The Horror

Obscenity in Canada


The Montreal makeup artist Rémy Couture has been charged with "corrupting morals" by making "obscene" movies. But his specialty is horror, not pornography.

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 [or] violence." The two-pronged definition means sex and horror scenes that would be legal on their own can trigger prosecution when combined in the same film. This standard arguably makes just about any R-rated American horror movie obscene in Canada.

Couture's short films, which he posted on his website, chronicle the crimes of a serial killer who likes to have sex with his victims after they're dead. Couture, who pleaded not guilty in October and faces up to two years in prison if convicted by a jury, emphasizes that his work does not feature rape scenes and that all the gory violence is simulated.

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."