Copyright 2005 by Pat Powers
A group of lawsuits which I'll call the "ClearPlay vs. Hollywood case" (strictly for convenience) may have implications for we who love bondage on TV and in the movies.
These lawsuits are making their way through the gristmills of the legal system, seeking to determine if it's OK to alter a film (or, by extension, TV show) without the director's consent.
The opposing sides are: a group of movie directors who feel that if their name is to be attached to a film, they should have a right to dictate its content. On the other side, a group of bluenoses who've decided that Hollywood movies are too dirty -- in places -- and have taken it upon themselves to edit out all the bad language, violence, nudity and of course SEX that mars what would otherwise be OK movies.
Of course, selling their edited versions of Hollywood movies would be out-and-out illegal if they simply sold their edited CDs to the Ned Flanders of the world. They get around that issue in two ways: by buying and then selling an original, unedited copy of the movie along with their edited version, or by storing the edits in the memory of a specially adapted DVD player that deletes a scene or blurs a line of dialogue as necessary when one of their specially made DVDs plays the movie, without altering the original DVD or its content in any way.
Thus the folks in Hollywood can't complain that they're losing economically -- in each case they're clearly gaining, since the edited versions are undoubtedly selling to people who wouldn't buy the unedited versions because of all the language, violence, nudity and SEX SEX SEX SEX they contain (I just like emphasizing the sex because I know it bugs the bluenoses more than anything else, and I don't like bluenoses.)
At first blush, I didn't care for this phenomenon. Although seemingly noncoercive -- only those who want the edited versions would be compelled to buy them -- I'm too up on the history of censorship to accept any effort to tone down the content of ANYTHING at face value. Censorship has always started as an attempt to curb the "worst excesses" of Hollywood or whomever with the least disruptive means possible, and has always wound up seeking total control of the medium it infests.
The horrible effect of censorship on U.S. films when it was in effect from 1934 to sometime in the 60s could come back all too easily if we let those damn censors get their bluenoses under the tent.
In this case, I see two potential routes for the censors to take. In one instance, the Hollywood directors could start out by defensively editing the films themselves -- some of those who oppose the ClearPlay side most vociferously have already volunteered to do just that -- and then they start thinking they could save themselves a lot of work in the editing room by just not putting the "offensive" scenes in, in the first place.
And thus you achieve censorship without any direct coercion, but of course the people who LIKE scenes of nudity, language, violence and SEX SEX SEX are just shit outta luck, which is something that bluenoses have historically been VERY comfortable with. (Oh, did I say "shit"? Mayhaps this might offend a fucking bluenose. Well, they can all fuck themselves up the ass and go to hell in handbasket for all I care.)
Where was I? Oh, yes. The other method would be to put pressure on video rental and retail outfits to carry only censored versions. Sound farfetched? Blockbuster is ALREADY forcing censorship on moviemakers by refusing to buy movies that carry sex scenes that are too "out there" -- in fact, they've done so for years. And it's really hard to say what's too "out there" for Blockbuster. In one instance, a scene from "Hotel Erotica," it involved a scene with two naked women kneeling on hands and knees facing away from one another, bumping their butts together (no double dildoes or anything like that in evidence, however) in a movie otherwise full of the usual Skinamax stuff. In another instance, a scene from "Striking Resemblance," it involved cutting out the doggie-style bondage sex portion of a scene, but not the missionary style bondage sex portion of the same scene. If any of this makes sense to anyone, please have yourself committed to the nearest asylum.
Point is, it's quite likely that Blockbuster could be pressured to carry only ClearPlay-style films, given that they've ALREADY knuckled under to Donald Wildmon and his buds (pressure from Wildmon's American Family Association is the source of the current censorship regime at Blockbuster). It's not like Blockbuster has demonstrated that they have anything resembling a spine when it comes to censorship.
But y'know, I've had another thought about this whole ClearPlay lawsuit deal that makes me like it MUCH better.
