Saturday, February 28, 2009

Scream Queen '69

While Mood Pictures finish the post-production on part one of our women in prison "documentary" and I write the final part of my behind-the-scenes report, here is a nice little whipping clip from the big screen to keep you entertained. Fittingly enough, it is about... women in prison!

Actually, "big screen" might be a bit of an exaggeration - the scene is from an obscure old exploitation flick from 1969, titled The Detention Girls. Starring Dolly Abrams, Jennifer Early, Ann Welles and a bunch of other people I've never heard of. At the time of this writing, it still has less than 5 votes on IMDB, so it doesn't even have a user rating (probably all for the better). But whatever one's opinion on the cinematic merits of the film might be, you can't deny that the poster is frigging awesome:

"Erotic LOVE! Illicit SEX! The sizzling story of sadism, perversion and degradation in a woman's prison!" Ah, those were the days... They don't make 'em like this anymore. Today, only certain trashy tabloids use that kind of unhinged language and laughable CAPITALISATION (it's impossible to not read it louder than the rest, isn't it?). But unlike Mr. Myler's sorry excuse for a newspaper, "The Detention Girls" actually delivers on its promise: the illicit perverted content is quite good. Especially the bullwhipping scene. Of all the CP scenes from the "big screen", it has to be among my favourites.

The movie is about a pretty American college student who is arrested for taking part in a campus demonstration. At the detention center, she encounters - what else! - lesbian guards, lesbian inmates and lots of abuse from both. Her troubles reach their climax when another inmate splashes water on a guard and blames it on our heroine (hmm, splashing a guard, that reminds me of a scene I recently filmed...). She is taken to the basement and savagely whipped.

While the picture quality isn't great (it was a cheap black and white production), the scene stands out for several reasons. First off, the action lasts a solid three minutes, pleasantly long for a simulated CP scene. Secondly, it is well filmed, with a nice variety of shots. Most importantly, the victim is very convincing. She is rather forgettable as an actress during the rest of the film, but here, her grimaces and blood-curdling screams constitute some of the best "fake whipping acting" I've ever seen. Quite a talent in that department. If I had to give out an annual Scream Queen Award for scenes like this, this girl would get the 1969 trophy.

One more thought before I leave you for today: considering the British government's recent fondness for police state laws, I wonder if we will see real cases like this in the UK in the near future? I'm almost convinced that we will, you just wait and see. One day, some poor lunatic is going to climb atop the Tower of London and masturbate in public for all the city to see, and because he bought a DVD with "The Blowjob Adventures of Dr. Fellatio" six years before, they are going to blame it on porn. So they're going to outlaw all porn, they will bring back corporal punishment at the same time, and public protest against any of the new laws will be banned under the penalty of getting thrashed. Which will finally drive the kinky people of Britannia to the streets by the thousands...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Movie Review: An American Brat in London

Strictly English (released in 2006)

Entire Story In Fewer Words Than Are In This Sentence:
American girl gets dose of English domestic discipline

Victim Appeal:
The title character is portrayed by the famous and gifted Niki Flynn, so entertainment value is guaranteed. She looks great here, with dark and shoulder-long hair, and while the role isn't all that demanding, she is at her bratty best acting-wise. Niki plays a young lady from the US who is visiting an English relative in London and wreaks havoc in his household. Needless to say, many stern lectures and spankings ensue.

In the part of Niki's English guardian, we are treated to the bearded, dry-witted gentleman familiar from other Strictly English productions like Amelia-Jane Rutherford Vol. 1 (guaranteeing even more entertainment value). The constant banter between the two is a joy to watch and the main strength of the movie. I love how he insists on calling her "Nicola" - there is a wonderful posh sound to it, and among the potential full names for "Niki", it is one of my favourites, too.

Gratuitous Sadism:
The video jumps right in medias res without any delay. When the first scene opens, Niki has already been staying with her host for some time. He is getting tired of her watching TV at a thunderous volume, drinking alcohol without permission, not washing up and leaving the place in a mess. Since asking nicely doesn't work with her, he decides that good old-fashioned discipline is a more promising course of action: "It's time your bottom learned what a naughty girl's bottom feels like..." A protesting and disbelieving Niki goes over his knee for a three-and-a-half-minute hand spanking, first over her skirt, then on the panties, then on the bare.

Despite her assurance that her behaviour is going to improve, it doesn't seem to have had much of an effect. After staying out late, Niki lies in bed all morning and misses breakfast time by several hours. Another over-the-knee spanking follows, and again it progresses from clothed (jeans this time) to on the bare. In addition to the hand, a slipper and a hairbrush are used. Niki has had enough after the third implement and tries to run away, but her guardian grabs her and proceeds to whack her bottom with a wooden spoon (in the standing up position) until she agrees to go over his knee again. It's back to hand spanking for the rest of the punishment, with small doses of the hairbrush in between when she is particularly cheeky.

Later the same day, Niki leaves her clothes scattered all over the bathroom. She is spanked again (on the panties, then on the bare) and her host informs her that, this time, she will also get the cane (he seems to be an advocate of the "three strikes policy"). Niki is sent to fetch the instrument and, in a magnificent act of defiance, breaks it in two in front of his very eyes. Unfortunately for her, he has another, thicker and heavier cane - and by now, he is really determined to teach her some manners! After much back and forth (during which she makes a phone call to her parents, but receives no sympathy), Niki submits to a proper English caning.

Fully nude, she takes 12 strokes for the mess in the bathroom while touching her toes, and because she moved around too much, she receives another 12 bent over the back of a chair. To complete her comeuppance, Niki then gets six extra strokes, and harder ones, for breaking the other cane - new position, bent over, elbows on a sideboard. She is made to say "I'm sorry I broke your cane, Ernest!" after each one (in case you were wondering about the gentleman's name, as I was). Afterwards, while she stands in the corner and rubs her bottom, it looks as if she is sorry indeed - the English method has finally made a lasting impression on the "American brat".

