Graphic Sexual Horror (2009): Special Edition (DVD)

In spite of what you may think of Brent, the founder of insex.com, the infamous bondage and torture website featuring gorgeous models being bound gagged and drowned, the man was prophetic in his use as the internet to engage users in anonymous guiltless sexual interaction that paved the way for reality shows, thousands of voyeur and fetish websites, and also helped streamline the concept of live feeds as we know it. “Graphic Sexual Horror” is a documentary that’s almost impossible to sit through. While I am someone who is fascinated with the darkest of sexual taboos, founder of insex.com, Brent, is an unabashed lover of S&M, Torture, and bondage, and takes great pride in depicting small filmed sequences involving women being tortured in some of the most horrific ways possible.

One woman is tied down and has hot pepper cream applied to her vagina and she screams for minutes straight at the burning sensation, and a girl is dropped in to a tank of water only re-emerging from air whenever given permission. It’s these sorts of situations that while consensual and legally binding, are difficult to watch mainly because for many this isn’t a fetish they’d subscribe to. But as is the saying, they wouldn’t be making this if people weren’t asking for it. Brent is a man who fancies himself an artist, and through most of his interviews he takes great joy in showing us how he’s combined his love for performance art with his lust for bondage. Through the ninety minutes given to us, we’re allowed to watch the many facets of insex.com unfold including interviews with potential models, concoction of torture devices, and even the audition process in which one woman nearly begins to argue with Brent when he nonchalantly explains he’ll gag her with her own socks.

But like every website out there, Brent is feeding his own desires as well as his models in the process of feeding his subscribers. The models are all tested as submissives who are more than willing to be bullied and punished and often times these filming segments end up becoming more about their need to please Brent, their master, rather than fill their bank account and resume. Quite often the models who engage in grueling film shoots eventually trail back to the statement that they enjoyed it and enjoyed that they made Brent happy. Brent is much like a grittier Larry Flynt, someone who took his love for the human form and sexuality and used it as a way to give people what they wanted, and with the internet revolution, he was able to thrive financially and artistically, without limits. And as with all artistic processes, Brent does manage to falter every now and then as he indulges in his sadistic desires and explores one incident involving a water tank that ends with him and his engineer arguing back and forth about whose fault it was (which if you step back looks like two jellyfish trying to pin an accident on one another rather than owning up to their faults).

One of the most powerful anecdotes involves a live feed with a model who requested not to be slapped in her contract, but Brent wanting to give a viewer what they wanted, slaps her quite horribly over and over. Her reaction following this improvised action is surprising and quite gripping revealing the potential drawbacks and violent repercussions in feeding your own natural instinct when applied to sex. The requisite mocking by Brent is also quite nauseating. All the while the moment asks the audience to decide if Brent is just a sadistic psychopath with an artistic coating, or an artist willing to do whatever it takes to create a masterpiece. Even if it means making someone suffer or exploit their vulnerabilities for all of the world to see. Many people will definitely debate for hours on who and what Brent is as a man and a filmmaker, and they’ll decide for themselves by the time the film had faded to black. Brent, whether he’s a visionary or a misogynistic pig, is a man who has shown us that film can affect all of us and after seeing some of his videos, you’ll no doubt be changed.

More than anything “Graphic Sexual Horror” is a study of human nature and the sadism and masochism we’re fully capable of and fully willing to engage in if it means touching a base need in ourselves to be punished and inflict punishment on someone, because deep down we’re all truly violent animals. What the directors behind “Graphic Sexual Horror” asks us as the audience to do is think about what we as sexual beings are capable of and what lengths we’d be willing to go through to feed our desires; more so why does this sort of imagery arouse and titillate us when we just finished crucifying soldiers for doing the exact same thing to prisoners in Abu Graib? What does that say about us as a society? Is Brent just a monster in sheep’s clothing, or someone who knows better than we do what we want out of the sexual experience?