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Well, I for one would be happier if the sex in R movies could be one quarter as explicit as the violence. Come on: Miserable death versus sweet lovin' -- which do you prefer?


i definitely agree that movies today are no more violent, sadistic, or gory than they have been in the past -- but the fact that these films are now being produced by major studios and distributed on thousands of screens, not to mention banking #1 for a weekend or two, is a HUGE shift.

the original TCM and LHOTL and CANNIBAL FEROX -- all nasty, mean, and in their own way quite brilliant pieces of film. but they weren't playing in every mall in america and advertised on buses -- they were dirty, underground films that found their audience because of their quality. the fact that SAW III is as nasty as it is and #1 at the B.O., following stellar performances for the TCM remake and sequel, HOUSE OF WAX, HOSTEL, and god knows how many other of the more brutal films to come out in recent years, is significant. where's this appetite coming from? do you really think that every teen in america is just bored with the SCREAM trilogy and wants to see bodies being flayed?

i'd argue that the audience today for this kind of entertainment is much larger and much less sensitive to images of a graphic nature and general sadism, and that the causes of this desensitization might be much deeper than we'd like to think. i don't think that 9/11 and the prevalence of torture and carnage in the news since should be dismissed too easily -- and i don't think that it's a coincidence that our horror movies today are more brutal than they've been since the early seventies.

great piece, as ever. i can't believe you sat through CHAOS -- i had to go to a screening of it and nearly left. but i did get to sit in front of Jack Ketchum! what's next? MURDER-SET-PIECES? ugh...


"a knife in a vagina in an assault to womanhood, no matter how you slice it."
oh god ick. but kudos for the pun!


This contains spoilers:

I saw Saw III. I actually liked it a bit (PIGGIES!!!). However, I thought it was the same exact thing as the past two. Not to mention the fact that there were 23423 flashbacks (I don't care what happened to the detective in the bathroom last movie, please, k, thanks). I'm just wondering what they're going to do for Saw IV... now that Jigsaw's dead. My guess, Jigsaw hired someone with a hernia or whatever in his brain to play him and he died, but Jigsaw lived. NO. I HAVE IT! The daughter that was kidnapped at the end was REALLY Jigsaw!!! I WIN.


I understand the difference between being entertained by these movies for their outrageous content and enjoying these movies for the same reason; and you did a good job of relaying that message.

However, I was quite surprised that you stated if this medium is used by sicko's for a form of catharsis, then the better for it. What's to say that this medium isn't the match to the lighter fluid for others? It's the "If you love me you'll do it" argument...since either side can present the same argument, it negates itself.

Okay, I'm logical enough to realize that most people won't be affected negatively or positively by these movies. When they finish watching, it's just that. Done.

But as a woman, and having read the before mentioned violence towards women(knive in vagina, etc.)and also as someone who is studying Criminology....Well, how to say this, the word desensitized came into play, and yes we all are.

I would ask anyone who watches these movies to look online at some real victims of violent crime, of these serial killers....then picture your sister/wife/girlfriend/mother's face on that victim.... and then think about the sting of a papercut...

That should put things in perspective, and for a moment desensitize anyone, for at least long enough, hopefully to realize that people's lives have actually ended these ways. Then when you're finished looking, it's just that . Done.


There was nothing clever about this movie. It was almost funny how ridiculous it was.

But then again, I was a wee bit scared when I got home alone afterwards that I went right to bed. EEK!


Actually, I've been having visions of people with pig heads since seeing Saw III, so maybe I'm more affected than I thought.

As far as Passion goes, I can see how the torture porn label fits. Surely, the film assumes that you already know the story and so really, the only unique thing it has to offer is gratuitious violence. Sounds torture porny to me!


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I don't lay a judgment that anyone is "sick" because of what they do creatively, or what they enjoy in terms of art, film, etcetera.

However, I am totally over "torture porn" as a genre. I saw House of 1000 Corpses, liked it OK...I'm not anti-gore necessarily.

Then I got less than 1/3 of the way through "The Devil's Rejects" and stopped watching it, vowing never, ever to watch the rest. All of my friends luuuurve that movie. I've left parties to avoid seeing any more of it than what I've already seen.

Why? Because I won't pay money to watch (or, hell, even watch for free) rape sequences that do nothing to advance plot or establish character. The only -- ONLY -- point of the "give me head at gunpoint" sequence in the motel room was to have a sequence in the movie where the Christian folksinger-type lady had to give the crazy serial killer head. In the next scene, they're dead anyway; you don't even see her murdered. It's a throwaway. Rape isn't -- or shouldn't be -- a throwaway. I lost a whole shitload of respect for Rob Zombie at that point, especially after I had people questioning my decision never to watch it again saying "Huh? There's no rape scene in that movie."

I guess at this point, it's gotta be knife in vagina to be rape in a horror film.



Why is everyone all of a sudden talking about 'Torture Porn'. It's called Exploitation and has been around since the 70's.

Examples: I spit On Your Grave, Last House On The Left, Ilsa She-Wolf Of The SS, etc.

Other than that, good to see a revival of the genre.

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I have to disagree on labeling Passion as torture porn. By calling it that, you're implying that the only reason it exists is to excite people with violence. But there is a message underneath all that and the violence in Passion does serve a purpose.

I'm not a huge fan of the torture porn label, as it seems pretty condescending and an easy way for people to write off movies. However, it is getting a bit harder to defend my position with movies such as Saw IV and others being released.

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