(with apologies to Salvador Dali)

 

I am bothered by movies, such as “Saw” and “Hostel”, that, to me, serve no purpose other than to depict the extremes of human pain and cruelty. I confess to having never watched a film from either of those series, nor have I watched a Hannibal Lector movie, or a Chucky, Freddy Krueger or Jason movie (which, I imagine, at this point seem almost quaint in their depictions of cruelty), so it is not only what is depicted on the screen, which I haven’t even seen, that disturbs me. It is the very fact that such movies exist, and that they pull in audiences. To me, they are a depraved sub-genre of moviemaking that elevates torture to their prime, even sole, raison d’etre (indeed, they have been dubbed “torture porn” and “gorno” by critics), and that bothers me. Are people really entertained by all that blood and gore? And if that is not the right word, what IS the experience that they crave, as they settle their butts into aisle seats? As to the people who make such films, why on earth do they spend precious hours of their lives depicting demoralizing, black spectacles of the last things that any of us would wish to experience, or even wish upon our worst enemies? Oh, believe me, I know the obvious answer to my question (they DO make money after all, and frankly, how hard can they be to make? We all know what we don’t wish to experience; all one has to do is pick up a camera and film that!), but is even money worth the de-humanizing that I feel must go on in the process of creating such films?

 I am not arguing against the presence of violence in films. Indeed, some of my personal favorites, such as “The Godfather” and “Goodfellas”, contain numerous scenes that are not for the squeamish. If push came to shove, I could probably even be called upon to defend Wes Craven’s notorious, ultra-violent 70’s sleeper, “Last House on the Left” ( which took its plot from Bergman’s “The Virgin Spring” and borrowed heavily from Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange”). One might well ask, what’s the difference? Well, in the case of LHOTL, this was an amateurish film by a freshman director, depicting amateurish villains who epitomize the dumb, self absorbed, amoral, societal outcasts we can easily imagine committing the atrocious crimes we see onscreen (and read about in the papers). They are not the incarnations of sadism one finds in slick gorno movies, creatures right out of our nightmares who are intelligent and irredeemably evil, sparing no expense to devise the most ingenious and horrific methods by which to dispense with their victims, for no other purpose than the pleasure that they get from doing so. To arrive at an understanding of the villains of the gorno movies, to place them in any sort of context, we need to go back to a French nobleman from the Age of Enlightenment whose writing was so over the top that he provides the very name for the “ism” that is out and out cruelty toward another living being.

 Sade’s “libertines” (one should not refer to them as  “villains”, when to him they were heroes) were precisely the kind of monsters we see in todays horror movies. Smarter and more powerful than their victims, they operated without restraint, and with no other purpose than to inflict pain. In Sade’s stories, the only way to escape victimhood was to allow yourself to become corrupted by your torturers, to become just as merciless and sadistic as them. These were the only triumphs he would allow in his nightmarish fables, that some would “liberate” themselves from any moral or empathetic impulses, which he insisted came from society, the real “villain” he himself was at war with. One can read Sade’s stories and accept them as he intended, as all-out assaults on society and civilization, on anything that limited individuals from behaving exactly as they themselves chose to. But that would naturally lead one to ask, if people could do anything they wanted to, why would they do that? Looking deeper, I believe that one can find a more pathological motivation, one which is readily on display in today’s torture porn movies as well; a deep seated hatred of the human body.

 Oh, Sade loathed bodies!  He wanted them sliced, diced, beaten, pulled apart, you name it. The one thing he didn’t want was for them to keep their original, native form, to be allowed to go on about their ways in peace. To him, an intact body was a challenge, perhaps even an affront, to his aesthetic. He treated them with nothing but the utmost disdain. And yet, it is telling that for all the descriptions of cruelty he filled page after feverish page with, he was particularly vicious toward the parts of the body that give birth to and nurture other bodies. Although there is no question that his writings and ideas have spiced up the sex lives of numerous couples throughout the years (and hey, whatever gets you through the night…), in the works themselves sex was anything but a life affirming, life celebrating activity. Genitalia, breasts, pregnant women, and fetuses are mercilessly tortured and destroyed by Sade’s libertines. The family itself is attacked viciously. In his stories, fathers rape their daughters, and corrupted daughters do unspeakable things to their mothers. The very reality of biological life seems to infuriate him.

