Forced Entry (1972)

Jackson, Neil (2017) Forced Entry (1972). Porn Studies, 4 (3). pp. 296-304. ISSN 2326-8743

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Abstract

Released in 1973 amidst the moral and political turmoil of US withdrawal from Vietnam, Forced Entry is a seemingly indefensible pornographic text. The tale of a psychologically disturbed Vietnam war veteran who embarks upon a rape and murder spree in New York, its opportunism, deliberate provocation and extreme hardcore sexual violence are all seemingly designed to titillate at the basest, most prurient level imaginable. Playing directly into the hands of feminist intellectuals and campaigners intent on proving pornography’s inherently harmful or dangerous effects, the film’s surfaces would appear to offer scant material for the critic intent on articulating its varied levels of historical or cultural interest.
This article address not only the film’s textual, structural and narrative modes, but also its relationship to the sexploitation ‘roughie’ cycle of the 1960s, its incongruity amidst the so called ‘porno chic’ phenomenon of the early 1970s, its status in relationship to other examples of both feature-length and ‘loop’ violent pornography in the period and its early evocation of the psychotic, sexually dysfunctional Vietnam veteran, a cinematic icon that would establish a niche in both mainstream and exploitation cinema as the decade progressed. Directed by Shaun Costello, and featuring a lead performance by Harry Reems, the film also serves as an early feature length showcase for hardcore industry veterans who would each contribute significantly to the notoriety of the burgeoning adult film industry.
Academic appraisals of feature film pornography have tended to favour examples which might be re-claimed as radical incursions or counter-textual responses to the prevailing conventions or ideological project of films which are produced for male audiences beyond mainstream dictates of taste and propriety. The article addresses the critical possibilities of one of those texts which is perhaps 'irredeemable' from any political or ethical position, considering how such works are often the purest expression of an untrammelled and wilfully obnoxious counter-sensibility, assuring their canonical importance regardless (or, perhaps, because) of their ideological provocations.

Keywords:Pornography, Violence, The 1970s, Film, Vietnam War, Rape
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P303 Film studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
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ID Code:28788
Deposited On:04 Oct 2017 13:02

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