Sunday, May 16, 2010


Free association is a dangerous thing in the land of B-movies. For instance, the recent review of I Spit On Your Grave reminded me of this scene from Larry Buchanan’s ode to the 1970s cryptozoology craze, The Loch Ness Horror. Trust me, you’ll get the tenuous connection during the last thirty seconds. That is, assuming you can make it through the first two minutes. Mwah Ha Ha Haaa!

So, what can learn from this clip? Well…

(1) Some guys should never be allowed to try and act like a Scotsman. (2) Some guys should never be allowed to tray and act, period. And (3), no guy should ever, and I mean ever, try and impress a lady with his porn obsession.

Now, long time readers of this blog may remember that we spent about two weeks awhile back discussing what is and is not proper to spend time watching. The best answer we could come up with then more or less mirrors the same one that Stephen Greydanus recently pointed out. And since he gets paid to say these things, we’ll let him explain it. “Discerning between good and bad in cinema, as in other art forms, is a matter where sincere Catholics may disagree. In the wise words of a priest of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, “The Catholic Church teaches authoritatively, has always taught authoritatively, and will always teach authoritatively, that the visual arts … are a grey area.”

Except for when they’re not. Porn, as Greydanus also notes, can never fall into a grey area as it does grave indignity to its participants and has undeniable harmful effects on its viewers. That’s why even the weakest of Christians among us (by which I mean me, of course) who might succumb to a case of the pre-adolescent giggles over movie titles like Throbbin' Hood or Butt Pirates Of The Caribbean (sorry, a good friend used to work for a video store with an “adults only” back room) knows that actually watching such films are out of the question. But the definition of pornography in the Catechism doesn’t just let us off the hook with simply avoiding X-rated material. According to the Catechism, “Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties.” You can see the catch. What are we to think about the use of the word ‘simulated’ in that definition? It would seem to indicate that R-rated soft-core titles like, say, The Witches of Breastwick (sorry, sorry) are off limits as well, but does it also mean we are obligated to avoid every single movie with an implied sex scene in it? Obviously not, since even the Vatican’s own list of great films contains some movies with “a few discreet sexual scenes”. So where is the line drawn?

Alas, rather than micromanage our every decision, this is another area in which the Church appears to leave it up to our own (ahem, well informed by the Church’s teachings) consciences to figure out where our own personal lines are. But given the highly addictive nature of pornography, honesty with ourselves is an imperative. This can be especially important when dealing with the genres of movies which appear on this blog, ones which occasionally have more than their fair share of gratuitous nudity and simulated sex. Even an old guy like me, for whom a pair of uncovered boobs are simply no longer a threat to chastity (thank you art school), occasionally runs across a movie which has to be fast forwarded or simply turned off. As the Catechism puts it, every person must be “sufficiently present to himself in order to hear and follow the voice of his conscience… Return to your conscience, question it… Turn inward, brethren, and in everything you do, see God as your witness.”

Now, I’m pretty sure most of the regular readers of this blog are closer to having their faces put on a holy card than I am, but on the slim chance someone out there with a porn problem runs across this entry and is looking for support, this page at the Catholic Answers forum is a good place to start. Just in case.

You know, with all this talk about consciences, I feel kind of bad that the above clip didn’t actually show Nessie from the movie. So here’s a little something extra for you in atonement.


Ah, bad movies, they beat porn any old day. All the lousy acting with none of the guilt.


Rocket Scientist said...

Great, great as usual! I had never thought of these movies as art. But art evokes emotion (horror, giggles, absurdity) and makes us think (Why DOES that monster have suckers all over him? Did he have an accident with a bath mat?) so you're correct as usual. And what a great way to start a Monday morning.

Enbrethiliel said...


There is so much beautiful goodness in this post! You had me a "cryptozoology craze," for one thing . . . and I actually know a guy who does "try and impress a lady with his porn obsession." He is almost thirty and has never had a girlfriend.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Another one I've seen! And no, I didn't pay money to see it, thank you. Are there other Nessie movies?

Cryptozoology made me think of a truly ghastly film by Peter Benchly, seemingly in penance for the sport slaughter of great whites after "Jaws", with a land shark. Know it?

Xena Catolica

Rocket Scientist said...

There's Beneath Loch Ness, Incident at Loch Ness, Loch Ness Terror, Loch Ness, Cousin of Loch Ness (I made that last one up)... I know I've seen others but can't remember the names. Anybody else know more? That's not counting a long list of "leviathan" movies (not one of the seven princes of Hell) similar to Nessie but located elsewhere than Scotland.

EegahInc said...

Enbrethiliel, just another example of art imitating life I guess. Ick.

Xena, I was thinking Benchly's The Beast, but I knew that was a squid, so I had to hit IMDB. I had forgotten all about Creature. Sounds terrible, I may have to rent it.

Rocket, I really liked Incident At Loch Ness, the mockumentary starring Werner Herzog. Nice to know one of the most bleak directors in cinema can do comedy. The SyFy original Beyond Loch Ness... not as much.

Rocket Scientist said...

And how could I forget the Doctor Who episode with Tom Baker "Terror of the Zygons", and one of my favorites: "The Secret Life of Sherlock Holmes". Nessie was really an early submarine manned by midgets. (Srsly!)

PaperSmyth said...

Working at a theater that also handled rentals (some from a back room, ick!), I think I've heard every "impress them with porn" thing and wish I could forget all of it, so no, not watching the clip. I must find an online vendor who deals in Brain Bleach...

Oh, Baker-era Doctor Who really does do an epi with. "The. Loch Ness. Monster?" I figured the new Doctor Who reference was just a gag. I have much to learn. :)

EegahInc said...

Okay, this is bad. I thought the "impress a lady with his porn obsession" thing was just a silly way to segue into the topic of the post. Alas, from the ladies' comments, it seems there really are guys out there who give this a try. I guess we really are pigs.

Enbrethiliel said...


For what it's worth, PaperSmyth, the guy in the clip isn't bragging about anything. He's obviously the token clean cut, wholesome, all American of the movie, so the girl really just misunderstands him.

PaperSmyth said...

EegahInc (and Enbrethiliel), I did appreciate the willingness (or perhaps wiliness) to deal with this topic. The links for illustrating the stance on pornography were very well thought-out. (Though, obviously, my response was not.) I'm hypersensitive about this topic right now, I think. No offense was intended.

You did good! (And men are not all pigs.)

EegahInc said...

"And men are not all pigs."

Not for their entire lives, anyway :)

And no offense was taken. I try to keep things light around here, but I knew with this post (as well as the recent I Spit On Your Grave review) that I was in sensitive territory. Porn is just wreaking too much havoc on too many people right now. But don't worry, I'll be back to the silliness soon.