Friday, January 30, 2009

Website Review: Sound Punishment

Sound Punishment is one of the spanking paysites I like to refer to as "orchid sites". No, it doesn't mean that the girls get thrashed with a bouquet of flowers - that would certainly be original, but also pretty ineffective from a disciplinary point of view. What I mean is that "Sound Punishment" is among the smaller, less grandiose, but thoroughly enjoyable CP sites. While it isn't as slick and super-professional as some of the big producers, it has a distinct charm and individuality of its own, and it is a labour of love. In other words, it's one of the places that make our kinky cyberspace so much fun to explore.

The site was started in 2003 by Aegean (aka The Headmaster) and his wife, a pair of spankos from the north of England. Aegean is one of the well-known male tops in the UK video scene, as he has also worked with several other sites (and if you're interested in a bit more personal info, he took part in the "Kinky Island Discs" series for Spanked Hortic). With "Sound Punishment", he and his partner aim to make movies focusing on "the realistic depiction of corporal punishment in adult role-play situations".

The fact that this is not one of the high profile paysites doesn't mean that there is nothing to see. On the contrary - at the time of this writing, the members area features 100 video clips and over 150 photo galleries, definitely enough to keep you busy for a while. The older videos are in Real Media format (usually 450 kb/s), the newer ones are .wmv's with a resolution of 720 x 576 pixels. They vary in length from 3 to over 27 minutes, with the majority falling into the 10 to 15 minutes category.

These are not silent "thrashing only" clips like those of some other producers, but full-blown short films with a story, role-playing and plenty of dialogue. Most of the scenes are M/F and one-on-one, but there are a couple of F/F videos and scenarios with more than two participants. The interpersonal chemistry is good and it is obvious that there are genuine spanking enthusiasts at play here, people who understand the psychology of it all and know what makes a scene work. The results are delightful to watch. Overall, there is a nice balance between acting and action, and much of the stern, subdued "headmaster and schoolgirl" eroticism that fans of classical CP will love.

The movies are divided into "school themed" and "domestic themed". As you can see, the subject matter isn't terribly new, but it is well-executed and everyone is having fun. Titles like "Latin Lashing", "The Netball Coach's Revenge", "School Reunions Can Be Painful" and "Teenage Tanning Tantrum Tamed" are unambiguous evidence of that. The technical craftsmanship is decent - I'd say it's quite impressive, actually, considering that "Sound Punishment" once started out as a small home video showcase, basically. The quality of the material was solid from day one and has improved ever since, with the help of new cameras and equipment. In time, the cast came to include well-known professional victims like Emma Bishop, Pandora Blake, Niki Flynn and Amelia-Jane Rutherford.

In good traditional fashion, there are plenty of hand spankings and canings. Many of the other classical CP implements are used as well: slippers, rulers, martinets, leather and wooden paddles, hairbrushes, and so forth. By and large, the severity is moderate - not too light, but not super-vicious, either. Hardcore sadists and bloodhounds should look elsewhere to get their fix. But if you want to watch something a bit more subtle and creative, like interesting role-play and chemistry, "Sound Punishment" is an excellent choice.

In addition to the original video and picture content, the archives include "Reader's Wives Galleries" and "Guest Photo Stories". The latter section has some material from other sites like Spanking Online (used with permission, of course). Lastly, there are two spanking audio stories, each of them 6 minutes long, in .ram format - a small, but entertaining little bonus. "Sound Punishment" also has its own official blog We Spank Girls, which is updated with the latest previews whenever there's an addition to the main site.

If you like what you see, you can also give the sister site Hi Definition Spanking a try, which has a selection of the "Sound Punishment" movies as high-quality, wide-screen .wmv's.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

First Blogiversary

Well, here we are! How time passes. One year ago, on the 25th of January, I launched this blog. Today is my first blogiversary.

It's been a very interesting journey for me so far. All the more so, of course, because of the feedback and inspiration I received from you. So first off, a thank you to all the readers and to everyone who wrote comments or emails. I hope that you will keep visiting and following my posts. Thanks also to the webmasters and other bloggers who linked to me and helped to make this blog a pretty well-frequented one within its first year. It's always especially satisfying to have one's work valued by one's peers.

It is also satisfying, and intriguing, to see a rough vision take shape. When I started this, I only had a fairly general idea of what I was going to do. I knew that, as a spanking video buff, I was going to regularly write movie reviews (before deciding on a blog, I had considered doing a pure review site, actually). As a university-corrupted armchair scholar, I was going to delve into the philosophical, psychological and historical-cultural aspects of CP and kink, churning out the overlong essays I was already infamous for as a commenter without a blog of my own. Finally, to lighten up the intellectual wankery, and for my own amusement, I wanted to inject it all with a bit of caustic humour. (Which is the only kind Germans have. Sometimes. Maybe.)

