Category: Inside Horror


Movie Review:  Attack The Block

Note to Readers:  Due to the relatively in-depth nature of this review, there are spoilers aplenty below.  If you wish to skip the spoilers and get to the up/down vote and why, just jump to the last paragraph!

Overview:  A group of London thugs (young teens), while robbing an innocent woman, witness a white, streaking mass crash into a vacant car.  Upon investigation, one of the thugs “Moses” (played by John Boyega) is intent on robbing the already demolished car when an alien pops out, scratches and attacks him.  Moses fights back and stabs the alien which then takes off running.  Moses decides to give chase and make the alien pay for the attack, which he does by killing the alien.  The group of thugs then take the alien to the home of the neighborhood drug dealer “Ron” (played by one of my favs Nick Frost) where they stash the aliens dead body in “Ron’s Weed Room.”

About this time, the thugs notice that the same white streak in the sky that accompanied the first alien is now again in the sky — only this time multiplied in number.  The new aliens are bigger than the first and take to hunting down the thugs and pretty much anyone else who gets in their way.  To get to the thugs, the aliens pretty much lay siege to a building called “The Block.”  Thus the title — Attack the Block.

My feelings on this film are two-fold and diametrically opposed.  First, as an alien invasion movie (besides some minor quibbles) I liked it.  But second, as a dreaded Film With A Message — I absolutely hated it.  As an alien invasion movie, it was fun, fast paced and somewhat original.  Okay, so the aliens looked like overgrown bears with no eyes and glowing teeth.  But, I can overlook quite a bit when the acting is good and the film feels like everyone involved actually gave a shit about their product.  I can also overlook or even embrace subtle societal messages and overt messages if I am expecting them.  However, I cannot, or more accurately — will not —  give a pass to films that are supposed to be comedic and funny but consistently throw hard-edged messages in my face.  This is especially true when I completely disagree with said message, like the one in Attack the Block.

No doubt, there are probably a lot of critical reviewers out there who liked this film for the very reason that I am a little pissed off about it.  I say “probably” because I have not read any other reviews as of this writing, but considering the films message I don’t have to be Miss Cleo to guess their reaction.  The message?  Oh, that the teenage thugs that are currently so prevalent in London are really just misunderstood, noble young men who are being left behind by society, and it’s up to society and the government to save them.  I mean really, the lead “misunderstood hero” thug (Moses) is saved in the end by hanging on to a British flag.  Talk about hitting us upside the head with a message.  Jeez.

Now look, all in all Attack the Block was a good film.  The acting was solid and the special effects (even the alien-bear-thing) were pretty good.  So, if you can ignore or don’t mind being taught a lesson with your alien invasion film, give it a watch.  However, understand that they really did miss the boat with the opportunity they had with this movie.  All of the ingredients were there for an outstanding and fun film — they simply chose not to use them.  If they had focused more (a lot more) on the comedic aspect rather than on smug (not to mention wrong) messaging, this movie really could have been something special.  Too bad their “message” took precedence.

UNNECESSARY ADD-ON:  When attempting to convince my husband to see this movie, I told him it had (to use his frame of reference) “the guy from Shaun of the Dead” in it.  He said “Oh, that guy.  The one you love.”  I had to explain that I was speaking of Nick Frost and not Simon Pegg and that I don’t “love” Simon Pegg.  But anyway, if you haven’t seen “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People” you should, it’s really very good.

UPDATE THAT MIGHT MATTER 9/6/11:  After writing this post I read some other reviews and it turns out that first, I was right about the critical response to this film (they loved it) and second, the film was supposed to be writer/director Joe Cornish’s tribute to John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13.  That may be true and it’s completely within his rights to make the film that he wanted.  However, as a viewer, I shouldn’t have to know that before seeing the film and either way, that knowledge doesn’t add anything to the viewing experience.  So, in the end it doesn’t really change anything anyway.

Ah, September.  That time of year when the night air turns crisp and clean and you can just feel fall beginning to settle into your bones.  The time of year when Mother Nature prepares your soul for cold weather, hot soup and reminds you to save your energy for the all-too-soon holiday shopping nightmare.

However, September is also a reminder that soon, very soon, we get OUR month — you know the one — October. October, the one month of the year that belongs to horror and horror fans alone (well, and maybe a few Wiccans, but whatever).  Yup, we get one whole month in the ramp up to Halloween where horror movies are shown all times of day, haunted houses are visited (and maybe egged), “no trespassing” signs are completely ignored and yet, no one bitches about it because in the end, everyone loves Halloween.

