“Gorno” Movies: Any Taboos Left?

 I’ve expressed concern in several posts over the so-called “torture porn” or “gorno” trend in movies–the Hostel movies, the Saw movies, Captivity, and so many more. I’ve enjoyed many scary movies, but I do wonder about people who delight in  so much extreme gore, evisceration, cannibalism, torture. And I have a lot of contempt for directors who get rich churning out this stuff–many of whom admit they wouldn’t let their own children watch it.

Here are two quotes from highly placed movie people–a producer and a leading critic. I find the first quite depressing:

  “There’s nothing you can do to a human being on screen that is taboo anymore,” says Oscar-winning writer-producer Akiva Goldsman. “Over and over again, people are breaking the boundaries of the body, hurting people, chopping people up, ravaging people…. For things to be truly scary, we’re going to have to find new boundaries to tread on.”

 What a sad and frightening prospect.  Hard to imagine what “boundaries” are left, if you’ve read even a summary of these flicks. But here’s a more encouraging statement from Entertainment Weekly movie  critic Lisa Schwarzbaum:

My colleague Owen Gleiberman describes the majority of Captivity as being ‘not sick enough to disturb anyone who’d go to see this film.’  For the sake of readers who appreciate guidance in the nuances of the genre referred to as  ‘torture-porn horror,’  I’m glad Owen took the assignment. I wouldn’t.

It’s quite simple: I hate these movies. I won’t see these movies. Never saw Saw or its sequels, never will. I’m not impressed with the ‘quality’ of the gore or the ‘wit’ of the filmmaking. I’m not enjoyably scared; I’m horrified. … My horror is one of disturbance and anger: Who makes this vile crap? What is remotely defensible about a movie like Captivity, in which a woman is abducted and tortured for the sake of ticket sales? Nothing, that’s what.”

That’s a refreshing view unlike that of  many reviewers, who have seen so much of this stuff they’re already beyond shock and disgust. And that’s  a scary place to be.

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