As always with Strictly English videos, the focus here is on the personal chemistry and the banter, not on the severity. The various hand, slipper, hairbrush and spoon spankings are moderate. The caning is fairly good - 30 strokes in total, not overly vicious, but hard enough to leave some light marks (which, as I can attest from personal experience, isn't all that easy on Niki Flynn's frequently chastised bottom).

Best Reactions:
Obviously, I liked the reactions during the caning best - always my favourite instrument. They are nicely filmed, too, including a couple of facial reaction shots. Lovely wincing and writhing.

Best Line:
There are many good lines, including one right at the beginning when Niki sits in front of the TV and listens to some loud (and rather awful) techno music. Her host storms in and turns it off. She protests: "Hey, I was watching that!" "Watching it?" he replies. "I think half the street was listening to it!" The little exchange instantly sets the tone for the rest of the film.

However, I liked the following piece of dialogue best. During the second spanking, when Ernest informs her that she will get the hairbrush, Niki sarcastically comments: "No wonder the Empire fell!" He retorts with: "No wonder the Empire was so successful!" As a historian who often deals with the rise and fall of empires, and with the questions of why and how, I found that entertaining. What do you think, which one of them has the better point?

Nice Psychological Touch:
The final punishment scene comes with a nice, highly effective buildup. When Niki breaks the first cane and Ernest lets her know that he has another one, and that she is really in trouble now, she demands to make a call to her parents: "I'll tell them how you're treating me!" Ernest jovially tells her to go right ahead while he leaves for a moment to "fetch the stick". He comes back and finds a very meek, silent girl standing next to the telephone. "Nicola, I see you have spoken to your parents!" he smiles triumphantly. "And they told you no doubt what they told me in this email..." Showing her a printout, he reveals that Niki's parents sent her to England so that Ernest would make a well-behaved young lady out of their bratty daughter, and that they are, in fact, delighted about the proper discipline she is receiving now.

Still refusing to accept defeat, Niki tears the mail to shreds: "I would rather starve and live in the street than submit to this barbaric treatment any longer!" Ernest replies that she might find that rather awkward, since he has confiscated all her clothes and possessions. Noticing that she is wearing one of his shirts at the moment, he orders her to take it off as well. He leaves Niki alone and locked up in the room with nothing but her panties: "I will see you later, and we will continue the discussion! In the meantime, just think about your situation."

The confrontation is followed by a prolonged scene of Niki waiting - sitting on the floor half-naked and nervously thinking to herself, searching the cupboards for something she can use to escape (or perhaps just something to eat), trying to open the door, then sitting down again and simply waiting, resigned to her fate. The montage of shots, and the brief fadeouts in between, imply that it lasts for hours. When Ernest finally returns (the other, heavier cane in hand), his American guest, now much more quiet and compliant, submits to her punishment like a good girl.

How Good Is It Really?
This is one of the lesser Niki Flynn movies in terms of story and scale of the production. It's a straightforward, one-on-one domestic discipline setting, and certainly not the first time we have seen the "American brat discovers how we Brits do things over here!" scenario. The technical craftsmanship is decent and the CP action is good, but not great.

On the plus side, the chemistry of the two players is palpable and they imbue the proceedings with a lot of life. It's always gratifying to review a spanking film with witty dialogue and a cast that can actually act. Both Niki and the top do a fine job here. I also liked the use of dramatic pauses and progression. The buildup to the caning scene is exemplary. Aspiring CP porn producers should study it for inspiration - this is how you do it. In summary, an above average video and well worth watching.

What You Learned:
Why the British Empire fell. Or why it was so successful. Depending on your point of view.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hostel II: The Revelations of Guard #3

(This is part two of my behind-the-scenes report on Mood Pictures. You can read the first part here.)

After I changed into my grey prison guard uniform, Pedro showed me around the studio. They had been using this building for the last couple of years. There were several large rooms for filming, with high ceilings and plenty of space. One housed the barred cells that would feature prominently in today's shoot. They can also be seen in previous Mood titles like "Prison Story". Pedro explained to me that the CP scenes were normally shot in this part of the studio as well. But this time, they needed it for the "prison office", the "examination area" and other such locations, so we would film the action somewhere else.

Other rooms were for storage. I recognised many of the costumes that were kept there, ranging from the face masks of "Life Sentence" to the ancient robes of "Slaves of Rome". Most of the spanking furniture was also familiar from various films - whipping benches, pillories, racks, X-shaped crosses and other restraining devices. I noticed the green poker table from "The Maid", a video about a gambler who loses all his money and even his wife to a rich and decadent lady (I don't have to tell you what happens to the unfortunate, beautiful wife). Pedro mentioned that, ever since that movie, they had developed the habit of playing poker after a shoot was over. He asked me if I played. I shook my head: "To be honest, I prefer chess..."

The studio also includes a medical room, completely in white, with half a dozen beds and all the first aid equipment you can imagine. To their credit, the medical care Mood Pictures provide for the models is exemplary. They hire an actual, professional nurse for the entire duration of the shoot. She performs checkups on the girls beforhand - heart rate, blood pressure, breathing etc. - to make sure that they are fit and in good enough health for the beatings ahead. The nurse is present during the filming of the CP scenes, off-screen in a position where she can see the victim's face and eyes. She can interfere if she believes that it is getting dangerous. When the scene is over, the girl is taken to the medical room where she lies down for a while and receives proper care.

Like most forms of extreme BDSM, it's all a bit Apocalypse Now. I had to think of Charlie Sheen as Captain Willard: "We cut 'em in half with a machine gun and give 'em a band-aid." There was a similar absurdity at work here, and the anthropological observer in me absolutely loved it. You cane the girls until the blood flows down, and the very next moment, you tend their wounds with disinfectant, arnica, ice packs and bandages. It's hilarious when you think about it. At the same time, it was good to see that while Mood Pictures pride themselves on making extremely severe videos, they are also highly safety-conscious.

The good nurse would undoubtedly have her hands full today. It was a big production and no less than eight spanking victims were in line for the thrashing of a lifetime (one ended up quitting after a few strokes, so there will be seven in the final two-part film). At the moment, they were still lazing around on the chairs in the entrance room or standing outside in the fresh air, chatting in groups of twos and threes. And smoking cigarettes, of course.