 What’s going on here? In the face of such depravity, one naturally searches for answers. Even if the knowledge goes nowhere toward ending man’s inhumanity to man, we strive to somehow make sense of things so dark and twisted they seem to defy explanation, for the sake of our own sanity if nothing else. My belief is that we see in Sade’s writing a psychological phenomenon that has its roots in the very nature of our sentience. It is the mind’s hatred of the body, because it can suffer, and take the mind along with it as it does so. 

 It is hard to imagine anything more painful than being eaten alive from the hind legs forward, and yet this is a fate that befalls thousands of our fellow creatures, in forests and savannas, every day. The vast majority of human beings will come to far more benign ends, but the important distinction is that we are well aware of what could happen to us, if we are not careful, or just plain unlucky. The fact is that, unlike animals, we can think about things happening to us that are every bit as frightening and unwelcome as the things that are shown in the torture movies. It is with our minds that we think about them, but it is our bodies that we imagine experiencing the suffering. We are the only species that has a distinct separation, a schism even, between mind and body. We can actually live lives, of a kind, outside our bodies. No other creature can. We can daydream, create stories, make songs, paint pictures, have sexual fantasies, relive memories vividly, conceptualize, invent, etc. We can easily imagine a life involving no body at all! Indeed, we have created science fiction stories where our minds are placed inside computers, thereby living eternal, pain-free lives. People who are stricken with cancer or other long term, debilitating and painful illnesses frequently describe themselves as “prisoners” in their bodies. What I am positing is that there is an element of human consciousness that chronically feels this way. Sade was expressing this, first and foremost, I believe, though he himself was perhaps unaware of it and presumedly would have denied it. It is ironic that he, due to his atrocious behavior as well as his writing (which outraged the Emperor Napolean), spent much of his life as a prisoner, in jails and mental asylums, creating through his mind an outward experience of the very thoughts that drove his writing. 

 The mind is frightened by the amount of pain, seemingly limitless, that the body it is merged with can experience. Although our central nervous system has evolved the sensation of pain to keep us from burning or bleeding or freezing to death, this impeccable biological system renders us horrendously vulnerable. So averse to its demise is our body that it keeps pain sensations active even as we lie helpless, and crushed, under the rubble of an earthquake, or trapped inside a burning room, on the off chance that we will somehow manage to get ourselves out of our predicament. Isn’t it plausible that our minds, aware of the stubbornness of the body, and its survival-at-any-cost imperative, would develop resentment against it? Why can’t we shut the pain mechanism down when we want to (apparently some yogis have developed this very ability, but it takes years of rigorous training)? When there is no hope of escape? Every king, dictator, Grand Inquisitor and mafioso throughout history has exploited this “flaw” in the body’s design. In fact, it is impossible to imagine the worst forms of government even existing without it, as such regimes are propped up by the fear they induce in the common folk. All of that suffering, down through the ages; no wonder the mind is pissed!

 And so, the mind acts this out, through the mediums that it has developed, the “art” that is Sade’s writing and today’s gorno movies. Each time the mind, represented by Sade’s libertines or Hannibal Lector, or any of the demonic, merciless,ingenious psychopaths who fill our screens as well as our nightmares, gleefully tortures to death somebody else’s body, it has its revenge, momentarily. That’s the experience viewers are after, I feel. Though I am disturbed by such movies, and by the large following they have, I ultimately see them as merely symptomatic, and don’t expect them to go away. They, or some similar manifestation, will be with us so long as we have the ability to contemplate, and fear, our fate.

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choicelady
Member

Wow – what amazing thoughts and reflections! I admit I pay NO attention to these sorts of films or readings at all because they creep me out from what little I do know about them.

Violence is very much a part of my history. It has not tended to be of this nature, precisely, but is there really a difference? I’ve had five friends and acquaintances murdered, all of it political in origin – at least ostensibly. Who knows what went through the heads of the murderers at the moment? I do understand killing in self defense, but the idea of wantonly taking the lives of people for any reason other than that sickens me, and I simply do not understand it. I’m a great fan of mysteries (books more than film) but stay away from stalker, serial killer, sadistic sorts of plot lines. I am nauseated by the very idea that someone is driven by, yes KQ sex AND violence, to harm, cause terror and suffering, mutilate – all the things of which humans are so capable.

I do think horror films tend to proliferate when life itself is uncertain since movies provide some measure of phony “control” over the relentless drive of some seemingly all-powerful force to do harm. Generally films have some survival outcome (I’ve never seen the “Saw” films so don’t know about that) wherein a central character triumphs and lives. In their own weird way, isn’t that a message of hope in an otherwise dark and dangerous world?

