MELBOURNE, Australia—A softcore independent film in which gay alien zombies invade Los Angeles has been banned from Australia by the country’s Film Classification Board. According to the censors, director Bruce LaBruce’s campy horror flick L.A. Zombie violates “local taste standards” by implying sex with corpses.
The film, scheduled to screen at the Melbourne International Film Festival Aug. 7 and 8, instead will debut Aug. 5 at the Locarno International Film Festival in Sweden and then head to a September festival in Toronto.
According to LaBruce (Hustler White), who is as well known for his offbeat and controversial mainstream movies as he is for his work in explicit gay cinema, the Australian censors viewed only the mainstream version of the film, “which features no explicit anally penetrative sex.” He reserved that content for the gay porn version he intends to release at Halloween after the softcore version has finished the festival circuit.
Although the director indicated he was flummoxed and dismayed by the film board’s ruling, he said he was delighted nonetheless.
“Although apparently the Australian classification board has no problem passing all manner of mainstream torture-porn movies which feature, amongst other things, the rape and dismemberment of women, it’s interesting that they have no stomach for a movie that reaffirms life,” he noted in a statement.
“I'll never understand how censors don’t see that the more they try to suppress a film, the more people will want to see it,” he added. “It gives me a profile I didn’t have yesterday.”
Popular French gay porn star Francois Sagat stars in L.A. Zombie as a schizophrenic alien who believes having sex with the dead will bring them back to life. Rocco Giovanni, Wolf Hudson, Eddie Diaz, Andrew James, Mathew Rush, Erik Rhodes, Francesco D’Macho and Adam Killian also are featured.
“People come back to life [in my film],” LaBruce told On Top Magazine. “It’s a metaphor for healing.”
Perhaps the Australian film board could do with some of that healing—or maybe tolerance for artistic expression is dead, according to Fiona Patten, executive officer of Australian adult industry trade group Eros Association. Patten is the Australian Sex Party’s candidate for president and a senate seat.
“Our whole system here is broken,” she told GAYVN.com. “[Australian retailers sell] thousands of explicit films featuring Francois [Sagat], but it is his zombie film that gets banned. Only in third-world countries and Australia do zombie films like this get effectively banned from film festivals.”
LaBruce’s film Otto, or Up with Dead People covered similar territory and screened at the Melbourne festival in 2008, then went on to DVD release across Australia.