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Author Topic: WHAT FILM INVENTED THE GENRE?  (Read 8819 times)
Kester Pelagius
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« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2008, 09:44:56 AM »

"Roughie" is sort of a term of art for the more violent sexploitation features that followed when the novelty of the nudie-cuties wore off.  The first one my have been Russ Meyer's LORNA (1964) or THE HEADMISTRESS (1965).


Rev. Powell, Esq. ,

Haven't seen any of those so I'll take your word for it.  Yet it is interesting to note that from the first roughies to today's torture porn, the latter possibly being mainstream Hollywood's equivalent to the roughies of yesteryear, our genre categories continue to develop, often independently of each other, yet remain very similar.  I suppose it's a sign of the times for you are quite right that torture porn is nothing new.  We've had a multitude of genre labels that fit this same type of movie -- whether called "hard gore" or "gorn" (gore porn).  It's just that none of these movies were produced as A-movies by mainstream studios.

I think what sets the current "torture porn" apart from it's predecessors is these are movies made, not unlike the Guinea Pig series, specifically to showcase mindless brutality and human on human atrocities.  BUT, and here's the big difference, these are major big budget MAINSTREAM (as in put out by major studios) movies.

Too, previously such movies offered the veneer of being (somehow) socially redeeming or, at least, offering up cautionary tales.  Then again that was how most exploitation movies were passed off.  They were morbid fables but shilled as being meaningful parables nonetheless.  Such was the case with the Nazisploitation sub-genre.  Exploitation directors sold the movies to us as being based on true stories and thus illuminating dark sinister, and forbidden, corners of the human pysche.  They dared us to watch.  They dared us NOT to be affected.  And, really, their gore was obviously fake so while we, the audience, might cringe we could also laugh because it was so obviously fake.  Not so today.

Today, with modern FX, we get bodies and organs sculpted in silicon that look more real than the genuine article.  This surreal reality is thrown in an audiences face.  We're not dared to believe, we're defied NOT to believe.

Yet what is redeeming about movies like SAW or HOSTEL?  These movies are unrepentant in their gleeful exploration of sadism.  The mainstream audience has picked up on this and thus the "torture porn" label was born.  This despite the fact these kind of movies have always been around.  It's just, in this particular case, the label was applied more out of shock by mainstream audiences.  An audience who if you asked them about Guinea Pig would say: "That's like a hamster, right?"

At least that's more or less my current working theory.   Wink


KP
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« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2008, 01:19:59 PM »

Georges Melies and his silent era films would have to be amongst the earliest sci-fi, fantasy and horror films. Then we had Einstein's films (including a version of Frankenstein), the German Expressionist stuff and even more. Typically books and folklore seemed to be the basis behind the plots of most early Horror. There were shocking images in a lot of pre-code Silent era Horror.

Just thought that was worth noting.
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« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2008, 02:03:03 PM »

Then we had Einstein's films (including a version of Frankenstein),

[psst]...

Edison's

...[/psst]

 TongueOut
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« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2008, 02:05:43 PM »

Georges Melies and his silent era films would have to be amongst the earliest sci-fi, fantasy and horror films. Then we had Einstein's films (including a version of Frankenstein), the German Expressionist stuff and even more. Typically books and folklore seemed to be the basis behind the plots of most early Horror. There were shocking images in a lot of pre-code Silent era Horror.

Just thought that was worth noting.

Along those lines, THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY (1903) clearly invented the Western genre in film.   
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« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2008, 02:23:18 PM »

Kester,

Here's another early roughie: THE DEFILERS from 1965.  I link to the article because it explains the use of the term "roughie".  I think the term was probably invented by Dave Friedman and his gang; at least, that's where I I first heard of it.  I haven't seen LORNA either, myself, and I'm not sure if it's "rough" enough to be the first in the genre.

I agree with your theory on "torture porn".  Some critic invented the term to describe a recent trend in movies (SAW, HOSTEL) that he didn't particularly like.  There's nothing new in the moral tone of these films, except the fact that mainstream studios now back them.  I think the "socially redeeming" element isn't a significant difference; those tacked on morals were always obviously insincere.  On the other hand, more realistic special effects may change the experience of the viewer.  You're right, it's easier to laugh at H.G. Lewis' obviously fake effects, which helps insulate the viewer from the sadism.  Today's torture porn is more in your face, and definitely more unpleasant.       
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« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2008, 04:43:42 PM »

Of course you're correct Menard. Oops! My Bad. (Insert embarrassed smiley here).
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« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2008, 04:47:58 PM »

Pretty sure there's some Italian films from the 60s and 70s that were influential on the "torture" genre. Most of them probably do it more effectively too by what they don't show as compared to today's let's club them over the head with it approach.
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« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2008, 09:35:32 PM »

The Last House on the Left or Cannibal Holocaust. Gotta go way back dude.

Those films would be from 1972 and 1980 respectively.

Two questions:

1) How far back is 'way back' dude?

