Dance with the devil

Horror comedy ‘Porno’ pits a closeted teen against a soul-hungry succubus

Porno, SXSW, film, horror, Keola Racela
Ricky, Chastity and Abe watch a creepy skin flick in the horror comedy ‘Porno’

Sluts usually die in horror films. But Keola Racela’s new comedic horror movie Porno (which premiered this weekend at SXSW) turns that trope on its ear by presenting five sexually repressed movie theatre employees who are bedeviled by a celluloid succubus brought to life by a cursed film reel.

Among the employees, there’s Chastity, the assistant manager who pines for Ricky, the boy-next-door baseball player; Abe and Todd, two horny local peeping Toms; and “Heavy Metal Todd,” the ornery projectionist who’s also a recovering addict.

They live in a small, conservative Christian town in 1992 where sex is not just looked down upon but preached against. The boss, Mr. Pike, forces them to pray as a group each day before work, and their theatre doesn’t show anything racier than Encino Man and A League of Their Own.

When a raving lunatic breaks through a barricaded secret doorway in the theatre, the employees realize their building also houses an old adult theatre that once played films like, ’10 Foot Hole, 10 Foot Pole.’ And in its storage room rests a film canister for a darkly erotic “art film.” Most of the employees feel tempted to watch, but a demonic ritual within the film awakens a succubus which hunts each employee, using their own lustful desires against them.

Related: Gay quadriplegic has lifelong dream realized by appearing in “hard, aggressive” adult film

Here, Porno treads unique territory by exploring the consequences of sexual repression. On one hand, the employees are wholesome and good-natured, on the other hand, their repressed upbringing makes the succubus’ offers of sex and pleasure all the more alluring.

They’re all in a for a rude sexual awakening with jaw-dropping gross-out humor involving bloody underwear, ritualistic knife play and gallons of vomit.

The film also features a closeted gay character who gets treated respectfully and even shines in their own bravely sexual moment. But as the succubus continues tormenting the employees, each must decide whether forbidden fruit is worth losing their soul over.

We hear Hell is very nice this time of year.