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‘Zine Review: Rue Morgue #87

'Zine Review: Rue Morgue #87 (click for larger image)Issue #87
March 2009


I want to know who it was that invented the term “torture porn”. Something tells me it was one of the “mainstream” press outlets like Variety or The Hollywood Reporter. My curiosity comes from the endless parade of films that either jump on the label or try their damndest to avoid it being applied, even though in my eyes it’s a very specific sub-genre of films that can be called “torture porn”, and most of them I don’t want anything to do with.

So it bothered me a bit when Rue Morgue labeled Pascal Laugier’s “>Martyrs “transcendent torture porn” on their latest cover because to me it feels like it cheapens the film. I have not seen it, however, so who knows; maybe it’s the best label one could apply, despite the obvious negative connotations it has for me.

The cover article, written by Kier-la Janisse, does a good service to the film, however, painting it as something that’s both familiar and unique because of the way its subject matter is handled. An interview with Laugier comprises the bulk of the article with a two-page chat with star Morjana Alaoui splitting it up.

From there is a great article about the new wave of Christian horror from Lea Lawrynowicz, which covers everything from The Exorcism of Emily Rose to “>House, never passing judgment on the choice of marrying horror with a love of Jesus, allowing the filmmakers to make their case for the need for such a bizarre sub-genre.

Editor-in-Chief Jovanka Vuckovic turns in a cool piece about artist Joshua Hoffine, who does elaborate photo setups with his children to create a series of artwork depicting childhood terrors at their most vivid. The art itself is very dark and creative with “Closet” being my personal favorite of what is on display.

Next is a look at He is Legend, the recent anthology honoring Richard Matheson that features the first collaboration between Stephen King and his son Joe Hill, which is more an excuse to talk about how cool Richard Matheson is than anything else, and I’m fine with that. Finally we have a preview of “>Pontypool by Dave Alexander, which features thoughts from the film’s director, Bruce McDonald, and Pontypool Changes Everything author Tony Burges; again, a great case for the film is made within, and now I really, really want to see this damn movie.

Other highlights in this issue include a hilarious “It Came From Bowen’s Basement” focusing on the killer bee film The Swarm, a one-page feature on the John Skipp/Cody Goodfellow collaboration “>Jake’s Wake (review) and, should I fail to mention it, a spiffy new look for all the magazine’s recurring columns. Nice to see they did something other than compile articles with their two-month break!

Hit the official Rue Morgue site for more info and to get yourself a subscription!

Johnny Butane

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Johnny Butane

  • G.D.

    “I have not seen it, however, so who knows; maybe it’s the best label one could apply, despite the obvious negative connotations it has for me.”

    Well, when you see it, you may realize that it is the best label not DESPITE the negative connotations, but BECAUSE of them.

    It’s a cheap movie, showing torture for the sake of it and for the shock of it, then it applies some bullshit “meaning” on it that doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny at all.

    If you watch it and simply accept it, without giving any thought to it, the movie seems deep and “transcendent”, but as soon as you begin breaking it down and thinking about it, asking questions about it, it completely falls apart.

    My opinion, of course.

    • Uncle Creepy

      I couldn’t agree more.