The Life and Death of a Porno GangThe Life And Death Of A Porno Gang
Director: Mladen Djordjevic

Cast: Mihajlo Jovanovic, Ana Acimovic, Predrag Damnjanovic
Review by Brian M. Sammons

What the hell is wrong with Serbia?

Seriously, if I was Serbian I would be upset that this movie, and the more notorious, if more lazily titled A Serbian Film, is what many people outside of Serbia think of should the subject of Serbian films ever come up. While not as completely reprehensible as A Serbian Film, I mean, at least there’s no “newborn porn” in this movie, it is still very graphic in both sex and violence. It’s not for the tame of heart, the easily offended, or really even those with good taste. However is this movie another shock for the sake of shock flick or does it have something more to offer? Well if you’ve got a strong stomach and you’re not repulsed by various splattering fluids then come with me and let’s take a road trip with a porno gang.

This movie is about Marko, a young man (played by writer and director Mladen himself) with dreams of making horror movies. Unfortunately when unable to get funding for that, he turns to making skin flicks for quick cash. That leads to him collecting a motley crew of oddballs, drug addicts, and sex fiends to comprise his cast and crew, only to soon run afoul of some bad people. So Marko gets the bright idea to load up his merry band of perverts into a van to tour the countryside and bring porn to the masses in a series of live sex shows.

Gee, what could go wrong with that?

Well after getting beat up by local cops, robed and even raped by angry townies, Marko and his crew are in a pretty dark place and have a generally bleak view of humanity as a whole. So they are in the perfect frame of mind for a diabolical deal with an evil German. Hmm, is there ever any other kind of Germans in movies? Anyway Herr Scumbag wants Marko to start making snuff films for his rich and decadent western customers. He assures him that all the people they will snuff are volunteers who are basically committing assisted suicide for big bucks for the families they will leave behind. And surprisingly, he’s telling the truth. Yeah I was waiting for a twist where we found out the snuff stars weren’t really volunteers, but no, this movie doesn’t take that clichéd route. So good on them for that at least.

However, killing folks is never easy, even if they’re willing. The murders soon start to take their toll by not only getting the police on their trail, but members of the porno gang are killed, commit suicide, delve deeper into drugs, and even find religion, all in an attempt to escape the horrors they are committing. Naturally in a movie like this, things continue to spiral into darkness until the expected downer of an ending, but I shall not give that away here.

Now for some particulars. There is quite a lot of nudity and sex in this movie that goes right up to the edge of actual pornography, but stops just short of crossing that line. Puritan people offended by nakedness be warned, but then with a title like The Life And Death Of A Porno Gang, you probably didn’t buy this movie anyway. There are a number of very brutal murders in here. While I’ve seen far more gory kills on screen, these seem very well done if the end result was to gross out and disturb the audience. This is not silly splatstick played for laughs. The violence here is meant to be dark and revolting and it accomplishes that. Finally, there is a surprising amount of humor (all of it black, of course) to offset the horrors you see on screen and I found myself chuckling on more than one occasion.

As for the new Blu-ray from Synapse Films, the video quality is not really up to snuff (ha, get it). Usually movies by Synapse look amazing, but here they are limited to the low grade video equipment that was actually used by the low budget filmmakers. However, this does give the whole thing a somewhat realistic look, so that’s something. There are some extras to be found on the disc, but let’s start with the big one: a feature length documentary about the real Serbian porn movie scene called “Made in Serbia.” And you know how above I said before that …Porno Gang wasn’t really a porn film? Well this documentary basically is porn as it shows a lot of action up close and personal with no censorship whatsoever. Now I really didn’t mind that, as I’m someone who has seen porn once or twice in my life (shocking, I know) but I do know some people are offended by such things so I thought I’d give them fair warning. There is also a pretty standard making of featurette, some deleted scenes and a trailer to round out the extras.

Look, let’s not sugarcoat things. The Life And Death Of A Porno Gang is exploitation cinema at its most exploitive. While it has loads more good taste than the aforementioned A Serbian Film, it still does a lot of things just for the sake of being shocking. For example, there’s a scene where a guy makes sweet mouth love to a horse. Yeah, I don’t know if that was a special effect or not, I wasn’t looking that closely, but still … eewww. So if vulgarities of various varieties do not sound like your cup o’ tea, then you might want to give this one a pass. However if you’re a connoisseur of hardcore, extreme, gonzo, and over the top movies, you might find something to titillate you here.

About Brian M. Sammons

Brian M. Sammons has penned stories that have appeared in the anthologies: Arkham Tales, Horrors Beyond, Monstrous, Dead but Dreaming 2, Horror for the Holidays, Deepest, Darkest Eden and others. He has edited the books; Cthulhu Unbound 3, Undead & Unbound, Eldritch Chrome, Edge of Sundown, Steampunk Cthulhu, Dark Rites of Cthulhu, Atomic Age Cthulhu, World War Cthulhu and Flesh Like Smoke. He is also the managing editor of Dark Regions Press’ Weird Fiction line. For more about this guy that neighbors describe as “such a nice, quiet man” you can check out his infrequently updated webpage here: http://brian_sammons.webs.com/ and follow him on Twitter @BrianMSammons.

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