the cinema

Bruce LaBruce’s Gay Zombie Flick Leads to Australian Police Raid On Film Festival Director

When Australia’s film review board told Canadian director Bruce LaBruce he couldn’t screen his gay zombie flick LA Zombies at the Melbourne International Film Festival in July because of all its gay sex and male nudity, LaBruce reacted with glee: “Eureka! They have unconsciously handed the film loads of publicity.” As did the Australian police, which just raided the home of an underground film director who dared screen the movie.

Richard Wolstencroft, head of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival, was subjected to a police search of his home Thursday — all because, way back in September, he showed the movie for audiences at his festival. Apparently they thought they’d find him with the banned film. They did not. “Police searched for a copy of the film, but we destroyed ours after the Melbourne Underground Film Festival screening in September,” Wolstencroft said today. “We thought that police might come for the screening. But they didn’t. We don’t understand why they came after all this time.”

For him, it wasn’t necessarily about challenging authority (though I’m sure he got off on it), but for highlighting schizophrenia. After all, the film (which has no dialogue) features Francois Sagat playing a schizophrenic homeless man who believes he’s an alien on a mission to hunt down gay sex and the dead. “This is one of his most powerful movies which talks about schizophrenia,” says Wolstencroft. “This shows the problem with freedom of speech in Australia. There are laws which date back to 1954.”

Yes, but Australians also have access to a little thing called BitTorrent, so really, what’s the point.

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  • Pygar

    This happened quite some time ago. So long ago I think it’s actually in gay history books.

  • professor Moriarty

    I swear I hear the craziest litigation coming out of Australia. What a strange and unfortunate place.

  • Lefty

    Is there a drearier film director than Bruce LaBruce?

  • scott ny'er

    i looked at a preview of the movie and it looked like a really bad video. i hope it’s better than the trailer i saw.

  • Ogre Magi

    That thing in the pic looks more like an orc than a zombie.

  • Eric

    A torrent still hasn’t popped up yet, Queerty. And to any unsuspecting Queerty readers who have never seen a Bruce LaBruce film should probably be warned that his movies are not what you expect, are not “good,” and definitely are not easy to watch. But they are certainly worth it.

  • Tom

    The torrent appears to be under the film’s original title “Otto; or Up With Dead People”… Downloading now…

  • Nick Farben

    @Tom: ‘Otto or up with Dead People’ is a different film. It’s far less like gay porn, and it was screened in the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) with no censorship issues.

    ‘LA Zombies’ is the film in the middle of all this brouhaha, and it is essentially gay shock-porn… with penises penetrating prosthetic flesh wounds, and so on. Of course, that’s still no reason to ban it, especially since we’re not talking about MIFF, but MUFF (Melbourne Underground Film Festival), which has long been about shock value movies that don’t make the usual film festival circuits.

    As for the police raid that occured… I’m not sure if it’s an insight to police incompetence (they’re only 3 months too late if they were trying to stop the screening) or the censorship board’s overreaction to a harmless film.

    Either way, it’s a huge embarassment for them. Australia’s censorship methodology has come under huge scrutiny lately. Obviously the mass media hate it when the government tells them what they can and can’t do; And Australians in general hate authority (ya know, founded on the back of convicts and all that). Between raids such as this, and popular video game titles being banned and the government’s failing attempt at implimenting an internet filter, there is no love for the censorship system one way or the other.

    Dunno what they’re trying to prove, especially with such a low-impact film that would have just disappeared into the sea of other strange underground things if they hadn’t drummed up so much fuss.

  • Tom

    Oops I take that back, apparently this is the prequel…

  • Patrick

    Too bad the police here in the States could not arrest people here for putting out shit, otherwise the Kardasians and the makers of the A-List would all be behind bars.

  • afrolito

    I’m always amazed at how Bruce LaBruce scrapes together the funding for his crap films. Who wastes money on this shit??

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