But fascination with death and suffering baffles me. I hope it’s like slowing down past a horrible car crash – I think it’s “there but for the grace of God go I.” We try to find both intimations of our own mortality AND the hope we’re never in those poor people’s situation by looking and thinking and wondering and gawking.

When I hear kids laugh at some splatter scene or violent confrontation or explosions and mayhem in films, I wonder if I’m not wrong and that people are hideously desensitized to the pain of others. I hope not. I hope slasher films are some kind of catharsis and not a “how to” guide. But my own experience tells me that the right “how to” in the wrong hands can have devastating consequences.

I don’t think everything has to be Pollyanna, but for me, I can’t any longer see films that have no hope or are violent for violence alone. One of the best films ever was “Gallipoli” which is horrible in its death and destruction, but it was powerful in its critique of the wastes of human life in war. I’m glad I saw it. The rest – the wallowing in the pain and terror of others, especially women, for nothing more than sheer gore – not for me, thanks. Death is permanent, and pain and suffering are all too present in reality for those to be even remotely interesting. I admit – I do not understand.

Pepe Lepew
Member

You know another weird movie that involves loathing of the human body? Eraserhead. Really weird, creepy movie. It has images and sounds you’ll never forget.

Khirad
Member

You know, I’m gonna be a heretic. I loved Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway, and I need to see his others (like Wild at Heart – and Twin Peaks stuff, given its setting especially), but Eraserhead didn’t do it for me. I had to keep reminding myself how crazy it would have been when it came out, but I was left kinda – okay… it was more monotonous than anything. Perhaps that was part of the point, though. My point is, is that it should have, on paper, been the very kind of movie I would love – but I ended up feeling it was overhyped.

Pepe Lepew
Member

I didn’t necessarily like Eraserhead. It just freaked me out.

Chernynkaya
Member

Did you know he also directed The Elephant Man?

Khirad
Member

I didn’t even know he did Dune. 😳

I cheated: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Lynch#Filmography

Chernynkaya
Member

I just looked there– a kinda spotty career. Some really good and others really bad. I guess that’s more about experiment and taking risks than to have a career of so-so romantic comedies.

Khirad
Member

Even a Moby music video.

I feel this way about Tim Burton. He has hits, and he has some really bad misses.

*Apologies to WTS for the mini movie thread happening!

Pepe Lepew
Member

As Leonard Pinth-Garnell liked to say:

“Stunningly BAD.”

Chernynkaya
Member

HHAHAHAHHA! Leonard Pinth-Garnell!! I remember him! And speaking of SNL, do you remember “Tales of Ribaldry” with Jon Lovitz in the Lady and the Bootblack?

Khirad
Member

Okay, I cheated and had to look up Pepe’s reference (before I was born), but I do remember the Lovitz’ bit. Congrats, you brought us back to the Sadean.

With Mel Gibson. There’s something ironic about Mel Gibson in a Lovitz sketch, but I shan’t digress.

Khirad
Member

Monumentally ill-advised; exquisitely awful!

Pepe Lepew
Member

And “Dune.”

The bad one. The *really* bad one.

Khirad
Member

I call jinx, Pepe!

Questinia
Member

I’m probably the only one here who liked Inland Empire. Like a dream.

I got into quinoa because of Lynch. He shows how to make it in a special features section. He’s an obsessive freak about that too.

Chernynkaya
Member

I loved Mulholland Drive!

KQµårk 死神
Member

One of my favorites of all time.

Questinia
Member

Me too! Naomi Watts was fantastic.

Khirad
Member

And super sexy. Good lord!

escribacat
Member

Blue Velvet is my favorite Lynch film.

Khirad
Member

Yeah, I totally want to see Blue Velvet, too. I’ve seen YouTube clips of it.

Pepe Lepew
Member

Dennis Hopper’s greatest performance.

Then he turned into a Republican.

escribacat
Member

“Ffffffftt — Mommy!”

Kalima
Admin

😳 Please don’t read through all of the comments then.

“Twin Peaks” was the most boring thing I have seen on the TeeVee. I wish that spaced out directors who want their inner demons on film, would at least try a little harder so that the audience gets a whiff of what on earth it is they waffling on about.

Questinia
Member

For some reason I always fell asleep during Eraserhead. I’ve never seen it through in one shot. I find the film soothing, kind of like the white noise of a vacuum cleaner!

