The One About Erotic 'Harry Potter' Fan Fiction

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News Media Commentary
Title: The One About Erotic 'Harry Potter' Fan Fiction
Commentator: Clay Liford
Date(s): September 21, 2013
Venue: online
External Links: The One About Erotic 'Harry Potter' Fan Fiction; archive link
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The One About Erotic 'Harry Potter' Fan Fiction is an article by Clay Liford. It has the subtitle: "Filmmaker Clay Liford on fan fiction from '50 Shades' to 'Star Trek'."

The article is sort of about his 2012 short film "Slash," which became the 2016 Slash, but mostly Liford fansplaining slash.


My name is Clay, and my short film at Fantastic Fest this year is the one about erotic Harry Potter fan fiction. It's called "Slash," referencing the term associated with homoerotic fan fiction involving two popular genre characters doing sexy stuff with/to each other. The "slash" is a placeholder connecting the two people "coupling." It came into vogue (well, micro-vogue) around the cancellation of the Star Trek TV series, when people felt the show's premature demise cut short some opportunities for (unintended?) romance. Everybody needs a happy ending. Even Kirk/Spock. See? There's the slash.
...the primary demographic for modern slash writers tends to be housewives in their mid-40s. This explains E.L. James, and I'm sure we all know by now that 50 Shades of Gray is simply erotic Twilight fan fiction bereft of any copyrighted characters (total sell-out!). It's important you get up to speed on this stuff before that 50 Shades movie comes out. Because every pseudo-intellectual jerkface at that stupid party you didn't want to go to anyway will be pontificating on the sexual subcurrents and hidden origins of that horrible, horrible book/movie/interactive-area-rug. I read it. I know.
I've been familiar with slash fiction for years. I'd read quite a swath before I began this project – 100% for the sake of mockery and comedy, because it's really funny (particularly when its about stuff like Thomas the Tank Engine). But when it came to this movie, I decided that I wanted to approach it as an insider: not to deride, but to embrace. (Because, honestly, glass houses.) I went deep down the rabbit hole. I got on the forums. And I came away with a few important lessons: [see article]
Fan fiction writers, and especially so the writers of slash fiction, need to be confronted on their own terms. There's a low-fi quality at work here. Something very cobbled together, and in a strange way, dangerous. Dangerous in that sexy way that something can be when you don't quite know where it's coming from or what its intentions are.

And that's the feeling I attempted to capture in my movie. It's the final part of the puzzle regarding my attraction to the subject. I'm a low-budget filmmaker. Many of my efforts have that cobbled-together look and feel. Sometimes that's by necessity, but often it's my intention; it's an aesthetic I genuinely enjoy. It's effortless when its unconscious. And that's slash, right there. When you sanitize something so pure, it becomes safe, and safe we all know equals boring. You will never feel the titillation of the unknown, that tiny tingle of ecstatic fear, when you see a glossy, studio-produced 50 Shades of Gray movie. It will be clean and polished and filled with pretty people who blush appropriately anytime the conversation goes south of the anatomical equator.

It's hard sometimes to see past the ridicule and the derision. But if you can, you might be able to locate that old familiar bell of discovery. You know the one. Go ahead … jingle it.