So I say, why not take a note from the advertisers playbook and start the Halloween celebration in September?  That one month ramp up goes by way to quick for this horror fan so here, babies, we is breakin’ the rulz.  Starting now, each week leading up to Halloween we will have a feature on what makes this time of year so great — the monsters, the chill in the air, and all the things that go bump in the night.

To start our Festivus for the Rest of Us off right, this week, it’s zombies, zombies and more zombies.   Since I just so happened to just finish re-reading Best New Zombie Tales, Volume I, the theme fits quite nicely with my current state of mind.

Best New Zombie Tales, Volume I has some real doozies in it, but since I’m not gonna read the book for you and ruin it, here are a few standouts and my thoughts on them you know, just to whet your appetite.

Paradise Denied, by John L. French:  In a world where all of the “good” people get taken up by God, what happens to those left behind?  More importantly, what becomes of those that come back?  A great twist on the zombie story and one that just might make you think about all of those little white lies…

Muddy Waters, by Brian Knight:  Definitely one that stays with you.  Big city girl gets herself in quite a mess in the country.  This one will stay with you, so “haunting” is the right word here.

Zombie Love, by Ray Garton Asks the eternal question “What would you do for love?”  A better question would be “Would it be worth it?”  This one asks and answers both questions much to this readers delight.

Pegleg and Paddy Save the World, by Jonathan Maberry:  When you read this one, be sure to have their accents right in your head to get the full enjoyment factor.  It’s funny, gruesome and charming — the best mix.

In the Land of the Blind, by Robert Swartwood:  I don’t normally go for deep zombie tales, but this one has that certain something that makes it work.  An inspiring zombie tale in a down trodden world.  Or something.  Just read it for Pete’s sake.

So, that’s Volume I and all of the stories contained in it are great.  Also, there are currently two other volumes out there (II and III) and I may post about those this week as well.  But if not, rest assured that I’ll be doing my part by being kept entertained by something of the undead variety and I hope you are too.

OTHER STUFF:  For the record, there are other holidays in October besides Halloween.  There is Columbus Day which deserves a bit of attention I suppose, but the only other holiday in October is United Nations Day, which —  let’s be honest — should really observed be on April 1st.

OTHER STUFF II:  I would also like to take a moment and apologize for the lack of posting lately.  Unfortunately, I am located on the East coast and was affected by hurricane Irene.  That bitch killed my power and left me feeling very lost, hungry and quite frankly, scuzzy.  But Pepco be praised, it’s back from the dead and so am I.  Here’s to everyone else still without power joining us in the 21st century again very soon.

Ah, clowns.  In theory, those red-nosed, big shoe wearing, jolly creatures are supposed to make us smile and laugh.  I mean, what kids birthday party is complete with out a fake flower to spray water in your face or those colorful balloons animals that all seem to look like a dog, no matter what you asked for?  They just exist to make us happy and our days a little brighter.

Yeah right.  Sneaky bastards.  Think about it — what do clowns actually do besides scare the bejesus out of little kids, and adults stupid enough to own a doll that looks like one?  Nothing, that’s what.  Which gives them plenty of time to figure out ways to either steal your soul or eat you.  Either way, if the following list of evil clowns isn’t enough to convince you there is something nefarious going on, well, doom on you.

Scary, Agile and Gleefully Trying to Kill You

Poltergeist, 1982.  I know there are a lot of scary clowns out there and some are listed here, but really, that little demonspawn in Poltergeist was enough to turn millions of kids off of clowns for life.  Including this one.  PS – He’s under the bed and has reeaallly long arms!!

Scary and Trying to Eat You Like Cotton Candy!

Killer Klowns from Outer Space, 1988. Seriously folks, what’s worse than being turned into a cotton candy blood shake for some of the creepiest clowns ever? Not much. Don’t let the big hands and goofy grins fool you — they really do want to eat you.

Scary and Also Trying to Eat You, But Straight Up

It, by Stephen King 1990. Pennywise the clown isn’t even a real clown for crying out loud. It’s really a space alien from hell (or thereabouts) who chose on purpose to look like a scary clown in order to eat small children. When murdering monsters from space try to emulate you, it’s proof positive that you’re in league with the devil.

