It's Torture! It's Porn! What's Not to Like? Plenty, Actually
Movie Producers Are Abusing Woman and Making a Profit Off It
Published: May 28, 2007
It's enough to make you nostalgic for good ol', all-American porn. Hard core, soft core, Peace Corps -- doesn't matter. All I know is: Bed hopping beats head chopping.
But bed-hopping/head-chopping is the worst.
Unfortunately, that's what America is in for, thanks to the newest rage in Hollywood: torture porn.
You know -- movies where women are bound and gagged, have tubes shoved up their noses and blood spurting out. And then they're hung upside down with -- in hommage to Janet Jackson -- a single breast exposed.
And you thought "Wedding Crashers" was crass.
While it is indisputably great to live in a country where freedom of expression is guaranteed, it is also vomit-inducing to hear that this kind of movie is becoming, ho-hum, just another cinematic genre. Let's see, we've got musicals, comedies, dramas and, oh yes, that new category where the star gets raped and disemboweled.
As reported by this magazine, the latest upchuck of this genre is called "Captivity," by the company After Dark. Billboards for the movie, banned by the Motion Picture Association of America, went up all over L.A. in March, ostensibly by accident (as if billboards go around erecting themselves). The series of four photos featured a woman first with a gloved hand over her mouth, then in a cage, then with the bloody nose tubes, and then partly nude and totally dead. As Ethel Merman sang, "Who could ask for anything more?"
Me. Your local, resident school marm. But you know what? School marms speak the truth. Go marms!
When you consider that "Midnight Cowboy" earned its X rating in the 1960s in part because it provided a peek of Jon Voigt's naked bottom, look how far the needle has moved.
As I write this, my neighbor is blasting the soundtrack from another '60s classic, "My Fair Lady." What if Eliza Doolittle had been a kinky coed? What if Professor Higgins had picked her up, brought her home and -- instead of teaching her the Queen's English -- kept her chained to his radiator for the next 17 years?
In an interview with Ad Age, the producer of "Captivity" sounded almost charming. He knows he's no Orson Welles, but he didn't sound contrite, either. He's just riding the wave of movies such as "Cabin Fever" and "Saw" -- big-screen screams on minimart budgets, minting money. He wants in.
It's the American dream, sort of like starting a successful whorehouse franchise. So let's call him what he is: a pimp with a heart of dough. He's abusing women and making a profit off it. That's that.
But what about us?
If we start accepting this kind of movie as just "extreme" horror, the baseline will change. What once seemed out of line will become mainstream. It happened already with porn culture. The days when going to a strip club seemed seedy are long gone. Now porn queens write advice books, and grannies take pole dancing.
Do we want torture to become mainstream, too? Are we eager for sexual-predator reality shows? Looking forward to a nonjudgmental "Dismemberment for Dummies"?
If that's the world you want to live in, all you have to do is sit tight. It's coming. But if you'd like a different future, you've got to act.
Let's insist on a new rating, such as NC-25 when films involve sexual torture, so teens can't hand the producers their allowance. Or let's promise to boycott not only the torture movie itself but also any future movies the stars make, so they have zero incentive to appear in a film like this. Or let's just find the producers and hang them upside down and take out a dental drill and ...
Oh wait! That's not acceptable behavior. Yet.