RARA-AVIS: Re: Torture Porn

From: GB ( mnc_fb@yahoo.com)
Date: 04 Jul 2007

Charlie Huston is probably my favorite writer of the new crop and I've been recommending him to every Spanish-speaker I know who can read in English. I also used to enjoy Rex Miller back in the day although he's not exactly new (BTW, I've been waiting for someone to collect his short stories and any unpublished stuff he might have left behind. I'd love to know if there are other Eichord stories around).

It's not the violence (or the ultra-violence if you will) in the stories that's wrong. Sometimes you need exactly that to tell a good story. For instance, I don't think the cat torture scene in Huston's Caught Stealing was unnecessary, as shocking as it was. For starters, it served to illustrate the viciousness of the thugs Hank Thompson was up against. American History X is another such case. I don't think you could tone it down and what the characters did in the movie is just the type of things skinhead and ghetto gangs do in certain situations. The same goes for the shower scene, which as we all know is pretty common in prisons everywhere.

Movies like Hostel, Saw, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, etc. or the wave of noir films from the UK such as Guy Ritchie's, Sexy Beast, etc. are different in that they genuinely strike me as the product of a teenager who thinks he's being cutting edge by devising over the top scenes. The violence doesn't shock me, it's just that it seems unnecessary for story purposes as well as unrealistic in itself. You don't really need to have experienced things in your life to talk about them but I think that if you're going to make violence an integral part of your work, then you should justify its inclusion within the context of the story (you could do without half of Hostel's torture scenes and the story would remain the same) as well as make it more realistic. Nonetheless, what bothers me the most about these works is not that I find them worthless (other people might enjoy them and more power to them) but how critics almost unanimously fawn over the supposed "genius" (is there a more overused word these days?) of Tarantino and his clones or people like Eli Roth, who's basically producing slasher films with a bigger budget than their predecessors from a few decades back.


--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, DJ-Anonyme@... wrote:
> GB wrote:
> "This is particularly evident in the new crop of novels where it is
> mandatory to include an action scene on every single page of their
> three-page chapters."
> So who is this? Bruen? Huston? Both have short chapters and very
> brutal violence.
> Will some of these detractors please name names, give titles and/or
> authors? I'd like to know exactly what we are discussing. Yes, I
> most of us would agree that violence can be gratuitous, but I think
> there'd be a lot of disagreement about what books are guilty of
> And we need specific examples in order to discuss where that line
is. I
> mentioned I drew it at Rex Miller's Slob and I put down Stokoe's
> Life some time go and am in no rush to finish it -- wasn't so much
> the violence and perverse sex, often both together, were so
> as they got boring, while plumping up and impeding the story, what
> was of one.
> While I disagree with miker about Russell James's Slaughter Music
> over the line (like Al Guthrie, I think it's a great hit man novel)
> Last Exit to Brooklyn, I'm glad he offered titles to show where his
> is.
> As for the movies that were cited, I'm one of those who thinks
> getting his head blown off in Pulp Fiction is exactly comparable to
> Daffy Duck taking a shotgun blast from Elmer Fudd in the face.
> mean other violence in movies -- Irreversible, American History X,
> Reqiem for a Dream, slashefilms, etc -- doesn't disturb me, some
with an
> underlying point, others without.
> Haven't seen Hostel, but from what I've heard, I'd guess it's more
> horror or splatterpunk than noir.
> Mark

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