documentary on the creator of the Insex, an extreme B&D website that gained popularity from 1997 – 2005. The site, known for depicting radical images of ‘edge play,’ was renowned for its showing of women in extreme duress (bondage, caning, torture, submersion in water, limitation of airflow, etc). Owned and operated by Brent Scott, a former Carnegie Mellon professor, Insex was innovative in the monetization of the fetish via internet streaming shows called “Live Feeds” which were known for their interactivity (users could speak directly with the subjects and influence the course of the shows). The documentary, told via archived footage and subject interviews, is not for the squeamish… not because of its blood content, but these are real women in real – albeit controlled and self-sanctioned – distress and some of the footage is shocking, to say the least. Truth is… some of this stuff may even get under the skin of those into the lifestyle. But underneath the visual context, there is an undercurrent which speaks to the idea that absolute power (ie, influence, money, etc) does indeed have the ability to corrupt absolutely. Scott, by his own admission, habitually steps over the line of professionalism as the site gets more popular and begins to generate more and more income. The models, now dependent on Scott and the site for their income, are coerced to participate in things far beyond their comfort level. It’s a fascinating subject ripe for investigation. The problem is… the documentary is a little too self-congratulatory and tries too hard to normalize what is might be called (with a certain amount of debate) fringe behavior. Still, there are some interesting concepts at work in this doc and it is definitely worth the rental. Just be forewarned… people with low tolerance to things like bondage, discipline, “controlled” torture… or those who have difficulty with seeing someone – in this case women – victimized (even though the women routinely state that they have no problem with the activities and “safe words” are firmly in place), they should all look elsewhere. This is not a documentary that should be watched for titillation. It addresses a number of other, deeper, subject matters. Recommended… but with a slew of caveats attached.