That was the plan, and fittingly perhaps, given my obsessive-compulsive nature, it quickly materialised as this rigid anapestic tetrameter posting rhythm I have today: every third post is a review of some kind, three movie reviews followed by one website review, and I try to put a good amount of variety into the other eight posts that make up the rest of the twelve-post sequence. Stuff about me, stuff about a "partner in crime", then perhaps a spanking clip from the movies, then a longer, more intellectual thing, and so on... Until, after a dozen posts, it all starts over again. Neat, huh? Anyway, the number mystic in me is happy with it, so I'm going to keep the format.

I aim to make a few changes regarding content, though, emphasising certain areas more than before and de-emphasising others. For instance, I'm going to do more interviews (I did two so far, with Leia-Ann Woods and Adele Haze). More book reviews, too. These are two features I'd like to make at least semi-regular. I'm also going to resume my philosophical ramblings, which I have neglected for far too long. They take more preparatory work and more preparatory thinking than the average post, and I simply didn't have quite enough time for that in recent months. But I have some interesting things coming up now, starting with the final part of the Mark of Cain trilogy. On the other hand, there will be less "political activism", as I've done my share of that lately.

I also have a few surprises and secret projects in store for 2009, which you are hopefully going to like. You will see it all unfold in the coming weeks and months. So keep visiting, and thanks again for your interest and your dedicated readership over the past year. I appreciate it.

Oh, one more thing: I changed my age in the "About Me" section recently, so someone asked me if happy birthday wishes are appropriate. Well, the truth is that I've been 30 for some time, I just hadn't bothered to update the mini-biography until now. However, you can consider January 13th my birthday if you like - it's when I first used the mad Bavarian pseudonym, two years ago, hence the day "Ludwig" was born. As chance would have it, it's pretty close to the blogiversary, so I can celebrate them both at the same time.

So, happy birthday to me! I wish you a fine day as well, and here's to another year of blogging.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More Tabloid Garbage

In my first post of 2009, I voiced the hope that it would turn out to be a fine kinky year for all of us, and I added: "Preferably without any of the idiotic tabloid garbage we had in 2008." Well, it took less than two weeks, and along came this piece in the Sunday Mercury, a newspaper (I use the term lightly) published in Birmingham, UK:

Seedy spanking shame of sleazy pensioner

It is, as you can see, a fairly typical example of the "tabloid expose" article, with the usual mix of sensationalism, half-truths and faux moralism: pandering solely to the mob's bloodlust for scandal, wallowing in all the delightfully "dirty" little details, while at the same time pretending hypocritically to do society a service. For any person with an IQ over fifty, the whole thing is so obviously asinine and trivial that it wouldn't even be worth talking about, were it not for the fact that such hounding does, of course, hurt real people. Like the hapless victim of this story. That is when the merely ridiculous becomes annoying (and immoral).

Journalists (again, I use the term lightly) traditionally hide behind two things to justify this kind of nasty and intrusive gossip as newsworthy: one is the trumped-up allegation of Nazism / mocking the Holocaust (which was used in the Mosley story), the other is the trumped-up allegation of child abuse. The Sunday Mercury has chosen the second route:

"A PENSIONER is luring teenage boys to take part in seedy spanking sessions – which he is filming just down the road from a Birmingham primary school...."

The article goes on to explain that the "boys" are actually young men between 18 and 28 years of age - adults, in other words. The pensioner is looking for adult models who want to take part in spanking films. That's all that is going on here, folks! He places ads and states his intentions openly - there is nothing "seedy" or misleading about it, no "luring". According to the article, the guy then sells the videos "to perverts in the United States". Ignoring the archaic term, I still have to wonder: does the nationality of the "perverts" really matter?

I also wonder why it should be relevant to the story that the films are being made "down the road from a primary school". Don't most of us live within, say, a half-mile radius from a primary school? I do - there are about 130 of them in Munich, so it's hard not to live near at least one. So here I am, basically just down the road, writing this kinky, adult-oriented blog. Good grief, I must be a menace to children!

Needless to say, all the nonsense about "boys", "luring" and schools is desgined to give the impression that some dirty old pedophile is running loose on the streets of Birmingham (Preying On Our Children!). Without that, they wouldn't really have a story, would they? When you subtract the hyperbole and the cheap scare-mongering, all that remains is: "Elderly guy advertises for adult men to shoot fetish films, which he then sells online." And nobody gives a toss about that. (By the way, thanks to Adele Haze for the wonderful acerbic reduction I just quoted, and for making me aware of the article in the first place)

There is no correlation - none whatsoever - between sadomasochism and pedophilia. Actually, there is no correlation between what kinky, consenting adults do and any form of crime. Research is very clear on this. Kinky people are no more likely to have mental disorders than the average person, they are no more likely to be violent, and they are no more likely to be a threat to anyone. Which is why I tend to get a little huffy when some unscrupulous hack tries to place what we do on the same level as child abuse just to sell a few more newspapers.

