Mood Pictures is a studio based out of Hungary that specializes in films involving corporal punishment. Unlike the typical "tie them up and beat them" clips that are readily apparent from various other providers, Mood adds a theatrical touch to their work. For example, some clips try to tell a story of revenge, or a secret society where women are beaten as property. Others involve a game or contest between women to see who can take the most blows. This is the first film they've done where there has been no script, and as a plot it works better than anything else they've put out.
In The Milgram Experiment, Mood Pictures replicates the work of Dr. Stanley Milgram, a Yale college professor who set up a psychological experiment to see if a normal person, under the supervision of an authority figure, would perform inhumane acts of cruelty on another human being. His hypothesis was that, beneath the façade of societal chivalry, there beats a savage heart in all of us. To prove this, Dr. Milgram designed an experiment involving two individuals – one deemed a "teacher" and the other the "student" – who were told that the experiment was to see if mild physical discomfort would improve behavioral results. To wit, if the student gave a wrong answer on a memory game quiz, he would be shocked. In the Yale case, the student was an actor pretending to be shocked. The real experiment was to see if the teacher, if absolved of guilt, would push a button that caused the student pain.
Of course, this is Mood Pictures, and the pain isn't faked. In this film, Dr. Milgram is replaced with "Dr. Lomp", the alias for the Mood Pictures director. The "teacher" is a young woman who thinks she has come to participate in the classic Milgram set-up as part of a science project. However, the “student” is a Mood Pictures model who has agreed to be whipped for real. What the student doesn't know is how long the teacher will order her to be beaten, and the student will indeed continue to be beaten for as long as the teacher orders it. So, there's drama on both sides of the equation – how long can the student handle the beatings, and how long will the teacher continue to order her to be beaten?
Sounds great, right?
The test is a word-association memory game. The teacher is seated at a desk in a small room – the "classroom" – and given a sheet of paper with the pairs of words, along with a graph showing the number of strokes the student will receive for each wrong answer. One wrong answer gets one stroke of the whip. The second wrong answer gets two strokes. The third wrong answer gets three strokes. After the fifth wrong answer, the number of strokes ramps up significantly – five, then ten, then fifteen, then twenty, then twenty five, then fifty.
A wall with a glass window separates the classroom from the "execution room", a large room in which the student-victim is bound spread-eagle to a metal frame, facing the teacher, that has a chain-link fence attached to it. I, personally, love this touch, because when the student is struck with the whip, she is driven onto the chain link fence, which makes for some wonderful theatrics as her body impacts the metal. Also in the room is the “executor”, the woman who will be doing the whipping. In this way, the teacher is not only physically separated from victim, but she technically isn’t doing the whipping either. She's simply following the instructions on the sheet of paper. The importance of this comes up later, as you’ll see.
A set of speakers allows the teacher to hear everything that goes on in the execution room, but the student will only hear what goes on in the classroom if the teacher presses the intercom button. This allows the teacher to have some private dialogue with a lab-coated assistant stationed in the classroom, who is there to make sure the teacher fulfills her duties. I thought this was brilliant, because it creates a physical separation of the teacher from her victim. The student doesn’t know what’s being said unless the teacher wants her to know, and, from the teacher’s perspective, it gives her an elevated sense of social position over her victim. This contributes to the teacher’s sense of power, and we all know what absolute power does. That’s why we watch these types of films in the first place!
Another contributing factor to the teacher’s sense of power is that the student will only be struck the number of times that the teacher says, and the teacher must count the stroke before it is given. For example, if the victim is to receive ten strokes, the teacher must say each stroke’s number before it is given. In this way, the teacher controls the executor who delivers the strike. This puts the teacher in total control over the experiment.
Can you sense the drama yet?
The first trial is between "Zita Berger", a slender yet fetching Mood Pictures model seen here in the pink top, and "Lora Wenter", the unsuspecting teacher in the black on the left.
Each girl is asked to sign a contract. As they review the terms of the experiment, they make small talk and Lora asks Zita why she signed up for it, with the risks involved. Zita brushes it off, but Lora admits that, even though she doesn't know if she'll be the teacher or the student and that there’s a chance she might be whipped, she is excited to be a part of the project. Foreshadowing of a future sequel perhaps?
Dr. Lomp returns, collects the contracts, and hands each girl an envelope. Lora is asked to open hers first. It reads "TEACHER" (both envelopes read the same thing, but the mark is always asked to open hers first so that she is always the teacher), and so she will be giving the questions and Zita will be the one trying to give the answers.