It's an open secret that only a small handful of the Mood models are really into spanking. Most are "vanillas" who do it for the (rather good) money. But it was equally obvious that these weren't starving, desperately poor girls. Judging from their "civilian clothes" and the way they carried themselves, they looked like typical middle class kids in their early twenties. University students in their first semesters perhaps, or young women with office jobs. I knew from watching the Mood Castings interviews that there are some models who say that they urgently need money. But they are the rare exception. By and large, these are people who want the extra cash rather than needing it. Expensive designer clothes seem to be very popular, as is travelling to foreign countries.

I was okay with that. Needless to say, I prefer making videos with fellow kinky enthusiasts - the personal connection, the creative collaboration, the whole psychology of it is just infinitely more interesting. But I have no objections to working with "mercenary" models. At the end of the day, the fact that some stunningly gorgeous girls take a thrashing for easy money isn't any more shocking than others doing gangbangs, group facial cumshots or double anal penetrations (the last of which entails a higher risk of injury than anything that happens at a Mood Pictures shoot). As long as it is a truly free choice and there is no exploitation of crippling poverty, I find nothing wrong with it. Free adults are free to get whipped - be it for self-fulfilment or material gain.

So I had thought about it, I had no moral qualms and I knew that my inner sadist would probably have a lot of fun, regardless of whether the victim was kinky or not. Marks! Screams! Bodies writhing in pain! On the downside, I didn't expect it to be all that intriguing on a personal level. But, as it would later turn out, I was quite wrong about that...

Except for Victoria Young, I hadn't seen any of the models before, but I recognised other faces on the set. Maximilian Lomp was there, a Mood collaborator from the beginning (and a genuinly kinky guy). He works as director's assistant and also starred in several M/F videos. Pokemon started out as the company's hairstylist and eventually found her way into some movies as a female top. These days, she is back at her old job. She and the models had been at the studio since early morning because the complicated hairstyles take hours to create (a tad out of place in a women's prison, but it certainly looks nice).

Not surprisingly, Lady Jessica Lee was around, too. Mood's main domme for several years now, she would be the chief guard and had to memorise the most lines. When she wasn't intensely reading from the script and mumbling Hungarian "You bitches are going to get caned for this!" monologues, she entertained herself by dancing around the room with ballet-like poses and humming cheerfully. Two younger, dark-haired dommes were also playing guards. Together, the four of us were going to enforce discipline on the unruly prisoners. I had no idea what my character would be called in the credits, but I thought of myself as "Guard #3". It had a pleasant schlocky ring to it, all the more so in light of all the recent Hostel jokes.

Filming finally started in the early afternoon. Naturally, in a production like this, everything is shot out of sequence, with the CP action at the very end. A couple of outdoor scenes were the first on the schedule. The girls, now in their black and orange inmate garb, were chatting in the "prison yard" (and smoking, as always). During the breaks, Pablo and I talked about how the United States, the UK and Germany make up most of my blog readers. The same is true for Mood sales figures. Switzerland also seems to be doing well. I raised an eyebrow - Switzerland? Pablo nodded: "Yes, they have lots of money." With a shrug, he added: "And it's fucking boring in the mountains!" I couldn't tell how serious he was. With Pablo, you rarely could.

He has a loud, cackling laugh and it could often be heard while he was setting up a shot and talking with the cast and crew. While the work was focused and professional, there was plenty of fun in between. As the Mood aficionados among you will know, the average behind-the-scenes segment on their DVD's has tons of horsing around from everyone. You get the impression that the most severe spanking movie shoots also bring out the silliest, most boisterous off-camera moments (including the occasional playful brawl). It's one good way of dealing with the intensity.

My first scene had its own bit of unintended comedy. A new inmate was arriving at the prison, and all I had to do was get her out of the car, grab her by the elbow and escort her out of the picture (wearing my best grim expression, of course). Pedro had a cameo as the driver. Before motioning for the girl to come out, I had to unbuckle her seatbelt because she was handcuffed and couldn't do it herself. So I had to bend forward. The trouble was that all the guard uniform caps they had were too small for me. Despite my most careful efforts, the one I was wearing promptly fell off while I was unbuckling the seatbelt. We discarded the stupid cap and got everything right on the second take.

We moved indoors. In the next scene, the new girl went through the registration process at the prison office. After a welcoming lecture from chief guard Jessica Lee, I took the inmate's fingerprints. We did that two times, once for the long shot and once for the closeup. After each part, the girl and I had to wash our hands - I was handling the ink pad and my fingers were almost as black as hers. The name of the model playing the new inmate was Miryam. She spoke some English and we chatted while endlessly scrubbing our hands - twice! - under the sink. Most of the conversation was of a practical nature, though: "Damn, is this stuff going away yet?" Ordinary soap didn't work, so we eventually switched to dishwashing detergent. Then it only took 15 more minutes until the ink was gone.

Several of the prisoners had to undergo a cavity search from a female guard. I wasn't in that scene, so I was standing on the side. Next to assistant director Max Lomp, who suddenly yelled a word at the top of his lungs. It startled everyone, including the models, then they all broke out laughing. I asked Pedro what Max had screamed. "Deeper!" was the answer. Later came a lengthy tribubal scene, where Lady Jessica (flanked by Max and Pedro) sentenced the girls to corporal punishment for various offenses - 50 strokes of the cane here, 30 with the prison strap there, like she was giving away candy. The scenes showing the actual misdeeds were filmed after that. One, for example, where my female colleagues searched the cells and found a hidden package of drugs. I was keeping an eye on the prisoners in the meantime and serving as protection for the other guards. A job tailor-made for me, I thought - big, burly Ludwig, with all my 160 pounds.

During one of the breaks, I did a quick, impromptu video interview with Victoria Young. It isn't all that revealing or profound - what do you really ask a vanilla model for whom spanking as a form of kinky play is totally alien? But I thought, why not give it a try and see what happens, so I have one more little goodie for my report. Maybe you find it interesting. Pedro was translating back and forth.

