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Topic: Torture as Horror

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Subject: Torture as Horror
Date Posted: 4/10/2008 4:22 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2006
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Is anyone else fed up with torture being passed off as horror? I have really had it with movies and books that depict vivid torture scenes and call themselves "horror." I think it's giving the genre a bad name. Of course, I don't know what category to put those films & books in, but I wouldn't put them in horror. Call me a purist, but I miss the days of good old monster movies.

Date Posted: 4/10/2008 8:08 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2005
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Yes. Well said.

Date Posted: 4/10/2008 9:32 PM ET
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I agree. I love a good horror movie but can't watch ones with torture scenes. Seems like most have them. I can't understand how watching someone being tortured is entertainment.
Date Posted: 4/10/2008 10:45 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2007
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I with ya. I like scary movies or books, but dont like at all what I refer to as gore or slasher movies.

Date Posted: 4/11/2008 2:27 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2007
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I think torture is a subcategory of horror.  Just like slasher and exploitation. 

Sara- I like your rob zombie icons.  Have you seen his movies?  I like him as a director.

 

Date Posted: 4/11/2008 4:16 PM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
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I think it's fine to not like "torture porn" or gory movies, but I do think they are most appropriately categorized as horror.

OP Leigh, was Cloverfield a modern version of the old monster movies you miss?

Date Posted: 4/11/2008 4:34 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2006
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Yes, it was - I enjoyed everything about "Cloverfield" except for the end and the way it was shot. I felt like I was watching "The Blair Witch Project" all over again.

I looked up the defintion of "horror": Inspiring painful and intense fear, dread, or dismay. Okay, I'll concede that torture of another human being does that to me, but I wish moviemakers would quit making films like that. How many times do you need to watch a girl being raped and having her fingernails removed with pliers in front of her boyfriend?


I think a major facet of horror is hope. You're obviously supposed to identify with the main character, but a lot of times it seems there is no hope for him/her. When they're put into a situation where they're tied down to a chair and getting their eyes gouged out and their achilles tendons sliced open, the viewer kind of loses hope for their survival. I guess I more accurately miss hope for survival in horror.

Date Posted: 4/11/2008 6:39 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
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I agree. I think torture has its place - mostly in movies placed in the medieval or renaissance era, like in Elizabeth the Golden Age. But I don't think it should really classify as "horror". I have seen movies that have done perfectly well without any extremly graphic or gory scenes, and I think if a director feels his movie needs something like sexual exploitation to make his movie a hit, then there's probably something wrong with the movie to begin with. Most of the really, REALLY gory horror movies only have gore because they are severely lacking in both plot and acting skills.

Date Posted: 4/11/2008 10:13 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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I enjoyed the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the first Saw and both Hostel movies and both the original & remake of Hills Have Eyes, so I guess I like "torture porn", but it definitely has its limits.  The problem is that when Hollywood finds one thing that makes a lot of money they beat it to death with copycats (see monster movies in the 30's, slashers in the 80's etc) which would account for the plethora of post-Saw torture porn flix.  Horror definitely has a ton of subgenres (just check Netflix for at last 15 subgenres) and torture is definitely one of them.  But just adding excessive torture sequences without some plot or good dialogue or likable characters is like adding sex scene to romance or fart jokes to a comedy; they can add to the story or they can weigh it down.

Sara, just wondering which of Rob Zombies movies you like if you don't like gorey movies?



Last Edited on: 4/11/08 10:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/11/2008 11:37 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2007
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I guess its to each their own.  I don't mind exploitation but for some reason I didn't like hostel and their sequels and I watched the first two saws.  But I'll watch I spit on your grave and Cannibal Holocaust.  I'm a b grade horror junkie as well.

Date Posted: 4/12/2008 11:03 AM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2006
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Yep I agree. Anyone used to watch Creature Double Feature when they were a kid?Man I miss those days:)

Stacy

Date Posted: 4/12/2008 11:41 AM ET
Member Since: 8/22/2005
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Heck yeah, I'm tired of torture and gore being passed off as horror.  The JF Gonzalez book just about did me in as far as reading horror books,  Leisure Horror books in particular.  I want to be scared, well I'd settle for slightly spooked, but I don't need to be grossed out.  I don't mind some gore but lately seems lots of authors are going way of the top with it...of course this is JMHO.

When I was a kid I used to love the creature feature on Saturdays with Dr. Pall Bearer.  I went to a spook house for kids and he was there signing autographs and taking pictures, I wouldn't go near him. 

Date Posted: 4/12/2008 4:28 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2007
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As far as Rob's movies go, I have seen The Devils Rejects and Halloween. And yes I only watched them because Rob directed them.  I didnt watch House of 1000 Corpses. My dh and dd watched it and told me I probably shouldnt watch it, cuz it was way too over the top for me. Which must have meant it probably was pretty bad, cuz my dh thinks I'm a baby when it comes to horror/gore movies. He loves that stuff.

Date Posted: 4/12/2008 6:47 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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yikes...I Spit on Your Grave is one movie I have stayed well away from, just because of its rep.  My b-horror movie fan friends will watch it, but I'll only hang out with them on Bela Lugosi or Vincent Price night.  And I do wish they'd make more supernatural/monster movies, something in the vein of Cat People(the Val Lewton one) or The Uninvited or The Black Cat.