Lora is introduced to the classroom, given a set of papers with the questions on it and the chart showing the number of strokes to be given each time her student gives a wrong answer. The lab assistant takes a seat beside Lora, to observe her during the trial. Zita is brought in and shown the frame and told that she will be bound to it and whipped. Lora, of course, hears the instructions given to her victim and smiles with anticipation. Both girls are then asked if they are ready. Lora acknowledges that she is and Zita is told to remove her top, assisted by the executor who will administer the whipping at Lora’s command. As her student is bound to the frame, Lora watches, fascinated.
Lora then taunts Zita, and is reprimanded by the lab assistant for not taking the experiment seriously. She is told to stay focused on the experiment at all times.
The test begins.
Lora tells Zita to pay close attention and reads the word-pairs, then recites a word at random. Zita misses it and receives one stroke. Lora, in her teacher role, scolds Zita for not paying closer attention. Lora then reads another word, which Zita misses. Again Lora scolds her for being a poor student, and orders Zita to be whipped. That is followed by another missed answer, and another whipping. With each mistake, Lora chastises her student for not paying attention, and then she instructs the executor to administer the punishment.
Lora, at first, finds the initial whippings to be amusing, but as the test goes on, she becomes concerned by Zita’s cries and the number of strokes. The lab assistant reminds her of the importance of the experiment and tells her to continue. Lora does. But after a while, after Zita receives a fair number of whippings, Lora is ready to quit. The lab assistant reminds her that she’s got to go on "for the sake of the experiment", but Lora is reluctant. The lab assistant then offers Lora an alternative. Rather than administer the blows to Zita’s bare back, Lora can instruct the executor to strip off the remainder of Zita’s clothing so that she can receive the blows on her bare ass instead. In this way, Zita can continue to be whipped and the experiment can continue to its final conclusion. Lora considers this offer and, not seeing any other options, tells the executioner to remove Zita's clothing and apply the strokes to Zita's bottom instead. Zita’s skirt is then cut away, followed by her panties, leaving her completely naked in front of her tormentor.
Lora is clearly disturbed by this development. Her internal struggle is readily apparent. She doesn't want to go on, but the experiment is important. She even signed a contract for it, after all, and we know how important those are. We've all been told that you never break a contract, right? After the executioner has tossed the discarded clothing away and is ready to whip the helpless victim, Lora is asked to confirm the number of strokes to be administered as punishment for Zita's failure to remember the correct word-match.
Does Lora give the word? Does she order Zita to be whipped? Can Zita bear up under the brutal punishment she is receiving? This, friends, is what makes this film GIMP-worthy. Zita is most definitely a Girl In Merciless Peril, and the only person that can save her is Lora, who is wrestling with her own demons.
Lora makes her decision.
Perhaps there is something to the cover story. Perhaps pain does freshen the mind and loosen the tongue, because after her whipping, Zita manages to answer the next few questions correctly. But, with each question, Lora is about to fall apart. She knows that one wrong answer will subject Zita to a painful whipping. Even though Zita is on a roll and is not being whipped, the tension keeps getting higher, because Lora knows it is just a matter of time. Sure enough, just when you think the trial will end successfully, Zita gets the match wrong. Lora consults the chart and sees the number of strokes Zita is to receive. Lora looks like she is about to vomit. But there is no choice. The experiment must continue. The lab assistant tells her to move to the next step. The experiment is too important to stop now, and there is the contract to consider. Lora looks through the glass at her victim and tells her the number of strokes she will receive. Zita, obviously frightened, begs for mercy.
I won't tell you what happens next, but trust me when I tell you that it is pretty hot if you're into GIMP stuff involving whips and canes.
What makes this opening segment so fascinating is the interplay between Lora and Zita. Lora, initially amused by Zita’s helplessness, quickly finds herself going deeper into her psyche than she wants. She is clearly torn between her compassion for Zita, and her conditioned obedience to authority. Nobody is forcing Lora to order Zita to be whipped, yet Lora feels the pressure to conform to the needs of the institution – represented by the experiment’s instructions and the lab assistant’s supervision. She instinctively does as she is told. Even if you strip away the pornographic aspect of this film, there is still value in the piece as a very vivid example of human psychology. That alone raises this film head and shoulders above anything else Mood Pictures (or any other porn studio for that matter) has produced.
