copyright 2005 by Pat Powers
So often in mainstream films, they make a run at exciting bondage imagery, get right up to the gate, then balk. There are few more striking examples of this than the scene from Star Slammer at the top of this page.
The folks who made Star Slammer had the right idea. Making a movie about a prison of the future, they didn't just move the standard accouterment of jails to the future. In the case of this particular scene, they redesigned the old favorite known as the "stocks."
The original stocks are a "stock in trade" at Renfairs and BDSM meets, a fairly casual and nonthreatening punishment device generally associated with medieval Europe and colonial America, especially when you compare it with some of the hellish torture devices that were floating around medieval Europe.
The folks who made Star Slammer -- a film otherwise utterly devoid of imagination -- had the brilliant idea of redesigning the stocks to bring a certain theme of technological menace to them. They realized that the imagery of stocks could be powerful indeed if done right.
There are also some nice, subtle details ot the design. What is the purpose of the three cables running to the three devices immediately beneath each of the three head restraints on the stocks? You have to figure it's something fairly nasty and futuristic, given the nasty and futuristic design of the stock.
The designers did a great job of rethinking the stock in certain respects. But remember what I said about getting halfway to the gate and stopping? All they did with this great prop was have the gals do some yelping while in it, presumably while someone on the other side whipped them or paddled them.
No ultra-nasty future torments. Not even some imaginative fun. For example, I would have had the two of them yelping and then show their warden (Dawn Wildsmith of "Warlords" fame in yet another kink suit) walking out from behind the stock. They don't notice her at first. They they do.
"What are you two complaining about?" asks Wildsmith.
"That's not you?" cries one of the heads in alarm. "Then what is doing all those bizarre things to us?"
Wildsmith looks behind the wall.
"I'm ... not ... sure," she says. "But whatever it is, you really don't want to know."
The two heads look at each other and then emit a simultaneous "Eeewww," of dismay.
Now THAT would have been a funny and imaginative use of the giant steel pillory. But as usual in American Skinamax films, they come up with this great stuff and then thier imaginations completely, utterly fail them.
Allow me to explain what you get when you're willing to take it to the max, as the geniuses who created the famous/infamous Japanese hentai series Cool Devices did.
The Slave Warrior Maya Operation of the Cool Devices series deals with Maya, an Earth girl who's whisked off to another world when she stares too deeply into a crystal ball at a carnival. She meets up with a couple of cute, lovable characters who offer to dress her in the clothes of their world. When she removes her clothes, they inform her that a woman who appears naked in public is a slave, and they tie her up and cart her off to the local auction off, where they put her up for auction. Naked? You bet. This is a hentai.
She's bought by Lord Garius who plans to turn her into a sex slave. This involves spreadeagling her naked in various ways with very phallic metallic tentacles entering her every orifice. This may possibly be caused by Lord Garius' trauma at having a red stop light for a face. Or maybe he's just evil, it's hard to tell.
One of Maya's torments involves being held in stocks. These stocks look rather like massive file cabinets standing parallel to one another -- cabinets that are about eight feet high and three feet wide and four feet deep. Maya is held suspended between the two stocks in a midair split, her arms straight out to either side, and her legs doing the same, each limb enclosed above the elbow/knee by the stock on either side of her, leaving her tender womanly parts blatantly exposed.
And of course, those womanly parts are violated by a steely tentacle that comes snaking up from a console beneath her. Its bulbous head is lodged inside Maya's vagina, and it's so big that it distends her vagina as it presses against it from below. We see Maya's vaginal juices covering the portion of the tentacle that projects from her pussy as the tentacle does its work of transforming her into a Sex Fiend.
(Being tranformed into sex fiends of various sorts is something that often happens to heroines in hentai. I don't know if it's because the Japanese believe there's an actual supernatural thing called a "sex fiend" or because, as often happens with ambiguous American phrases, they just love using the words. I don't blame them -- I love the whole "sex fiend" concept myself.)
You can see what's happening here -- the huge metallic device Maya is trapped in is nonconsensually merging with her and transforming her -- a metaphor for sex, in short. It's kind of like the Borg, but with the psychosexual aspect much more blatantly played out. Soon the steely tentacle lodged inside Maya's vagina will transform her into a human sex machine.
