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.


Anonymous said...

Oh, thanks for this one, Ludwig! It does sound like my kind of film. And definitely a scenario I'd find hot - until the first stroke landed, that is.

Ludwig said...

You're welcome. You were asking so nicely after my critique of "Bordello Patrol", and I had nothing planned for my next Pain4Fem review slot, anyway, so I didn't try too hard to resist your witch charm.

Yes, of course the scenario would be hot for you only until the first stroke landed. And you would fast-forward through the beatings while watching the film, as always.

Soft, squeamish American girls... *shakes head*

Indy said...

Sounds like an excellent way to watch these films to me, too!

Ludwig said...

Well, Pain4Fem aren't that severe, really. Most of the action is moderate, some is fairly hard, but none of it is on the Lupus / Mood level. It should be okay to watch for those who are squicked by vicious welts, blood-curdling howls and all the other good stuff I find entertaining... Seriously, I think you might quite enjoy some of the P4F films, actually.

Indy said...

Uh, Ludwig, now that I've seen Pandora's posts, I'm simply not buying that "Pain4Fem aren't that severe." Does "severe" mean that one's bottom actually falls off and has to be surgically reattached before the next shoot? Just curious...

Ludwig said...

Well, as I wrote above, there are exceptions - some of the Pain4Fem films are "fairly hard", and judging by Pandora's writing (and photographs), her shoot with them was one of those cases. I suppose they go the extra mile, obviously, when the model is genuinly kinky and when she wants to do that. Niki also took one of their harder beatings in "The Spy".

On the whole, though, most of their films aren't all that extreme, and even the harder ones aren't really Lupus / Mood terriroty - where you have broken skin and marks that can last for months rather than weeks, which is what I would classify as "severe".

At the end of the day, it's all a question of subjective definition, of course - what is "light", what is "middle of the road", what is "hard"? My definition is probably more conservative than most, i.e. I say "middle of the road" or "fairly hard" where some others would say "very severe".

It's not about being "tough" or "macho" in my definitions or some such nonsense - "sqeamish American girls" jokes aside, severity is purely a matter of taste, and needless to say, there is nothing wrong with spankos who don't like watching super-vicious beatings. Some do, some don't, and that is all there is to it.

For me, the choice of adjectives is simply a matter of keeping room on the scale. If I rate Pandora's thrashing at Pain4Fem as "very severe", how am I going to rate "Schizo - The Black Part" by Mood Pictures, where they literally had to wipe the girl's blood splatter off the floor after the caning? So therefore, I call the former "fairly hard" or "fairly severe", and the latter "very severe" or "extreme".

Pandora Blake said...

Ludwig - Not having seen any of pain4fem's previous movies, I hadn't realised that Niki's and my canings were at the more severe end of their spectrum. Personally, after filming for Pain4Fem I feel confident that I could cope with Lupus, which is a question I've wrestled with since I first met Niki. Not because my caning was as severe as a Lupus caning, but because it was close enough for me to sense how it would feel to go further. Once your body is that traumatised the scale compresses. Sure, a "very hard" strokes is palpably less pleasant than a "hard" one, but when you're already pumped full of adrenaline and endorphines, is the former massively more difficult than the latter? I'm not sure; I think it's a case of "in for a penny, in for a pound" and at the time I felt as if I could have kept going longer. Immediately afterwards, I wanted to go again. As I'm sure you know, severity is addictive, and once you've gone past a certain point the hardest part is knowing when to stop. (Which is where responsible tops come in handy. Me, I had Amy warning me between takes that my bottom was too damaged to safely go further. Had she not done that, I would have gone as far as they'd let me.)

I guess my point is that while pain4fem isn't in the "hyper-severe" league of sites like Lupus or Mood, it's severe enough, in canings like mine, Amy's and Niki's, to trip the chemical switch that makes keeping going easier than stopping. Not more pleasant. But easier.

Every masochist's switch will come at a different point, though, so this doesn't construct a binary in any meaningful sense. I think it explains why my shoot with pain4fem made me start me thinking of them as being in the "severe" category, though.

Ludwig said...

Pandora: No, Pain4Fem aren't generally in the "severe" category, but some of their films are. I think it really comes down to the models they are shooting with.

Some of the movies are rather tame, like "School Days" (which I reviewed here). Others are fairly hard, like "The Spy" with Niki. Or like your epic, I'm sure (which I am very much looking forward to, and not just for the severity, of course). Most of their stuff falls somewhere in between.

At the end of the day, it is all pretty subjective - what is or isn't "severe"? For me as a movie reviewer, it is important to have room in my scale of adjectives for all kinds of movies, and to apply these adjectives more or less consistently.

At the top ("very severe" or "extreme"), you have films like "Schizo - The Black Part" by Mood Pictures: 100 stroke canings, gratuitous damage and blood, stuff that even I as an admitted freak don't find all that erotic anymore. Below that comes the average Lupus or Mood flick, which I call "severe" or something to that effect. Then you have Niki's or your caning for Pain4Fem, which is "fairly severe" or "fairly hard". And so on.

As far as the subjective experience is concerned, I agree with you that, once you reach a certain level of severity while being caned, going further becomes a gradual rather than a fundamental difference. I haven't been caned anywhere near as often as you, but I've taken some pretty hard thrashings and one that was really severe (Lupus / Mood territory), and that is certainly how I felt about the difference.

I'm not a masochist, so I can't really relate to what you say about severity being addictive or not knowing when to stop. I'm a sadistic top who switches occasionally, and when I do, I still plan and watch the scene with the mindset of an "outside sadistic observer". Switching is a form of auto-aggressive sadism for me, really. During the beating, I don't get drawn into it all that much. At least I haven't experienced that yet. And I usually have a fixed number of strokes agreed on beforehand, anyway.

What I know is that, when I switch, I need a certain level of severity to make it intriguing from this outside sadistic perspective that I have. In that sense, it is like any other scene I "watch". One that has all the other, proper ingredients while lacking severity is good, but not great. To make it truly special, I need nice welts and pained reactions on top of everything else.

Speaking of reactions: you say that every masochist's "chemical switch" comes at a different point, and this is probably true (I haven't encountered such a thing myself, but like I just said, I'm not a masochist and I approach being thrashed with a very different mindset). What is certainly and obviously true is that our limits are all at different points. And this is very important to remember, because it is there that things get edgy and interesting - for me as a sadistic top at least, and probably for many masochists, too.

It's not really about "how much you can take" (according to some objective standard). It's about "how far you are willing to go" (towards, and maybe beyond, your subjective limit). Whipping a girl with a low limit at 100% or 105% of that limit is much more exciting for me as a sadist than whipping a girl with a very high limit at, say, 70% of that. Even though the latter beating is harder in objective terms. But a sadist doesn't simply want to mindlessly beat people! He (or she) wants to *achieve a reaction* with that beating, and push the victim to a certain psychological state.

At least that's the way I feel, and I've heard other sadists agree wholeheartedly. Like Pedro, one of the founders of Mood Pictures. I was interested to learn that he is a fan of Firm Hand Spanking. Which makes all the sense in the world when you think about it. What they do is harmless compared to Mood, but they have some girls with relatively low pain limits and genuine, strong reactions, and he likes that. I like some of the FMS videos for the same reason.

My apologies for the excursion into sadism, one of my favourite subjects of introspection...

As I've said before, I think you should work with Lupus Pictures someday. It would be a shame if you didn't.