The next trial involves a plump, soft-skinned red-headed model as the student and a skinny small-breasted girl as the teacher. I didn't find this trial to be nearly as exciting as the first one, mostly because I didn't find either girl to be particularly attractive. However, something unusual does happen. At the end, the skinny teacher-girl regrets what she has done and wishes it had been her to receive the punishment instead. So, Dr. Lomp makes her an offer, which brings us to the third trial.
The slender small-breasted girl is now the student and a fetchingly attractive brunette is the teacher. It doesn't take long for the brunette teacher to become concerned for the welfare of her student, and the trial ends before very long. Most of the interest in this part is mental, knowing that the student was once the teacher.
Which brings us to the final trial that ends the film with the same dramatic bang that started it.
I normally don't like bad dye jobs, but the model playing the student in the final clip is just so strikingly beautiful that her “bad hair day” is negated.
After being told how the intercom works, the girl playing the teacher reviews the data sheet and notices that 50 strokes is the maximum to be given. She wonders if the student can handle that many, then cattily comments, "She is a little conceited." This gives the trial a “revenge” undertone, that somehow the student isn’t a nice person and should suffer at least a few whacks to bring her in line.
Once the student is bound to the frame, she gives her student some advice before reading the word-pairs, and then the fun begins.
What makes this trial so interesting is that, when it was over, the girl playing the teacher refused to give her consent to the filming, so Mood Pictures blurred out her face. For me, this makes it even more “real”, because now it looks like so many of those news videos that are broadcast about criminals, which then reminds me of Milgram’s original thesis of normal people performing evil if done under the guidance of an authority figure. Sort of like the Nazi guards herding victims into the gas chambers at concentration camps. Or Gitmo guards performing waterboarding. When you start to consider the clinical applications of this movie in real-life events, it starts to mess with your mind.
Like the first clip, the beating goes on for quite some time, eventually getting to the point that the model's reactions cause the teacher to consider quitting. However, the lab assistant convinces her that, while the student is suffering terribly, she is fully capable of continuing the experiment and that it should go on. The beatings continue a bit longer before the teacher tries to quit again. As in the first trial, the teacher is told that the victim is capable of continuing with the experiment, but nonetheless the teacher has the option of allowing the student to receive canings to her ass instead of whippings to her back, with the assurance that it will make things easier on the victim and enable the experiment to continue. The teacher quickly agrees and informs the executioner to strip her student completely.
What makes this act so chilling is the teacher’s words to her student.
The teacher is thoroughly convinced that stripping her victim completely, humiliating her, is for the best, that somehow the victim has brought this on herself for failing to answer correctly. To the teacher, there is no alternative but to strip her so that the executioner can damage fresh skin. The lab assistant, as the authority figure, has convinced the girl playing the teacher that she can't quit, the experiment is too important, that Dr. Lomp will take responsibility, that nobody forced the victim to participate in the experiment, and that the teacher is simply following orders. Each of these are classic blame-shifting techniques in human psychology. "I was only a camp guard", "I was only following orders", "I was not in charge". How many times have we heard these at war crimes trials? So, the teacher is convinced that she won’t be blamed, that somehow she is innocent of any sin being committed. In this way, the assistant has completely removed any sense of humanity from the teacher. It is this level of evil that makes this film so compelling. You wish it wasn't possible, yet here is a completely normal person ordering a fellow human being, who has committed no crime other than to fail to remember a word-game, to be whipped severely, and then to be stripped so that she can suffer further beatings. I find this shocking, but at the same time I can't look away. I want to see how far the teacher will go. I want to know how badly the student will suffer, and how far down the teacher’s humanity has been suppressed. Has she been fully inculcated into the experiment’s mindset? Indeed she has. She even gives her student a moment's break to recover during one long session, so that the number of prescribed canings can continue.
The student, for her part, has an incredible pain threshold, because she's caned for quite a long while, until finally…
Well, you'll just have to watch it.
The biggest sex organ on the human body is the brain, and this film hits all the right nerve centers.
For creativity, I give it a solid "A".
For execution, another solid "A".
For casting, another solid "A". The girls in the first and fourth trials carry the entire film, but the second and third trials, while not as visually pleasing, are interesting at an intellectual level. I’m hoping that Mood Pictures will come out with a sequel, using some of their more fetching models. This film’s premise could easily be replicated many times over, and hopefully Mood will do just that.
Overall score, with three A's, I give it an A+. This film deserves to be turned into a series, if not by Mood Pictures, then by another studio who is willing to push the limits of human decency.