2) What genre were you suggesting those two invented?
I hope yer keepin' score on yer little thread there, coz that's more virtual karmer for menarder. 
I think you all missed the point!  Do I have THE POWER to pull the plug on this thread...???  BounceGiggle  TeddyR  Bluesad

I was thinking WHAT FILM OF ANY GENRE INVENTED SUCH GENRE?   Wink Apparently most of you figured it out.  I'm not always clear, but I think precise.  Watch out for my hickory schtick.  At least I incite discussion!   Smile

Then we had Einstein's films (including a version of Frankenstein),
[psst]...Edison's...[/psst] TongueOut
BounceGiggle  BounceGiggle  BounceGiggle
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« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2008, 05:57:13 PM »

In addition to JAWS spawning a whole bunch of cruddy "Animal attacks cliche area knownst only to cop, hunter, researcher, and corrupt authority figure" lesser-ripoffs, one can say similar things happened with THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE and AMADEUS.

Hand that Rocks the Cradle - Family is disturbed by dangerously neurotic "Nanny figure" who wishes to usurp the wife and mother. (Maybe it started with Fatal Attraction?)

Amadeus - The important parts of a famous musician (Played by an American)'s life, with a good amount of made-up bits thrown in to make them relatable to the audience. (Watched a bunch of these direct to video masterpieces in school :P)
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« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2008, 12:39:34 PM »

How about the gangster movie, the kind that focus on the gangster? Modern audiences would probably point to the "Godfather" franchise, but I'd guess that James Cagney's Public Enemy (1931) probably created this genre, unless anybody knows of earlier or more iconic examples.

And how about the heist movie, the one that's all about setting up a complicated operation and then pulling it off (always overcoming a few glitches of course)? Did that start with Ocean's Eleven (1960)?


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« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2008, 01:28:29 PM »

I think "inventing" a genre is somewhat of a misnomer.  One movie may "invent" a certain plot, but if it doesn't inspire a host of imitators, it hasn't done anything for a genre.  Another movie may come along, use that same plot structure, and start a whole wave of similar movies.  That movie started a genre, even though it didn't "invent" the plot structure. 

Alien is a good example.  There was a 1958 movie called "It!  The Terror From Beyond Space".  The plot was nearly identical to Alien, but it didn't inspire a whole host of imitators.  It! perhaps invented that particular plot, but Alien created the sub-genre.  And I'm sure if you wanted to research it you could find plenty of earlier movies where people were trapped in a confined space and menaced by something scary.
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« Reply #26 on: October 15, 2008, 01:55:58 PM »

As far as "caper" pictures go, both John Huston's The Asphalt Jungle, with Sterling Hayden, and Stanley Kubrick's The Killing, also with Sterling Hayden(!), were made in 1950 and 1956 respectively.  These were the first films to do the precision-timing/multiple-player heist/robbery storyline that "Ocean's 11" gave a somewhat comedic twist to.  The earlier films were more serious crime-dramas -- and the carefully designed plans didn't go as planned --

I actually think that the real modern predecessor would be Topkapi(1964), which had the elements of comedy and irony that we would later expect in such films like "The Sting".  As films evolve, it becomes difficult to see just where the looked-for genre begins --

peter johnson/denny crane
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Kester Pelagius
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« Reply #27 on: October 15, 2008, 02:04:57 PM »

Well said Jack.

Similarly Star Wars most certainly did NOT invent the space opera genre, a genre which really evolved in the pulps, was even adapted into various comic formats, and became caricaturized in the early B&W serials (Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, &tc) then slowly began to re-emerge in the 50s as, once again, stories for grown up audiences.  Yet when most movie critics review a space opera themed movie Star Wars is inevitably the ONE movie they ALL refer to.  Seldom will a critic even seem aware of the literary genre from which these movies draw their inspiration, much less the movies and serials that preceded it, which is a shame.

Then again when a movie becomes popular they often become iconic representations of the genre, as Alien and Star Wars has and, to a lesser extent, as have the movies in the modern goresploitation "torture porn" genre.  So, too, in literature.  Viz. "Tolkien fantasy" et al.

Which just goes to show being first isn't quite as important as being POPULAR first.   Taint fair but that's life.  Wink
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« Reply #28 on: October 15, 2008, 03:24:45 PM »

And how about the heist movie, the one that's all about setting up a complicated operation and then pulling it off (always overcoming a few glitches of course)? Did that start with Ocean's Eleven (1960)?
Ocean's Eleven may have been the first american one, but I believe there was a French movie from the 50s called Rififi dealing with a complex heist
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« Reply #29 on: October 15, 2008, 03:54:53 PM »

And how about the heist movie, the one that's all about setting up a complicated operation and then pulling it off (always overcoming a few glitches of course)? Did that start with Ocean's Eleven (1960)?
Ocean's Eleven may have been the first american one, but I believe there was a French movie from the 50s called Rififi dealing with a complex heist

RIFIFI was 1955, that's what I thought of too.  Although, as Peter Johnson pointed out, THE ASPHALT JUNGLE was made in 1950.  That's the earliest "heist" movie I can think of, though there were probably earlier ones.
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