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– by Daniel Tafoya

The year is 1992. It was a simpler time. Encino Man and A League of Their Own were playing in theaters, and in the new horror comedy Porno, a bunch of teenagers working in a small town movie theater haven’t a concern in the world, beyond which movie to watch after hours in their place of employ. That is until they discover a pornographic movie in a hidden basement of the theater that brings with it an unspeakable evil that will terrorize and change their lives forever.

The aforementioned teens are all Christian, and their theater manager even leads them in  a prayer before their shifts. They have a somewhat older, straight edge projectionist who tries to keep them on the straight and narrow, but they’re teens and of course, want to rebel. So, when they happen upon a long lost film print, they decide to put it on to see what it contains. It turns out to be a cultish, porn flick, loaded with boobs and blood, and before you know it, the star of said movie, a naked succubus, leaves the screen and enters the real world. She brings with her a holy terror that defies words, and it’s not too long before she’s attempting to seduce the various employees with an intent to kill.

ALSO SEE: Jojo Rabbit Review: A Humorous and Poignant Tale

It all sounds very serious, and it could make for a pretty great straight horror flick. In Porno though, a lot of it is played for laughs. The succubus isn’t just slitting throats or stabbing people, she’s exploding testicles and straight-up tearing off genitalia! This lady definitely means business. The teens do their best to try to figure out how to vanquish said supernatural foe and survive the night.

The tone in a horror-comedy can be hard to balance, between the bloody scares and silly jokes. Porno does quite a good job of it though, leaning a little more into the comedy, but with its desired effect, generating plenty of laughs along the way. The cast is game, and all play the incredulity of their situation well, never veering into over the top mugging. My favorite among them was Robbie Tann as Heavy Metal Jeff, the improperly monikered projectionist who is an overbearing guiding light to the kids. There is a particular scene involving him and what can only be called a testicle tourniquet that will have you all but squirming out of your seat with uncomfortable laughter.

Porno earns its place up there with the best of recent indie horror-comedies, like Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. Striking me as a sort of filthy Napoleon Dynamite meets the 80s horror movie Demons, it was a delight to behold for this fan of blood and mirth in movies.

Recommended if you liked: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, The Final Girls, Dude Bro Party Massacre 3

FINAL GRADE: B+

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