Eventually, we came to the end of the non-CP work. I had my big Oscar-winning moment, the one where Guard #3 actually speaks. In the scene, I'm bringing the prisoners their breakfast, which consists of bread and water, naturally (I grinned at Pablo: "This is great, I came all the way to Budapest to play a fucking waiter...!"). After I put down the tray and step forward to unlock the cell door, one of the girls pours a cup of piss on me through the bars (water, really, but I was pretty soaked). So I swear at her in Hungarian and angrily stomp away. It's my only line in the movie, and the line is "Baszd meg!" ("Fuck you!"). As soon as the cameras were off, the guy doing the still photographs gave me an exaggerated thumbs-up and laughed: "No accent!"

The prisoner would be severely caned for her "splash the guard" episode, of course. All non-action scenes were in the bag now. The crew were setting up the lights and cameras in a new room where we hadn't filmed yet, the one where the strappings and canings would take place. The front of my uniform jacket was soaking wet from the previous segment, so I used the break to scrub it with a towel. Pablo wandered over to me. Like all of us, he looked a bit tired after shooting for hours, with all the little pauses and phases of waiting in between. He grinned at me: "You didn't think it will be such boring work, eh?" I said no, actually, I find it all pretty exciting so far. Pablo shook his head: "No, it isn't, really." Then he broke into a gleeful, sadistic smile: "But it will get exciting...!"

By the time the uniform was dry, the crew had everything in place for the CP scenes.

(To be continued in the third and final part of my behind-the-scenes report, in about two weeks, when the movie comes out.)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Hungarian Hostel

Yay! I'm alive and well, and I am back in Munich after my train journey to the east. Unlike Jonathan Harker, I didn't go all the way to Transylvania, only as far as Budapest. But it was a great, memorable, delightfully dark adventure nonetheless. I'm still brimming with the adrenalin of it all. As most of you will have gathered, the spanking movie shoot I announced before my departure was with Mood Pictures. I'm proud and thrilled to bring you the first ever behind-the-scenes report from the notorious Hungarians.

I wasn't just visiting them in my capacity as intrepid reporter and blogger, though. I also acted in my first full-length, professional CP film, and along the way, I even managed to fulfil one of my kinky new year resolutions: adding one more nationality to my list of "victims". I now have Hungarian blood on my hands. Or rather, on my cane, and quite literally, too. Overall, I think it was a pretty successful trip.

Mood Pictures are famous (and infamous) for producing extremely hard CP videos that are certainly not for everyone. They firmly occupy the "shock horror" niche among spanking movie makers, and comparisons with films like Hostel aren't very far-fetched. Some of their stuff is too gory even for an admitted severity freak like me (I don't mind blood and broken skin, but I prefer it when the marks are neat and orderly instead of all over the place). Generally speaking, though, I am a big fan of Mood Pictures and count them among my favourite producers. They don't make elaborate historical epics like RGE / Lupus or good old-fashioned CP fantasies like most of the British producers, but they have their own unique "torture porn" appeal, and they do what they do extremely well. As a sadist, I find their vicious caning and whipping scenes highly enjoyable.

Judging from the huge popularity of their videos (and the amount of traffic I get from their site), there are plenty of people who share my taste. But despite the fact that Mood are one of the most in-demand and commercially successful spanking film producers, not a lot is known about them. After undercover agent Niki Flynn shed some light on Lupus Pictures (Czech Republic) and Pain4Fem (Austria / Slovakia), the Hungarians remained the last of the great Eastern mysteries. Until now, that is (sorry, Nikita, but I get to unravel this one).

When a strange company based in a former Eastern bloc country starts putting out super-severe corporal punishment films, it sparks all sorts of urban legends on the forums of the English-speaking spanko community. It happened with Lupus Pictures, and a few years later, the same thing happened with Mood. Ironically, perhaps, the two most widely believed legends contradict each other. The first one is that the videos aren't truly consensual - that poor, starving Eastern European girls are exploited by ruthless pornographers. The other rumour is that the videos are fake, that it is all make-up and special effects.

Of course, neither of these rumours is true. But even after Niki wrote at length about her work with Lupus (followed by others like Adele Haze), some people still choose to believe the old myths. I don't suppose that my testimony about Mood Pictures will convince them, either. By definition, no amount of evidence will ever convince a conspiracy theorist. So I will say it only once, for the record: the Mood Pictures videos are produced in a consensual manner, and the CP action is one hundred percent real.

Anyone with a shred of common sense can see that, anyway. After all, why put in the time and effort to fake a severe CP video when it is much cheaper and easier to just film a real one? Or why would you coerce people and risk getting in trouble with the law when there is no shortage of volunteers? There are enough girls (not starving, not poor) who are quite willing to take a hard thrashing on camera, you know. So there simply is no reason for coercion or complicated fakery. If you insist on believing in the conspiracy theories, I can't help you. But the fact is, I have visited Mood Pictures, I've seen a shoot with my own eyes, and I have caned two girls myself. You haven't.

So, on that note, let's get to these facts and to the truly interesting part of my story. I've been keeping an eye on Mood Pictures from the very beginning. The company was founded some five years ago by two spanking movie fans from Budapest, calling themselves Pedro and Pablo (after film director Pedro Almodóvar and painter Pablo Picasso). I soon took note that there was a new and promising producer there, and I actually wrote my first ever spanking film review about one of their videos back in 2004 (under another pseudonym). My email correspondence with Pedro also goes back to that year. As a penpal, I've known him even longer than Niki. But we didn't meet in person until a few months ago, when he was on holiday in Bavaria. I got a one-line mail one day saying: "Hi, currently I am in Hohenschwangau. Beautiful!" I said great, if you happen to travel through Munich, let's get together.

Pedro did travel through Munich, so we met at his hotel and talked for a few hours in the bar (we also frequently went outside, because he smoked half a pack of Pall Malls). It was a very interesting chat and, among other things, the idea took shape of maybe doing a movie together someday. While Pedro prefers F/F spanking action, Pablo likes M/F, so there might be a part for me in one of the films scripted and directed by him. I said I'd be delighted to work with them, and that I would write a behind-the-scenes report for the blog.