There's also a definite Boxing Helena* vibe to this imagery. Unlike Helena, Maya is not mutilated, however. Her arms and legs are merely enclosed in the steel walls, they are still intact. In fact, the reason Maya succeeds in tricking two visitors (the ones who sold her at auction) into pushing a lever that will free her. She succeeds, and we see that she is OK, but the tentacle is still inside her. She can't pull it out, it's lodged too tightly inside her. So one of her "rescuers" chops the tentacle off with an axe, leaving over a meter of tentacle dangling from her pussy for almost the entire rest of the hentai -- and there's a lot of story left after she escapes. In fact, the tentacle remnant figures importantly in the plot.
The symbolism here is brilliant. Maya has escaped from the machine, but she cannot escape from the transformation it has effected on her -- the proof of that dangles from between her legs as she runs away her pursuers.
(I watched this anime with two female friends -- they LOVED the metallic pussy tentacle dangling like a tail from between Maya's legs.)
Because the hentai makers felt more free to explore the sexual aspect of the stocks, they were able to create much more powerful imagery, and a much more powerful storyline. They were ready to run with the idea of futuristic tortures and torments that extend beyond anything American filmmakers are capable of right now. They were willing to think about what futuristic torments a woman in such a futuristic set of stocks might be subject to.
This is where American filmmakers repeatedly fail -- they take a halfhearted run at the subject and then retreat to the familiar confines of cliche, their imaginations gone flat as stale beer.
In fact, the anime makers aren't through with their symbolism -- it's going to produce a scene that will be reminiscent of the only American animated series that can match Japanese animation for its willingness to confront socially powerful images and ideas and its ability to deal with them intelligently -- I am referring, of course, to The Simpsons.
Here's what happens. Using the tentacle remnant as a tracking tool, the bad guys recapture Maya. They chain her up spreadeagled on a slab and reattach the tentacle, which goes about the process of transforming her into a sex fiend by causing her clitoris to turn into a ... wait for it ... GIANT ERECT COCK!
Betcha didn't see that coming. I know I didn't first time I watched it. But for some reason, chicks with dicks is a surprisingly OK thing among hentai. I'm not sure I understand it, in fact, I'm pretty sure I don't but it did lead to that Simpsons-like scene.
Do you remember the Simpsons episode that was a parody of the movie "The Shining"? The ghosts in the old hotel drive Homer mad (well, mostly it was the lack of beer and television). Marge gets the drop on him after he goes nuts and locks him in a pantry to prevent him from killing her and the kids. Homer realizes he's been locked in the equivalent of heaven and starts eating, well, everything in the pantry. The ghosts, miffed that Homer is not massacreing people, head into the locker and try to persuade him of his homicidal duty. But Homer ignores them.
"Can't kill -- eating," Homer tells them, ignoring them to nosh on whatever it is he has at hand.
Well, back at Cool Devices, one of Maya's attractive young female friends has made her way into the bad guys' fortress to rescue her. Maya still has the giant erect cock and she's well its influence. Maya's friend finds her locked in a cell. Her wrists are chained together behind her back, and her ankles are chained together. She's squatting on the floor, sucking enthusiastically on the giant cock that sprouts up between her legs.
"Maya," her friend says, and of course it's hard to say if she's more shocked by Maya's large new cock or her relentless sucking on it.
Maya looks up.
"I cannot stop," Maya says, sucking her cock while her friend watches.
If only she had said, "Can't stop -- sucking."
It was one of the most powerful images of sexual obsession I've ever seen, that poor little female body in chains, curled up on the floor of a dark cell, helplessly sucking on a cock.
All in all, great, powerful imagery throughout Slave Girl Maya, just the sort of thing that has made the Cool Devices series famous, and proof positive that if you just have the nerve to follow your story where it wants to go, you'll wind up with some brilliant sexual imagery.
Can you imagine ANY American filmmaker doing anything that imaginative? I can imagine a porn filmmaker doing something that sexually explicit, but I sure don't see any of them having the imaginative chops to come up with it or anything like it.
*In Boxing Helena, an obsessed doctor cuts off Helena's arms and legs and keeps her in a box, a procedure Helena does not approve of.