Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Movie Review: The Whipping Machine

Pain4Fem (released in 2008)

Entire Story In Fewer Words Than Are In This Sentence:
Offenders receive automated CP, this time, with whips

Victim Appeal:
When I reviewed The Spanking Machine a year ago, I found it more exciting than I had expected, precisely because there wasn't any direct interaction between the top (the supervisor operating the machine) and the victims. This made the scenario psychologically intriguing, and moreover, there was the novelty value of the machine itself. So I gave the video a favourable critique, but I also noted: "For now, the presence of the sinister new device is enough to hold the viewer's attention for most of the time, but if Pain4Fem decide to produce a sequel, they should put a little more story in."

They did produce a sequel, "The Whipping Machine", and today, I'm going to take a look at it. Let's see in which ways, if any, it differs from and improves upon the original. For one thing, there are three girls in this one rather than two. Kelly aka Katerina is a seasoned P4F and Spanking Server veteran. The others, going by the names of Lea and Taylor, are new - one blonde, one dark-haired, both fairly pleasant to look at. Like most other models from this producer, they are probably Czechs or Slovaks with a career in vanilla porn. I didn't find anything about them on Eurobabeindex (I assume they use another name for their "mainstream" work), and frankly, I was too lazy to search much. If any of you expert porn addicts among the readership know more, feel free to add the info in a comment.

Gratuitous Sadism:
Like its predecessor, "The Whipping Machine" doesn't have a story as much as a premise (so much for my illusion that spanking video producers might start listening to my suggestions one day!). The film opens with some text explaining that, in the fictional society depicted herein, corporal punishment can be voluntarily accepted by offenders as an alternative to prison time. The canings and whippings are administered by machines instead of human functionaries to ensure that they are all of the same severity. We are about to see three female prisoners who have volunteered to get whipped as test subjects for this new method, in order to have their sentences reduced.

So much for the background - which is still an improvement over part one, actually, where we learned even less about what is going on. After the introductory text, it's business as usual: one girl after another is lead into the punishment room (where the entire movie takes place), tied up, robo-flogged, and escorted out again. First Lea, then Taylor, then Kelly. A supervisor (Peter Schober) and his female assistant are in charge. The pace is slow and everything is heavy on procedure, as in many other Pain4Fem titles. In each segment, it takes a solid five minutes from the moment the scene opens to the start of the actual punishment. Handcuffs are removed, the victim undresses, her hair is tied in a ponytail so it doesn't get in the way of the whip... Afterwards, lotion is applied to her freshly chastised back, she gets dressed, handcuffs go on again, et cetera... As for me, I enjoy a drawn out, detail-laden buildup (and aftermath), but I expect that less patient viewers will find themselves fast-forwarding a lot.

The whippings consist of 50 lashes each, and they are pure back whippings. Consequentially, the girls only strip to the waist. I have no complaints about that - while full nudity would have added more humiliation to the ordeal, the lack of it adds realism (as long as you ignore the fact that two of the "prisoners " are wearing jeans - what kind of penitentiary is this, if I may ask?). The punishment position of choice is quite sexy indeed - hands above the victim's head, feet spread apart with a bar, the body slightly bending forward over a kind of pillory / pole. The machine dishes out the lashes at a slow, deliberate tempo, systematically covering the girls' backs with what I would call medium severity - hard enough to produce red tramlines, but no darker marks or broken skin.

Best Reactions:
I liked Lea's scene best. A wiry, willowy blonde and quite easy on the eyes, she also shows the sadistically most enjoyable reactions. Very agitated and subdued at the same time - she flinches mightily after each lash, often letting out a sharp yelp, gasping and contorting her face in grimaces of pain. But then, she immediately struggles for control again, biting inwards and not wanting to let too much show. In other words, it's roughly the kind of reaction I, as a top, like the most. Lea is crying by the end of the whipping. But only a little!

Best Line:

From the opening text: "In an effort to assure the public that the corporal punishment of offenders who voluntarily accept this sentence as an alternative to prison time is equitably administered, the State Ministry of Justice has begun testing mechanical caning and whipping machines."

Note the bit about "assuring the public" and "equitable administration". The beauty of it is that, if CP were ever brought back into our judicial system for real, we would have debates exactly like the one implied here. Why, in this hypocritical society of ours, full of BS and double standards - you bet! We would bring back whippings, and then, for the sake of fairness and humanity, we would make sure that they are all administered with exactly the same, automated force. God forbid, everything else would be barbaric!

Nice Psychological Touch:
I liked how in each scene, before the punishment, the supervisor instructs his assistant to let the machine do a few "test lashes" in the air ("Check out the swing arm!"). The girl, already tied up with her hands in the air, looks over fearfully while the whip attached to the device whistles close by her. Again, Lea is the one doing the most enjoyable preparatory flinching.