I just remember the body of the baby.

escribacat
Member

😆

escribacat
Member

I was thinking about that one too. Really, really wild.

Questinia
Member

I suppose the only difficulty I have with your argument wts, is that the “schism” is artificial in biological actuality. But phenomenologically, I’d agree with what you say.

I do think Sade, philosophically, does see the body as a victim, a slave.

But the body is freer than the mind in many respects. For instance, it is free to respond sexually with exuberance but limited by the moral, neurotic, and inhibited “shortcomings” of the mind.

Khirad
Member

If one means a slave to the hypocritical mores and sexual repression of the time. Now is our heaven, now is our hell, was what I got from him – particularly Philosophy of the Boudoir.

escribacat
Member

Great essay, WTS, and you make a very good case. I also can’t watch those “Saw” movies and similar. There has to be some redeeming quality in it, such as the good dialogue and interesting characters you get in a Tarantino film (except the repetitiously dull Kill Bill series). I agree that there must be some element of body-loathing — why shouldn’t the mind resent the body for being a prison, once it becomes one anyway. It makes me think of my friend who has suddenly found herself in a wheelchair because of some kind of muscular atrophy disease. Her whole life is now a big production just to achieve what she once did on automation — just getting from one spot to the next, doing mundane things such as peeing. She has stopped drinking much water to avoid it. Until recently, she has enjoyed a life of being slim and beautiful, but her body has now betrayed her, has pulled a fast one on her, has suddenly stopped cooperating, has become enemy instead of friend.

I can think of another reason why the mind is drawn to violence. In the case of Sade, he blurred the line between pain and pleasure. He wanted to find out how to make them the same thing. Why? I suspect he, and many others, are simply bored. The mundane activities of life, day after day, week after week, year after year — this can drive anyone mad if there’s no excitement, no threat, no adrenaline rush.

You are never so alive as when you are hurt or threatened, especially if you are in survival mode. You read about men coming back from horrific experiences in war and they then spend the rest of their lives feeling alienated from their family and nostalgic for those terrible days and the others they shared them with.

There are others who never have these heightened experiences, so they create them. If the “Saw” movies don’t fulfill this need, and there is nothing more interesting going on than a trip to the grocery store, let’s pick a fight. Let’s break something — a bond or a foot or a TV. Let’s start a war. Let’s rock the boat, push someone too far, get drunk and smash our fist into the wall. There will be pain and consequences but at least it won’t be boring. It takes intellectual effort to keep the mind from getting bored, and most people don’t have the stamina or motivation to do the work involved in that. Violence and mayhem is an easy substitute. And if you’ve got a reasonable amount of control over yourself, maybe “Saw 15” will satisfy those urges.

Chernynkaya
Member
Kalima
Admin

I think that is so very true of most of the men I have known.

Chernynkaya
Member

I know! Personally, I do it all the time, albeit in short snatches. But sometimes for an hour– and I’m not talking about meditation. Reverie. I am big on reverie. (Sometimes I think I live there.)

Khirad
Member

My reveries are shorter. How I do yearn for the days, when on a walk home from school I could get lost in the mysteries of the universe and compose poems to write down when I got home, which, – key into door – was like an alarm bell snapping me back to the real world. Now I try to recapture the magic of aunadultured fancy. I like and appreciate WTS’s art, because, I’ve lost the creative spark I myself once had with whimsy and without boundaries.

escribacat
Member

This is why I love hiking so much. I go with my two dogs and just daydream my way through the woods. Daydreaming is wonderful. You have to first figure out how to shut down the “committee” though. The one that wants to continue arguments you’ve been having with people.

Khirad
Member

Yes WTS, how much of our lives are spent recycling the past in our heads?

Chernynkaya
Member

E’cat, the Artists’ Way is a GREAT book!! Highly recommended.

escribacat
Member

That book sounds familiar, Khirad. I’ve got a gift card to spend and I’m planning to visit the bookstore tomorrow. Maybe I’ll check it out!

Khirad
Member

Oh my lord, I hate the “committee”. Nowadays when I walk, it’s down a street with my iPod. I do get out once in a while, take a deep breath and feel a much needed ‘stillness’ – those moments are truly golden. They exist outside of time.

Has anyone heard of the book “The Artist’s Way”?

I need to read it again. I’ve had like a decade-long creative block. I need to find my inspiration again.

Chernynkaya
Member

Don’t we all, Khirad, don’t we all yearn for those days! And I too, love Whats’ art. I am an artist of a much darker sort though.