We also discovered that we share a special fondness for the old Rigid East classic Wild Party. Pedro cites it as his main inspiration for trying his own hand as a spanking film producer one day. It's exactly the kind of video he likes, and you can see it in the usual Mood Pictures formula: lots of different girls, lots of very hard punishment, and just enough backstory to create a CP fantasy scenario instead of merely a sequence of beatings. Pedro freely admits that his main focus is on the action. He doesn't aspire to make the kind of intricate historical drama or dark comedy that Lupus put out these days. At the same time, he wants his movies to be more than just brutal thrashings without context, which is something he finds utterly boring. It's important for him to have a proper fictional backdrop for the action, something that sticks to memory and provides a bit of immersion. Pedro sums it up like this: "I am not interested in stories. I'm interested in situations."

The "situations" Pedro is interested in are often straight out of classic exploitation cinema. Indeed, one could regard Mood Pictures as its equivalent in the spanking film industry. There are women in prison ("The Santiago Prison"), girls kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery ("Enslaved") and hot young nuns whipping each other in a convent ("Hour of Penitence"). Mood made a controversial homage to the 1970's sexploitation flick Ilsa - She Wolf of the SS, called "Gestapo" (Pedro emphasises that the movie is a non-political spanking fantasy, and that he absolutely detests Nazism and the real Nazi atrocities). After the recent banking meltdown, they released a video titled "Crisis": "During the 2008 financial crisis, a manager of an investment company must fire a few stockbrokers. How will he decide which ones to fire?" I guess you know how (the ones who agree to be severely caned can stay!). This is the kind of rapid B-movie making Roger Corman would have been proud of.

The film I ended up starring in (which will be out in a few weeks) is another prison scenario. It is "documentary style" with a voiceover narration, something a little different from what Mood Pictures have done before. I play one of the guards, and because I don't speak any Hungarian, it is mostly a mute role (I have one line - acting awards, here I come!). During the non-CP scenes, I'm the sidekick guy who escorts prisoners, takes their fingerprints, puts handcuffs on them, opens cell doors, writes down a schedule on a piece of paper - that sort of thing.

I didn't mind not doing any real acting in my first full-length spanking video. Actually, I kind of welcomed it, because it would allow me to get familiar with the environment of a professional shoot without too much responsibility resting on my shoulders. I could just concentrate on taking in all the impressions and making mental notes for my blog report. And if I did another film with Mood, we could still go for something more ambitious with a German- or English-speaking role.

So I didn't have to memorise any lines in the days leading up to the trip. I did a lot of caning practice on a pillow, though, because the plan was that I was going to thrash one girl (I ended up doing such a good job of it, they tossed me another one). When I arrived at my hotel in Budapest, I was dismayed to find that the room was too confined to do any proper full-arm swings. It was probably all for the better in light of the noise, and I already had blisters on my hand from all the "pillow practice", anyway (seriously, I did). I was too excited to sleep much, so I spent most of the night watching BBC News. Tops get nervous before a shoot, too, you know. But it was good nervousness, the kind that energises you. I was really looking forward to the day ahead.

Pedro picked me up from the hotel in the morning. We had a good laugh when I told him about my ominous departure post. He lurks here occasionally, but hadn't seen that one yet. We were among the last of the cast and crew to arrive at the studio. It is a pretty large ground-level building with many rooms and, appropriately enough, windows behind bars. The entry room was a sort of relaxation area, crowded by beautiful, soon-to-be-chastised Hungarian girls who were sitting around, chatting and smoking (all Hungarians smoke, all the time). Regular Mood star Victoria Young was there, but most of the girls were apparently newcomers, and I didn't recognise any others.

They were certainly pretty, though. On the way, Pedro had explained to me that it would be a big production, to be released in two parts, with over half a dozen spanking victims. "Enough for everyone!" he laughed. I could see that. My gaze went from one girl to the next. Enough indeed, I thought, in quantity as well as quality... Wow. And while I'm being a total, superficial chauvinistic pig here, I might as well admit that the "candy store" analogy did come to mind - a candy store for sadists. I also had a flash of Ben Kingsley as the former secret police torturer in Death and the Maiden, saying: "I couldn't think straight. And inside, I could feel I was starting to like it... They lay the people out, flesh on the table, in the fluorescent light!"

We went deeper into the building. Crew members were setting up cameras and lighting equipment, assembling props for the different "prison locations", activity everywhere. Pedro introduced me to Pablo, who would be directing the film. After a brief welcome chat, they pointed me to a clothes stand with prison guard uniforms. Grey, archaic design, probably from the 1950's Communist era. Pedro handed me one: "Try this one." I went into a corner of the room to put down the bag containing my canes and change into the uniform.

It seemed to be a good fit.

(To be continued in a few days in part two of my behind-the-scenes report.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Movie Review: Rival Girls

Mood Pictures (released in 2004)

Entire Story In Fewer Words Than Are In This Sentence:
Smoking can be damaging to your buttocks

Victim Appeal:
This is the second film Mood Pictures ever released, back when they were a brand-new name among spanking video producers, and their first one featuring more than one victim (Ancient Regime originally came in two separate volumes). Two girls get caned here, Mandy Moon and Kate Lust, both of them fairly hot. Mandy is a curly blonde with a tanned, gorgeous body. Kate has straight, lighter blonde hair, paler skin and a similarly lovely figure (she later appeared in another Mood movie and did an interview for Miss Lust, a small-time adult video and webcam model, is the more lively of the two. She even does a half-decent acting job, which one wouldn't necessarily expect from a "Hungarian porn girl (briefly) turned spanking victim". Pity that she didn't make more CP videos.

There is a third, dark-haired girl in the film, going by the name of Lara Coal. But except for a single experimental stroke in the "Behind the Scenes" segment of the DVD, she doesn't get thrashed. That's a pity, too! I shouldn't complain, though, because the victim appeal of "Rival Girls" is pretty good overall.

