Oz film board bans 'L.A. Zombie' from fest

Melbourne festival describes movie as 'gay zombie porn'

TORONTO -- "L.A. Zombie," a Canadian indie film described by the Melbourne International Film Festival as "gay zombie porn," has been denied an Australian festival berth by local censors.

The banning decision followed a viewing of the Bruce LaBruce film by the Australian Film Classification Board, which concluded that implied sex with corpses as alien zombies range across Los Angeles for dead bodies and gay sex breaches local taste standards.

"L.A. Zombie" will receive a world premiere at the Locarno International Film Festival on Aug. 5, before the Canuck film receives a North American bow at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, according to the film's producers.

LaBruce's latest film was to have screened in Melbourne on Aug. 7 and 8.

The Aug. 7 slot will now be filled with a screening of the French film "Rubber" by Quentin Dupieux, with a replacement for the Aug. 8 slot to be announced at a later date.

LaBruce in a statement Tuesday pointed to the irony of the Australian censors viewing the softcore version of his film, "which features no explicit anally penetrative sex."

The director said the festival version features an erect zombie, played by French porn star Francois Sagat, "and it is a prosthetic (fake) cock, not the actor's own."

The Canuck film's producers bill "L.A. Zombie" as a drama about an alien zombie from the ocean who goes in search of dead bodies in Los Angeles to have sex with so they can be brought back to life.

"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," LaBruce said in a statement.

Melbourne fest programmers billed "L.A. Zombie" as a hardcore companion piece to LaBruce's 2008 film "Otto" and added that it "raises the stakes with LaBruce's infamous 'schlock' tactics -- promising plenty of wound-shagging and more penises than you can shake a stick at."

LaBruce has built a directorial career shooting hardcore pornography that aims to produce a return for financiers, along with a second softcore version with auteur touches that can screen on the festival circuit to critical acclaim.

The hardcore version of LaBruce's latest film, "L.A. Zombie Hardcore," will be released and distributed separately on Halloween after the softcore version plays the international festival circuit.
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