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Christians Made a Horror Film About a Haunted Box of Porn

We asked the director why he wants us all to stop masturbating.
JH
Κείμενο Joshua Haddow
30.5.12

I wonder if this is Rich Praytor's cum face

Over the past few years, a Christian called Rich Praytor has been making a found-footage-style horror film called Harmless. Harmless is about a loving, honest, God-fearing American family that is infiltrated by a demonic box of porn, which, when opened, unleashes a poltergeist that proceeds to haunt the house. The main character (played by Rich himself) watches in horror as his home is overcome by the evil spirit, which terrifies his wife and corrupts their eight-year-old son.

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Do you get it yet? Christians think porn is evil, and now one of them has made a film where they cast the porn literally as a demon to remind everyone that they should be keeping their hands away from their genitals.

Here is the trailer:

Once I'd stopped masturbating to the trailer, I did a little research and, guess what? It turns out Rich is also a comedian who travels the country telling God-approved zingers to hordes of giggling Christians. You can check out his promo reel here if you like, but if you don't have time, it's basically like @NormalTweetGuy saying things about dinosaurs (oh, so suddenly they did exist) and how long women take to shower. (Why do men complain about this? Would you rather women walked around smelling like shit?)

I decided to give Rich a call. I’m not 12 and have ready access to my own supply of toilet roll and internet, and I wanted to know why he'd made this condescending film to tell me what I should and shouldn't be doing to myself.

VICE: Hi Rich, it's Josh from VICE. I get that it can be kinda soul-destroying sometimes, but do you really think porn is a source of evil?
Rich: Some people agree with it, some people don’t. But in the church, there’s been a lot of cases where people have struggled with it. People don’t understand that families break up over it. It can be an addiction for some people.

Have you had any personal experience with porn addiction?
Yeah, well, my dad… the movie was kind of based on my dad. I found his dirty magazines and videos when I was a kid, about ten or 11, that was kinda my first experience. It distorted my reality of what sex should be and what sex was. I’m married now and my sex life is fine, but it’s nothing like you see on a porn tape.

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So you don’t look at porn any more?
It wasn’t like I was looking at it all the time. You would look at it with friends or, you know… it was weird.

Actually that does sound a bit weird.
When I was younger we’d go to clubs in LA, and a couple of guys would look at porn before we went out just to get hyped to try to meet girls.

Do you still masturbate?
I haven’t masturbated in quite a while, if I’m honest.

Was it to porn?
No, it was in my head. With my imagination.

What’s up with the box of porn in the film? There aren't any naked people on it.
Well, we didn't want someone who was struggling with porn to come see the movie and all of a sudden see naked pictures up there and it be because of us that he has a relapse.

I see. So what happens?
The story at the beginning is that the main character’s father dies, and when they go back to his house with his grandma, there’s this whole box of porn mags that grandpa had from back in the old days. They bring this box home and it falls out of the closet and releases this entity, you know…

That sounds like what happened with your dad, right?
Yeah, I guess it was an extension of the truth. But the average age a kid sees porn is 11 and he usually sees it from his dad, and he grows up and he passes it on to his own kid.

Is that normal, for a dad to show his kids porn?
Unknowingly.

I see. Could the internet stop that? There’s no box of porn to find now that we’re in "delete internet browser history" heaven.
I grew up in the 80s and that’s how it was normally done, you find your dad's dirty mags. In my house, we have to keep the office door locked. Man, I get scared that one day my kids will just click on an ad and… Even now, I love Katy Perry’s music, but I can’t have her album covers on my iPhone because she’s naked in half of them and I gotta explain to my kids when they ask “Why is she naked on a cloud?” I'm like, “You know what, I don’t know!”

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Did finding your dad’s porn affect you or your family growing up?
Yeah, sure, I hated my dad because of that. Because I was nine or ten when I first saw it, but I knew it was wrong. I remember my first thought was that my dad was cheating on my mom. I knew he was hiding it from my mom, so I knew it was kind of a secretive and shameful thing. And he had it in the house up till I left for college! He never knew that I knew, but it did ruin our relationship because it was a real dirty thing.

Did you ever confront him later in life?
I didn’t, he passed away in 2003. I think that was probably the one thing that stood in the way of our relationship. When I was a high school kid, I didn’t like him being around or touching me, because I knew he was doing things behind my mom’s back.

What do you think about couples that watch porn together?
If a couple wants to watch that stuff and they’re OK with it, that’s fine! I would just say you gotta be careful.

It’s not something you would be open to, then?
Growing up in the church it’s so weird, you're never allowed to watch R or even PG-13 movies. But my wife’s favorite movie is American Pie, she think’s it’s the funniest movie.

But that’s got masturbation and boobs in it.
Yeah, I can’t watch it because there’s all these naked chicks in there! It’ll distract me too much.

Why does it distract you?
Well, I don’t wanna put images of naked women in my head! I try to keep a very watchful eye on what I look at with my eyes… It’s funny though, because my wife can’t watch violent movies.

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Right.
And I love violent movies!

Are you gonna make more films after this one?
I’ve written a couple of other scripts that are done, but they’re a little bit bigger budget. There’s one called The Waiting Game about a guy who’s saving himself for marriage, but he’s saving himself for all the wrong reasons, and there was this other one called Mission Trip to Mexico about these two guys who hop on a church youth group and go to Mexico to find treasure.

Can’t wait, Rich. Thanks for speaking!
No worries!

Follow Josh on Twitter: @joshuahaddow

Here's the official movie site, expect a release around October 2012.