Getting Aroused by Torture Porn

Back in “Horror Porn and Prick Flicks,” I tried to deal with the fact that some genre fans repudiate the phrase “Torture Porn.” Chris Stangl of The Exploding Kinetoscope objects that the term is not a “meaningful genre designation,” and Alan Jones calls it a “lazy phrase.”

Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. The real question is whether the phrase is a useful and accurate description of the films it is used to describe. Is “Torture Porn,” in fact, pornographic?

The answer, at least according to Andrea Colleen in “Ode to the Sexiness of Horror Movie Masters,” is an enthusiastic – one might even say, an erotically aroused – “Yes! YES! Oh God…YESSSSSSSSSS!!”

There are also many dynamic young film makers like Eli Roth, who in addition to being charming and very cute, also creates death scenes that are like sex. The scene in Hostel I where Jay Hernandez is tied to a chair and begging in German [sighs dreamily] between the build up and the gore it’s a wet dream come true.

For me, the important point here is that this is coming from a fan, not a detractor. The text reads almost like a parody of an uptight critic’s worst fears regarding fan reaction to horror. Of course, we should not generalize from a single example, but Colleen insists she is not alone: “You may be thinking that I’m strange, having all this sexual attraction to horror – but I am far from the only one.”

In any case, those who object to the “Torture Porn” terminology may have to rethink their arguments if the fans are enjoying the films on precisely the level that the phrase implies.

About the Author

Steve Biodrowski

Cinefantastique's Los Angeles Correspondent from 1987 to 1993 and West Coast Editor from 1993 to 1999. Currently the webmaster of Cinefantastique Online, I also run a website called Hollywood Gothique that covers Halloween Horror and Sci-Fi Cinema Events in the Los Angeles area.

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