My second Jack the Zipper film to review (with one more to come), Xero confirms his place at the top of the current adult movie directors pile.
Unlike the dayglo joys of Enter the Peepshow, this is an altogether moodier effort. Made in collaboration with musician Rockford Kabine, it transcends the world of porn to become something rather different.
The surprisingly short, but in no way lacking 62 minute running time is taken up with continually intercutting scenes involving just four performers – two blonde, two back haired, all gorgeous – and a mysterious masked fetish figure who lurks in the background with sinister intent. There’s no dialogue, or in fact any sound other than Kabine’s insistent, atmospheric score (also supplied as a soundtrack CD in this package) – a score that moves from electro-trance to dark, unsettling beats, fitting beautifully with the images on screen while having a life of its own.
The sex scenes are impressively restrained – the girls start out doing solo stripteases before coming together as two couples (never intermingling), and the hardcore is surprisingly minimal (the UK 18 rated edit loses about twelve minutes of this, which gives you an idea of how relatively inexplicit the other 50 minutes are). In fact, minimalist is the best word to use here – nothing is overblown, nothing made more extravagant than it needs to be. At times, Xero feels like watching a particularly impressive erotic photography book brought to life – taking its time, concerned with beautiful set-ups and remarkable camera shots, rather than the non-stop hardcore action demanded by the genre. As a result, it’s a great deal more erotic than most porn, simply because it keeps you guessing.
There’s a strong Japanese influence running through this, no more so than in the scenes involving an impressively phallic, Onibaba-style mask, and the out-of-nowhere shock ending that I won’t spoil – suffice to say that it takes the film into an unexpectedly dark place.
With post-credits scenes that perhaps hint at JTZ’s forthcoming Cannibal Queen, this is remarkable stuff that takes adult filmmaking into fascinating new areas that lie between commercial erotica and arthouse porn. Definitely one to watch.