Gratuitous Sadism:
Here is how the inevitable punishments unfold in this one: Christina (Kate Lust) and Esther (Lara Coal) are pupils at a boarding school, in their room, chatting. Stereotypical "girl talk" about boys and the handsome new PE teacher. When Christina learns that their roommate Monica (Mandy Moon) is going out with her ex-boyfriend, she decides to get Monica in trouble so that her rival will be grounded and she can get the boy back in the meantime. Despite Esther's objections ("You're completely out of line! What if she gets caned?"), Christina plants a pack of cigarettes among Monica's belongings.

Monica returns soon thereafter and actually talks to Christina about how awkward she feels, going out with her ex. Christina gives a wonderfully dishonest smile and shrugs: "I don't really care! I can hardly remember him. And you are my best friend!" The two embrace and Christina grins contentedly, in anticipation of what is about to happen to her unsuspecting "friend".

When a teacher (played by Mood regular Maximilian Lomp) inspects their room during one of his routine visits, he discovers the cigarettes. Monica protests that they aren't hers, but to no avail. He punishes her on the spot: "You will receive 50 strokes with the cane! Christina, bring me the cane and the straps!" Fifty strokes? Straps? Wow, they sure use some draconian measures at this boarding school... Monica has to kneel on the bed with her pants down and her upper body over a wooden box with a pillow on top of it (a rather sorry excuse for a whipping bench, but hey, this is Mood Pictures in their very early days). The other girls strap her down. She keeps her sweater on, but it is pulled up to her shoulders so that we can get a glimpse of her breasts.

The teacher then canes Monica, all the while admonishing her that smoking is forbidden at the school and that she should have known better. In between her cries, the girl continues to protest her innocence. After it is all over and a sobbing Monica puts her pants back on, the teacher continues his inspection - and finds more cigarettes! At this point, Esther finally breaks her silence and informs him that the whole thing had been Christina's ploy all along. So now, it is Christina's turn to get thrashed (Esther merely gets grounded for not interfering earlier). As a compensation of sorts for the injustice she suffered, Monica gets to administer the strokes (50 in number, naturally). Christina goes on the bed and over the box. Unlike the other girl, she has to strip completely naked. Another caning follows, much to Monica's and the viewers' satisfaction.

Best Reactions:
Watching this early Mood film again after several years, I was struck by how tame the canings are. I wouldn't exactly call them light and playful - we are talking about two times 50 strokes here, and they are applied with moderate force, some of them in the "fairly hard" region. But compared to the super-vicious stuff Mood Pictures put out today, this is positively harmless. Both girls get visible red stripes and even a couple of darker welts, but that has more to do with the fact that they have obviously never been caned before than with outright severity.

However, this is not to say that there isn't anything of interest for the sadistic viewer here. I found "Rival Girls" quite enjoyable, because the victims show strong and genuinly pained reactions, flinching mightily under the cane and complaining about how much it hurts (the "vanilla factor" again). Kate Lust, in particular, is a joy to watch. During the first twenty plus strokes, she is tough, defiant and visibly angry at the other girl who dishes out her revenge. Mandy Moon aka Monica then snarls "I see you haven't had enough yet!" and suddenly goes harder. Kate starts breaking down and crying real tears until she is sobbing uncontrollably and barely able to count the last few strokes aloud. Not a particularly hard thrashing (at least not by Mood standards), but one with a very satisfying - and very real - effect.

Best Line:
At the beginning of the movie, Esther tells Christina how Christina's ex-boyfriend adores his new sweetheart: "He is so romantic, giving her roses." The line itself isn't funny, but the annoyed, eye-rolling grimace which Christina makes in response is absolutely priceless. Hilarious (over-) acting by Kate Lust, who really hams it up.

Nice Psychological Touch:
I like the basic setup with its themes of justice and revenge, with the evil-doer receiving her comeuppance in the end and the framed, innocent girl getting to cane her. It's a simple yet effective way to spice up a conventional "catty schoolgirls" scenario, to put both M/F and F/F action in the film and to let one of the models act as top and bottom. No, the idea certainly isn't new, but it works and the "turning the tables" results are always fun to watch. Especially here, where the chemistry between the players is quite good. Kate Lust as Christina and Mandy Moon as Monica give each other plenty of wonderfully dirty looks.

Mood Pictures make the most of these dynamics with nice little touches. For instance, when the girls prepare Monica for her punishment, it is Christina who pulls Monica's panties down and her sweater up (smirking with the secret knowledge that her nasty little scheme worked). The teacher then orders the other girls to hold Monica down for the caning, so Esther and Christina each grab one of the victim's hands. While Esther (the silent and uncomfortable accomplice) squeezes Monica's hand with tender compassion, Christina grins wider and wider after every cane stroke. The contrast is nicely captured by the camera. Moreover, the teacher orders Christina to count the numbers aloud while Monica suffers. Needless to say, she is only too happy to do the job, and you can hear the gleeful purring in her voice.

Later, when Christina is thrashed, Esther holds her hand. There is a brief, interesting out-of-character moment after stroke 25. The actress playing Esther is the only one who can see the victim's face, so she is the first one to realise that Kate Lust aka Christina is starting to break down and cry. She gives the actress playing Monica a quiet, wide-eyed look, signalling her: "Wow, you are really making an impression now..."

How Good Is It Really?
This is one of Mood's very first efforts. Naturally, the scale of it is much smaller than that of their later, more professional and grandiose work. "Rival Girls" takes place in only one room, there are no props or costumes to speak of (just look at the poor man's "caning bench"), and only two girls get spanked. Moreover, in terms of the CP action, this is the lightest of all their films (it is also one of their most light-hearted - in the "Behind the Scenes" extra, everyone is goofing around, drinking tequila, and even Max Lomp gets a "revenge" cane stroke over his trousers from the girls).

However, while a producer's first couple of films are obviously never as polished as the later ones, they usually offer an interesting look back. This is certainly the case here. Fans can get a glimpse of Mood Pictures in their early and less extreme days, before they started churning out monthly CP epics where half a dozen girls or more receive the hardest beatings ever recorded on video. While "Rival Girls" isn't typical for them, it is a highly enjoyable little movie in its own right - the technical craftsmanship is decent, the story is fun, the two victims are pretty and there are some great reactions during the CP. With its comparatively low severity, this is also a good choice for viewers who want to see sexy Hungarian girls spanked, but not ultra-hard.