Chernynkaya
Member

What’s, I’ll have to figure out– actually, ask my husband –how to upload some photos of my work someday.

Khirad
Member

Dante? naturalmente! I have one of those copies from the forties with the illustrations of scenes within.

I also once had a copy of Faust with this and other illustrations.

Chernynkaya
Member

That was gorgeous, Khirad! I bet you love Dante too, as I do.

Khirad
Member

Yes, Cher, as you well probably know by now, my personal aesthetic expression leans darker, as well.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of this from Goethe’s Faust:

Then give me back the time of growing
When I myself was growing too,
When crowding songs, a fountain flowing,
Gushed forth unceasing, ever new;
When still the mists my world were veiling,
The bud its miracle bespoke;
When I the thousand blossoms broke,
Profusely through the valleys trailing.
Naught, yet enough had I when but a youth,
Joy in illusion, yearning toward the truth.
Give impulse its unfettered dower,
The bliss so deep ’tis full of pain,
The strength of hate, Love’s mighty power,
Oh, give me back my youth again!

Kalima
Admin

I yearn for solitude, I devour peace and quiet. Living in a noisy place like Tokyo, I used to set my alarm for 4 am just to savour the few short hours before life intruded again. I will try to continue as soon as I can fall asleep before 1 am.

escribacat
Member

Kalima, I will never forget when I was in Tokyo and went to the Yoyogi (sp?) Park and there were all these musicians practicing under the trees. My hosts said it was because the walls in their apartments were too thin.

Kalima
Admin

I agree, she’s about 4′ 9 inches tall, wears bright, pink fluffy mule slippers and that cute little doggie used to be such a quiet little darling before her indoctrination, now she barks at speeding motorbikes, the doggy, not the singing neighbour. 🙂

escribacat
Member

Kalima, Somehow your neighbor’s opera singing doesn’t seem quite complete without that small doggie! 😆

Kalima
Admin

Yes, Yoyogi Park and not only are the walls thin, our house is only about 50 cm from my nextdoor neighbour’s house.
She has a small doggy and sings opera until 9 pm at night. On the whole, Japanese people are quite noisy but nowhere near as noisy as the people I saw and met in Hong Kong. No peace for the wicked. 🙁

SueInCa
Member

WTS
Great piece and one genre that I have never put much thought or attention to. I have never really explored the type of genre you speak of, I don’t even like the Friday 13 or other such movies. In Cold Blood, even though a (sort of)classic of the crime genre, made me sick to my stomach. I know it happens in real life, I am not naive but I guess I just don’t want to watch it by choice.

I am not naive enough to think this really does not happen, and while i am aware it does, I don’t need to see it in a movie. People who produce this type of genre like to think they are on the outer edges of the envelope, pushing farther. Maybe they think it is some kind of genuis, I haven’t figured it out. I know they are low budget movies and maybe some go on to make better films, or mybe they are just trying to break in to the film industry? I just have never understood watching a movie where you already know everyone is going to be killed for doing things most of us would never do in real life.

It is kind of like the Broadview Security commercials. Someone tries to break in to the house and the people run upstairs? Why on earth would someone trap themselves like that, alarm or not? Yet Broadview runs that same scenario over and over, like most people are going to do that with an intruder in the house, especially if they can walk out the front door. But they do it because they think it will produce revenue for the company. Money, in this society, is a pretty powerful incentive for some to do just about anything.

Khirad
Member

When I read Sade, I thought of him more as Gangsta Rap. “In order to know virtue, we must first acquaint ourselves with vice,” he said. He was exposing hypocrisy in the aristocracy (for example, who taught him this debauched behavior in his real life, but none other than his abb

Chernynkaya
Member

WTS– this is a really wonderful, intriguing piece! Just first-rate work all around. In fact, I read it before I started working on my own ongoing project, but it just haunted me, so why fight it?

I was especially struck by your discussion of de Sade’s contempt for bodies. We are all–as KQ said–imprisoned by our bodies, and we know it. It’s the basis of all religion. It fascinates me to think of all the ways we deal with that fact of embodiment. The Marquis had one way, but ascetics have another and sometimes equally brutal, but towards their own bodies only. The goal being to control it, purify it, conquer it, and ultimately to transcend it. Yogis, Sadhus, the Desert Fathers, Hedonists, Stoics, Epicurians, Sensualists– they are all philosophies dealing with the most basic fact about us–that we are in a body.

