Posts Tagged ‘pain’

e293f5b0b0159844f92d9bdc72fc904bHave you ever bit down on a sore tooth on purpose? The pressure intensifies the pain, sometimes to the point of almost numbness. David Edelstein asks, in his article “Now Playing at Your Local Multiplex: Torture Porn,” if, perhaps, torture horror audiences have a masochistic side to them. Watching Eli Roth’s 2005 contribution to the torture genre, Hostel, is uncomfortable, to say the least. Too much sex in the first half and too much pain in the second.

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The character that you are most attached to gets mutilated and killed instead of being the hero. His jerk of a friend finds him too late to save him. The girl he does save ends up throwing herself in front of a train. Just when you think it’s all over, there is one more gruesome torture and murder scene, sliding the movie into the rape/revenge genre.

The friend, Paxton, played by Jay Hernandez, becomes one of the members of the Elite Hunting Club, both figuratively and literally. He has to Hostel-Still1kill his own tormentor and one of the guards in order to escape his personal torture chamber. Then he must dress in as one of them in order to pass through the building undetected. He must “play along” when he is confronted and questioned by a new member of the club.

These transformations are necessary in order to escape with his life; however, he chooses to go back and kill the new club member in order to save the girl, and he chooses to follow the The German Surgeon into the men’s room locking the door behind him. He chooses to cut off two of the man’s fingers in retribution for his on lost digits. He chooses to torture him before finally slitting his throat.

Hostel3Edelstein points out that the graphic depiction of sadistic acts torture the audience along with the characters. Also that the constantly shifting POV shots “forces the sinister car of complicity upon the viewer.” In essence, Roth is saying, “Don’t blame me for making this movie; blame yourself for watching it.”

I wonder, like the aching tooth, do we inflict this pain upon ourselves in hopes of numbing ourselves from the reality of violence that makes up the daily news?

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Lone_Survivor1 I recently watched Peter Berg‘s Lone Survivor (2013) based on the book written by the survivor of the incident the movie represents. As I sat in the darkened theater I found myself experiencing feelings of fear, anxiety, revulsion, and the gut clenching visceral reactions to images of spewing and oozing blood, Lone-Survivor-clipgore, broken bones protruding from mangled limbs, and the neurological pain of association as I watched bodies striking rocks and stones while falling off cliffs.Screen-Shot-2013-08-02-at-10_07_53-AM I realized that these were the same emotional responses that are usually associated with horror films. According to Cherry, “it is the emotional or physiological responses that are as (if not more) important than any specific narrative or thematic characteristic of the genre” (37). Lone Survivor would be classified as a war movie, but it clearly evokes many of the same physiological responses that horror movies strive to create. Cherry points out that horror cinema is “a set of subgenres within shifting boundaries” (15), boundaries that have expanded greatly over the years to keep audiences interested and scared. War movies used to be a relatively safe genre with good guys and bad guys, glorious heroes and antiseptic deaths, but screenshot-med-02starting with Saving Private Ryan in 1998 (or maybe even earlier with Apocalypse Now) war movies’ search for realism has blurred the lines between genres. After all, what is Predator but a war movie with an alien enemy?imagesCAOOAJKB