Tabloid journalists routinely use lies, half-truths, bribery and open blackmail as tricks of their trade. In this case here, a reporter posed as an interested male model to meet the victim of the story. They, of all people, are not well placed to tell this man that what he does is in any way shameful or questionable. What's shameful is that a kinky, but harmless old guy who makes spanking films with consenting adults is portayed as if he were the next Marc Dutroux. That kind of fear-mongering is not only grossly offensive to spankos everywhere, it is also irresponsible, because it propagates unfounded prejudices against us.

When I wrote my piece The Prolefeed Menace about the Mosley story, I argued that voicing our righteous indignation here in the kinky community, among ourselves, is all very well, but it doesn't change a damn thing unless we also get involved in the wider public discussion. While I appreciate "Good post, Ludwig, I agree!" comments, it makes me even happier if you leave a comment under the newspaper article itself, politely but firmly informing them (and the readers) of your objections.

You could even write to the journalist himself, his email address is jonny ~dot~ greatrex ~at~ sundaymercury ~dot~ net. Don't be too hard on the poor lad, though. He is just a young man straight out of university, trying to find his feet in his profession, and I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Who knows, with the right influences and a bit of eye-opening, he might still develop into a proper journalist instead of a cynical old hack. A conciliatory approach will work better towards that end than a verbal flamethrower attack!

Finally, in the same "get off your well-spanked ass and take action" spirit, I would like to draw your attention to this blog post from Pandora Blake. Sunday this week at 2 PM, she will be at Parliament Square in London, protesting against the thought police law with which the UK government has criminalised the possession of so-called "extreme pornography". You can find more info about the rally, which is organised by the Consenting Adult Action Network, under this link. If you live in the London area (or if you simply happen to be there on Sunday!), I urge you to join in and make your voice heard against this erosion of liberty. The law is ill-conceived and pointless populism at its worst, it won't reduce violent crime of any kind, it's a blow against the freedom of kinky people in the UK, and it sets a very bad precedent for the rest of the Western world.

Unfortunately, as much as I'd like to finally meet Pandora in person and say hello, I can't hop on a plane to London this weekend and bolster the ranks. But I'm sending solitary greetings from Germany, and for what it's worth, I'll be with you in spirit.

(It seems that paintings of the 1848 Revolution are becoming pretty popular around here lately. The uprising in Germany failed, of course, but looking back on it today, it was undoubtedly a noble undertaking. Indeed, one wonders how German (and European) history might have turned out had the national-liberal movement succeeded back then. In any case, I've always subscribed to the belief that the very act of standing up for a good cause is what really counts, regardless of success or failure.)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Movie Review: The Fairy Tale

Rigid East (released in 2001)

Entire Story In Fewer Words Than Are In This Sentence:
Maid and princess punished for breaking vase

Victim Appeal:
Two lovely Czech ladies are soundly caned in this old Rigid East film. Both of them have also starred in early installments of the "Headmaster's Study" series. One of the victims is the blonde who plays the signature-forging schoolgirl from A Note for Absence (actually, you can still see marks from the thrashing she takes here in the headmaster video). In this fantasy story, she is cast as a typical fairy tale princess. Well, the difference between her character and other fairy tale princesses I can remember is that we see her naked and whipped, of course - but fairly typical otherwise! As I noted in my review of her other movie, I quite like the girl. She is cute, has a pretty face and expressive eyes, and she is also interesting as an actress. With a performance that ranges from meek and sheepish to haughty and indignant, she hits all the right notes as the spoilt, but ultimately humbled princess.

The other victim, who plays her chambermaid, is dark-haired and also quite pleasant to behold. She is attractive, but with a somewhat more down-to-earth look fitting the role, and she shows some decent acting. Overall, even though there are only two spankees, this is one of the more memorable old Rigid East titles for me in terms of victim appeal, in a fine example of quality over quantity.

Gratuitous Sadism:
In addition to the princess (who also has two sisters, played by twins) and the maid, the movie features a variety of other stock fairy tale characters: a regal and strict queen, a chamberlain with white wig and powdered face, a rugged stableman, and a court jester who narrates the entire story to the audience and leads us from one location to the next, introducing the scenes.

Here is the plot in a nutshell: while playing blind-man's bluff with her sisters, the blonde princess accidentally knocks over one of her mother's precious vases. She gives the maid, who has witnessed the whole episode, a gold coin for her silence. Needless to say, the queen is not amused when she discovers that the vase is broken, so she summons everyone before her. But the maid refuses to give the name of the culprit, so the queen orders her to be beaten until the girl finally talks. Then, as you can imagine, it is the turn of the princess to get a taste of the cane - not just for destroying the vase, but also for lying to her mother. In this fairy tale, royal blood is no safeguard from a thrashing!

The CP is carried out in a barn, where the bearded and burly stablehand canes the victims under the supervision of the glib, powder-faced chamberlain. The two of them make for a rather funny duo of torturers, high in contrast. While the chamberlain plays the assiduous, grovelling servant in front of the queen, he has a hidden sadistic streak and clearly enjoys seeing the girls in pain.

