Torture Porn for the Jaded Masses

November 13, 2013
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It’s argued that the first ever horror movie was Le Manoir du Diable in 1896, a short film where a bat flies into a castle and transforms into the Devil. Perhaps the viewers of early cinema got a good scare out of the special effects, but the horror movie buff a century later is not satisfied unless limbs are torn from their sockets, followed by a prolonged, graphic rape scene.

Every genre has its taboos depending on what’s culturally acceptable at the time. A few years ago it was impossible to show a rape scene without causing controversy and attacks from censors, but today there’s no problem featuring this heinous act as the most central scene of the film.

Bloody sex

The 60s and 70s were decades of cultural revolution in the States and cinema followed suit by not shying away from showing whatever the Motion Picture Association of America would let them. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) andI Spit on Your Grave (1978) are perfect examples of this.

They both feature stomach churning violence and horrifying special effects for their times. But this wasn’t enough. We’ve now entered the 21st century and both of these horror movies have seen remakes and sequels (I Spit on Your Grave 2 is scheduled for 2014), where the violence had to be kicked up a few levels to cater to the contemporary viewers.

A new sub-genre of horror has now entered the scene – torture porn. These films relish and glorify violence to the point where the protagonists for most of the movie are soaked in blood.

English language movies dominated the horror genre for decades, but the Japanese and the French have managed to carve out a big chunk of the market loved by fans of gore. Violence has reached unprecedented heights and it seems like there are no taboos impossible to break.

The French especially have staked their claim in the torture porn genre with titles like Martyrs, Irreversible, Frontier(s), Inside, and Haute Tension. It’s safe to say that if there’s anything you haven’t seen in a horror flick before, you are sure to find it in these ones.

Men, women, and children are tortured and maimed to levels never quite seen before. Even the most jaded horror fan is likely to find scenes that are simply too much.

The obvious question that comes to mind when looking at how horror cinema has progressed over the years is: when did we become so numb to violence?

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