A woman (Roberta Gemma, The Transparent Woman, Miami Milfs 7) lies in bed reading the collected works of Edgar Allan Hoe and getting rather worked up as she does. They become the four segments that make up Poern, and her enjoyment of them is the film’s wraparound, or maybe that should be unwraparound.
Poern’s first segment “Alone” is a mixture of still images and short film clips, some of them looking like they came from old hardcore loops. All of it is accompanied by sounds that range from someone having a cigarette to a woman crying and a child laughing. Then it switches gears to a samurai committing seppuku, also with a hardcore insert.
Exactly what, if anything, writer/director Alessandro Redaelli (Funeralopolis: A Suburban Portrait, Shock: My Abstraction of Death) was trying to get across is beyond me and the result is a rather dull ten minutes.
Next up is “The Black Cat” directed by Andrea Aste and Riccardo Antonino. It’s a surreally animated retelling of Poe’s story of the same name and having an actual plot puts it ahead of the previous segment. Once again told without dialogue, all four segments are shot this way actually.
It’s not a good enough adaptation of a familiar story, even if the animated sex scenes feel like they were grafted onto the rest of the short just to make it fit in with Poern’s theme. At the same time, there’s nothing really outstanding about it either.
“William Wilson” from director Domiziano Cristopharo (Tales to Tell in the Dark, Nightmare Symphony) and writer Francesco Scardone (Red Krokodil) is up next and it’s a major change of pace. Those familiar with Cristopharo’s work won’t be surprised that part of that change is a shift from heterosexual themes to homosexual ones, those who find that offensive have been warned.
The short revolves around two prisoners on opposite sides of a cell wall and a sadistic guard. The stark black and white cinematography is impressive and the whole short is well done from a technical perspective. But I didn’t find the story overly scary and naked men really aren’t my thing when it comes to erotica. Those who do roll that way will probably like this segment a lot more than I did.
The final segment, “Ligea” from director Alessandro Basso, is also animated but this time it’s 3D computer animation and features a title character modelled on Roberta Gemma herself and another on Domiziano Cristopharo. The plot involves a bit of necrophilia gone badly wrong. Or at least I think that’s what it’s about. There is definitely sex on a slab in the morgue, but after that, I’m not really sure what was going on.
And then Poern gives us a last look at our hostess before the credits roll.
The main issue with Poern, apart from the very uneven quality of the segments, is that it’s really not what it claims to be, and seems to be unsure of what it actually is trying to be. The segment’s connections to Poe are, like most adaptions of his work, fairly tenuous. Their only other connection is that they all feature explicit sex scenes. But that alone does not make something erotic. The only parts of Poern that would typically be called erotic are Ms. Gemma’s scenes.
Poern is also not a particularly extreme film either. It’s more a collection of surreal shorts with a bit of sex and explicit violence mixed in, and advertised as such it might find an audience. But anyone looking for extremes of either eroticism or violence will probably be disappointed.