During their ordeal, the spankees are tied to a wooden pillory. They kneel on the platform with their bodies in an upright position. I like the device and the pose - there is nothing fancy about it, but it looks sexy and is not something you see in too many spanking films, actually. The maid gets 32 strokes until she finally cracks and tells her interrogators what happened with the vase. In the second action scene, the princess receives 33 strokes for her comeuppance (one more than the chambermaid). In typical Rigid East fashion, the canings are severe, producing dark purple welts and beautiful screams. The spanker isn't the most accurate in the world and some of the hits land a little high, but he does a solid job overall. Good, sadistic fun.

Best Reactions:
The princess really steals the show here. While her reactions to the caning itself aren't all that different from the maid's (hollering at the top of her lungs, basically), it is her simmering, indignant rage and her proud defiance that make the scene special. From the beginning, she makes it obvious how she despises the chamberlain and the stablehand, who are after all well below her in status. But they are the ones who get to chastise her on her mother's orders, so the young lady has to go along with it, and she hates every minute of the punishment - the humiliation (by these people!) even more than the pain.

The actress nails the part perfectly. Watch as she has to strip naked in front of her tormentors, seething underneath her calm haughtiness, casting cold, angry glances at the men like bolts of lightning. It's a glorious sequence, intense, well-acted and well-paced. There is a nice moment during the caning, when they give her a short break after the tenth stroke and the chamberlain approaches her with a handkerchief - ostensibly to wipe away the lady's tears, while his real intention is of course to ogle her suffering. She knows it, too, and angrily turns her head away. Even as the caning gets harder and harder, her shrieks louder and more desperate, until she is sobbing uncontrollably and her ass is covered in vicious welts, the princess never quite loses that spark of defiance. Which, as you should know by now if you have followed my reviews, is the kind of spirit I like.

Best Line:
"Once upon a time..."

Nice Psychological Touch:
In a word, I loved to see the princess caned. Not only because it's a hot scene and the girl is interesting, but most of all because it simply tells us: princesses get caned, too! Being a young lady of noble standing, even a member of the royal family, does not protect you from a thrashing if you misbehave. I must say, that is something I really like about this fairy tale universe here. I may be an elitist intellectual snob who names himself after a crazy Bavarian monarch and writes mini-essays about Shakespeare and kink - but when it comes to corporal punishment, I have a firm egalitarian streak. So it was magnificent, wicked fun to watch her royal highness get her just desserts.

Rigid East make the most of the scenario by staging it cleverly. Seeing the maid whipped first and then the princess creates an augmentation "in terms of class", and a sense of anticipation followed by the satisfaction of our desire for justice - the loyal, innocent chambermaid has suffered for her mistress, so now we want the real culprit to suffer.

Moreover, the film emphasises the ambivalent power dynamics behind the chastisement of the princess in a most humorous manner. When the exalted young lady is lead to the barn, the chamberlain holds the door open for her and bows deeply. All the time, he treats her with unfailing, stressed politeness and fawning subservience, which of course only underlines the man's barely concealed glee about her shameful ordeal. The actor does a fine job and the results are hilarious to watch. I also liked how, in another twist of irony, they made the princess strip her clothes off, but let her keep the tacky little crown on her head. When the caning is over, both the chamberlain and the stableman bow graciously to their victim before untying her.

How Good Is It Really?
Together with Wild Party and its sequel, this is probably my favourite among the old Rigid East films. In terms of story and wit, it is better than the other two, and the severity is pretty decent, too. Although short (26 minutes only), it is also one of their more elaborate early projects, with nice costumes, good technical craftsmanship and frequent use of background music (except during the beatings, of course) - actually, with the setting and the characters, the whole thing plays almost like a mini-opera.

Given its subject matter, "The Fairy Tale" does not have the oppressive and pleasantly disturbing feel of some of the other RGE / Lupus movies. It's a different kind of gem, a light-hearted fantasy romp full of fun and eye-twinkling humour. Mind you, the beatings are as hard as ever, just packaged differently, and sadistic viewers will definitely be satisfied. Nice cast, nice atmosphere, nice victims (I'm in love with the princess), nice story-telling... In summary, a highly recommended CP video.

What You Learned:
Some fairy tales are definitely not for children, but all the more interesting for kinky adults.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pirates Are Lame

I recently wrote about my resolutions for 2009, and in the same idealistic spirit that surrounds us all as we begin the new year, I would like to make an appeal to you. The appeal is: don't be a pirate. Do not download spanking videos illegally or share them illegally.

So in case you're doing that, stop it. Seriously. You are hurting the producers who have put time, money and a lot of heartfelt effort into the films, you are hurting the models who have worked hard and suffered for our sadistic joy, and most importantly, you are hurting yourself - because the producers will eventually go out of business, and the content we all love and lust after will disappear. Think about that, matey.

