Sexual Violence in Horror Films- a Terrifying Reality.

Working in a store that buys used movies, books, and music, I’ve learned a lot about people. I’ve seen everything from people moving past their “Twilight” phase to selling a deceased loved one’s film collection. Experiences cathartic in their own personal ways, I guess. In contrast, I also buy back possibly stolen junk… It takes all kinds of people.

But something else that’s passed through my hands on multiple occasions is a sickening kind of film. “Torture porn” movies, these awful films, that focus on the torture, rape, and mutilation of women. Beautiful women, specifically.

Sex has always been a part of horror. There are some horror movies I really enjoy, even some that host a lot of violence. The Exorcist? Great movie.  I like violent non-horror movies too, give me a Tarantino film any day of the week. But violence isn’t what I have an issue with. The sexuality isn’t what I have an issue with.The problem is film that has a sole purpose of showing physical and sexual violence against women for the pleasure of men.

A movie that epitomizes all of this called “Kill All Women” made it’s way into the store. Marketing itself a “misogynistic, sadistic murder-fest” it boasted gratuitous nudity, savage violence, and lots of dead women. I was blown away- this is a selling point? It was so over the top I figured it must be a sick parody of some kind.

My coworkers and I pulled up the trailer online to even see if the movie was real- It was. I was bombarded with images of  of women getting murdered in horrible ways and having their clothes ripped off. It was stomach turning. I couldn’t finish it, and it made me realize:

  1. There is a market for this.
  2. People derive pleasure from these things.
  3. They aren’t embarrassed to sell this back for others to see.
  4. There must be people I know who enjoy this.

I hopped on the internet to do a little research, and I couldn’t find a single thing on the film. How underground can that movie be? Why could we only find a trailer? I shuddered at the thought of what else is out there. It did lead me however, to another sickening discovery.

Out of 9 suggested searches, 5 are specifically violent.

Out of 9 suggested Youtube searches, 5 are specifically violent. These are the most often searched.

Even on Youtube, home of cute puppy videos galore, there lurks a subculture of men who get off on watching acts of violence against women. I used “hot woman” because that’s how most of these videos are labeled. There is a specific target of women that are attractive.

These videos have hundreds of thousands of views.

These videos have hundreds of thousands of views.

I couldn’t bring myself to watch a single video, but I did click on them, pause, and read the comments. Some examples are, “I love the look of a woman in pain” “She is so scared and sexy” and “She looks so sexy covered in blood.” YIKES. I’m all for expressing and exploring sexuality but this is terrifying.

Many of these movies perpetuate the “rape myth” that women derive sexual pleasure from assault. Rapes are shown in a very sexual way. Rape is not and is never a sexual thing. It is about power and violence.  I’m not saying the average man would watch one of these films and be influenced to commit horrible acts. But do you think the main audience here is “normal men?”

Either way, exposure to these kinds of materials can change the social climate and it’s acceptance or disagreement  with certain behaviors.  The troubled kind of person deriving pleasure from these violent acts is more likely to blur the lines between fantasy and reality.

“If you take a young man, and constantly and repeatedly expose him to material that portrays women responding positively to rape, should you be surprised if he begins to believe that women want to be forced in sexual relationships?”
– Edward Donnerstein”

Holding that copy of “Kill All Women” at work, I felt disgusted. I turned to two of my male coworkers. “How can people make this? How can men enjoy this?” I asked them. They didn’t have an answer for me. But one of them took the movie, sent it out of inventory, and threw it in the trash where it belonged.

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