Slap 'N' Tickle: Hardgore

Slap 'N' Tickle: Hardgore
Sex and violence make odd bedfellows. Hardgore is more concerned with general ickiness and plumbing the twisted sexual psyches of people than living up to the "hard" half of its name, though there is some uncomfortable overlap.

Mouth Babies kicks off the program, being as obvious and slight as the title suggests. Administering blowjobs has dramatic consequences for a woman whose reproductive organs sit closer to the bile duct than the urinary tract. It's an amusing concept; too bad it looks horrible and amounts to nothing more than a sight gag.

Bitch has more going for it, thematically. A woman addresses the camera directly, warning or admitting she should have seen the signs right away before settling into her story. She meets a man in a park while their dogs are getting their hump on. They casually flirt and she agrees to stop by his bookshop sometime. After navigating the etiquette over congratulations on his dog's pregnancy, they begin dating. Their relationship begins to reveal the potential dehumanizing affects of unchecked kink as only a tale of dog lovers could.

Easily the best shot of the batch, The Midge delights in extreme close-ups of insects copulating, surrounding a tale of sexual insecurity with clever camera work. A camping couple talks mosquitoes, or midges, as they call them (yes, I was expecting a talking camel toe, thanks South Park) while the woman tries to entice her lad into some nookie, but he's more interested in examining bugs, until cross-pollinating interests lead to a nasty climax.

Ropes borrows Richard Linklater's Waking Life animation-overtop-live-action style, telling a sad story of obsession. A boy goes to a circus freak show and becomes violently enamoured by a woman who hangs from a choke collar that forces strange musical piping sounds to emit from a bundle of long, fleshy tubes protruding from her throat.

Next up, The Edge of the World pulls a mini-mash-up of Natural Born Killers and Ghost. Two lovers get into a car crash, but only the woman survives. She's haunted by the death of her Sid Vicious wannabe as she tries to re-enter her life. After attending an S&M themed electro-rock rave show, she bones a guy, kicking off a ghost-blaming rampage of butchery. It'd have been the most "Hardgore" of the pack were it not for To My Mother and Father.

Clearly an extreme look at unborn sibling jealousy, a boy in a goblin mask hides in his parents' closet, waiting for them to get home so he can spook them. They have other plans, as his very pregnant mother engages in some rough sex right against the closet he's hiding in. Thankfully, the transformative affect this has on the boy and his subsequent reaction are not too realistically shot; it's bloody disgusting and sure to traumatize any expecting mothers.