Did you ever notice that there is an above average percentage of geeks among us spanking bloggers and readers? I don't know why, exactly. Sure, we're on the internet and have largely the same demographics as all the other virtual communities. But I think that this is only part of the explanation. Beyond that, there seems to be an unusually strong correlation between kink and geekdom. Probably something to do with the fact that both types of people tend to have a fertile imagination and fantasize a lot. Maybe I'll write a lengthy study on it someday.
In the meantime, here is a "whipping scenes in movies" post geeks should love because it comes from the twisted, sanity-shattering world of Lovecraft horror: the 1986 B-movie splatterfest From Beyond. Be forewarned, the "kinky" scenes themselves are extremely lame, but the movie is interesting for a number of reasons. To begin with, it comes from the same team that created the outrageous horror-comedy classic Re-Animator: director Stuart Gordon, producer Brian Yuzna, screenwriter Dennis Paoli. Like its predecessor, "From Beyond" stars Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton, was released by genre studio Empire Pictures and is loosely based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft. The two films can be watched as companion pieces, actually.
The plot bears little resemblance to the literary original: physics student Crawford Tillinghast (Combs) and his mentor Dr. Pretorius are experimenting with a so-called resonator, a machine that stimulates the pineal gland. Pretorius believes that the gland is a dormant sensory organ which would enable humanity to see beyond the borders of accepted reality. He succeeds, but the downside is that his resonator opens the door to a parallel universe inhabited by hostile alien creatures. One of them promptly bites off the doctor's head.
Tillinghast manages to escape, but is arrested as a murder suspect and locked in an insane asylum - obviously, the police dismiss his claims about unseen mysterious beings. However, psychiatrist Dr. McMichaels (Crampton) discovers that Tillinghast actually has an enlarged pineal gland and begins to believe his story. Together with the highly reluctant physicist and a policeman (Ken Foree of Dawn of the Dead fame), she travels to the Pretorius house to repeat the experiment and find out if her patient is crazy or not. As you can imagine, things go very wrong from there...
"From Beyond" isn't as over-the-top as "Re-Animator" and doesn't have the same relentless pace or dark comedic brilliance. But it's still a solid effort and recommendable for genre fans - campy, gory, with good effects considering the budget and decent performances from the leads. It's always great to see the one and only Jeffrey Combs cast as a nerdy scientist. Moreover, the movie has a lot of nostalgic value for me. As a teenager, I saw a heavily cut version on German TV and it was my first (albeit distorted) introduction to Lovecraft. I also developed an intense geek-boy crush on scream queen Crampton. Years later, I was in love with this blonde, glasses-wearing girl at university and I wanted to write something favourable about her in my diary. So I noted that she "looks a bit like Barbara Crampton in From Beyond", which was one of the most awesome compliments I could think of.
One notable difference to the original is that director Stuart Gordon adds a fair share of sex, as he usually does. This is of course totally against the spirit of Lovecraft, the puritan from New England who regarded pleasures of the flesh as bestial and primitive. But it works well as an exercise in deliberately bad taste. "Re-Animator" had the immortal, infamous oral sex scene with a severed head. Here, Crampton is once again viciously molested by the (literally) slimy monstrous villain. (Too much tits for YouTube, hence not in my clip - but I have to leave some of the good stuff out to make you want to rent the film)
"From Beyond" contains two elements of note: first, the machine that stimulates the pineal gland also increases people's sex drive. Which is a juicy concept in itself, something you would expect in a David Cronenberg film. Secondly, and this is where it gets interesting for us kinky types: mad evil scientist Dr. Pretorius is portrayed as having a taste for BDSM (see the clip). It's all very campy and cliché-ridden. According to his assistant, the doctor's whipping sessions were non-consensual (see clip at 1:09). It is later implied that he was impotent and couldn't get aroused from "normal" sex. Before long, Barbara Crampton finds herself under the influence of the resonator and dons some garden variety dominatrix gear in a lengthy but boring scene (clip at 2:37).
But I don't really mind the laughable stereotypes. We spankos always point out, rightfully, that our play and our fiction should be taken as pure fantasy, not as real abuse. I feel that, when it comes to the depiction of kink in schlocky horror films, we should listen to our own advice and not take everything we see at face value. It's obvious that Stuart Gordon doesn't have anything against BDSM and isn't making a serious statement of any kind. He just uses the "perversion" of whips and bondage for tongue-in-cheek shock value, to add a bit of flavour to the villain. I'm absolutely fine with that.
My only complaint is that he doesn't do enough with the idea. It never transcends the level of camp and doesn't even succeed there - the results are lame and not nearly as hilarious as the naughty bits in "Re-Animator". It's a pity - I think the notion of the mad kinky scientist had real potential. A man (or woman) for whom the five senses aren't nearly enough, who wants to experience more than any human being has ever experienced. And who gets obsessed by his pursuits to the point of insanity. If that doesn't sound like your typical CP fetishist, then I don't know what does - the two passions would seem to make a perfect match!
Then there's the resonator, a machine that can turn vanilla people kinky - at least it worked in the case of sexy Dr. McMichaels. Wouldn't that be a neat gadget to have? Off the bat, I could think of any number of people I'd like to use it on. I'm sure you could, too. Let's roll it into parliament when they debate their latest police state law against "violent porn". Or I could invite some of my female vanilla friends, just for fun. The ones in the "potentially interesting, too bad they aren't fellow perverts" category. Ah, the joyful possibilities...
So while "From Beyond" gets mediocre grades for execution, and while the whipping scene (if you can call it that) doesn't amount to much, there is some food for thought here.