Bruce LaBruce’s forthcoming porno, Otto, or: Up with Dead People, promises new forms of transgression. Just what we expect! But what I didn’t expect was the stunning iconography of the movie’s still photos, depicting a handsome, grey-faced, affectless zombie, dressed in high-fashion hoodies and hiding in plain sight amid flowers and shrubbery.

The Facebook invitation to a Toronto launch party–cum-screening for Otto includes a photo gallery. I was looking forward to seeing even more pictures, since the whole campaign is superb. But dead centre in the gallery I saw a thumbnail of our hoodied zombie and thought exactly the following: “Is he holding what I think he’s holding?” I made the mistake of enlarging the picture.

Yes, zombie Otto is standing there holding a dead bunny.

Here’s a proposition for you: Nobody has the right to use a dead animal in gay porn.

LaBruce explained the provenance of the bunny on his (unpermalinked) blog:

The art department has procured a huge dead rabbit for the scene in which Otto chows down on some roadkill. I feel guilty about the rabbit, so I ask if we can at least eat it at the end of the day – roadkill gourmet – but the art director informs me that it’s already been sitting out in the sun too long. Well, I tried….

The art director stuffs the gutted rabbit with cleaned pig intestines and sashimi tuna coated with strawberry sauce, which Otto has to eat. What next, waterboarding?

Indeed, what next?

I E-mailed LaBruce “on the Facebook” to find out if that really was a dead bunny. After he eventually figured out what I stated up front (that I was writing a blog post), he replied:

As I’ve talked about in a number of interviews already, the animal in question is a hare that we purchased at a farmer’s market in Berlin, where hares are eaten as commonly as foul. So the use of the hare is no different than using, say, a turkey in a Thanksgiving scene in a movie.

In fact, I wanted to see if we could eat the hare at the end of the day’s shoot, but the carcass was left out in the sun for too long and it was inebible.

I hope that answers your question.

Here’s another question: Can you show me the contract the hare signed in order to act in the picture? I thought porn was all about consenting adults. A dead bunny is neither.

Of course I don’t buy the argument that Germans eat hare so it was all right to kill that one. Nor that it would have been better to have eaten the thing after the shoot wrapped up. (It didn’t happen, so it didn’t improve things, either.) Nor that “a Thanksgiving scene in a movie” requires a dead turkey.

Do you buy the argument that it was OK to use a dead rabbit in a gay-porno video? Thought not.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2008.08.21 14:25. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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