Heads Up, Ears Down

This blog accurately identifies depictions of violence and cruelty toward animals in films. The purpose is to provide viewers with a reliable guide so that such depictions do not come as unwelcome surprises. Films will be accurately notated, providing a time cue for each incident along with a concise description of the scene and perhaps relevant context surrounding the incident. In order to serve as a useful reference tool, films having no depictions of violence to animals will be included, with an indication that there are no such scenes. This is confirmation that the films have been watched with the stated purpose in mind.

Note that the word depictions figures prominently in the objective. It is a travesty that discussions about cruelty in film usually are derailed by the largely unrelated assertion that no animals really were hurt (true only in some films, dependent upon many factors), and that all this concern is just over a simulation. Not the point, whether true or false. We do not smugly dismiss depictions of five-year-olds being raped because those scenes are only simulations. No, we are appalled that such images are even staged, and we are appropriately horrified that the notion now has been planted into the minds of the weak and cruel.

Depictions of violence or harm to animals are assessed in keeping with our dominant culture, with physical abuse, harmful neglect, and similar mistreatment serving as a base line. This blog does not address extended issues of animal welfare, and as such does not identify scenes of people eating meat or mules pulling plows. The goal is to itemize images that might cause a disturbance in a compassionate household.

These notes provide a heads-up but do not necessarily discourage watching a film because of depicted cruelty. Consuming a piece of art does not make you a supporter of the ideas presented. Your ethical self is created by your public rhetoric and your private actions, not by your willingness to sit through a filmed act of violence.

Sex in the Comics

Sex in the Comics. Anthony Spinelli (as Eric von Letch), 1972.
Edition screened: Vinegar Syndrome DVD #130, released 2016. English language. Runtime approximately 87 minutes; Combined runtime of all three features approximately 214 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence to animals. 3.5/5

Sex in the Comics is a series of comedic shorts in which classic “dirty comics” are brought to life by costumed actors. The original miniature comic books, mostly from the 1920s through 1950s, were unauthorized parodies of popular characters such Dagwood and Blondie, Moon Mullins, Dick Tracy, and Dixie Dugan, presented in sexually explicit stories. 

Sex in the Comics gives us about 20 of these skits performed by actors dressed as the famous characters - and sometimes wearing partial theatrical face masks - performing on tiny sets drawn as cartoon panels. The skits are grounded by five segments set in the office of a cartoonist character who introduces these artifacts to a young female magazine reporter and provides some historical context. 

The range of humor and the range of sexual content both are quite limited since these are, after all, just reenactments of cheap 8-page underground comics. But I was entertained to a surprisingly high degree. There is plenty of (comparatively) good, funny, acting by most of the characters, especially those not wearing masks. The costumes are very good and the actors tried to authentically imitate body postures, gestures, and facial expressions of the exact characters. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the work. 

The Sex in the Comics DVD includes two other features, both of which are previously-released compilations of erotic animation. First is Sextoons (1975, about 82 minutes), followed by The Funky World of Adult Cartoons, (c. 1978, about 45 minutes.)