Makeup artist Remy Couture is being prosecuted in Montreal for "corrupting morals" by making "obscene" horror movies and posting them online. Under Canadian law, material is deemed obscene if "a dominant characteristic" of it is "the undue exploitation of sex" or sex combined with "crime, horror, cruelty and violence"—a definition so vague that it makes you miss the relative clarity of America's Miller standard. The two-prong definition means sex and horror scenes that would be legal on their own can trigger prosecution when combined in the same film; it arguably makes just about any R-rated American horror movie obscene in Canada. Couture's short films chronicle the crimes of a serial killer who likes to have sex with his victims after they're dead. Couture (pictured in the middle of the photo, which was taken at a protest outside the Montreal courthouse) emphasizes that his work does not feature rape scenes and that all the gory violence is simulated. Too well, apparently. The Montreal Gazette reports that the case against Couture originated with complaints to Interpol from people who "thought the depicted events were real."
The notion that simulated violence can justify legal restrictions that would otherwise be impermissible is central to the case involving California's ban on sales of violent video games to minors, which the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear in a couple of weeks. As a law professor, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan promoted a similar idea, suggesting in a 1993 law review article that anti-porn activists could get around First Amendment obstacles by focusing on "works that are both sexually explicit and sexually violent."