The much anticipated gay zombie porn film by Bruce La Bruce, LA Zombie had it’s illegal Australian premiere last night in Melbourne to a crowd of just under 200 people as part of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF).
The event went without a hitch or interference by police.
It was a cold winter night in Melbourne, but there was still a buzz in the air following the release of the venue for MUFF’s illegal screening of LA Zombie, Melbourne art bar, Thousand Pound Bend. Members of the MUFF Facebook page who registered interest in the event were notified of the details 24 hours before the screening, which had a very real possibility of being halted by police. However, no police turned up, and the controversial film was allowed to screen.
Dan G was at the screening with two friends. “I don’t think any of us really knew how it was all going to go down,” he tells Same Same. “Like, would the police show up? Would we be arrested and dragged off kicking and screaming? We had no idea.
“But I really wanted to see [LA Zombie] and I was willing to risk it… so were my friends.”
The crowd ‘eewed’ and cheered their way through the film’s graphic ‘refused exemption’ scenes of blood, gore and gay zombie sex that included ‘wound penetration’ and ‘simulated necrophilia’ by the main character, played by pornstar Francois Sagat.
The film was originally set to premiere in Austalia as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF). It was refused exemption from classification by Australia’s classification board just prior to the screening for the festival, making it illegal to screen till it was officially classified.
MUFF Director Richard Wolstencroft announced mid-August that he would illegally screen LA Zombie as an event in the festival to protest the censorship of great art and to support freedom of speech.
‘’When MIFF dropped the ball [by not showing it] we felt we had to do something,’’ he told SMH, ‘’This is about freedom of speech … I believe in it. You can’t just protect speech you agree with.’’
Movie punter Rick and his partner braved both the icy elements, controversy and the possible police intervention to attend Australia’s first screening of LA Zombie.
“GRRR… Francois Sagat, Bruce La Bruce, hot gay sex… it was great! Totally worth it! I really loved Otto, and his new film delivered on the hype… or at least I thought so. I can’t believe all the controversy. I’m glad I had the chance to see for myself,” Rick told Same Same after the film.
“The organizers should be congratulated for having the balls to do this. It’s good to know that events like this – genuine protests like this – can happen. It’s important to stand up to things that you feel are not right.
“At the end of the day it’s art… it’s a movie… we are all adults and should be able to decide for ourselves what is right for us. That is not a crime. That’s a big part of why I’m here too.”