Register Sunday | June 16 | 2019

Kinky Carnage

What to call the big screen's recent fascination with bare skin and bloodshed

Gor·no adj. A 21st century horror film sub-genre that marries gore with porno by depicting bodies—usually scantily clad—being tortured to death. Influenced by the splatter films of the ’70s (George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, most notably), these films prioritize graphic pain over thrills. They were first categorized as “torture porn” in a 2005 article by New York’s David Edelstein. The film critic coined the term in reference to Hostel by Eli Roth, arguably the first director to use violence to titillate viewers. Roth recently cemented gorno’s position at the head of the horror genre by founding a collective—known as “The Splat Pack,” which includes Rob Zombie (The Devil’s Rejects) and Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes), among others who share a similar horror aesthetic.

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Gorno Films that haven’t yet splattered onscreen (c’mon, it’s only a matter of time).

Just Desserts: Torture porn’s answer to the cooking show, a celebrity chef goes off the deep end and starts to cook up her neighbours.

Marquis: Orgiastic ecstasy turns into war scenes akin to Apocalypse Now in this fictional look at the life of Marquis de Sade.

Gross Anatomy: Ridiculed for his inability to master anatomy lessons, a medical student begins performing live dissections on his classmates. Seattle Grace meets Buffalo Bill.

Toro!: Vignettes of dying matadors, shown slain in gory detail; Dogme 95 meets torture porn.

The Beauty Pageant: As beauty queen hopefuls prepare for the big event, they realize that their makeup, hairspray, and clothing are actually eating away at their flesh. -