Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Countdown to Halloween Day 16 -- Torture Films

ModifierTorture Films
Type:  Negative

Let me start by saying that yes, this is the sub-genre that is actually referred to as "Torture Porn" by most critics.  And while I am not a fan of the sub-genre on the whole, I find the superior tone and air of condemnation inherent in the label to be off-putting.  The label carries with it a judgement that any film featuring characters undergoing torture is automatically demonstrating torture for torture's sake, with no underlying message or point.  And while that may describe the majority of Torture films, there are at least a handful of films that have received the name which I would argue have merit beyond their gore-drenched scenes. 

The basic Torture film involves a person (or group of people) being held captive by someone who subjects them to some form of torture as a means to an end, even if that end is just satisfying the torturer's blood lust. The torture may be straightforward, but there are quite a few films wherein the torture is not only more complex, but targeted towards each victim (see: the Saw franchise).

My desire to view Torture films is fairly low.  I often find them unsettling, especially with the unfortunate tendency to showcase violence towards scantily clad women in a way that makes the "torture porn" epithet all too appropriate.  In order for a Torture film to capture my interest, it has to have a plot outside of just torture or, at the very least, portray some innovation in the torture itself; (see, again, the Saw franchise).

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