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xmag.com : April 2004: Another Lonely Night

With all due respect to Evil Angel, Adam & Eve, Vivid, J & M Productions, and the rest of Porn Valley, this month Hollywood has sailed far higher in the adult realm, as high as you can go, really: Jesus porn rising off the cross. So right for Easter--porn violence at its most extreme.

Mel Gibson's THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST assaults your senses for two long hours, an unrelenting spectacle of gore, a Christian slasher epic. Mel knows how to cut to the chase. None of that born of the Virgin Mary voodoo, forget all the devoted son of Joseph the carpenter goo, dump young Jesus walking among the lambs with his little band of disciples merrily spreading the word, don't waste the audience's time & dime with studly J ousting the usuring money changers in the temple.... No, Mel does it right. Grind away on the last 12 hours of Jesus' life.

James Caviezel plays Jesus, most of the time his half naked hard bod in a loin cloth sending off homo-erotic vibes, a quivering Messiah who will appeal to both girls and boys. The movie begins in a forest after the Last Supper where Roman guards chase after and catch the perp, Jesus. A quick trial takes place. The perp is guilty, the death trip kicks in. Jesus is whipped and flayed, mashed and whacked, writhing and screaming. Just as porn tosses off one fuckfest after another, so too THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST wallows in a series of excruciatingly bloody agonies and nothing else. Just as porn shows every orifice being plundered so we do not need to use our imaginations, this film makes sure the evisceration of Christ allows that we don't have to feel his pain because it's so off the charts. That's not what Mel intended because he didn't realize the final result would round the bend and turn into porn. Which, of course, is how some of the finest porn slips out.

Jesus gets dragged through the streets of Jerusalem, tossed over a wall in chains and tortured in slo-mo. Gotta be slo-mo. Drag out the whip coming down like the cock going in. Mel is superb on the

small details. A whip encrusted with barbed glass repeatedly rips into Jesus' flesh, his skin gets torn off and flies through the air. The Roman guards laugh and growl as they scourge him, occasionally flicking a piece of flying skin off their forearms.

Watch Jesus climb up Calvary, his body ripped and scarred, one bulging eye swollen shut, groaning, panting, spitting blood. Unless you're a serial killer, PASSION won't induce a hard-on, but for slasher fans this puts Texas Chainsaw Massacre to shame.

The crucifixion itself splendidly devours our eyes, a money shot that will endure until the Rapture is upon us. The camera lovingly lingers over these big fuckin' nails driving into Jesus' hands. One guard shows another how to pull on Jesus' arms so they break, making it easier to hammer in the nail flat. Each time the hammer comes down Jesus twitches like spastic. I suppose we all would under the circumstances. The cross is on the ground for the nailing, then the guards flip it over. Jesus' head slams between the cross and the ground. The camera moves in for a close-up. The crown of thorns drives deep into his skull. This is cool because 1) that didn't happen in history, only in this movie, 2) it is a scene that shows no imagination whatsoever and 3) innocent blood never found a better con artist than Mel Gibson.

Here too we have another porn parallel. Gibson is a total fraud. But at least the frauds in porn land are not Jew-baiting, gay-hating, treacherous thugs. Christopher Hitchens, writing for the on-line magazine Slate, nicely sums up Gibson's character. An evening with Mel is "one long fiesta of boring but graphic jokes about anal sex."

From the outset this movie is one long anti-Semitic rant. Pontius Pilate, one of the most vicious dictators in the Roman Empire, is portrayed as a humane fellow unwilling to order the crucifixion. And who wants J nailed? Why the Jews, of course. A batch of malignant rabbis and a wailing Jewish mob demand it. At one point Pilate sends the rabbis off to see if King Herod will order the hit. The King of the Jews declines, but it's pretty clear by his swishes he's a total fag. Gibson gets a two-fer here: Jew and gay. Ultimately, Jewish mob rule prevails.

Some critics in the mainstream press have also noted the adult qualities of Gibson's film. "A piece of devotional cinematic pornography," says Hitchens. "A sacred snuff film," says New Republic. "Sustained sadism," says New York Times columnist William Safire. "In a word, pornography," says Andrew Sullivan, the British gay conservative columnist. Sullivan goes on to say what he means by porn is "the reduction of all human thought and feeling to mere flesh."

Quite true. That's why I like porn and loved this film. THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST has no redeeming social value, offers a descent into sadomasochistic narcissism worthy of Marquis de Sade, and has enough gratuitous violence to satisfy a neo-Nazi skinhead hanging outside Dante's in search of Jim Goad.

A must see. Truly disgusting. Five stars, five knives and five hard dicks.





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