White Light Cinema and The Music Box Theatre Present

Bruce LaBruce’s Controversial Film

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 – 10:00pm
At the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport Ave.)


Queer film auteur Bruce LaBruce (No Skin Off My Ass, Super 8 1/2, Hustler White, Otto; Or, Up with Dead People) raises the stakes for art porn with his controversial new film L.A. ZOMBIE. It has enthralled and disgusted audiences in equal measure at the Locarno Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival and was officially banned (refused governmental classification), but still secretly screened, in Australia.

LaBruce’s gay zombie horror porn is all of those things, but it is also experimental in form, often lyrical in tone, and has an underlying social message for those who want to find it.

“Let’s get a few things out of the way. L.A. Zombie is a hardcore gay porn film. There are numerous scenes of men having graphic sex shot in the manner of pornography, not art film erotica. The film also continues Bruce LaBruce’s longstanding love affair with genre, with plenty of low-tech, half-eaten corpses, lots of spurting blood and a most unusually-shaped zombie penis that dominates the film’s psycho-sexual world. Fair warning?

But L.A. Zombie is very much an art film, too. In fact, it is one of the most poignant films about dashed expectations and the ennui of poverty I can recall by a Canadian filmmaker. Its tone in some ways recalls LaBruce’s revelatory first film, No Skin Off My Ass, but trades in LaBruce’s hairdresser persona for a more fractured narrative gaze, a perspective borne from the city itself and reminiscent of Jacques Rivette’s Paris nous appartient. This sets L.A. Zombie far apart from LaBruce’s last ten years of hardcore work, which has tended to strike a satirical, confrontational tone, perhaps most notably in his agitprop phenomenon The Raspberry Reich.

Aesthetically, L.A. Zombie is a most unusual hybrid. Although LaBruce has been working in digital video since starting to make more sexually explicit work, he had yet to achieve the same cinematographic impact of the stunning black-and-white photography of Super 8 1/2 or the seventies underground aesthetic of Hustler White. L.A. Zombie changes that. LaBruce uses the digital medium to stretch the Los Angeles landscape, using its endless sunsets and radioactive, yellow glow to create an uneasy tone of penniless decadence. Long shots are held for maximum imaginative power and the film plays out in near silence. In many respects, L.A. Zombie feels like an update of and tribute to Joe Gage’s revolutionary late-seventies gay porn trilogy, which, in my mind, is among the finest set of films made in any genre.” (Noah Cowan, Toronto International Film Festival)


(2010, 63 minutes – festival version, Video)

Directed by Bruce LaBruce

Official website:


This screening is co-presented by White Light Cinema and the Music Box Theatre

Admission: $9.25