September 2011

The Tortured Genre of Torture Porn

With the release of Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence, I start to question the purpose in this over-played, over-rated sub-genre.

The sub-genre commonly referred to as "torture porn" is generally considered any horror movie in which the antagonist tortured and/or mutilates their victims, often without that redeeming bit at the end that returns some small slice of the audience's humanity to them when they leave the theater. Coined "torture porn", there's often a psycho-sexual component to the gruesomeness, if not for the characters in the film than for the audience members that consider themselves fans of depravity. With the release of the first Saw film, we watched the former star of the Princess Bride, Cary Elwes, cut off his own foot with a saw (hence the name) after a number of people in strange circumstances died in equally visceral ways. The novelty of this first film, and the cerebral component to it (attempting to decipher the sequence of the story and the purpose of the killer), make it a cut above the rest. However, the genre has degraded in subsequent films, as well as others just as depraved but with even less ingenuity, into one of valueless shock closer to rubbernecking on a highway as you pass an injury accident to actually taking in a "film". Point in case, the Human Centipede: First Sequence, which has a maniacal German doctor sewing victim's mouths to other victim's anuses, was evidently popular enough that the director released a bigger budget sequel to it yesterday, Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence. Although the premise sounds like something some angsty stoned teenager dreamed up in his garage, it seems to be warranting the full trilogy treatment.