A Love of Torture

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Recently i went to watch the movie Kill Bill. On the most popular movie site the Internet Movie Database imdb.com, it is rated 8.2 out of 10, climbing fast into and among the top 100 movies of all times. The movie is about one female assassin's revenge over her colleagues, and that's about all the story line there is. The movie's popularity can be attributed significantly to the realistic depiction of gruesome decapitation and mayhem by good looking female at good looking female.

Torture, watching torture, decapitation, or execution, are timeless innate pleasures of human animals. This pleasure development began when in a survival conflict, either one die or one kills his enemy. Of course, the winner who kills, passes on his genes to his offspring. Over time, those who survive tends to be those who enjoy killings. Mundanely speaking, killing and torturing is a pleasurable activity, and watching someone else suffer from safety is also pleasurable innately. Throughout centuries, human animals have killing shows. The damned is tortured or executed publicly, sometimes with the audience's participance. The method of torture and execution has also advanced with science, with much creativity and fanfare. Hanging, burning, drowning, stabbing, clubbing, burying alive, are classics. Decapitation with sword arrived the scene with sharp wares. Guillotin is of French machinery. Pillory is popular at least in the brattish America of recent century. Quartering and drawing comes with the play of horses. Disembowelment or harakiri are lurid ways that has become a cultural element in Japan. Gas champer and medical experimentation is of Germany fame. Electrocution and lethal injection is of USA ingenuity.

Torturing and execution is a spectacle before modern times. Back to BC ages, we have Amphitheater of Rome for example, where slaves were fed to non-human carnivore in the name of Warrior pits Beast. Or slaves are mutually pitted to death. Boiling oil or roasting are also common, both recorded in ancient China and biblical West. Chinese, ever technologically inventive of days yore, have Death Of Thousand Cuts, which is like live body sculpture, often the subject is later sprinkled with some liquid substance that can cause sharp sensations. Then there's flaying, one of the oldest practice of human animals, derived apparently from skinning other animals of practicality. In the Occidental society, they have a few ways peculiar to their own. For example, they have this thing called “the wheel”, which basically ties a person onto a wooden wheel, crush all the bones of the limbs and wrap them around the wheel rim, then raise the wheel high for birds. They also have small cage, so that victim is rendered immovable and hung in front of churches, till death do them dead. If you have ever experienced back pain from prolonged bad posture, you'd be able to guess the pain. The Christian religion are forerunners of inventiveness of the subject matter, famously associated with the word “Inquisition” and “Witchhunt”. Of their credit is the Rack that can stretch and dislocate joints of human animal. Water cell is of origin of the Orient i think. Water cell, where a body is doused in water permanently, i suppose would rot the man but the progress or pain is hard to visualize. Primitives tribes, for example, would stick a head on a stick, also as a warning sign to neighboring human animal communities. The displaying of heads is not limited to primitives or barbarians. The need to display the head is a major contribution to decapitation, and has been imbued into the human animal culture so much that it has been recorded as a gift, in art, in myths, in plays, in movies, in children's stories.

Due to the biology, sexuality, and sociology of male and female, the weaker sex ultimately became a dominant subject as the death victim that excite folks. Due to the male anatomy there's uniquely castration. The female anatomy creates mastectomy and various other ways dealing with their sex. Among which, purportedly exist a Christian invention called the “pear”. It is a dilation device that can be inserted into any orifice, and upon rotation of a screw it can slowly expand to beyond the expandability of the orifice. The non-torturing variant is called speculum.

armless pain
armless pain Kill Bill Screenshots

The above things one can watch in movies of American produce. They are abundant, and getting more and more realistic and focused as technology progresses and understanding of truth progresses. (Kill Bill is a prime example) Obvious genre to pick would be horror like “Friday The Thirteenth”, “Halloween”, and plethora ad infinitum. These typify the torturing and murdering of youthful and beautiful females. Americans in particular love this genre.

Some Film examples:

Sever the neck or chopping head in half is in

Maiming of a arm is in Kill Bill

Bisection of body in Sleepy Hollow (1999) Sleepy Hollow

Multi-section by laser beam, in Resident Evil (2002) Resident Evil

Bury alive is in

Casino (1995) Buy at amazon The Vanishing Buy at amazon (1988).

Cutting off of fingers(in sequence), in Bound Buy at amazon (1996), Black Rain Buy at amazon (1989)

Chopping off of hands, Julie Taymor's Titus (1999)

Slitting the throat, Julie Taymor's Titus (1999), 「Elizabeth」 Buy at amazon (1998)

Burning alive in i think Elizabeth and others, probably Joan of Arc for sure.

Flaying: China's Red Sorghum Buy at amazon (1987) …

Vivisection (live dissection) is in Village of the Damned Buy at amazon (1995)

Crush/smash a person (fast or slow), in one of Jackie Chan's gongfu movie.

Crush head slowly: Casino Buy at amazon (1995), Halloween, Blade Runner Buy at amazon (1982), Sin City Buy at amazon (2005).

Strangle slowly is in Copycat Buy at amazon (1995)

Pussy torture is in Death and the Maiden Buy at amazon (1994), and probably The Devils (1971)

Eating a live person's brain, in Hannibal (2001)

Eating a live human's body parts in Sin City (2005).

Tater cell in various Vietnam war movies or some Chinese gongfu movies.

Death and torture by gun is in countless movies.

Eaten alive by beast, in Gladiator.

Lobatimize, in Brazil (1985) Brazil (1985 film)

Frozen alive (as a sculpture) in Star Wars , Logan's Run (1976)

Feeding man to a twig chewer, in one of Jackie Chan's American film (rumble in brownx?)

Castration, in many movies

Cutting of breasts, in Tears of the Sun (2003)

Gouge a eyeball, in Kill Bill.

Drill a skull in …

Pure pain machine, Star Trek, The Princess Bride (1995)

These death ways or slow death elements are central elements in attracting audiences. One internationally popular spy movie series, 007, is filled with creative deaths, from falling into a press, to falling into a propeller, to suffocation by squeeze, to (presumed) suffocation of the skin by gold painting, to instantaneous petrification by liquid nitrogen, to death by compressed air or vacuum, to laser treatment, to space shuttle exhaust treatment, to food for shark, or shock by electric eel or poison by exotic octopus.

You love it, i love it, everybody loves it. But human beings do not love it according to the mainstream, ranging from educational institutions to religious institutions to political institutions. Each has its own propaganda and agenda. I think the uncesorable and grass-roots internet has yet to totally undermine these beautiful, sinister facades.

Wouldn't you love to see your enemy sitting on a pole, helpless and suffering?

Postscript: The torture methods as briefly described in this essay are not accurate historical accounts. See also Wikipedia: Torture.