(Mood Pictures now offer "Rival Girls" in a package with one of their other early films at a bargain price.)

What You Learned:
Smoking can be damaging to your buttocks.

Okay, I already used that for the "Entire Story In Fewer Words..." section. I'll try to think of something else... How about this: Hungarian girls look great while being spanked. But we didn't really need Mood Pictures to demonstrate this - all girls look great while being spanked! It is common knowledge. So I guess I didn't learn all that much. I liked the flick, though.

(What you, my dear readers, will have learned from this review is that I apparently made it back alive from my recent journey into darkness. The more perceptive among you who read that post will have divined that the journey lead me to Hungary. Quite a coincidence, eh? I have many things to tell you, and I should be ready to publish the first part of my travel reports in a few days.)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Journey into Darkness

Left Munich at 8.35 p.m. on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6.46, but train was an hour late. Buda-Pest seems a wonderful place, from the glimpse which I got of it from the train and the little I could walk through the streets. I feared to go very far from the station, as we had arrived late and would start as near the correct time as possible. The impression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering the East.

Dracula (excerpt from "Jonathan Harker's Journal")

If you have been following this blog for a while, you probably know that I'm a horror film buff. I've always loved horror, especially when it blends with kink (or vice versa!). I've written here about the sexually charged films of David Cronenberg and about sadomasochism in Lovecraft movies.

Another mixture I like is horror and travelogue. The two genres go well together, and it's easy to see why: both deal with encounters with the unfamiliar. Horror explores fear, and we tend to fear that which is alien and unknown to us. At the same time, we (or at least some of us) feel an irresistible attraction to it - the primordial, adventurous human desire to face the unfamiliar and our fear of it. It is from this duality of repulsion and attraction that the horror genre derives much of its appeal.

The same is true, on a slightly different level, of travlogue. These stories not only stir our imagination because they describe strange and wonderful places. They also resonate with us so deeply because they are told from the point of view of a traveller - a narrator with whom we identify, someone who is a stranger there, just like we are! An outsider who feels thrilled by the alien environment, but also, from time to time, a little out of place and uneasy. Just like we would. Again, there is attraction mixed with latent fear.

Some horror films take these similarities all the way, as they are road movies in their own right, like The Hitcher, The Forsaken or Wolf Creek. But you can find travel and exotic locations as important elements in many other horror stories, including the classics. Just think of Bram Stoker's immortal tale "Dracula". As everyone knows, the famous vampire count hails from Transylvania, which at the time when Stoker wrote the novel was one of the least known and most mysterious regions of Europe (it arguably still is). The book - an epistolary novel combining various fictional diary entries, letters and telegrams from the main characters - opens with the journal of Jonathan Harker, an English solicitor on his way to Transylvania to meet a new client, the eccentric count. Large parts of it are typical 19th century "adventure travelogue".

There are numerous movie versions of "Dracula", some trashy, some brilliant. If I had to pick a personal favourite, I would have to go, after a bit of soul-searching, with the 1992 film by Francis Ford Coppola. Despite some flaws (including Keanu Reeves as a rather wooden and forgettable Harker), I think it is by and large the most consistent and artistically successful adaptation. It is also the most faithful to the book, both in terms of plot and feel.

Coppola evokes a spellbinding Gothic horror atmosphere with his usual flair and technical wizardry. In his hands, the shadows, fog and flickering lights which we have seen countless times before somehow look fresh and delightfully scary again - he assembles all the old vampire movie cliches and then transcends them, which is quite a feat. Moreover, he properly emphasises all the barely repressed sexual metaphors of the blood-sucker myth in general and the Dracula tale in particular. The results are lavish, captivating and at times quite dark and sexy, with just the right hint of camp. Well, except for Anthony Hopkins as Dr. van Helsing, who is totally and utterly in camp territory! But he is just having fun, and I had fun watching him...

Hostel is a more recent example of the "Meet your doom in remote, backward lands!" horror travelogue film, about backpack tourists kidnapped and tortured to death by sinister forces in Slovakia. Actually, you can find numerous parallels with "Dracula": both stories feature young, middle class protagonists who are preyed on by the rich and decadent - a Transylvanian nobleman here, wealthy "torture club" customers there. Both stories are steeped in sex, and the horrible fate of some of the characters is basically the punishment for having been too sexually driven. Both stories are set in remote countries that just sound familiar enough to provide a grounding in the real world, but are so unknown to the average reader / viewer that you can basically fill them with horror and fantasy elements at your leisure.

The "Slovakia" we see in "Hostel" bears as little resemblance to the real world as Bram Stoker's Transylvania - none whatsoever. It's a fantasy land, the name merely serving as a projection space for all sorts of "backward Eastern Europe" stereotypes and scary urban legends. A poor, uncultured and dangerous place inhabited by criminals, street gangs, prostitutes and corrupt policemen! The men are thugs and the women are sluts! And all of them are out to rob and kill you!

Understandably perhaps, the Slovaks of the real world weren't too thrilled about this portrayal of their country. With the impeccable sense for involuntary satire that only politicians possess, some officials expressed fears that it would be bad for tourism. Hey, as we all know, nobody goes to Texas anymore since The Texas Chainsaw Massacre hit the theaters in 1974!

Ah well. They should have realised that the joke is not on them, actually - it's on the audience.
I especially love the movie scene where the guy luring the backpackers to Slovakia with promises of sex and excess says: "There is so much pussy and because of the war there are no guys!" Beg your pardon? What war is he blabbering about? The rather peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia perhaps? Or are the filmmakers just counting on the fact that the protagonists (and large parts of the audience) are too dumb to know the difference between Slovakia and former Yugoslavia?

Let's go back to the horror travelogue theme, though. It's quite interesting to compare the travel scenes from "Dracula" (the 1992 film) and "Hostel". The journey into darkness, if you will. See the attached video clip. The styles contrast: gloomy, supernatural Gothic horror with sumptuous effects against the much more down-to-earth approach of modern, "reality based" shock horror.