Scary but Not Trying to Eat You, Just Kill You or Something

Amusement, 2008. I don’t know what grown adult thinks a life-size clown doll is perfectly okay to own — much less sleep in the same room with — but either way this clown is bad news. It doesn’t help that it knows how to turn on the TV either.

 Scary and Trying to Kill You, But Mostly Just Annoying

The Hole, 2009. This little f-er clown thinks its cute to try to push you into a hole that leads to hell. He also likes to throw things at you and try to drown you. He is really nothing more than a Poltergeist clown wannabe, but he’s still dangerous. Drop kick his ass into a fan at your earliest opportunity.

And Last but not Least…

Scary, Trying to Eat You and Has No Manners!

Zombieland, 2009. As if clowns weren’t bad enough by themselves, this one just had to be a zombie, too. Not content to just kill you and eat you, it also has the nerve to bug you while you’re in the bathroom! Now that’s just plain rude.

The Devil’s Rock, 2011

Set during WWII, The Devil’s Rock tells the story of two men (Craig Hall and Matthew Sunderland) trapped on an island on the eve of the Normandy Invasion.  The movie wouldn’t be very interesting from that aspect except one of the men is a Nazi and the other is an Allied soldier.  It also just so happens (or maybe not) that on the island with them is a demon, in this case a succubus.  As you know, I don’t give a lot of spoilers so as far as details go, this is all you get.  However, even though I refuse to tell you the whole story, I can tell you it is much better than you would think.

This film received 4.8 starts on IMDb, which I can only surmise came from people who are either not fans of the genre or turned it off before giving it a chance.  Why anyone would turn it off without giving it some time I don’t get because the opening scenery is fantastic.  That alone is what made me keep watching until things got interesting.

While the film is a tad short for my taste at 83 minutes, it still earns a solid 7 in my book.  I disagree with IMDb’s rating for several reasons, but the biggest is that this movie is quite simply one of the best horror films I have seen in a while.  The acting was great, the story was interesting (it kept me guessing) and the special effects were top-notch.  There was only one small scene where I balked at the special effects, and once you see the film you will know what I am talking about.  But that scene was still a good one.

This is one of those films that will no doubt get overlooked by many horror fans because they see a bad review or most likely, have never even heard of it.  So if you are a fan of great characters and the horror genre, do yourself a favor:  rent the movie, make some popcorn, relax and just enjoy this solid horror film.  I promise you won’t regret it.

ALSO WORTH NOTING:  Craig Hall, who some of you may remember as “Wilson” from 30 Days of Night, is an actor to watch — the man can act.  He is a refreshing change of pace from those pretty boy A-list actors that can’t act their way out of a paper bag.  I am looking forward to seeing more of him.  Also, don’t believe the cover art which says “Saw with a swastika.”  It’s not anything like Saw –but it’s still a great flick.

I need to start this post by letting you know I can’t give too many details, as there are people and other blogs involved in this and this issue is not about them, it’s about Amazon.

In a nutshell, there is a certain author, who a certain blog owner and his commenters hate with a passion.  So much so, that the commenters took it upon themselves (well, the blog owner did a nudge-nudge, wink-wink) to add tags to the authors book (it’s only available right now for pre-order so reviews are not open yet) that crossed the line from petty and perhaps funny (which I have to problem with) to spiteful, mean and potentially libelous.  Yes, some of the tags are that bad.

Personally, I don’t know the author and have never read or purchased any of their books, but I did see a wrong being done here, and decided to report it to Amazon.  Keep in mind that I generally assume the best of people and companies until I am given a reason to think otherwise.  Amazon now has me thinking otherwise.

Here is my first e-mail to Amazon, with only the names redacted:

I think you may want to look into the tags associated with XXXXX’s book due out soon (Name of Book).  There is a blog (XXX) that has members who have openly stated they are adding negative tags without having read the book (obviously) simply because they and the blog owner don’t like the author.  Just FYI.

Sounds reasonable, right?  Here is the e-mail I received from Amazon in reply:

Hello Gizbot7,

I read the Tag you reported to us in your message. We understand your concerns, but since the Tag falls within our posted guidelines, we are unable to remove it. Here’s a link to our guidelines if you would like to have it for reference:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=16238571

We appreciate your understanding.

