Jim Taylor

Houseguest

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. First of all, let me disappoint everyone by clarifying that The Houseguest is not technically softcore pornography. It doesn’t even include nudity except for a man’s backside. But it is part of one of the anthologies put out by Playboy in the early 1990s called Inside Out, which are comprised of shorts that are predominantly of a a softcore nature. Alexander Payne, whose latest feature Nebraska is out in limited release today, directed three erotica shorts for the label. The earlier two were co-written by himself and regular collaborator Jim Taylor and one of them appears in the first video in the series while the other is lost or buried. The Houseguest, meanwhile, was scripted by Ken Rudman and appears on Inside Out III. But let’s come back to the film at hand in a moment. Technically, Payne’s short start is a 1985 student film titled Carmen, which is a silent, 18-minute take on Bizet’s opera of the same name updated and set in a gas station. You can find the whole thing on a British DVD from Cinema 16 compiling American shorts, including films by Tim Burton, Todd Solondz, George Lucas and D.A. Pennebaker. And you can watch a very brief clip from this short, showing a mentally challenged cashier being seduced by the title character, after the jump.

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