Nobody who makes spanking videos is getting rich with them, and very few people in this industry are in it primarily for the money. If you simply want to rake in big bucks, vanilla porn is a much better business - because the market is much bigger. Videos of spanking, BDSM and other kinky activities, on the other hand, are what is commonly referred to as "niche content". Most of the producers and models are themselves genuine, kinky enthusiasts who do what they do as a labour of love. They aren't millionaires with villas, yachts and private planes, but "normal" people with normal jobs, who invest a great amount of their free time, not to mention blood and sweat, to make these films.

However, while they are not in it for commercial reasons, they have to make the work commercially viable. The equipment, the locations, the model fees and travelling costs, the production and distribution, all of that costs money. At the very least, they have to earn back what they put in. Moreover, when you buy a video, it also serves an idealistic purpose. It is a gesture of appreciation, it's basically like saying: "Thank you, you did a good job. I like your work - so much, in fact, that I'm willing to pay a couple of bucks for it." Even when the producer is not in it purely for the money, that is a big boost for morale. When you pirate the videos, on the other hand, people will start questioning if they really want to continue putting in all this time and effort just so that a bunch of wankers can download the films without paying.

I find this kind of selfish, ungrateful disregard extremely lame, and I don't even like to use the term "piracy" for it. Pirates are cool! Well, not the real thugs off the coast of Somalia, of course - but pirates in popular fiction usually are. The word has a ring of swashbuckling adventure and romance to it. As a movie buff, I think of old Errol Flynn titles with dashing, noble outlaws and some fairly interesting (albeit M/M) whipping scenes. But video piracy, or copyright infringement to use the legal term, is neither noble nor cool. It's a form of shoplifting, nothing more. Yes, I know that the analogy is not a hundred percent accurate - there is no appropriation of a physical object involved, you are not literally "taking away" the film. You just get an illegal copy of it. But you are basically taking a product without paying for it, that is the point.

Which is not only seriously uncool, but also stupid - as I pointed out before, piracy ultimately leads to the demise of this kind of content. It has the power to drive some of the smaller spanking video producers out of business altogether, and it seriously hurts even the bigger ones - who can, as a result, not buy new and better equipment, not invest in bigger and more ambitious projects. So if you want the industry to thrive and if you want to see great spanking movies, you have to spend money for them. It's as simple as that.

I'm not going to morally condemn everybody who has downloaded one or two pirated videos sometime. As a matter of fact, I've downloaded a few myself over the years - I even discovered the work of some of my favourite producers that way. But when I liked something, I always bought a DVD or a website subscription of my own, because I believe that good work should be rewarded. I can honestly say that there is nothing in my collection which I shouldn't have. So as a form of "previewing", I'm actually pretty open-minded about filesharing. But not as a means to build a huge video collection without ever paying for anything.

The same distinction applies when I show clips of "kink on the big screen". You can point out that this is copyright infringement, too, and you are right - like quite a few other spanking bloggers, I'm guilty of it in this form. But I think that there is a very significant difference between posting a short excerpt of a film, which is also of considerably reduced technical quality, and posting a perfect copy of the entire thing. The excerpts are not harmful, they are a preview and an encouragement to go out and get the movies. Okay, perhaps not with a total piece of garbage like Project Moon Base - but that one is public domain, anyway, because nobody wants it!

In other words, I don't want to be a holier-than-thou stickler about copyright, I just want you to exercise some common sense and decency. That is all I'm asking for. If you are using the internet to share obscure, out-of-print 1970's exploitation films, great - you aren't really doing any damage, except perhaps to good taste. If you download a few spanking clips "free of charge" once in a while, but pay for most of what you get, fine - I'm not going to demonise that. But if you are one of those clowns who nicks the entire movie catalogue of a producer (or, even worse, who uploads it to a "sharing site"), then you should seriously reconsider what you are doing, and what the effects are. And if you continue to pull that kind of crap, then I am no friend of yours, buster.

Besides, the big-time pirates had better realise that they are not as immune to legal repercussions as they think. I know of at least one major European spanking film producer who has successfully obtained the identities of filesharers via court order and sued them for substantial amounts of damages (which is the reason why you hardly ever see that producer's content pirated nowadays). They have the law on their side and the means to fight back. So far, most producers are simply too busy with their usual work to go to all that trouble. But I know that many are considering "setting an example" if they feel that things are getting out of hand.

My hope is that such legal nonsense won't be necessary and that appeals to common sense like the one I'm making here will work with a lot of people. One more time: video piracy is not cool ("Yaaarrr!"), it is utterly lame and a show of disregard for the producers and the spanking models whose work the pirates claim to like. If you share movies illegally, or if you support that kind of activity by downloading a lot, you are hurting everyone including yourself.

So go forth, and sin no more (and watch a couple of free video clips if you like - it's not like there aren't enough of those in our community, and some are even quite good, as you can see!).

