Some time ago I had the chance to take a look at a series of films with an eye grabbing title – Amateur Porn Star Killer. How could I, of all people, pass that up? The series is directed by and stars Shane Ryan, who made both films for a grand total of about $65 – yes, they’re that low budget. But like a Blair Witch or Diary of the Dead (in parts), the low budget is incorporated into the story telling. The films are shot POV style from the hands of the killer, or from a camera set on a tripod or table. There are some stylistic additions and editing, but for the most part, what you see is what the killer wants you to see and nothing else.

Both films follow the same plot – a killer finds a young girl to get back to an isolated area for a night of sex, progressively gets more and more aggressive with her, and eventually lives up to the title and kills her. Sometimes the sex stops there, sometimes it doesn’t. Now you may be wondering how this fits into Porn Week or whether or not they’re joking when they have porn in the title. I assure you, they’re not. Within the opening seconds of the first film, you see full frontal male nudity. In both, there is explicit, hardcore, penetrative sex. There is no faking it. Zak and Miri may pretend to make a porno, but Shane Ryan has done it – mostly. The film is not straight porno and if you put this in expecting a good wank and 80+ minutes of hardcore sex, you’ve picked up the wrong DVD.

So why have you picked up this DVD? Why should you? A question undoubtedly asked over and over again, judging from some viewer responses on IMDb. This is, of course, a film not for everyone. The idea behind the movie has been attempted before – to blur the line between film and reality. To that extent, the films are surprisingly effective. While experiencing the film, you very quickly stop considering it a “movie” in the traditional sense, for various reasons from the mostly improvised dialog to the casual, hand-held camera work. Similar to what Funny Games and Michael Haneke approached, Ryan’s film wants you feel uncomfortable while watching it. He dares you to keep watching, he tries to disgust you. Many people will be disgusted. It’s the kind of film that some may ask “Where is the artistic merit?” Horror films and porn have always had tough times earning respect – combining them makes it no easy task. But in that is the rub, the very fact that it avoids taking itself in a traditionally artistic manner or trying to elevate itself to something lofty, is what makes it artistic. It is an exercise in the freedom of expression, the freedom artists should have to tell their stories. The very fact that this film exists should be affirming to people who really value the freedom of others to express themselves.

The Amateur Porn Star Killer films can be tough to review, as they’re unlike other movies. They have small audiences. You’re not supposed to enjoy them, at least not in the way you would normally like a film. The budget is low, the camera work is jittery, the acting improvised. There is graphic sex, realistic mistreatment of women, and an unrepentant, realistic guy-next-door murderer. You will see breasts, vaginas, and penises. The films tagline fills you in on the rest: This young girl will be… Humiliated, Raped, Murdered. And You Will Watch. If this doesn’t sound like a film you want to see, avoid it. It will not please you, it will not make you feel good, you may get angry. If the film sounds interesting to you, give it a shot. Take a chance.

Like I said, you can’t really “enjoy” these films, but I am glad I watched them. I was a bit taken with Amateur Porn Star Killer 2 and readily mention, again and again, how in love with the idea I am. The films do come off across as realistic, which could easily create a disturbing experience for most. The improvisational acting is tremendously effective in selling the “just met” relationship of the characters and in each instance, their interactions are believable, from the innocent start to the sexual midpoints to the vile end. As the writer behind Coroner’s Report, it is no secret that I love and look forward to blood, violence, gore, and nudity in my horror films – APK doesn’t hit on these notes, purposefully. Director Ryan himself classifies the film as more of a thriller rather than a horror film, which I would agree with.

At the end of the day, Amateur Porn Star Killer stands alone, or virtually alone, unique in the world of film. It can be purchased in stores or online, contains actors having actual penetrative sex, and issues a challenge to the audience, rather than an escape into surreality. I’m finding it difficult to grade the film or recommend it – most would do well to avoid it, as the average person’s sensibilities would be offended. My impressions are far more positive than I expected from a film with a virtually non-existent budget and the experience is unique and worth embarking on for fans of experimental film, boundary-pushing cinema, or for those just looking for something shocking and new.

Would you/Could you watch Amateur Porn Star Killer?


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