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Don't like them on a whole though just some you have to check out.
Also, I quite like some of the body horror stuff like early Cronenberg and find some of the make up very impressive.
i would on the other hand quite like to see the human centipede because that seems to have been done with a certain amount of humour. i love most horror films but this kind of thing doesn't seem to be about anything that i can recognise as horror 'values', it's all gross-out and no brain.
ie gore and squemaishness, and just taking it to its logical conclusion
unless they're actually psychopaths. i think it's more an issue of pushing your limits and trying to look hard. a bit like /b/, but still actually without the sense of humour.
it's like when you see a really graphic video on the internet and you know you shouldn't watch it but you do anyway. there's something compelling about it
if the only way you have of grabbing your viewers' attention is by resorting to the maybe inherently human carcrash syndrome (as you're saying, you know you shouldn't watch, BUT...) then maybe you don't have any place in film making
if there is a torture scene in an otherwise decent film then that's fine, it's a way of making a point, but an entire film with just that seems so utterly POINTLESS. and don't even say it's still entertaining, cause you know half the audience will be looking away at all the crucial moments, but still bragging that they sat through the film
there's quite a gap between watching Saw (or even Guinea Pig) and watching say, the videos those Ukrainian murderers made.
and are not psychopaths soooooo....
it's not amazing and the Evil Guy is just Evil because he's Evil you know, but I did enjoy it and I found it pretty unnerving. it's a very cold film, it's certainly not very tongue-in-cheek*
*aside from the literal tongues in ASS CHEEKS LOLFNsdjidfzzz
Though the car chase sequence is pretty funny. :D
i don't like Eli Roth's films because there's a total absence of tension, they're boring visually and they aren't especially provocative after the sort of thing that was being made in the 70s and 80s in Italy and Japan (which Roth is totally aware of, it's not like his films are an 'accident' or anything)
I've enjoyed some of the older Italian and Japanese films because of the creative make-up, aesthetics or just an admiration for how sleazy and exploitative it's possible to be, but that sort of thing reached a creative dead end decades ago and I don't have any interest in watching new ones.
I've enjoyed a few films labelled as 'torture porn' but mostly there's far more to those movies than the label suggests (ie Saw); it's disingenuous to link porn and horror cinema in such a way.
for so many reasons. i was going to go into massive detail here but i might as well write a blog post. OH YES, A BLOG POST. I AM A WANKER.
but it's very rare that actual hardcore porn and horror have been mixed, because you watch them with totally different intentions. there were a few horror/porn crossovers made in the 70s, but they all performed poorly financially. as soon as somebody starts watching something for a pornographic purpose any cinematic aspect becomes entirely irrelevant.
and the kind of exploitation of certain human traits that go with it
torture can't be equated to sex like this though - sex in porn is unsimulated and the viewer (generally) watches with a single intent.
the only films that rely entirely on torture scenes are the Japanese ones like Guinea Pig - which are famous mostly for the stories surrounding them. they're immensely profitable because they can be made for virtually nothing and sold through notoriety alone. but even then - the 'torture' isn't real and a lot of the fascination comes from how it's possible to fake it. Even the Japanese started making less realistic looking movies after a while because continuing to make visually uninteresting movies leads to a drop in interest.
even if it's only a few scenes, in many cases it's still the main focus of the film and all that the film makers seem to have really cared about.
also i don't think you can really take the simulation argument that far – i mean, i've never watched much porn, but isn't the pleasure aspect a significant part of it? as in, the viewer wants to see some moaning and hear some "OH BABY, YEAH!"s in order to feel that the film lives up to the porn standard. that will be simulated. and it won't always look very real. whereas in the torture scenes of the "horror" films we're talking about, the torture and general physical abuse might *look* very real (hence why people turn away. if it didn't look real and kind of feel real, they wouldn't be bothered) but we know at some level that it's not. so they're only simulating different things, really.
their intentions are completely different. those scenes are viewed within a context provided by the rest of the film.
the actual acts within porn aren't simulated - maybe some aspects of porn are exaggerated for effect but the key action has to be real.
