Canadian filmmaker Bruce LaBruce is a frequent Vice contributor, who, aside from interviewing fashion gods and sending us photos of prosthetic limbs, has just finished a new movie, called L.A. Zombie. Despite Bruce's films being whatever the opposite of family-friendly is, his stuff has screened at most of the fancy festivals with laurel leaves around their awards, so we were surprised when he sent us a press release saying his new film was banned from the Melbourne International Film Festival.
Most press releases are about as entertaining to read as a shampoo bottle. This one, however, is so well done that we decided to repost the whole thing. If any PR people are reading, take note, and the next time you want us to write about your "ultra-premium Junmai Daiginjo sake," drop something in there about alien genitalia and there will be a very slim chance we won't throw it in the fuck-off box.
For Immediate Release
L.A. Zombie, the latest movie from Canadian filmmaker Bruce LaBruce, has been banned from The Melbourne International Film Festival. The announcement was made after the film was officially selected by the festival and announced in its catalogue. It is the first film at the festival to be banned by the certification board in seven years, the last one being Larry Clark’s Ken Park.
L.A. Zombie will make its international debut in competition at the Locarno International Film Festival on August 5th. It has also been selected to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival, which will be its North American premier. The movie is a sequel of sorts to LaBruce’s previous film, Otto; or, Up with Dead People, which debuted at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals in 2008 and went on to screen at over 150 festivals, including the Melbourne International Film Festival.
Intriguingly, the version of L.A. Zombie that has been banned by the Australian Film Classification Board is the softcore version, which features no explicit anally penetrative sex. Although this version does contain a few brief shots of flaccid penises, the only erect member in the show belongs to the alien zombie, played by French porn star Francois Sagat, and it is a prosthetic (fake) cock, not the actor’s own. The hardcore version, L.A. Zombie Hardcore, will be released and distributed separately on Halloween after the softcore version plays for several months on the international film festival circuit.
L.A. Zombie is about an alien zombie who emerges from the ocean and proceeds to find dead bodies in Los Angeles with which he has sex in order to bring them back to life – not as zombies, but as true resurrections. Although apparently the Australian Classification Board has no problem passing all manner of mainstream torture porn movies which feature, amongst other things, the rape and dismemberment of women, it’s interesting that they have no stomach for a movie that reaffirms life. The alien zombie may or may not be a homeless schizophrenic, so the film also serves as a kind of document of the epidemic of homelessness that currently ravages the city. Censorship in any form should not be tolerated, but to ban a film that one programmer at a major festival has called “a masterpiece of melancholia” is truly beyond the pale.
L.A Zombie, the softcore version, will have its French debut at the L’Etrange Film Festival in Paris in early September. It is also scheduled to play at the Sitges International Fantasy Film Festival in October, amongst other festival dates. -Bruce LaBruce