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Perfect Arch

When I started this blog almost a year ago, I didn't yet know how exactly it was going to look or where the journey would go. I had a few general ideas which I wrote down in an early post, but that was as far as it went. One of the things I was determined not to do, however, is create another "photo blog". There are already plenty of spanking blogs out there that are heavy on pictures, and some of them do it very well and with a good eye. So there was no point in following the same approach, and besides, it wouldn't have been my thing, anyway. I wanted to focus on what I perceived to be my main strengths, that is, on my skills as a writer and commentator.

However, there are cases when a photograph or drawing (especially one dealing with our beloved kinky obsessions) is truly worth more than a thousand words. When it reaches a level of visual perfection and of such steaming, almost magical eroticism that you might as well just shut up and point at the bloody picture - and everyone will instantly understand what you are raving about. For me, the following shot from Restrained Elegance is one such example:

(Download a preview clip of the accompanying video here)

The victim is of course the lovely Amelia-Jane Rutherford aka Ariel Anderssen, and that fact in itself is a considerable part of the attraction. As I wrote in my review of her spanking film debut with Strictly English: "Men want her, women want to be her, and some women both want her and want to be her." She does have a gorgeous figure and an unbelievably nice ass, and they have rarely been shown off as stunningly as in this picture. Add a few cane stripes, and you have a strong candidate for spanking photograph of the year (or the decade).

The pose is pure perfection. The "bent over, arched back, elbows on a table (or some such piece of equipment)" CP position has always been one of my favourites in visual and erotic terms, perhaps the favourite. There is a combination of refined elegance and primordial sex appeal about it that I find incredibly alluring - something about the curve from the victim's head and neck down across the arched back to the outstretched, well-defined bottom. It's a position that, to my inner sadist, simply screams: "Whip my ass!"

Again, I can't remember having ever seen it captured as well as here. As you can see, the pose does not only pronounce the victim's buttocks, the "target area", in a most delightful way. With the elbows on the table and the raised upper body, it also opens up room for facial reaction shots (which you don't have if the head and body are slumped down). Because the reactions are just as important, visually, to a CP sadist as the target area and the marks, that is another part of the appeal for me. You can even catch both in one shot (at least partially), as in the first picture. Ariel's slightly turned head, the way her hair falls, her facial expression, the way she places her hands on the table - every small, but significant detail I can think of simply "feels right" in this photo.

I remember seeing a preview of this "Restrained Elegance" shoot a while back on Ariel's blog and obviously being quite taken with it. Fittingly, I was having an email discussion about "the perfect corporal punishment position" with a female friend at the time. We were planning a scene together and I was trying to explain to her what pose I had in mind for her, and why. So I just wrote: "You know what? I've just found it. Take a look at this. It's exactly what I've been talking about."

So I'm indebted to Hywel Phillips, the bondage photographer who runs "Restrained Elegance", for helping me to illustrate my point - never mind for creating these awesome pictures in the first place. In return, I thought I would do a bit of publicity for him. I can't give "Restrained Elegance" one of my proper website reviews here - it's a bondage site, not a spanking site, so it doesn't really fit in thematically. However, I like Hywel's work a lot and wanted to someday showcase it in some other form. This is a good opportunity.

In so many words, "Restrained Elegance" is a high-quality, polished and artfully done paysite with lots of content and a large cast of victims (among them spanking models like Amy Hunter and Rosaleen Young). It offers photosets as well as video clips in several formats, including some large wide-screen .wmv's with a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels. The technical craftsmanship is great and there is an interesting variety of "themes". In addition to the actual scenes, the site also has some special features like bondage tutorials and galleries of drawings. I could spend quite a bit of time there, and I'm not even a die-hard bondage fan.

While there is a bit of light spanking and whipping, the focus of the site is bondage, of course. However, the shoot from which the pictures here were taken - "Ariel's Job Interview (Part Four)", in which she gets caned over the table - is an excellent little CP clip. In terms of grace and beautiful photography, it surpasses most of the work I've seen from "proper" spanking video producers. In my view, this gem alone is sufficient reason for spankos to give "Restrained Elegance" a try. It is nicely filmed, nicely edited and one of the few examples where "slow motion replay" of strokes is put to good effect in a spanking video - I usually find that a bit cheesy, but it works here, and it works quite well. As a CP sadist, I only wish that the caning had been a little bit harder and the marks a little more vivid - but hey, that is not what the site is about, obviously.

If Mr. Phillips ever decides to do a spanking site (most of the competition should be shaking in their schoolgirl panties at the thought...), I would be the first to subscribe and give it a full review. In the meantime, I suggest you check out his bondage work. You can download a quick preview clip of Ariel's caning here. If that doesn't convince you, nothing will (and you are probably clinically dead).