And the fact that I say we are “in” a body as opposed to saying that I “am” a body says it all. So, what are we? A mind within a hulk of flesh? A piece of meat that thinks? Or a creature whose brain and body conspire together and make something intangible: A mind? As a meditator of many years, these questions come up. When I am watching my monkey-mind, WHO is watching?

But back to the fun topic of gorn! I am not a fan of the torture movies– mainly because they don’t scare me, just repulse me. (BTW, remember that great French movie with Catherine Denueve, “Repulsion”?)But my son has another take– that they’re funny. Not so much the Saw movies but the ones done as homages– like Tarantino’s but more like a group of younger filmmakers who ridicule the OTT use of gore. Their names escape me now. 🙁

I do worry that “our youth” are becoming desensitized by the gorn and the video games. The psychologists are not all in agreement, but I think most feel it is a danger.

Bottom line: This was a spectacular article and your illustration rocks!

EDIT: I tried to give it ten stars, but it only registered 4! Help.

escribacat
Member

What a great post, Cher. I used to go out with a guy who was a follower of Gurdjieff. He referred to his body as “my machine.” “My machine is crying.” “My machine is hungry.” “My machine is jealous.”

Khirad
Member

I’ve only heard of him in passing.

Chernynkaya
Member

Gurdjieff?! OMG, you are one of the few people I know whose even heard of him! He was fascinating and I’m still not sure what to make of him. But his offshoot–
Fourth Way Enneagram– is absolutely astounding. I never heard any of his adherents talk about “my machine” although I didn’t study him deeply. But when you wrote his name, I was gobsmacked!

escribacat
Member

I have a book written by Peter Ouspensky — “In Search of the Miraculous.” All about Gurdjieff and his teachings. It’s a very interesting book — I highly recommend it. There is a lot about the enneagrams in there — that actually wasn’t the part that interested me (I just didn’t get it).

There’s another modern philosopher who has a lot of Gurdjieff influence in his teachings — have you heard of the Diamond Heart books by A.H. Almaas? I’ve read a lot of his books and listened to many of his tapes. He’s very eclectic (a lot of Sufism and Buddhism in there too). I think he’s on the right track — that is, most of what he says makes absolute sense to me. I’ve taken a few classes too but got turned off by the cultish behavior of his followers.

Khirad
Member

MY problem with a lot of NRM’s, are that they rehash and repackage age-old ideas and buzzwords with the times. While on the one hand I believe the reinterpretation of values to the time is necessary, I’m not sure that this is what they are often doing. And, even if the teaching is valid, the very human element of the organization can leave much to be desired. I prefer going to the source and interpreting the scriptures and treatises myself. It is of note that a Japanese scholar also wrote on the similarity of Sufism from a Buddhist viewpoint. I can’t recall his name right now though. That’s gonna bug me…

Chernynkaya
Member

I’m with you, friend.

Chernynkaya
Member

I have heard of him only from one of his students, Claudio Naranjo. But I will definitely look into him, because I love Sufism, and of course, I am a Jubu. Thanks for that!

(And almost all those teachers have cultish students– a real turnoff!)

Khirad
Member

Jubu! 😆

A Jew in the Lotus…

Chernynkaya
Member

About my teacher. Well, he was one of the rabbis who went to see the Dalai Lama.

Khirad
Member

I hate you so much right now. 🙂

Of course, how could I have missed that angle? Plus, indeed, actually taking on the core topic here! To pick one out of your excellent examples, I’d add aghoris to sadhus. that would fit the “grimmer” subject matter!

Chernynkaya
Member

:mrgreen: I did include sadhus–but not aghoris HAH! Knew you’d like it!!

Questinia
Member

Now THIS is sadism!

escribacat
Member

Is that Catherine Deneuve (sp?). Has anyone seen “Repulsion?”

Chernynkaya
Member

I thought about that movie when I first read Whats’ piece– I guess a few of us did. What a disturbing movie.

escribacat
Member

I saw it a very long time ago and don’t remember the details other than it’s a creepy take on sex. What I remember is her nihilism and strange laugh.

Khirad
Member

Oui, il est Catherine. Non, I haven’t seen it. It was already mentioned. I watched the trailer, looks like my sort of thing – plus, I adore Deneuve.

escribacat
Member

Definitely a must see, Khirad, if you like disturbing films. I might have to watch it again…it’s been awhile.

Kalima
Admin

Yes it is and yes I have, scary.