just because you found the narrative or aesthetics uninteresting doesn't mean they're entirely absent or indeed uninteresting for all viewers.
doesn't even have to be conscious. i just don't buy it, i really don't
what makes these movies anymore exploitative than, say The Last House On The Left? films like Saw or Hostel are a far more comfortable viewing experience than that. all horror relies on repulsion or unease to some extent.
especially when you use last house on the left as an example. but as a very devoted horror fan (like, i'm very emotionally involved) i take issue with the films that seem to have no real story to tell. i didn't give a shit about the "story" in saw when i watched it, and i don't see how anyone would watch a torture porn film for THE STORY. it's not the point of it. the big difference with last house on the left and other similar things, is that it deals with a lot of traditional horror issues, and in what at the time must have been considered pretty new ways of doing that. it knows what it is. whereas something like i know who killed me, really doesn't.
if you want to talk about i spit on your grave though, then you have a case.
but there IS a plot to the Saw films - my interest in them is only down to the construction of the traps etc. they're just a mild diversion really.
personally i don't really find the Saw films shocking at all; there's very little gore compared to 70s or 80s films, there's no moral provocation and there isn't much in the way of lingering over pain: it's mostly the lead-up to pain that's shown.
Last House On The Left and I Spit On Your Grave aren't really very different from each other I don't think. Certainly the narratives of both are far more simplistic than the Saw movies.
I've not seen the Lohan film
Is Cary Elwes' performance. Such a comically bad film.
Where does stuff like House of 1,000 Corpses come into this argument?
i hadn't really thought about house of 1000 corpses. i think it's mostly shit, but then i do have an unhealthy obsession with the texas chain saw massacre.
i didn't really notice it tbh
by far the worst thing about Saw is the editing.
even by horror movie standards, that's just APPALLING.
The double feature Grindhouse (2007), produced and directed by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, has also been considered part of the trend, as has the Lindsay Lohan thriller I Know Who Killed Me (2007)
really really really really bad
and like, there are about 70 different stories in there and they can't decide which one to go with
i've been thinking recently about how shit the horror genre is nowadays.
i'm sure there's loads of super obscurist stuff that people will rate, but it feels like a dead genre in fairly mainstream multiplex/arthouse terms
anything you could recommend?
also...when i serve people torture porn dvd's at work, it makes me see them in a really weired way. like they're a bit perverted. one thing to watch it at the cinema, one thing to see it on telly, but it's another to go to HMV and hand over your cash so it can take a place on your shelf and be ready and waiting for any time you want to see it. feels odd.
its a type of lovecraftian horror, except more creeping. things look perfectly alright, until you look too closely into the background... and see a tall chap in a suit. faceless. and then his head jerks towards the camera.
in the style of the blair witch but still good
in regards actual films, the movie of at the mountains of madness is being made, as well as a movie of john dies at the end.
this prolly counts as obscure i guess
creepy tension....that's what horror should be.
creepy tension, psychological headsmash or knowing genre wink. bludgeoning gore-blitz is not for me
if what's currently being made makes money there's no reason to change the formula
of course they make money and it's an easy win for studios...that makes it even more depressing, that people are happy to be served up any old shit.
but it's far from a dead genre at mainstream level.
misread your original post slightly, sorry about that
i dont think its true in terms of creativity either
that Martyrs is a terrible film?
...Thirst. Although not sure it qualifies as Horror. Definitely not torture porn.
consider it on The List
I find the idea of torture porn pretty disgusting.
You can argue as much as you want, but the majority of these films are for infantile gore fanatics who like to get their kicks watching people suffer for 90 mins.
I definitely wouldn't put Cronenberg in with the torture porn crowd- he's one of the few horror related directors who actually have idea driven films. I haven't seen all of his films but I didn't think he was one for torture scenes. Maybe I'm wrong.
Also, I think you could probably see a correlation between the emergence of the internet and the re-emergence of these kinda films. I can't comment on the older 'torture porn' films as I don't know of them.
Link was the whole body horror/make-up is similar to some of the older torture horror style stuff like Flowers of Flesh and Blood and that Merzbow harakiri film.
which is a clever and tense film driven by contrived violence. If all you saw was the gore, you weren't paying attention.
