In the 1991 essay Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, Excess Linda Williams coined the term ‘body genres’ to describe those examples of cinema where the sensational excesses of the text are played out in (and on) the body of the audience. Williams identifies the three body genres as melodrama, horror and porn respectively. In this paper I explore examples of contemporary gay pornographic texts where hyrbidised versions of these so called body genres emerge and attempt to account for this phenomenon.
In particular the paper focuses on the output of the website straighthell.net a controversial site not accessible in the UK which specialises in narratives featuring the abduction and sexual abuse of supposedly heterosexual men by a group of homosexual attackers. Whilst group sex and/or abuse scenarios are a standard feature of the repertoire of sexual scenarios that porn (both gay and straight) represents, straighthell is notable for its self-conscious referencing of horror cinema (and the video nasty in particular) and for the studied realism of the performances of both the abductors and abductees. This often makes for uncomfortable and disturbing viewing experiences. In videos where the homophobic skinhead or the conceited estate agent are sexually assaulted, the theme of retribution is often used as a key to the motivation for the events that take place and key to the eroticisation of the scenes of torture and sexual degradation that ensue.
The paper discusses these texts as a specifically British form of gay pornography that eroticises the distinctive signs of class that remain a feature of the iconography of British gay porn. The paper explores the extent to which the ritualised sexual humiliations of examples of patriarchal masculinity that these texts represent can be regarded as progressively queer or as reinforcing stereotypes of the predatory and potentially murderous gay male.