“Insertz” shows the meat

Studio: Roy Karch Productions/Sinsation Pictures
Director: Roy Karch
Cast: Voodoo, Nicole Sheridan, Aurora Snow, Mika Tan, Emily Evermore, Herschel Savage, Lee Stone, Paulina James

Insertz sets the scene early with a premise that is fantastic:

A broody, troubled genius, known only as “The Boy Wonder” (Voodoo), plays mournful tunes on his piano. Bubbly Harlene (Aurora Snow) bounces in and he pays nearly no attention to her, only letting her know that she’s late. An actress in the stag reels TBW creates for the remnants of his career, Harlene tries to remind him of when sex was fun. He can’t remember.

This is madness. Aurora Snow is standing in front of him, all flouncy, and he can’t remember. It’s still show business, though, so we have to imagine not wanting to have sex with Aurora Snow.

“Let’s just get to work,” he says, pulling at an ever-present bottle of rotgut. “Show me The Meat.”

Insertz is director/writer Roy Karch’s tribute to the 1974 Richard Dreyfuss movie (set in the 1930s) of almost the same name. Nearly forgotten, Inserts featured Dreyfuss as The Boy Wonder, stooping to porn to make ends meet while he waits for Hollywood to call. Karch’s movie simply replaces the “s” with a “z” and adds the porn that the original could not show. The same mopeyness and cynicism characterizes both Boys Wonder.

In the original, Suspiria‘s Jessica Harper played Nicole Sheridan’s role, Miss Cake, and Veronica Cartwright was Harlene.

Other than budget, the presence of tattoos, and the replacement of Bob Hoskins with Herschel Savage, the major difference between the two movies is where the heart of the director was. In the original, the longing for mainstream recognition was like an extra character in the movie; porn was a squalid place and Dreyfuss’ TBW was eager, if incapable, of leaving it.

In Karch’s version, all TBW needs is an attitude adjustment in the form of a mind-blowing sex scene with Miss Cake to get his priorities – and his home in the porn world – solidified.

Skillfully lit but devoid of transitional music, Insertz is presented like a play, with characters entering and exiting without the usual scene breaks. This is diconcerting at first, because porn does not usually look this way, but remembering the source material is helpful, though not necessary.

Lee Stone and Mika Tan couple by the hearth as a pair of TBW’s day players. Stone, like a lot of porn talent, points out menacingly that he has to be in Beverly Hills at 4.

Stone finds out in the film, as the actors found out while the film was shooting, that its best not to make other appointments. Insertz in many ways accurately portrays life in the porn industry.

Herschel Savage, as TBW’s thuggish financier, shows up with the mysterious Miss Cake. TBW is dismissive of all, even as they shower him with praise; he’s already decided he’s going to Hell.

After TBW finishes filming the scene betweeen Stone and Tan, Miss Cake comes on to him. She begs him to make her a porn star.

People unfamiliar with porn feature films are often surprised at how joyless they can be, and that is because sometimes feature porns deal with weighty issues like Poseurs, Politics, Iraq, Miscarriage, and so on.

The weighty issue in Insertz is whether TBW is wasting his life or not, and will he make any changes to it. Insofar as he is preoccupied with these thoughts, his dialogue often makes you want to shake him; he’s the type of dude that, if you ask him a question, he will repeat the question with pronouns reversed and add your name to it:

Miss Cake: So you’re The Boy Wonder …
TBW: Am I The Boy Wonder, Miss Cake?

Miss Cake: So what exactly are inserts?
TBW: What are inserts, Miss Cake?

He films her doing a strip tease. Why does she want to be a “famous” porn star? No clue. But she’s good at it. I’m just saying she could probably be an excellent President as well, but this was the 30’s and opportunities for women were limited.

“Not too shabby, Miss Cake,” TBW says after she shows him The Meat. They take a shine to each other. The doomed Boy Wonder (“Is that really your name?” Miss Cake asks beyond all logic) finally stops growling at her, puts down his bottle, and accepts his Destiny.

As this movie takes place over a single day (all before lunch, in fact), there is a lot of coming and going. One such scene is between Savage and Emily Evermore who, in the behind the scenes documentary, gives a fascinating interview about how porn is better than hooking because it makes her less of a shark about money.

Another part of the B story is the fate of Harlene. Karch shot two versions of her story, and one might later be available in the European version of the film. The way it is left now, Harlene’s own date with Destiny is handled in an intriguingly ambiguous way.

Insertz is a movie that asked a lot of its actors. Particularly up to the challenge were Savage, Voodoo, and Snow, who delivered great performances in the strangely-mannered, 30’s world of the movie. And the sex was good, too; I don’t know why The Boy Wonder had forgotten about it.

Buy “Insertz” here

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Gram Ponante is America's Beloved Porn Journalist

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