No real problem here until I realized two things:  first, that their own guidelines (that I didn’t look at until someone pointed out I should) state that you should not post tags that are “spiteful” and second, the e-mail said “tag” as in singular but I was concerned about several tags – plural.  So I responded to Amazon again.  This time with:

I submitted a feedback form regarding tags being added to XXXXX’s book “Name of Book” (that is soon to be released) that were added at the direction of a competing blog owner (XXX) and which were extremely spiteful and wrong.  I received this response from Erin P from Amazon:  “I read the Tag you reported to us in your message. We understand your concerns, but since the Tag falls within our posted guidelines, we are unable to remove it.”  This seems odd to me, since your own posted guidelines state:

What tags shouldn’t I use?
By default your tags are public so everyone can view them. You should not use:

1. Profane or obscene language, inciting or spiteful tags (emphasis mine)
2. Tags that might: harass, abuse or threaten other members of the community
3. Tags that may reveal any personal information about children under age 13
4. Tags that promote illegal or immoral conduct
5. Tags that indicate sentiments by or on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product

Your own guidelines indicate that the tags are clearly in violation of #1 and possibly #5.  I challenge anyone to take a look at some of the 160+ tags listed on XXX’s book and tell me with honesty that those tags aren’t spiteful.  In case you didn’t know, (the blog) posted an article today bragging about the tags they left for that book.

Now here is where we leave the path of courtesy and common sense on the part of Amazon:

Hello,

My name is XXX and I’m a senior member of our Communities team. A significant part of my job consists of deciding if tags adhere to our guidelines. As such, I reviewed the tags on (Name of Book).

This tag falls within our posted guidelines. We won’t remove it and we aren’t able to consider the removal of these tags any further. If you’d like it for your reference, here is a link to our Tags guidelines:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=16238571

First of all, was it really necessary to inform me that she is a “senior member” of their “Communities Team”?  Not really.  But that’s okay.  Sometimes it helps if customers think that someone in authority is involved with their issue.  However, when she goes on to completely dismiss my issue (once again, she refers to “this tag,” as opposed to tags) by saying “we won’t remove it” and then pretty much tells me to quit bothering her by saying “and we aren’t able to consider the removal of these tags any further” then yes, I am going to have an issue.  One also has to wonder if she did indeed see all of the tags, since in that sentence she uses “tags” — plural.  If so, one then has to wonder about her common sense.

Anyway, here is my most recent e-mail to Amazon (even though I was told to shut it):

After reporting spiteful tags being added to a book you sell (or will be next month) “Name of Book” by XXXXX, I received an e-mail indicating that your guidelines said the “tag” (singular) that I was reporting was within your guidelines and would not be removed.  Okay.  So, I re-reported the issue asking for someone to look at all of the tags (plural – I was not concerned with just one) as there are over 160 tags that anyone can see are at the very least spiteful and downright wrong.  In response to that e-mail, I was basically told to stop writing you.  This is the e-mail I received:

“Hello,

My name is XXXXX and I’m a senior member of our Communities team. A significant part of my job consists of deciding if tags adhere to our guidelines. As such, I reviewed the tags on Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance.

This tag falls within our posted guidelines. We won’t remove it and we aren’t able to consider the removal of these tags any further. If you’d like it for your reference, here is a link to our Tags guidelines”

Bottom line is I don’t honestly care what tags people put on this particular book.  As you can see by pulling up my account I have never purchased a XXXXX book in my life and have no plans to do so.  As an outside observer, I thought you might want to know that your system was being abused and in the interest of doing the right thing may want to check it out.  I appreciate that someone at least read the e-mails I sent regardless of what you as a corporation decide to do.  What I don’t appreciate is basically being told to shut up about it.  Frankly, I could care less if “XXXXX” is the President of Amazon, her e-mail was unprofessional and does not reflect well on your company at all.

You may be wondering why I am bothering with this issue at this point.  After all, I admitted I have no real interest in the book in question.  The answer is simple:  what was done to this author was wrong.  If people are uninterested in the work of the author, they can choose not to purchase it.  Or, better yet, they can read it and leave whatever review they desire.  Again, I am not overly concerned with the adding of frivolous tags — it happens and sometimes they are funny.  But this situation crossed the line from funny to abuse, and Amazon — by virtue of the fact that they have guidelines at all — has an obligation to step in once the situation has been reported.

Quite frankly, I would have been satisfied if someone with some courtesy would have said they looked at the tags (plural) and whereas they could see why I might have a concern, the tags would have to stay accompanied by an understandable reason.  Is it really so much to ask that someone respond to my actual issue politely and without thinly veiled contempt?  With this particular representative and issue, I suppose it was.

