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A (Post)Modern House of Pain

A (Post)Modern House of Pain

FearDotCom and the Prehistory of the Post-9/11 Torture Film

Chapter:
(p.58) A (Post)Modern House of Pain
Source:
American Horror Film
Author(s):
Reynold Humphries
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781604734539.003.0005

This chapter examines the graphic violence in director William Malone’s FearDotCom. It traces the film’s uneasy position between two modes of the fantastic, as well as its unfortunate release in advance of a commercially far more successful horror film cycle—that of so-called torture porn—which would have created more favorable conditions of reception. Reading the film self-consciously at the end of the Bush years, and thus in the context of Abu Ghraib, CIA renditions, and the debate on American torture, the chapter gives the film and its director credit not only for being oddly prescient of the political issues that were to define America’s role in the new century, but also for articulating them more provocatively than many of their more highly appraised successors.

Keywords:   American horror film, torture porn, graphic violence, political issues

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