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The Strange Things Boutique




DVD region 0. Pink Flamingo.

Forced EntryA couple of days ago, The Guardian in the UK printed yet another hysterical article about the horrors of porn, and in both the ill-informed piece and the comments afterwards, one theme kept coming up - that modern porn is much more unpleasant, violent and extreme than the porn films from the 1970's and 80's that people may have seen in their youth. It's a nonsense argument, as anyone familiar with Seventies hardcore can tell you, and few films prove the point more bluntly than Forced Entry.

Shot in 1972 by Shaun Costello (as Helmuth Richter - one of many pseudonyms he used throughout his career), Forced Entry is unquestionably one of the grimmest adult movies ever shot - outdone only, perhaps, by Costello's own Waterpower. It stars a pre-Deep Throat Harry Reems (here called Tim Long) as a grubby, damaged, psychotic Vietnam Vet who works in a gas station and uses his job to find out the addresses of female customers. Breaking into their homes, the deranged Reems rapes them at gunpoint before stabbing them to death. He finally attacks two hippy girls who are too stoned to realise the danger they are in, and simply laugh at him. This sends him into a spiral of madness and - spoiler alert - he blows his brains out. Oh, and all this is intercut with Vietnam newsreel footage of bombs dropping, villagers cowering and dead bodies. Feeling turned on yet?

Forced EntryReems - hardly recognisable without his trademark moustache and with longer hair (though he seems to have had a haircut midway through shooting) is chillingly real as the fucked up psycho, and Laura Cannon is terrifyingly believable as one of his victims. Costello, making his directorial debut, is better with the suspense and horror than the sex, and a lot of dialogue is looped over and over again, but for a two-day shoot costing $6000, this is a pretty solid piece. The print used here - the best available - is pretty beaten up, but I doubt this film ever really looked pristine.

Vintage titles like this are aimed squarely at the cult film market, and that's good, because at no point does Forced Entry work as erotica. There is nothing even remotely sexy about this film - possibly a deliberate move by Costello, who was disinterested in making simply another fuck film. Even the one romantic sex scene - starring Costello himself - looks pretty horrible, and the rape scenes are consciously, brutally nasty - there's no suggestion that this is anything more than an ugly, violent assault that is truly traumatising.

With an enthusiastic cover blurb from Gaspar Noé, a 12 page booklet and a decent text interview with Costello, this is an admirable presentation of a film that probably doesn't deserve it. Fans of grubby Seventies cinema might want to take a look. Just remember to shower afterwards.




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