I myself have been in customer service in some fashion most of my professional career and understand you get a lot of seemingly ridiculous demands and requests.  But here’s the catch — it is not your job to decide what is ridiculous.  After all, a customer took the time to tell you about it, so it clearly wasn’t ridiculous to them.  Aside from the fact that the tags do violate their own written policy, the old adage is true:  most of the time, it’s not so much what you say, but how you say it.  And telling a customer to shut their pie-hole ain’t it.

Oh, and by the way, the number of tags is now up to over 170.

UPDATE:  After a little research, turns out that this “we aren’t able to discuss this further” (I think someone needs to look up the word “able”) response is pretty common with Amazon.  It appears as though when they have decided you are no longer worth their time, they blow you off – and rudely.  I have a Kindle, which I admit I love mostly because I don’t have to interact with anyone at Amazon to purchase books.  However, customer service is important to me (important enough that I switched to and have stuck with a small cable company for the same price of the big dogs due to their great customer service) and this development  is troublesome.  The holidays are coming up so I think now just might be a good time to start looking at other e-readers.  I may or may not switch depending on what’s out there, but I can tell you this much:  I wouldn’t even be looking to change at all if it wasn’t for their horrible customer service.

I’ve said it before and I mean it — it is important to support unknown authors, dammit!  This is true if you love new and original work, but it’s especially true if you want to be an unknown (at least at first) author.  Check it out:

It recently came to my attention (yesterday in fact) that Jason Kristopher, author of The Dying of the Light:  End, is quite a busy man.  Turns out, he has taken up a cause that I can wholly support — publishing authors that normally wouldn’t stand of chance of anyone except friends and family seeing their work.  He operates Grey Gecko Press, whose purpose is “helping foster many new and talented authors in the years to come.”

The best description of Grey Gecko Press is Mr. Kristopher’s own:

“If you’ve ever written a story and been turned down, or if you’re frustrated by the way ‘the system’ works against new authors, or if you just want to try something different, give us a shout. I can’t promise that we’ll publish what you write, but I will promise to listen and to give you a chance. With no preconceived notions or ideas, no artificial barriers.”

So, if you ever thought no one would publish your book or, if like me and just enjoy great work, stop by his site and check it out.  While you’re there, you might as well pick up a book, too.

Rod Redux

Rod Redux’s horror and fantasy work as described on his Amazon page“The novels of Rod Redux are challenging, subversive and fantastical, merging genres and pushing the boundaries of propriety and good taste.”

I can agree with that.

When I first came across Mr. Redux’s name while searching out a good zombie book, two things struck me:  first, I honestly thought that the name “Rod Redux” had to be a pseudonym (a weird one at that) and second, due to my impression of his name, his books would be very cheesy.  However, instead of just moving on I found a book by him called Mort and read some of the reviews of it listed on Amazon.

At the time, I had been in a zombie book rut — it seemed like no matter which book I purchased I was being let down again and again.  The reviews of Mort on Amazon didn’t help all that much either, as some were good and some were bad.  I am well aware that reviews are all highly subjective and therefore in my mind, suspect.  This is important to me because after all, these books ain’t free.  Against the cynical voice in my head telling me not to, I went ahead and purchased the book.  Man, am I glad I didn’t listen to that negative little pissant voice.

Every once in a while, a book or film comes along that changes your mindset about a genre in such a way that it can never be switched back to its original setting.  This is what happened to me with Mort.  With Mort, Mr. Redux takes a done-to-death (ha ha) sub-genre (zombies) and instead of cheapening or exploiting it, actually manages to enhance it.  It’s not just that he added some twists to the mix (he did), but he was able to combine those twists with characters and a plot that were deep enough to not only keep you interested, but to make you feel involved.  I’m not saying that Mort is Shakespeare or that it’s going to change the world but that doesn’t mean it’s not still one heck of a great zombie book.

After being so pleased with Mort, I decided to check out some of Mr. Redux’s other offerings.  Next on my list was The Oldest Living Vampire Tells All — I wasn’t expecting much.  But again, my initial impression was proved wrong.  It’s an interesting book with a very unique main character.  Suffice it to say that after book number two, I went on and read his other books.  Not all of them had the impact on me that Mort did, but not one of them let me down.  He really is an author you just shouldn’t miss.

