chapter  2
11 Pages

The paradox of cinematic sexualized violence as entertainment

ByJANE MONCKTON SMITH

Introduction Sexual violence is considered one of the most serious of crimes in our society and its potential to cause significant and long-lasting trauma to victims is acknowledged. However, it is also a central theme in various forms of leisure activity from art, exhibitions, theatre, magazines, music video, concerts, literature and true crime books to guided tours and theme park rides. It is also the subject of a highly successful genre in film making – the horror/slasher film – which almost exclusively focuses on the ‘serial killer’. The Saw franchise, for example, is a series of films described in some film reviews as ‘torture porn’ and has produced at least three number ones at the box office, with Saw V grossing $113 million worldwide (Box Office Mojo 2009), making it the highest-grossing horror franchise in history (Snider 2008). With its own dedicated and named ride and maze at Thorpe Park, an amusement theme park in London, UK, the commodification of sexualized violence is clearly popular and profitable.