A make-up artist who works in horror films is facing obscenity charges over a short film he made in 2007, raising questions about what constitutes art, and what's over the line.

Six years ago, Remy Couture produced a short film called Inner Depravity, a gory mix of sexual assault and graphic violence.

Couture said he tried to pack in everything in "ten minutes with the money I have."

His video became an underground sensation, but some found it too shocking, even by Internet standards.

Interpol got involved and Montreal police raided his studio.

"They tried to probably find some corpses or...I don't know what," said Couture, who has also worked on a few Hollywood movies, including the Oscar-nominated Barney's Version.

He was charged with the production of obscene material for depictions of graphic sexual violence.

Couture said he doesn't understand why.

"You can see similar things in big budget movies," he said. "Why is mine worse than others? I don't know."

Movie critic and horror film aficionado Alexandre Duguay says Couture's short may be offensive, but doesn't qualify as obscene, compared to a movie like The Exorcist, which came out 40 years ago.

"In some ways, he pushed some boundaries because it is shocking what you can see, but it's in an artistic way," said Duguay, who writes for the alternative weekly Voir.

While the prosecution in the case declined to be interviewed. Veronique Robert, Couture's defence lawyer, said it's the first time she has seen someone facing obscenity charges for a horror film.

She will argue in court that an artistic production cannot be considered obscene.

Couture's trial is scheduled to get under way in late April, three years after his arrest.