How Good Is It Really?
Here is a fine, recommendable video from Pain4Fem - yet another one, I'm tempted to say! Of course, that is a good thing. But frankly, what frustrates me a little about this producer is that, unlike their lesser competitors, they frequently have all the basic ingredients in place - a reasonably interesting premise, gorgeous girls, professional technical craftsmanship, and CP action that should appeal to a wide variety of viewers, being neither excessively harsh nor outright lame. And then, they only manage to make a good film with these ingredients, rather than a truly great one.

It's the same with "The Whipping Machine". Everything is there, and the result is fine, no major complaints. Better, in fact, than what many other producers are capable of. But one feels that still more could have been done with the material. Just a tiny bit more "flesh and blood" in terms of setting, story or character background - who are these women, why are they in prison? One or two small additional scenes, a few lines of dialogue. Nothing spectacular, but already an improvement. Sure, one might say it's only fluff. But trust me, it adds to the sadistic fun.

What You Learned:
Even though the novelty value of the machine is beginning to wear off (as I predicted), I still want to see the third part. This time, they had the device running on "intensity 2". I wonder what the intensities 3, 4, 5... look like - and how high it goes?


Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to know the principles on which this machine works. Presumably there is some form of interrupted escapement which slowly rotates and suddenly releases the whip.
The challenge would be to devise an equally effective caning machine.

Ludwig said...

It has been speculated that the machine is a modified paint shaker, but I'm not too confident about that. I also know a German guy, a fellow spankophile and a penpal of mine, who has built himself a similar spanking device from what was once a throwing machine for clay pigeons!

In any case, an equally effective caning machine already exists - as you can see in the first movie in the series, the P4F machine also works with canes, and it works very well, too.

Fred said...

There is a spring attached to some sort of cam mechanism. The spring adds extra force when the machine strikes.

The whip swinger is also mounted on a vertical screw which is turned by another motor to raise or lower the whipper, so that the target area is uniformly punished.

To judge from the reactions, the device is quite effective. It achieves high efficiency, defined as the ratio of pain to damage. The girls suffer but are not brutalized, as in Mood or RGE. Welts and quivering asses are hot, bruises and blood are not.

Oh, and Ludwig, I agree about Lea. She really has the worried look down pat!

Ludwig said...

Fred: "The girls suffer but are not brutalized, as in Mood or RGE. Welts and quivering asses are hot, bruises and blood are not."

Well, that is a matter of personal taste. Some people like blood and bruises, others don't. As long as everything is consensual and no permanent damage is done, it's all fine as far as morals are concerned, from my point of view.

As you undoubtedly know from my other movie reviews and the shoots I've done myself, I'm a fan of both Mood and Lupus / RGE. That said, I do find some of Mood's most extreme videos off-putting as well. I don't mind the sheer severity as much as the inaccuracy and the carelessness. The cane welts are all over the place, and it just looks awful. Some of the Mood tops really need to practice being on target more. It's a subject I have been critical about on several occasions in the past.

In a good scene, though, blood can be hot and a big turn-on for me. However, I don't like it when there is too much of it, when it literally starts flowing. That is the point where the eroticism tends to break down somewhat for me. Aesthetically speaking, I like elegant, hard, judicial punishment-style canings and whippings, with vivid welts and a bit of blood / broken skin, just to show how severe and properly "thorough" the chastisement was. But I'm not too keen on mindless, gory, bloody torture, especially when the accuracy is shoddy. So it's a borderline thing, I suppose, and also a question of style.

Anonymous said...

I do not agree with the reviewer here. I guess it is all personal choice but when I want a fictional scenario I go to a rental shop and take out a mainstream video.

Fictional usually ends up being just that. Fake moans, fake exaggerated screams that you usually don't even hear in real life, slow whips and fake welts that suddenly appear all at once as soon as the video cuts away. I have to commend the producers for not falling for this trap and making something that is least real no matter what the level of pain experienced is.

Again probably a personal preference as I said but if it means not falling for the "fake it" trap I am all for "just do it and get it over without any background story." There are a couple of other videos with this machine where the victims are all naked showing the increased possibility of a non-story driven scenario. Another testament to this is the Nu-West videos that are usually with little to no story but all too real.

As for the machine, from the sound before each stroke it seems to load some spring mechanism giving it greater acceleration and then a motor to move it back to position after each.

Ludwig said...

@ Anonymous: Indeed, whether you like to see CP videos with or without a backstory, and how elaborate you want that backstory to be, all comes down to a matter of personal preference. Yours is as valid as mine. As for me, I prefer videos that have an elaborate story such as the classic Lupus Pictures videos, or at least a decent alibi story.

What mystifies me is that you seem to think that having an elaborate backstory in a CP video also means fake CP action. This is not the case. Take the classic Lupus videos I just mentioned. They put more effort into story, acting, sets, costumes and props than any other CP video producer, and at the same time, the CP action was perfectly real, and very severe as well. That is the kind of video I always liked and still do.

I used to watch some Nu-West videos many years ago, when I was just discovering spanking videos. They were never my favourites, but I found them interesting enough. Today, I don't find them interesting anymore. I guess I have seen so much good CP action over the years that I am no longer satisfied by having only that in a video. One person whipping another in an unadorned room, with little or no story, just does not hold my attention anymore these day.