Khirad
Member

That’s more than the subjugation of the body – I forgot what Azar Nafisi called it, but she really got to it. It’s beyond violence and power over the mere body of another.

Kalima
Admin

Absolutely, just look at the guy, would you willingly say yes?

KQµårk 死神
Member

First off I really love your artwork. This one really hit me in the yarbles.

Second excellent article and subject that is important to discuss.

I’ve never been a big slasher movie fan but always loved suspense and even movies that use violence to either parody our violent society or because violence is an integral part of the story.

Poltergeist was a great example of a movie with a great deal of suspense but my favorite part was while it scared the hell out of you not one person was harmed physically. The anticipation of danger is a much more effective theatrical devise than abject gore.

For example, the original Alien even though it did have a gore moment or two was one of the best modern Gothic suspense films. The sequel Aliens which was just a vehicle for gratuitous violence.

I think there is a human “need” to be scared in our ho-hum lives from time to time and excellent suspense movies fill that purpose quite well.

Now the need by some people to watch gory movies is much more complex. I think it’s very hard to understand that need if it does not exist in your personality so since I’m not a big gory move fan I don’t know where that impluse originates.

I find you ‘hatred of the human body’ theory very interesting and I have to think about that. My wife and I watch our fair share of documentaries on serial killers and I’ve never heard a profiler bring up that motive for those who perform such inhuman acts like torture, dismemberment, rape etc… Most profilers would say with Sade it was all about controlling his victims to perform such acts or controlling the life and death of the ultimate victim. These control motivations usual occur with psychopaths because at some point in their lives they were controlled when they were victimized in their development years.

Then their are the group of serial rapists or killers that have a sexual motivation to their crime as well. Again the root cause is their need to control but their is a sexual urge as well. Examples of these type of killers would be Dahmer or Gacy.

The other big motivation for serial killers is self hatred so I’m not sure that it’s as much hatred of the human body rather than hatred of self that is projected onto other human beings.

Pepe Lepew
Member

I don’t get torture porn, I truly don’t. I have a lot of friends who like those “Saw” and “Hostel” movies, and I cannot understand the entertainment attraction; they’re sick films.

The irony is I like horror movies. I like scary movies, the bloodier the better, but torture porn goes to a whole new level, a level not of fear but of sadism, that I find just too disturbing.

Chernynkaya
Member

I am a big fan of horror movies to, Pepe! The scarier the better! Torture porn is just revolting though. To me, it’s like watching someone vomit. That reminds me of a good, but sickening movie– The remake of “The Fly” by David Cronenberg. It wasn’t so much scary, as horrifying, and an examination, I think, of disease. scariest of all time? no contest: “The Exorcist.” Still scare the bejeezus outta me!

KQµårk 死神
Member

I think with groups of people there is a dare component to watching slasher movies. I know in high school I had a friend who loved to dare us into watching gory horror movies.

Pepe Lepew
Member

Yup, true.

Hey, did you get the photos?

KQµårk 死神
Member

I sure did cheers. I was trying to find some photos of us on our little old mountains in the East to send back to you. You know the Blue Ridge mountains are some of the oldest mountains on the planet next to the Ural mountains in Russia. They use to be about twice as tall and the State of Florida was basically formed as from silt runoff through millions of years of erosion.

Questinia
Member

Did you know Staten Island was a volcano?

KQµårk 死神
Member

Nope I just thought it smelled allot because of the people.

nellie
Member

wts — great article. I’m still in the middle of it, but this thought came to mind as I was reading.

The most disturbingly violent film I have ever seen is In Cold Blood — the 67 classic w Robert Blake. What was so disturbing about the film was the reality of it — not only that it was a true story, but that the portrayal of events was as if one was standing in the room. And there wasn’t a lot of gore in that film, but it remains the film whose violence haunts me the most.

The films you describe, to me, are more like cartoons. I rarely watch them because it all seems so gratuitous and pointless. Even older films like The Godfather or Bonnie and Clyde — just so over the top and so little pathos involved in all the shoot em ups. It’s not real to me.

So I think a lot of people just go for the shock value. Like listening to Don Imus or Howard Stern or … dare I say it… Glenn Beck. And as for the people who write these things — Some people write what they can sell. And some people write their nightmares. And some people just have unusual sensibilities.