However, I agree that Saw 2 - 50 Million, Hostel etc. are the equivalent of trying to top each other's dead baby jokes.
still boring, though.
Wonder if there's much academic response to torture porn. I'd like to see a convincing argument for it.
guess it's too new still. i'm sure hundreds of pages could be written about the phrase "torture porn" alone though
ps: i'm glad you agree
probably boring/pointless tho.
That phrase is pretty much just a marketing gimmick/lazy journalism but yeah sure someone could write some stuff about it if they cared enough.
These movies are pretty bad cinematically tho, mostly nowhere near extreme enough in the right ways, too mean-spirited and unimaginative and not genuinely transgressive or subversive or innovative like the classics they shamelessly rip off, or new gore/'extreme' cinema from other countries in recent years.
how they're unimaginative and not very well made
saw him interviewed in some thing about Cannibal Holocaust and he seems to be like the last person in the world who believes (or wants to believe) it's 'real'.
(i mean, the parts of it that aren't real of course.)
and secondly, Eli Roth is dating Peaches Geldolf. Of course he's a complete idiot. I'll forgive him for his turn in Inglourious Basterds.
i can't think of many things that are more graphic.
Plus the overall horrible atmosphere and the use of real animal killing to increase the sense of plausibility of the rest makes it more intense/unpleasent than most modern slick horror movies.
which is probably not the best idea psychologically speaking considering the images that come with it :)
one of my favourites
should have waited until the end from what you say
think there was a massive build-up to it as well 'LIKE OMG WE GOT A COPY OF CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST!' which probably ruined watching it as a an Actual Good Film
You gonna go see We Are What We Are? I am, but I've decided to go and see it during the day because I'm a pussy.
tell me more plz
Essentially it's a Mexican film about a family of cannibals, but the twist is they need to eat human meat to live. The father of the family does all the, ahem, meat preparation but then dies suddenly, leaving his teenage children to fend for themselves in a world they've never really been a part of. Lots of critical comparisons to Let The Right One In, I'd guess because it's foreign language (ie not English), the protaganists are children and the villiany isn't black and white.
let me know what you think of when you've seen it
ditto for nice_squirrelvvvvvvvvvvvv
exciting. I do hope it's not too scary.
Right, so... this will probably be a bit muddled but it isn't an essay
Again, just because you didn't enjoy these films doesn't mean that the filmmakers intent is entirely absent.
There's no way a film called "I Know Who Killed Me" that involves Lindsay Lohan walking around in a state of half-death isn't totally devoid of humour, however bad the execution is.
With regards to Saw:
"You want to see every blood-spattering, overly graphic detail of their bodies being ripped apart"
You're seeing something that isn't there: almost all of the torture in Saw is entirely psychological. There aren't really any scenes showing extended physical torture (in the first 2 at least, that's all I've seen) and almost all the pain shown on screen is, as you say, caused indirectly. The vast majority of the torture is in the form of forcing people to act contrary to their nature, and that's where the horror element comes in. It's perhaps the only horrifying thing about Saw: isn't a particularly horrifying film for me as it's clearly structured; there are time limits set, it's made clear who the victims will be, they're locked in small rooms - there aren't really any uncertainties or voids. There's a clear narrative throughout the Saw films, so the only real mystery is who will survive and how. If anything the films rely too much on their plots as it means they can't dwell on the actual horror for very long. The actual depiction of torture is probably the most inessential part of the Saw films as far as the drive of the narrative is concerned.
The construction of the traps and the identity of the victims in the Saw films are attempts at ironic humour - it's not exactly sophisticated or particularly funny but again, they aren't absent just because you didn't enjoy the film. The intent is there.
