Week 4 Horror Responses

Question for Torture Porn:

According to Carroll (????), what is the role of torture in the torture porn franchises Saw and Hostel? Using references, explain this in your own words. How do you think these purposes might relate to the socio-political environment of that time period and such events like 9/11 and the Abu Ghraib torture scandal?

According to Keetley (2016), James Wan’s Saw and Eli Roth’s Hostel are certainly remarking on September 11th’s terror as well as both of the films were filmed in the devastated factories and warehouses. Moreover, both of the films were focusing on manifest the men’s tortured bodies and death (Keetley, 2016). Similarly, Reyes (2012) cited Noel Carroll, and suggested that the genre of torture porn could create “fear, shock and disgust” without a monstrous figure (Reyes, 2012, p. 6). Therefore, I personally believe the role of torture in torture porn is to stimulate primitive fear by demonstrating mutilated or disfigured human body.

Moreover, according to Reyes (2014), “Claustrophobia” is underlined by the continuous “close-ups on the bodies of the victims” (Reyes, 2014, p.136). When it comes to the meaning of somebody tortured by something, the victims are usually locked up in a room or tied up somewhere which made them feel like psychologically unstable. Thus, people could get claustrophobia by either directly or indirectly experiencing this kind of torture. In addition, in the torture porn, claustrophobia could play its role by giving a tension before something is actually revealing its intimidate figure.

Since thousands of American people died or injured, lost some of their body parts because of the 9/11 terror, damaged body became the material of horror film because people were could not get away from the fear of terrorism. No one knew that the biggest aircraft terror will be happening in the peaceful morning. In addition, Hilal (2017) explained that the Abu Ghraib notorious torture scandal was committed by U.S. prison guards there who were brutally torture the Iraq prisoners’ bodies and took the videos of woman prisoners’ bodies while they were raped by the prison guards. The humiliation of Abu Ghraib prisoners happened because of “Islamophobia” which was occurred after 9/11. American people wanted to revenge the Muslim (Hilal, 2017).  Then, the fear of immoral torture of body scared people since ‘damaged’ body was a kind of trauma at that time and still, it is. Therefore, the genre of torture porn became a franchise.

Socio-politically, the capitalism was affect early 21st century world such as the political establishments’ rampages by using their asset (Piketty, 2014). They instigated gangsters to destroy their enemies. Similarly, the movie Hostel, the psycho, rich clients pay some bills to torture and kill the tourists for fun. Therefore, the fact that mysterious disappearances might be related to someone who have absolute power also might have accelerated the birth of torture porn.


Hilal, M. (2017, September 28). Abu Ghraib: The legacy of torture in the war on terror. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/abu-ghraib-legacy-torture-war-terror-170928154012053.html

Keetley, D. (2016, November 15). Saw, Hostel, and the Death of Manufacturing. Retrieved September 8, 2019, from http://www.horrorhomeroom.com/saw-hostel-death-of-manufacturing/

Piketty, T. (2014). Capital in the 21st century. Inequality in the 21st Century, p.8. Retrieved from https://dowbor.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/14Thomas-Piketty.pdf

Reyes, X.A. (2012). ‘Beyond psychoanalysis: Post-millennial horror film and affect theory’. Horror Studies, 3(2), pp.243–261. https://doi.org/10.1386/host.3.2.243_1

Reyes, X.A. (2014). Body gothic: Corporeal transgression in contemporary literature and horror film. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Question for Post Horror:

In this lecture, I have briefly outlined how Hereditary contains elements of folk horror, cosmic horror and family drama. Using examples from your own readings and the film, describe how you feel these elements make up the film Hereditary and how it might fit into the larger canon of “prestige horror” from Rosemary’s Baby to today.

Rose (2018) describes post horror as the new horror genre that have replaced jump-scare feature in the previous horror genre and added more realistic figures such as the different kinds of relationship between family members. Also, the young auteurs are finding the way to impress the audiences with the low budget (Rose, 2018).

I believe that the definition of “prestige horror” could differ depending on how audiences and critics are impressed by either different and new way to scare people. Ari Aster’s Hereditary (2018) contains those new features such as cursed family, tragic family tradition, as well as even unknown, supernatural threats which can be included into cosmic horror. Hereditary also has earned $44 million in the United States and Canada, and $35.3 million in other countries which is total gross of $79.3 million, while a production budget was $10 million (Box Office Mojo, 2018).

Therefore, Hereditary deserves the title of “prestige horror”. Besides, Hereditary hints audiences by using frequent foreshadows such as close-up towards pigeon’s decapitated head which was the foreshadowing of Charlie’s death – I did not realise this as the foreshadowing when I first saw this movie, because I thought Charlie will be the main protagonist who will solve this mysterious and dismal family atmosphere. Therefore, I still cannot forget Charlie’s dreadful death. Idika (2018) analyses Charlie’s death as “orchestrated” because the demon, Paimon was inside Charlie’s soul and body at first. However, Paimon wanted the male host which explained as the reason why Charlie’s brother, Peter goes through a ritual to be the real Paimon itself, one of the 72 demons appear in “Lemegeton” at the end of the movie. I did not recognise Paimon has its own sigil, and this signature was engraved on the telephone pole. This scene also proves that Charlie’s death was scheduled by demonic being. Moreover, Charlie’s grandmother’s and her mother’s necklaces symbolises the Paimon’s mythological character. Besides, Charlie’s clicking sound of her tongue is known as the tick of Paimon. Idika (2018) cites Ari Aster that “the headless body” belongs to no one but Paimon. That is why Charlie’s grandmother’s body was in the attic as well as Annie’s (Charlie’s mother) body which was floating towards the place where the ritual for Peter (Paimon) was enacted (Idika, 2018).

These features enhance the quality of horror movie not just by jump scaring people to make them tense and feel uncomfortable, but make them lingered by the contents of the movie by using the mythological materials as well as stimulating the fundamental emotion towards family and family bond.


Box Office Mojo. (2018, June 8). Hereditary (2018). Retrieved September 10, 2019, from https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=main&id=a24horrora.htm

Idika, N. (2018, June 19). 11 Horrifying clues and hidden meanings in ‘Hereditary’ that you 100% missed. Retrieved from https://www.popbuzz.com/tv-film/features/hereditary-meaning-paimon/

Rose, S. (2018, February 22). How post-horror movies are taking over cinema. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jul/06/post-horror-films-scary-movies-ghost-story-it-comes-at-night

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