Frightening and Amusing
Bruce LaBruce’s “Skin Flick” is a hard movie to caregorize. It mught be raunchy and pornographic on one hand but it has a theme on the other hand. The guys are hot even though they represent guys that most of us would not likely be turned on by. The things they do are disgusting but in some strange way they are quite sexy. The movie is shot like a typical porn movie with the same kind of disco music in the background of what looks like regular porn.
However, the movie is not porn but a satire on it. It also satirizes fantasy and fetish and is not meant to be taken seriously. If you know that in advance then “Skin Flick” can be considered quite a good movie. There is a problem here in that many people do not recognize satire and thereby miss the point and throw the movie away as futile entertainment. Fetish and fantasy are both strange and contradictory. Things that we find repellant in real life can many times become turn-ons in fantasy. Many turn away from violence in reality but look to it in fantasy, for example.
LaBruce, the director of the film, depicts skinheads as hypocrites and this is the way he chose to take them down. Hey are basically straight men whose physical presences, in their minds, represents machismo—a reflection of their own self images. Like many gay men they are very fashion conscious and spend a lot of time working out in order to build muscles. There must be some level of self-denial lying beneath this physica narcissism. LaBruce shows us that homophobia is not about the sex act but about appearing as less manly. There is one skinhead in the film who does not have sex with the others and is always willing to fight anyone. He, however, is not willing to have sex with his fellows and in the convoluted world of the skinhead culture he is looked upon with disdain by his mates. LaBruce throws in a couple of feminine guys to show what really scares the homophobes and they fool everyone by being extremely hard internally.
LaBruce also attacks racism. He does this also tongue in cheek. The porn films that the skinheads watch all have black actors. It appears that the skinheads in this movie are both attracted and repulsed by the same things.
The film is obviously low-budget but I feel it has a lot to say about so many things—especially the nature of prejudice. However, be prepared for some rather graphic sex and a great of male frontal nudity.