It occurs to me that if the ClearPlay faction wins in the courts, it'll be open season for ANYONE to edit Hollywood films to their liking, so long as they buy a copy of the original of each film they edit for each edited copy they sell.
Because if you "improve" a movie for stinking bluenoses by editing out the language, violence, nudity, etc., for bluenoses, then you could also "improve" the movie for regular guys by taking movies that are DEFICIENT in language, nudity, sex, violence, etc. ... and adding them back in.
Now, there are quite a few films that are woefully deficient in the area of bondage that I think could be radically improved.
For example, take John Carpenter's "Big Trouble in Little China." In it, Kim Cattrall is captured by the minions of an evil Chinese wizard who also runs a white slavery operation. Kim and her female buddy are confined in tiny cages along with other women destined for white slavery. And because Kim "fought like a wildcat" when they captured her, they put Kim in a strict hogtie and gagged her with a cleave gag.
The fighting and the tie-up are covered in voiceover by the friend. Kim is seen in her strict hogtie for a scant two or three seconds of screen time, as Kurt Russell rescues her very quickly.
C'mon. This is just stupid. I can do better, and if the folks at ClearPlay win, I WILL do better. I'll just hire a couple of bondage actors who look kinda like Kim Cattrall and Kurt Russell (offhand, I'm thinking of an actress from hogtied.com and one of the male models from forcefantasies.com) and several who don't look like them.
Then I'd film the scene where Kim and her friend are captured -- with the improvements being that in addition to being captured and bound, Kim and her friend are stripped of their clothing prior to being bound. I mean, these are white slavers, hardly ones to cater to the sensibilities of their victims. In fact, it would be completely in line with the sensibilities of white slavers to have the minions rape the Kim Cattrall stand-in after she's stripped and bound.
Then I'd repeatedly cut to shots of Kim writhing in her very strict, very naked hogtie while her rescuers fight their way through hordes of minions to reach their cells.
Furthermore, to add to the suspense, I'd interject earlier scenes where captive white slavery victims are put through sex slave training while Kim and her friend look on in horror, naked and bound like the slaves in training, perhaps seeing their own future.
I can't help but think this would make for a MUCH more dramatic rescue scene. Might add 20 or 30 minutes or so to the runtime, but I don't think most folks who read this column would mind.
Another film that could stand a little reworking by me would be George Lucas' Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. In the beginning of the film, Princess Leia attempts to rescue Hans Solo from Jabba the Hutt by disguising herself as a bounty hunter. The disguise fails and the Princess is captured. The next time you see her she is Slavegirl Leia, dressed in a skimpy bikini, chained by a collar around her neck, acting fairly resigned to her fate.
Now, I can't help but feel that Princess Leia went through quite a few indignities between her capture and her appearance as Slavegirl Leia, and I'm fully prepared to add a few scenes that detail those indignities. Probably go something like my story Slave Gaia, a completely unrelated tale about a princess who's captured by an alien gangster slug and goes through quite a few indignities before being rescued.
Doing so might add an hour or so of running time to the movie, but I don't think most folks who'd be inclined to buy my version would mind.
The great thing is, Lucas and Carpenter would only gain through my rewriting of their films, since I'd sell a copy of the original with each of my improved versions. They might have some paltry objections to having their names attached to my version of the movie, but I'll put a big "As Improved By Pat Powers" banner on my version so everybody'll know who's guilty ... er, responsible ... for the improved version.
What's more, there are many, many lesser-known films that could benefit hugely from my artistry. To name a few: Terminal Virus, Velvet, Desert Passion, Where Evil Lives, both of the Gor movies, Passion Network, Arena ... oh, the list is very, very, very long.
Thinking about it, I can't lose here. If the directors win, the bluenoses take one on the chin, always a good thing. If the bluenoses win, my career as a "movie improver" is at hand.
Be afraid, bluenoses. Be very afraid.