mardi 9 mars 2010

Terminal Sadism

In tune with Warhol and Morrissey’s iconoclast intake on “monster movies”, Euro trash revamped them in an erotic S&M rampage from Jess Franco’s Mrs Hyde to his Experiences Erotiques de Frankestein before the hilarious spoof Rocky Horror Picture Show. Sci-Fi also introduced sexploitative S&M scenarios like in the sex-exhaustive Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973) that spiced up the theme of Invasion of the star creatures (1962). Zombies themselves were sexualised in the necrophilia fantasy-world of Le Notte Erotiche dei Morti Viventi… But it was cinematographic psychopathology that really triumphed over Gothic traditional S&M elements, incorporating more and more sexual violence (Scream and die), with more and more extreme giallo from Umberto Lenzi’s Paranoia (1969) to the notoriously sadistic Girl in Room 2A (1974) or Di Leo’s shocking and misogynist morality tale Being Twenty (1979). Hallmark produced Last House on the Left (1972), “an exercise in terminal sadism” supposed to be “a reaction to the violence around us, specifically to the Vietnam war” (1). The sado-masochist reversal of victim to torturer and back that structures the film is one of the basic sexploitative tropes. Six years later Jerry Gross’s I Spit on Your Grave would yet radicalize the graphic depiction of the hunt, capture and rape of a woman by four louts followed by her brutal revenge. “In a cynical sense commercial films got to cater to the large male audience that enjoyed seeing women tortured, brutalized and murdered”, taking advantage of the publicity made by feminist’s critiques (2). Literally hundreds of movies competed in a Sadean rush to reach the “comble” of sexual horror, ending in disturbing psychopathic oeuvres like porno chic Roger Watkin’s Last House on Dead End Street “where evisceration is a metaphor for the sex act”, though allegedly “motivated by a hate of pornography and the swingers who create it” (3).

(1) W. Craven in P. Hardy, op cit, p. 257
(2) B. Landis &M. Clifford, op cit, p. 137
(3) Id, p. 148

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