But again, the parallels between the two scenes are obvious: the journey has to be by train, because that is arguably the most captivating form of travel, and well-suited to the genre. Afterwards, there is a second part, by carriage in "Dracula" and by taxi in "Hostel", to emphasise the distance and duration of the journey. It's important that the protagonists have no part in steering the vehicle, that they are taken - passively - to their destination. And it is essential that we get a premonition of the horrible things that wait there, a feeling of uneasiness and impending danger: the ominous line "For the dead travel fast!" and the weird carriage ride in "Dracula", the encounter with the creepy businessman in "Hostel". Great stuff. I love these buildup scenes.

At the end of the day, though, no medium is better suited for immersive horror travelogue than the written word. A couple of days ago, I started to read "Dracula" for the first time. I've seen all the movies and I know quite a lot about the novel from secondary sources - the plot, the style, the background, Stoker's historical inspirations, et cetera. But like so many others these days (even horror fans!), I've never actually read the damn thing. So I am filling that gap in my education right now. I'm still in the first part, "Jonathan Harker's Journal", and needless to say, I enjoy the little travel report details - where he talks about the train being late or what kind of local food he had for supper. It's mundane, but it fills the story with life. And it contrasts nicely with the not-so-mundane things that are already creeping in.

I also love that the book starts in Munich, the city where I live. How cool! Well, actually, Harker makes his first journal entry in Bistritz, a town in what is today Romania. But he writes about how he left Munich a few days before.

It will make for stimulating reading later this morning, when I leave Munich on a train journey of my own. I've packed my things already and after finishing this blog post, I will be on my way to the central station. Fittingly enough, I will follow the old Orient Express route, just like Jonathan Harker - from Munich to Vienna and then onward to the East. My final destination is a spanking movie shoot, which I will be attending as an intrepid underground reporter. I dare not disclose the name of the company at this stage, for fear of discovery. Suffice to say that no one has written a behind-the-scenes report about them yet (and if you re-read the opening of this post, you can make an educated guess about their identity, anyway).

If I make it back alive, you will hear all about my adventure next week. If not, let this journal entry be my final farewell to you.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Almost a Birthday Spanking

As you know, I recently celebrated my first blogiversary, and "Ludwig's birthday" (which I've decided is January 13th) right along with it. Thanks to all of you for your good wishes. Except for the annoying and pesky female reader who reminded me by email that, normally, such an occasion calls for a birthday spanking. There's always one prankster among the party guests, isn't there? Then again, it's hard to argue with her logic, given that this is a kinky blog and all...

Of course, I could point out that I'm a top, who only feels like switching once in a blue moon. But that would be a lame excuse - and tops don't make lame excuses. So I'm in a bit of a dilemma here. Besides, I don't want to be a bad sport and spoil what is essentially a half-decent idea. Therefore, I've decided to show generosity, as a monarch should on a festive day. I am going to grant her wish! Well, in a way.

The truth is, I don't really have anything new to offer you right now. I suppose it would be a good time to pay off the football bet I lost to Niki Flynn (one of the very few people for whom I switch to "the other side" these days). But given our respective schedules, that will have to wait a bit longer. On the other hand, I have some very old F/M clips, which I made during my early kinky "initiation phase" when I was getting to know all the implements first-hand. But they were never intended as anything but private keepsakes and the technical quality isn't up to par. Moreover, some of the female tops I filmed with have left the scene since then, so I couldn't even ask them if it's okay to publish the material.

Which leaves me with one possible course of action: rehashing the Ludwig's Comeuppance video which Niki and I shot last year. Given that it was very well received and quality F/M stuff is hard to find, that might not even be such a bad idea. While you have seen the video before, you haven't seen all of it - we recorded the action with two cameras, and I can release the unedited footage from both of them as a "bonus scene" of sorts. Anyway, it's free kinky porn, and it's the closest thing to a "birthday spanking" you are going to get from me, so don't complain.

Ludwig's Comeuppance, Camera 1 - Marks, 83 MB: link

Ludwig's Comeuppance, Camera 2 - Reactions, 65 MB: link

(Click on "Free Download", wait for the counter to count down, then solve the captcha and download the file. The videos are in .avi format with a resolution of 720 x 576. They use the Xvid codec and MPEG Layer-3 for audio.)

It should be interesting enough for the cane mark fetishists and fans of facial reaction shots among you. Now you can watch all of that, unabridged, from the perspective of your choice - camera 1 has all the strokes landing and the stripes developing, camera 2 has the reactions. In addition, we can all have another good chuckle at my "twenty-seven, twenty-nine" miscount. Grrr...

You know, I still have no idea how it happened, exactly. My recollection of the moment itself is vague (you could say I was under stress at the time). What I remember is that Niki responded to my "Have we started yet?" teasing with some very proper, painful strokes from 21 onwards. It got worse and worse, and after a while, I was probably thinking: "Yikes, she is really laying into it now! Good thing that there are only three left - the next is twenty-eight, then twenty-nine..." Whack! And I just said: "Twenty-nine!" Because my mind was there. I think that is pretty much how it went.

The moral of the story is, no matter how excruciating the thrashing, try to keep your thoughts from hurrying towards the finish line. Or you end up suffering even more. I was lucky to get away with only two extra strokes, but Niki made sure that they were both memorable.

Speaking of morals: just as in the original video, I used the famous sarabande by Georg Friedrich Händel for the bonus clips. The movie buffs among you will have recognised that the music and the title cards of the original were a nod to the Stanley Kubrick film Barry Lyndon. My idea at the time was to stage it like a classical "rise and fall" morality play, tongue firmly in cheek. It fit with the backstory of the video, the reader vote and all that. Of course, it's rather pompous music and not everyone will get the joke. But as you can probably tell by now, I work with a cultured target audience in mind, okay? Your own bloody fault if you don't know Kubrick...

(Seriously, "Barry Lyndon" is a wonderful film - get it if you haven't seen it. The photography alone is so beautiful, you could watch it with the sound off and still be spellbound.)

While the "Comeuppance" clip doesn't quite rival that historical epic, I hope that you like the bonus footage. Like I said, it's the only "birthday spanking" you are going to get from me. And it will be the first and last one of its kind. So take it or leave it!