There are films that do dispense almost entirely with plot to depict lengthy graphic torture - the aforementioned Guinea Pig films and their followers - but they're a niche within a niche. They're interesting in terms of pushing the boundaries of what is and isn't acceptable and their lack of a context is what makes them so powerful; they're merely the logical conclusion of the sort of graphic body horror that people like Cronenberg and Carpenter were making at the end of the 70s/start of the 80s. Some might see it as simply daring the audience to sit through graphic violence, but to achieve the full effect with regard to confounding audience expectations and the way the films shape perceptions and viewpoints suggest they're a lot more intelligent than just pointing and shooting; the use of zooms and framing is all very calculated. They're very cinematic. I think it's telling that these films have really only been made in Japan: there'll be plenty of academic writing on the cultural aspect of the subject in any study of modern Japanese horror films, I'm sure.
man, i love these debates though.
I agree about the horror being derived from the atmosphere/psychological rather than the visual, but isn't that just as bad? Seeing someone in extreme distress every 10 minutes- is that what constitutes entertainment?
I couldn't see much humour- seemed more grisly than playful.
and the bad guys were a bunch of people who worked for an insurance company looking for loopholes so they didnt have to pay out which was pretty humorous i thought
ida thunk you could argue that they were engaging w/ the slasher genre and updating it to the kind of thing that was fashionable in horror when they made the first one which isnt really that gruesome
or indeed any sort of drama that involves human misery. you're using the name 'malick' - what would Badlands or Days Of Heaven be without any human suffering?
i don't really get your point.
i dont like that i thought badlands was kinda boring and really enjoyed the richard gere one i just cant bring myself to watch colin farrell in pocahontas
maybe i just got hypnotised by martin sheen's totally bitchin' hair though
i haven't seen the colin farrell one yet for the same reasons
Days of Heaven is the greatest ever
it was about half an hour in and I was tired.
i knew somebody was going to bring up 'but loads of films have human suffering in them!!'.
The thing is, there's an actual point to the violence in the films you just mentioned-there's actual context. There doesn't seem to be any worthwhile intention, except to titillate the audience.
I've seen my fair share of quite nasty films- but the ones I tend to go for usually have some point to them.
and The New World is one of the best films of the last 10 years. You should watch it.
I think The Thin Red Line is probably his best film, though
The vast majority of the torture is in the form of forcing people to act contrary to their nature, and that's where the horror element comes in.
given that a point is a fairly vague thing to demand from something like this i dont really see why what ive quoted isnt a valid enough one for the violence
it may not be v sophisticated or mindblowing and noones really claiming it is but thats really just a matter of taste rather than there being anything inherently wrong with it
as absurd as it is to compare the two, Badlands lets the viewer identify with the victims far less than the Saw films do. The narrative in Saw means the viewer is inclined to hope for the preservation of several of the victims and indeed the viewer is frequently personified on screen by victims.
Saw may place itself in a genre ghetto rather more firmly than Badlands does, but it doesn't necessarily make it intellectually irrelevant.
Of course you do...
Shame as Mulholland Books is usually excellent.
one of those opinion column ones where the whole 'joke' is that a normal person is writing an opinion column about something normal
and the only one I've seen after was Saw 5. It had a certain Crystal Maze quality to it, with the punishment for losing being death. It was terrible. Overall, I wouldn't class them as 'torture porn' in any way.
I only saw the first 10 minutes or so of Hostel, and I gave before I got to much of the GORE
The Human Centipede doesn't look like a torture porn film, either really. It looks like it continues more in the tradition of mad scientist films, which started way back when with Frankenstein probably.
other than that, all I can add is I don't like it as a 'genre' in its purist form because a film that relies entirely on torture isn't likely to have any dramatic tension or good characters whatever else.
also: while there maybe hasn't been much crossover between hardcore porn and horror, but there have been absolutely millions with very lengthy softcore action. this may be relevant in some way.
some actual craft and tension in the way it built up the threat. The rest just seem like atmosphere free set-pieces with no kind of plot or characterisation (both usually pretty hokey in horror but still there).
Other classic horror films sure have set-pieces which are probably more hardcore in the torture stakes but most of those are either about crushing anticipation or ridiculous OTT gore punchlines.
There's some point to them.
more than physical torture....but i think that you are still missing an important and negative aspect.
i.e. its all about sadism....isnt it?
and that is what is more damaging to the human soul, watching sadistic malice with the protagonist almost becoming a sort of antihero for some