OT, but it’s been a challenge to read this article without thinking of my favorite singer…

Mightywoof
Member

I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought they were about to read an article about a great singer, Nellie – the first paragraph threw me a bit 😆

Chernynkaya
Member

X 3! I thought it was about “SHA-day” too.

javaz
Member

I dislike violent slasher movies, too, but movies such as the “Godfather”, “Good Fellows”, “Scarface”, etc, do not fall under the definition of ‘slasher’ movies, imo.

One of the most violent films that I have ever seen was “No Country For Old Men”, and even though I watched that movie a couple years ago, I’ve never forgotten it.
It was a very good and exciting movie, but packed with violence.

Two of my favorite violent movies are the “Kill Bill” movies, because the violence is so overdone and outrageous, and actually comical because the films mock the ‘slasher’ films.
It sort of helped me to put the ‘slasher’ films into perspective in that they are not meant to be serious, but somehow entertaining.

And like you and the others commenting on this thread, it’s that violence that so many enjoy that is inexplicable.
And then there’s the violent video games and certain singers or musicians that rap about violence and promote violence against women.
I don’t understand the allure, either.

KQµårk 死神
Member

That’s a good point when the violence in some movies gets so OTT like in the Kill Bill series or even the Dawn of the Dead movies it really does not seem like violence anymore.

Serial Mom by John Waters with Kathleen Turner which had allot of this paradoxical violence was hilarious for example.

In my opinion one movie that failed to parody violence in the vein of “A Clockwork Orange” was “Natural Born Killer” by Oliver Stone and written by Quinton Tarantino just did not work for me. In fact I think one killer said the movie actually motivated his crimes. That’s kind of the way I saw the movie too, as promoting violence rather than being a parody of violence.

To me Martin Scorsese was the most effective director of all time at portraying real life violence. His scenes with Joe Pesci killing in “Goodfellas” and being killed in “Casino” still haunt me. Of course excellent casting was a huge reason why his movies were successful as well.

javaz
Member

Oh yes, that scene in “Casino” with Pesci haunts me, too.

That was a good movie, though.

“Scarface” was way over the top, too, and that movie is what I think inspired several scenes in “Kill Bill”.

KQµårk 死神
Member

Brian De Palma frequently when OTT with the violence.

What is it with Italian directors anyway?

Now David Lynch that is one dude whose movies haunt me still. “Lost Highway” is still one of the most fucked up movies I’ve ever seen.

Kalima
Admin

I’ve never much liked his films, his “Blue Velvet” was an insult to women. We don’t all want to be enslaved, we don’t all cower in a relationship or fear the person we love. Some men just need to buy a dog.

Pepe Lepew
Member

I agree. Kill Bill, Vol. 1, the violence is so ridiculously over the top, it actually becomes funny. I laughed all the way through that massive fight scene in the tea house.

Khirad
Member

I think it was meant to be campy though.

Questinia
Member

These films, on the other hand can serve as metaphors for what an existentially evolved, Sadean “hero”, is capable of.

If we were to look at gorno through the Sadean lens, as metaphors, these films show how the conventional, bourgeois, passive victims are part of a natural framework in that they are weak and therefore deserve to be swallowed from the legs up by a predator. In that way the villains are existentially more evolved. Aren’t all of the victims in these films rather bovine? It is the character who is most like the villain, who is most like Sade, who prevails.

Regarding what you write, wts, the mind is more like the Sadean “hero”. It is disgusted by the weakness and passivity of the flesh and seeks to subjugate it by putting it into the natural framework of predator/prey. But, the mind, the Sadean hero, the gorno villain all wind up subjugated by nature. Nothing can transcend that. The villain is ultimately and often ironically undone by the thing that allowed him to be a hero in the first place: the body

KQµårk 死神
Member

Reading this all I can think is we need another “Age of Enlightenment” where we actually have time to think about our lives and how we are imprisoned by our very nature so we can again progress as a species. But of course it requires time to ponder and a real liberal arts education. Alas two things few people have the time and money for these fast moving times.

Questinia
Member

de Sade would use us interchangeably much like todays society does.

KQµårk 死神
Member

He surely represented the narcissistic view of liberalism quite well.

I’m a more Rousseau liberal myself.

Questinia
Member

De Sade. Didn’t he live during the Age of Enlightenment?

KQµårk 死神
Member

Yup but so did crazy King George III who was not very enlightened either.

One funny thing about Marguis de Sade was his fickle relationship with the French revolutionaries at the time. They liked him in one way because he was a symbol of a social liberal rebelling against the throne but many hated his despicable acts. He was hero and villain at the same time with liberals.

He’s probably the first political figure to give the far left a bad name.