Even from the wording alone, torture porn is a terminology that instantly causes a sense of disgust and shame within a person whose lips have uttered those words. It combines two elements that humanity has long thought are morally wrong; torture is the act of inflicting pain and suffering on a living being, human or otherwise, in order to coerce them to do something against their will. Porn, whilst not as inhumane as the former, often incites a sense of embarrassment as a form of media shrouded in privacy and best not openly spoken about. These two words cause a controversy together, they elicit an emotion of pain and pleasure, two human reactions which are traditionally expected to be separated from one another.

However, the term torture porn was not birthed from the dirty canals of a shameless womb until the late 20th century. The specifics of the sub-genre had existed within the world for years before then, but these films were often categorized as splatter films or simply coined as ‘gore-heavy’ and extreme, no determining name had yet been placed upon their heads. The audience had always found a disturbing enjoyment from watching immoral scenes of violence, with Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol in Pigalle, Paris, opening its doors in 1897 and allowing the audience to be shocked and horrified by the theatrics of torture. During these on-stage performances the audience would be subject to witnessing sustained terror as doctors gouged the eyes from their patients, lone women were raped and brutalized, men were lobotomized whilst awake, and even children were not safe from the horrific acts of violence. Yet, the audience reveled in the theatrics of horror, escaping from the war-torn world to embrace sustained horror in a safe setting that allowed them to experience the thrill and pleasure of watching debauchery and depravity, without it being a reality.

Continue reading ‘Where’s The Pleasure in Torture Porn?’ over on Daily Grindhouse!

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