The 3-D Erotic Movie That Beat Avatar at the Hong Kong Box Office

Sex and Zen 3-D: Extreme Ecstasy is supposedly the first erotic movie made in 3-D. And in its opening week, it's beaten Avatar's record for one-day box office in Hong Kong. What's this movie's secret?

Just check out the trailer — even in 2-D, you can tell that this film uses 3-D to a ludicrous extent, with knives and bullets and body parts flying out of the screen. It's the most exploitative use of 3-D ever, even beating Drive Angry 3-D. And it sort of proves that despite the attempts of James Cameron and his ilk to make 3-D fancy and trendy, 3-D is still best used for trashy movies.

And given that the movie's storyline involves animal-to-human penis transplants, you have to wonder exactly how far they're willing to go with the 3-D insanity. (Bear in mind that Hong Kong erotic films seldom show explicit below-the-belt sexuality though.)

Click to viewHere's an uncensored trailer. (Warning: NSFW, and also a bit tedious with a minute or so of headlines about the movie.)

Sex and Zen 3-D is a remake of Sex and Zen, the classic (?) 1991 film that remains the highest-grossing Hong Kong movie of all time. They're both based on the 17th century novel The Carnal Prayer Mat (Rou Pu Tuan) by Li Yu. Unlike the 1991 movie, this book is a genuine classic, and one of my all-time favorite works of literature — it has a parodic Henry Fielding sensibility to it, and I've often wondered what Li Yu and Henry Fielding would have thought of each other.

(Sadly, this novel has seldom gotten the appreciation it deserves in English — one of the main English translations is actually a translation from the German edition. Yes, you read that right: Someone translated it into German, and then someone else translated the German version into English. Buh? This is a pretty decent translation though.)

In The Carnal Prayer Mat, a young scholar who is failing to have much success with the ladies decides to undergo a risky operation — he has parts of a dog's penis inserted into his penis to make it larger and more exciting. The actual description of the operation is here, but be warned — it is not for the squeamish, or those who've just eaten lunch. Seriously.

In the 1991 movie, the dog is changed to a horse, probably because the slapstick possibilities inherent in an equine penile transplant were greater than with a dog. No clue yet whether the new film goes with the more literary dog or the more cinematic horse. If you've already seen it, please let us know! [Associated Press, thanks Joanne!]