Critics at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival unleashed vitriol on Deborah Kampmeier’s Hounddog, a trite rehash of second-rate Tennessee Williams and Harper Lee Southern Gothic. Why single out this film when the year before they heaped praise on Black Snake Moan, a far more odious exploitation of sexual and racial stereotypes and rape fantasies? Maybe it was Hounddog’s opening scene, in which precocious prepubescent Lewellen (Dakota Fanning) plays show-and-tell (though nothing is seen) with a local boy. Had the film merely depicted her brutal rape (glimpse of her impaling her hand on a nail) at the hands of a teenage pedophile (with a mass of acne spelling out “I am a rapist”), it might not have outraged festivalgoers, let alone the bands of moral scolds now organizing boycotts against the release of this apparently re-edited version. Those undaunted or attracted by the hysteria will wonder what the fuss is about as they discover that Hounddog’s biggest offense is Fanning’s repeated renditions of the title Elvis tune.
UPDATE: After the Phoenix went to press, critics were informed that Hounddog's Boston release had been cancelled. No further information was immediately available.