Monday, January 5, 2009

Movie Review: Black Widow

Pain4Fem (released in 2007)

Entire Story In Fewer Words Than Are In This Sentence:
Girls are beaten and brainwashed at psychiatric clinic

Victim Appeal:
As the movie opens, we see the title character, a recently widowed young woman, visiting the grave of her husband. Apparently, the marriage was not a happy one. "You pig! I sent you to your grave!" she mutters venomously. "And your daughter will soon follow..." The cunning widow is determined to make sure that she, not her stepdaughter, inherits all the man's money. She commits the girl to a disreputable psychiatric clinic where the head doctor (Peter Schober) owes the widow a favour for something - who knows what collective misdeeds the two of them have been up to in the past! Through drugs and electroshock therapy, the daughter is to be reduced to a complete psychological wreck who doesn't remember her name or identity.

The hapless girl is played by Pamela, who makes her first and (so far) only appearance in a P4F movie. She is a fair-skinned brunette with pretty eyes and a serious, sensitive expression. Pain4Fem regular Dominika is cast as another patient at the clinic, who is also tortured and brainwashed. I'm quite a fan of that racy, dark-haired beauty. Not only is she gorgeous to look at, she also has an intriguing, enigmatic quality about her. Dominika seems like a fairly quiet, shy girl, but her scenes always bristle with a subtle eroticism and she often returns to work with Pain4Fem and Spanking Server - also taking some of the harder beatings in their line of videos. She is either kinkier than the average P4F model, or simply a lot more tough-minded than her appearance would initially suggest.

Can't really say anything about the acting. As usual with this producer, the models don't get a lot of it to do. Especially here, where they essentially play "zombies". Wait a minute - on second thoughts, that does require acting, and both Pamela and Dominika make an adequate job of it. You know, it's not easy to pass for a zombie. Has anyone seen Shaun of the Dead? Oh well, I better continue the review before I totally lose the thread here...

Gratuitous Sadism:
The head of the rogue clinic is not only a specialist in illegal brainwashing, he also enjoys whipping and caning his defenseless female "patients" (in case you were beginning to wonder where CP fits into all this). Needless to say, "Black Widow" contains a series of proper thrashings, as well as other forms of abuse.

I'll go through everything chronologically: at the beginning of the video (juxtaposed with the widow's graveyard scenes, actually), Dominika is strapped to a bed. The doctor and an assistant (Nelly in a "top" role) give electric shocks to the naked and semi-conscious woman. In the next scene, they ambush the stepdaughter in her bed at home, according to the widow's plan. The girl is injected with a tranquiliser (into her buttocks, appropriately enough), put in a straightjacket and abducted to the clinic, where they leave her strapped to a bed for the time being.

Dominika is the first to receive a dose of good old-fashioned CP action. The doctor canes her, as he apparently does every few weeks just for the fun of it. The girl is lying flat on her bed for the first part of the chastisement. After a while, the sadistic psychiatrist orders her to kneel with her bottom up in the air while her face remains on the pillow. She later goes back down on her belly for the last few lashes. A few of the strokes are repeated from different camera angles, but not many - by my count, Dominika gets 35 "for real". The caning is fairly severe and leaves good-looking welts, some of them quite dark.

Afterwards, it is Pamela's turn to receive her first thrashing at the clinic. The doctor drugs her again so that he and his assistant can take the girl from her bed to another room with a special "punishment platform". They tie her down with her ass high in the air and her head locked in a hole in the base of the platform - it's not my favourite spanking position in visual terms, but a nice piece of equipment to be sure. Then she gets 40 strokes with the cane (I didn't see any repetitions this time). Some of them are administered from an almost vertical angle, producing a criss-cross of marks on her bottom. The unusual position also makes for some interesting facial reaction shots. The caning isn't quite as hard as Dominika's, but given with enough force to make the girl howl in pain.

In the second part of her ordeal, Pamela gets her back whipped with a short single-tail that produces gorgeous (and fairly loud) thwacking sounds. The young lady is still kneeling on the platform, but now upright and with her hands tied above her head in the classical back-whipping pose. I counted 31 lashes in quick succession, and the scene is over pretty quickly. The space between Pamela's shoulders is nicely reddened by the end.

Best Reactions:
The two victims show very different reactions to the spankings - Dominika is in character for most of it, acting like she is brainwashed and only barely awake, while Pamela is more real and more vocal overall. Dominika's caning scene is quite surreal, in a half-funny, half-nasty sort of way. The doctor talks to her in the language and tone of voice that one would use with a little child or a pet: "Well, are you looking forward to this? Yes? Super! Oh, this is fine, isn't it...? Yeees!" He refers to her as his "little imbecile". Dominika answers back with vague, semi-sentient "Mm-hmm!" sounds and lets out drowsy moans after the strokes. She gets more animated and "genuine" towards the end, when the caning gets harder.

However, while that scene is certainly unusual in terms of reactions, I ultimately find Pamela to be more enjoyable from a sadistic point of view. She is just natural and unartificial, the very opposite of Dominika's performance. Actually, it looks like the girl got a little more pain than she expected from the shoot - she repeatedly breaks out of character, mumbling indignant protests and curses in Czech. Probably something along the lines of: "Damn it, this bloody hurts!" But while she is much worse as an actress than the other model, the result is ironically more fun to watch.