Here is a list of his current work, with my ratings:

  • Mort  5/5
  • The Oldest Living Vampire Tells All  5/5
  • The Oldest Living Vampire On The Prowl 5/5
  • Menace of Club Mephistopheles  4/5
  • Hole:  A Ghost Story  4/5
  • Indian Summer  5/5

Mr. Redux is currently working on a new novel, House of Dead Trees, and you can read an excerpt here.  He is also planning on a sequel to Mort, which this zombie fan ain’t gonna miss.

UPDATE 8/19/11:  On a whim, I decided to search around a bit about the sequel to Mort and found this, which indicates he is not writing a sequel.  However, I know I saw somewhere that he said he was after the date of the link above and will post it as soon as I find it again.  Maybe his mom convinced him to write a sequel?  Just keepin ya in the loop!

SIDE NOTE THAT HAS (ALMOST) NO BEARING ON THIS REVIEW:  I have seen a lot of horror book reviews that complain about the amount of sex and harsh language contained within them.  Here is my bottom line on this subject:  if the sex and language is even slightly pertinent to the story, I could care less if they are having orgies on Mars while screaming “Fuck Me Harder Beltran!” every other sentence.  It’s a HORROR book people; it is supposed to push boundaries.  If you don’t like that, there are plenty of books written in the same genre that leave all of that out.  To be fair however, some authors do like to add extra curse words and detailed sex scenes for no apparent reason and I agree it gets annoying, but only because it can take away from the story.  But even if they do that though, there is something you can do to make it go away right quick — flip the page.  You might just enjoy the book in spite of it.

Is It Torture Porn?

We can argue over whether the term “torture porn” is accurate or fair in the world of horror, and just might in the future.  But today, what we cannot argue is that it is now used in reference to horror films all the time by critics and fans alike.  So what is it, really?

What torture porn  actually is, I believe, depends on both the intent of the film and the emotional investment of the viewer.  Meaning, what moral or lesson is the film trying to teach us and are we able to recognize it when presented with it?  Is there even a lesson to be found?  In my estimation, torture porn movies are simply over-the-top graphic, cringe-inducing horror films that have no real reason for all of the gore.  Not that horror should always need a reason for gore (it shouldn’t), but it is nice to have one when the blood and guts are so thick and visceral you need a hacksaw (ha ha), a barf-bag and possibly a therapist on speed-dial to get through it.

Martyrs

For instance, I personally consider the Hostel franchise to be pure torture porn.  What lesson do we take from these films?  What is it that we learn?  Don’t go overseas and stay in a crappy hostel?  Don’t trust foreigners?  Whatever the supposed moral or meaning that (perhaps) is supposed to be in these films is virtually non-existent.  Instead, the viewer is saturated with horrific violence for no discernible purpose.  Thus, there is no real point for us to recognize even if we are able to do so.

On the flip side of Hostel we have Martyrs — and many reviewers have incorrectly branded both as torture porn.  Is Martyrs gruesome?  You bet.  Does it include a continuous 15 minutes of some the most brutal scenes I have ever seen in a film?  Why yes it does.  I would even go so far as to say it is more brutal than Hostel.  That said, it’s anything but torture porn.  It is in fact, the exact opposite.  The film manages to make you question a whole host of things, but most importantly it leaves you thinking about some damn deep issues for days afterwards.  Martyrs clearly was  not made for the younger audience, which in itself is a rarity today.  One would have to be an old soul indeed for anyone under the age of 18 to even begin to comprehend what this movie is even about.  Simply put, the fact that it strives to make the viewer learn something (in this case, about themselves) and the fact that the violence was a necessary element for the film to make its point absolves it from any attempts to label it as torture porn.

This is not to say that torture porn is necessarily bad or shouldn’t be made, on the contrary — it has its place in the horror genre.  Although it’s not my cup of tea, I don’t think that watching a film is going to create any serial killers or harm any burgeoning young minds.  But I do think it wise for those of us who love the horror genre to at least acknowledge that it does exist and that we should be careful to avoid equating torture porn with gruesome, but meaningful horror films.

OTHER BRAIN THINGYS:  There are a lot of other films that have been tossed into the torture porn pile that really aren’t besides Martyrs.  The Saw films, for instance, are not torture porn (even though they do give us lots of creative ways to kill people and man, I love them for it).  The Devil’s Rejects?  Well, you can decide that one.  Lastly, in the interest of full disclosure, apparently I am a “fuck-wit bible thumper.”  Who knew?

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