There's a great article on Womensenews about "Torture Porn" makers co-opting the word feminism as an excuse for their extreme graphic violence. Torture Porn, a term coined by David Edelstein in this NYT article, refers to movies like Saw, Hostel, Captivity, Vacancy and The Devil's Rejects, among others, with over the top sadistic violence. Edelstein notes "Unlike the old seventies and eighties hack-'em-ups (or their jokey remakes, like Scream), in which masked maniacs punished nubile teens for promiscuity (the spurt of blood was equivalent to the money shot in porn), the victims here are neither interchangeable nor expendable...Some of these movies are so viciously nihilistic that the only point seems to be to force you to suspend moral judgments altogether."
Reporter Rachel Corbett reports that filmmakers decry the criticism leveled at their films by claiming they are "feminist". Hostel director Eli Roth argues that "People are forgetting that it's not real violence" and that because a woman defends herself against an attacker in Hostel II (by castrating him) that "The film is about control in sexual power." Less convincingly, Captivity director Courtney Solomon (a man) claimed his movie was "feminist because the female victim overthrows her assailant in the end." Even Captivity star Elisha Cuthbert was convinced. Full article here.
Though people have the choice whether to see a movie with this subject matter, they cannot control the images that advertise the movie. It just adds more fuel to the "violence against women is okay" fire. Check out the billboard for Captivity! Are these filmmakers socially irresponsible? Does this violence only beget more violence? Or is it merely a response to our seriously f*cked up world?