20 experimental adult shorts by filmmaker Wesley Florence put together on one DVD, ranging from dark and bizarre to silly fun but always with themes of sex, nudity and perversion.
Not a stranger to erotic or experimental short films I definitely wanted to check out Starflower Media's collection "Project EROSion". Without much previous knowledge other than a few teasers, I decided to order it. It comes in a descretely designed case that's without any images, just paper texture, so all of you secret perverts can remain secret if you purchase it.
All short films are written and directed by Wesley Florence, so it's not a surprise that many of them either look the same, have similar "plots" (usually the plot is vague, as expected) or just carry the same style overall. This isn't really an issue, but when you have 20 shorts in a row it can get tedious when several of them feel alike. I am not gonna go through every single short here, I'll try to mention the highs, lows and other noteworthy ones.
"The Woman in Red" is the very first one, and it goes from a fashion show with women in pretty dresses, to a nude and Devil-masked woman in the middle of a room. Around her, on the floor, is blood (red paint, but "blood" makes it sound better doesn't it!?). She smears the blood on her body, and continues to roll around in it in what becomes erotic dancing. This one appeals to me mostly because I am fascinated with the bright red on her nude body, it's interesting to see what just a little (a lot of) color does. It makes it seem really otherwordly. It's as simple as that, as you will notice with several of these - it's the small things that make them stand out.
After the paintjob that was "The Woman in Red", we have the Jean Rollinesque styled (minus the vampirism) "The Courtship". Two naked women in a hotel room. The masks are plain and white. The meet at the center of the room and a sort of stare-down occurs. They begin to caress each other, and it cuts to them in different positions in the room. Does it mean anything? Who the hell knows. You can get a lot out of it if you want. It could be a take on relationships: the distances that grow by time, the boredom of being with the same person for a long time. It really just works as a photo album of erotic shots, and maybe not until the end where they're maskless in a tub do we actually care to get anything out of it. I still, somehow, enjoy it. It does SOMETHING, even though I don't know what that something is.
The absolute lows of the album are the four "Fun with Buns" shorts. They all consist of a woman's butt and something being done with it. In the first one, "The Butt Sundae Experiment" we're treated to a... Butt Sundae - ice cream is put on the top of the butt cheeks, and it eventually glides down the crack. It could've been compared to some of the performances in the Viennese Actionism movement, except this one doesn't take it seriously. Which is natural - it's ice cream on a butt. But it does take me out of it when they have several attempts at putting the ice cream there (it falls off) and you can tell by the butt shaking that the woman is laughing. The other "Fun with Buns" shorts are "Wax On, Wax Off" (wax poured on a butt), "The Masochist" (putting paper clips on the butt) and finally "A Close Shave" (butt is shaved). Neither of these do much, and they're repetitive, so I think the overall collection would have been a lot more solid had these not been there.
"Il Omaggio" is a homage to Tinto Brass in two acts: "The Invitation" and "The Preparation". The first one consists of a woman in bed, talking on the phone. Her bottom half is undressed. We can't hear their conversation, but instead we see it in form of modern day text messages, with phrases like "LOL". Mostly it is typical phone/play conversation - teasing and inviting the person on the other side to come over. The second act is her preparation before said person comes over. Another basic idea, but again it kinda works because it's so simple.
For the blasphemous, "The Immorals" might be perfect. Personally it doesn't do much since I have little-to-no interest in religion whether it's for or against it. This is about a being naughty while reading what I think is the bible. I say "think" because it looks like a bible, but the text that is being read loud sounds more like one person's idea of the bible (which is still basically the same, just his words). It's one of the shorts that stands out as a statement of sorts - to be free sexually and not be repressed by religion.
"A Deep Clean" is definitely a favorite since it's just a fun twist on reality and expectations of how people are "supposed to be". A woman undresses to get ready for a bath before a big date. She picks out an outfit and lays it on the bed. And then she goes to the bathroom. The tub, however, is filled with dirt. She gets into the tub and starts rubbing herself in the black dirt until she is completely soaked with it. Then she gets out of the tub and puts on her outfit - and goes out. Both the idea behind it and the aesthetics are above many of the other shorts.
If you're interested in learning about female anatomy then "Femme 101" might be the short for you. Personally I found this to be a funny short, but far from my favorite. A nude woman is the subject, and a voice guides us through the female body. It cuts to a crowd obviously taken from some old lecture film or so. The short is quite accurate, I guess, but the point of the short is to be blunt. It tells you name variations of parts such as the vagina, the boobs and the butt (you'll have to watch it to learn these names!). To further prove the humorous tone, at one point the narrator says "Daisy's anus is exceptional". Yes, it's that kind of studying we need in school! Graphic and straight forward.
A let down was "Feral". The look of it is excellent, I loved it - it's washed out black and white (and we all know how I feel about black and white!). But the actual plot is of a woman who acts like a guinea pig so it becomes kinda ludicrous. This is personal opinion, of course - I simply can't stand people acting like animals. It's cringe-worthy and silly.
Finally I'll mention two rather dark ones. These are "Die Tänzerin" (The Dancer) and "Forbidden". The latter is about as dark as this collection gets, featuring a sort of peeping tom photographer taking pictures of a dead woman by a lake. At least she appears to be very much dead, as there is no indication of anything else (though no wounds or anything to truly confirm it). It's a tad bit long, but for the most part it's quite creepy and effective. It's done through a handheld camera observing the body, and now and then it zooms in/gets close and snaps a photo - said photo appears on screen.
"Die Tänzerin" isn't really dark until the ending, which sadly (for you) I will spoil. Stop reading if you don't want to know. Essentially, the short is about a woman in her apartment. She's lonely but the mood is calm rather than sad. She begins to stretch her body to prepare for a dance. Then she takes out a gun and shoots herself. This moment is kinda awkward because of the CGI effect used and the editing involved, but the idea of her suicide is powerful, I thought. Then she finally gets her dance. Both this and "Forbidden" are among the favorites.
That's a few of the many shorts. I think the majority of the collection is a bit repetitive and an expansion of ideas wouldn't have hurt. But out of the many experimental erotica collections I have seen this is far from the worst. Most of the time I was entertained, and it has a fresh, albeit amateur, atmosphere to it. I definitely hope Wesley Florence continues to work with similar styles so that one day it'll be perfected.
Check out "Project EROSion" if you want a simple but entertaining collection of experimental adult films. If you're a fan of nude photography or "fine art" in general you could find plenty to enjoy here. It's far from a perfect set of shorts, and several could've been shortened or taken out entirely, but I'm just happy I didn't waste my money and that I got something out of it. So order this and support the fine people at Starflower Media!