A gay zombie film set to make waves across the world will now not be seen in Melbourne’s upcoming Film Fest.
Bruce La Bruce’s gay Zombie porn film L.A. Zombie was set to feature as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival’s (MIFF) Night Shift program. That is until the Australian Classification Board got the opportunity to view it and deemed it unsuitable for Exemption status, or ‘banned’ as it has been called by MIFF.
Ever since his first major feature film, Super 8 1/2, Bruce La Bruce (pictured 3rd) has become known for his critically acclaimed but notoriously ‘unmarketable’ provocative punk film making style, that often includes depictions of graphic sex, fetish and alternative sexuality, as well as strong horror, violence and controversial take on cultural issues. It’s not the first time his films have been banned in Australia. His critically acclaimed cult films Hustler White, and Raspberry Reich also suffered similar fates over the years.
LA Zombie follows La Bruces’ fascination with the zombie horror genre that he started with his last feature Otto: Or Up With Dead People (pictured 4th). It stars the gorgeous international porn superstar Francois Sagat (pictured 2nd) in the lead role as a schizophrenic homeless man who thinks he is a zombie. The anti-hero roams the streets of LA in search of dead bodies and gay sex, believing that he has the power to raise the dead by having sex with them. It is without doubt hone of his most visually elaborate films and also much more hardcore than Otto. It raises all the stakes of La Bruce’s infamous film making style, promising ‘plenty of wound-shagging and more penises than you can shake a stick at.’
Check out the trailer for LA Zombie below:
The film and its trailer still feature on the Melbourne International Film Festival site , saying clearly that it ‘Contains Scenes that will offend’ with the addition of the following statement,
“Following L.A. Zombie being refused a classification exemption by the OFLC, screenings of the film at MIFF have been cancelled. The Saturday 7 August slot has been replaced with Rubber, while the Sunday 8 August replacement session will be announced soon.”
The Age says the festival disagrees with the ruling made by the Australian Classification Board but as yet has not decided whether it will appeal the decision.
Festival director Richard Moore told the paper ‘’Bruce LaBruce’s blend of sex and violence can be confronting, but I would argue that within the context of the festival, it is nonsensical and patronising to not allow people to decide what they want to see.”
Crikey.com reported on the issue, saying that it believed it was a case of homophobia on the part of the classification Board who choose to censor gay porn horror films, but let the straight porn horror (such as Suicide Girls Must Die) to continue screening.
“Australia, you’re standing in it (it being a quagmire of hypocrisy and puritanical censorship laced with subtle homophobia),” said a Crikey.com writer.
Classification Board – “no ban”
However, according to an official statement made to Same Same from Brian Kent at the Australian Classification Board, the film LA Zombie has not been refused classification or ‘banned’. Rather, the Director of the Classification Board has declined to grant it an exemption from the classification scheme so it can be exhibited without being classified.
The film, therefore, has the status of an unclassified film. Essentially this means the movie can be issued to the board for classification (most likely getting a high rating such as X18+ or Refused Classification) and then screened with that classification. This is unlikely to happen in time for screening during MIFF.
The Melbourne International Film Festival would have been host to the Australian premiere of LA Zombie, which is set to have its world launch next week in Switzerland.