Date Posted: 4/12/2008 7:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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Also, to all my other monster movie fans, there's a remake of The Wolf Man coming out in 2009.

Date Posted: 4/13/2008 1:35 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2007
Posts: 3,022
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I do think they need to make more traditional horror.  I like most, not a fan of hostel but to each their own.  I'm just tired of the remakes lately of old horror movies.  I was kind of upset that rob zombie was remaking halloween.  It turned out pretty good, didn't necessarily follow the series but it was good.

 

Date Posted: 4/13/2008 11:12 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2006
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When I was in my late teens, my local drive-in would show those sexploitation horrors all the time.  I had no idea about that genre of movie until seeing Last House on the Left and They Call Her One-Eye - both in one night.  By the end of the movies, I was in tears and actually felt sick.  I now  won't see a movie where torture/rape is included in the plot.. I remember seeing the original Texas Chainsaw at the same drive-in and that bothered me also. What I remember most about that one was how much & how loudly that poor actress screamed through almost the entire movie - and of course watching in a drive-in the screams were that much louder.

Date Posted: 4/13/2008 12:13 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2006
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Bettyjean, I hear you - after I watched "The Hills Have Eyes" (the remake), I literally got sick to my stomach. I won't watch a movie with rape in it, either - if I can help it. Why see something I can never unsee?

I'm a fan of the B-grade horror, too - it's a bit more unrealistic and that's what's so great about it. When I was 10, my father used to joke that the ones getting killed in the movies were always the ones to "deserve" it (I use that word loosely -my father certainly didn't want anyone to die in real life) - i.e. those two were having underage sex, those three were drinking, those others were using drugs, etc. (Keep in mind that he was just trying to keep me on the straight-and-narrow -- I know it wasn't fear of being slashed that kept me from being a "good" girl growing up, but I think it helped). Now, it seems that "good" people are the targets in horror with no rhyme or reason for why they're attacked. I use "The Hills Have Eyes" as an example. I haven't read much about "The Strangers," but that seems to be in the same vein, too.

Date Posted: 4/13/2008 1:02 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2007
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As far as b-grade, I'm a huge fan of Charles Band and Full Moon Entertainment.  Though I like their older movies better (i.e. Puppet masters, Subspecies, and Trancers are a few).  But they are low grade that I love.

Date Posted: 4/13/2008 6:39 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2007
Posts: 543
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I'm with you Leigh.

There's nothing horrific about these types of movies, the main purpose (IMO) is to gross out the audience as much as possible. I understand horror is all about taking the audience to the edge of what's morally acceptable in today's society, but I think just grossing you out for the sake of grossness is cheap and just makes everyone think even less of the horror genre.

Although I'm disgusted with this subgenre of horror as a whole, there have been some exceptions in this category that I liked. Saw I and II and the remake of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Even the first Hills have Eyes was okay, but when the Hostel movies came out it was just *bad* and that's when I realized that they need to stop right there.Ugh.

Date Posted: 6/17/2008 6:08 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2008
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I would categorize the TCM remake as a slasher flick, not really torture, IMHO. I thought the original TCM was very good. I was creeped out because you could feel the fear of the lead actress. And, it was mostly done during the day that made it even better. You never knew when something was going to happen because events weren't limited to the night.

 

Date Posted: 6/18/2008 9:04 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,928
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I just last night watched the Japanese horror movie "Audition" which has an extremely graphic torture scene, one that directors Rob Zombie and John Landis said they found disturbing.  However, the torture sequence comes at the end of the film, after a careful and brilliantly paced build-up of suspense like something out of a Hitchcock movie.  It surprised me because, even though I enjoy "torture porn" movies like Hostel they don't scare me the way some less graphic or non-graphic movies do (i.e. The Orphanage, Rosemary's Baby).  So it is possible for a horror movie with extensive scenes of toture to do more than just shock or disgust.  Movies like Audition and also The Last House on the Left succeed as suspense stories and also as commentary on society and human nature.

Of course, a lot of the dreck that's produced these days is crap, whatever genre it falls under, and there's really no redeeming quality in any of the Saw sequels.

Date Posted: 6/18/2008 2:11 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2007
Posts: 3,022
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Ohhh!  I forgot about audition!  Creepy movie!  I heard a lot of the japenese movies out there (Ju-on and those) are really good.  Better than the american remakes.

See, I like all kinds of horror.  Whether it's slasher, torture, exploitation, or good old fashion monster movies.  All depends on my mood.  I agree that some of the best horror can be the nongraphic. 

Date Posted: 6/19/2008 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2006
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Oh man I love the b  horror movies from the 80's:)

 

Stacy

Date Posted: 6/19/2008 7:35 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
Posts: 724
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I don't get into the gorey type of horror films either, I much prefer films that mess with you on a psychological level (such as Jacob's Ladder and The Others). I am also a huge Vincent Price fan, as well as a lot of older horror films. I loved the original versions of The Haunting, House on Haunted Hill and The Innocents.  As a kid, I remember staying up very late to watch Chiller Theater, whuch thrilled me to no end. I enjoy an evil character that has some sort of method to his madness, like Hannibal Lecter or Pinhead. I miss the old school horror as well!

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