As a matter of fact, the back whipping is excellent and one of the best CP segments I've seen in recent years from Pain4Fem. My only complaint is that it is unfortunately much too short. Aside from that, everything is near perfect: Pamela is in a very sexy position, arms in the air and bottom stretched out, forming a beautiful line from her head down to her legs. The doctor grabs her hair with his left hand (a nice touch) and really lays into her back with the single-tail in his right. The girl screams and moans pitifully, throws her head back in agony and struggles against the restraints (and against the hand in her hair). Her contorted face, her writhing body and the whip lashing her back are all captured wonderfully. It could have been an all-time classic scene had it been a bit more extended.

Best Line:
When the doctor and his assistant come to the widow's house to fetch her stepdaughter, he explains how they will drug and subdue the girl: "The drug takes effect in just seconds and she will get very woozy and quite docile." I copied that line from the English subtitles - actually, the German adjective he uses is "benebelt", which could be translated as "foggy" or "disoriented". But the English "woozy and docile" part had me in stitches. For some reason, I just thought that it sounded hilarious.

Nice Psychological Touch:
Obviously, the "abducted and brainwashed at the mental clinic" story is very intriguing all around. Combined with the "black widow" theme, it is one of the more creative plot ideas to be found in a spanking movie, beyond the usual trinity of schoolgirls, secretaries and juvenile delinquents. As in several of their other films (Judicial Caning comes to mind), Pain4Fem show a fondness for "medical" settings that play with the clean, orderly scariness of hospitals and doctor's rooms (never mind mental institutions run by criminal sadists...).

I also liked how the stepdaughter's abduction was shown in some detail, which gives an air of suspense and impending doom to the proceedings. The ending of the movie was a lot of fun, too, and a nice little twist - but I'm not going to spoil it for you here.

How Good Is It Really?
A good video from Pain4Fem that has all the ingredients - an interesting story, attractive models, solid action and technical competency. I'm not a huge fan of the "head down, ass up" spanking position, so the two canings aren't all that great in my book, even though Dominika takes a fairly hard one. However, that is a matter of personal taste, and Pamela's highly erotic (but brief) whipping scene makes up for it in the end. Overall, "Black Widow" is well worth checking out.

What You Learned:
Fear the people in white coats! Especially when one of them is Peter Schober.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year Resolutions 2009

A happy new year to you all! I hope you had a "guten Rutsch", a "good slide" into 2009, as we say in German.

May it turn out to be a fine year, especially for us corporal punishment fetishists. With much striking of bottoms with canes, whips, paddles, birches and other instruments of correction (and preferably without any of the idiotic tabloid garbage we had in 2008 - I'm of the opinion that we spankos deserve a bit of extra good fortune now to make up for that sordid affair). As always, I'm curious to see what fate has in store for us these next twelve months.

Have you made any new year resolutions? The most common ones are out for me - I don't have a problem with my weight, I don't drink much alcohol, I already quit smoking and I don't have a habit of over-spending money, so there is no need to change anything there. As kinky people, we should strive to come up with something more out of the ordinary, anyway. So after a bit of thinking, I've laid out the following goals for me, which I'm going to share with you here.

Five Kinky Things I Want to Achieve in 2009:
- Attend my first spanking party in the UK
- Try out at least two new CP implements (one actively, one passively)
- Add at least one more nationality to my list of victims
- Make more spanking videos than in 2008
- Review more spanking videos and websites than in 2008

A few notes: I've spanked girls from three different countries so far, so adding a fourth should not be too difficult (there are currently 193 states with general international recognition, which means I can still choose from 190). As for the next point, I'm counting the promo clips for Dances with Werewolves as one video, but I'm also including my cameo as Amelia-Jane Rutherford's gambling addict boyfriend on SM-Circus. That brings the number of videos I have to make this year to at least seven. Moreover, I have to write a minimum of 20 movie reviews and seven website reviews - which is doable if I stick to my usual posting routine, but I can't afford too many breaks (nor am I planning any).

I haven't figured out yet what I'm going to do if I fail to achieve one of these goals. Knowing my vile sadistic readers, I predict a lot of clamouring for me to switch to the bottom side once more and get severely thrashed. Given that I already have a whipping and caning coming up this year for losing my football bet with Niki Flynn, your chances of me agreeing to such an arrangement aren't all that good. But they would improve significantly if you put your money where your mouth is by posting some new year resolutions of your own here - and if you don't achieve them, it should of course result in a similar punishment for you (I'm sure you can find someone to do it). So let's see you put your posteriors on the line, and I'll consider doing the same.

I think it would be fun, anyway, to hear what (if any) vows you have taken for 2009. Post a comment if you like, and let us all know. It's for your own good - studies clearly show that people have a better chance of success with their new year resolutions if they make them public and get support from their friends. I imagine the effect to be even greater when it involves cruel, mischievous kinky friends...

Whether you decide to let us in on your plans or not, I wish you all a pleasant, interesting and successful year!