Spiral Director Says Stop Calling His Movie ‘Torture Porn’: That Was So 2008

Spiral director, Darren Bousman, has asked people to stop referencing “torture porn” in articles about his Chris Rock starring sequel in the Saw franchise. Posting on Twitter, Bousman said “Okay. Can we just STOP with “torture-porn” references in your articles? that was so 2008.”.

This is a reference to the term that became synonymous with many of the sequels to the 2004 James Wan original, which turned focus from the twisting and turning story-driven movie to the most depraved and blood-splattered ways of dispatching a series of largely forgettable characters.

RELATED: Spiral Director Darren Lynn Bousman Talks Saw Past, Present & Future [Exclusive]

Torture porn, was a term first associated with the franchise from the third movie, which saw the victims of Jigsaws sadistic form of justice subjected to decapitations, exploding heads and even drowning In a vat of pureed rotten pig flesh – yummy. Subsequent sequels, which managed to do a Friday the 13th in continuing on beyond a 7th movie subtitled “The Final Chapter” in 2010 to deliver an 8th installment seven years later under the title Jigsaw, found storylines becoming threadbare in favor of conjuring up more brutal and sadistic killings. Between having a head crushed between two giant blocks of ice, to being injected with acid until their body burned away, and even having their skull sliced open by lasers, it wasn’t hard to see why the phrase stuck with the franchise.

Delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Spiral: From the Book of Saw was finally released this month to a polarized set of reviews, which took on a Dickensian parody of ranging from it being the best of Saw to it being the worst of Saw. The one thing that instantly became apparent was that unlike many of the previous entries, Chris Rock and Darren Lynn Bousman had made a conscious effort to pull back some of the over the top brutality in favour of creating a worthwhile story that fit into the Saw mythology.

Bousman asking for the use of the torture porn tagging to stop is another sign that he intended this movie to be something other than just another series of multiple bloodbaths and triggering traps that served little purpose other than to try and make as many audience members faint or vomit as possible. The movie attempts to find a balance between keeping gore-fans happy, while not putting off those with weaker stomachs, and for the most part it seems to have managed that quite well.

Bousman’s Twitter post gained a number of comments, some supporting his view and others proving that a tag like that is hard to shake.

“Don’t be ashamed! Torture Porn is one of the few new modern subgenres and you are a significant forerunner for it.” wrote one user, while another said “I think it’s an apt description for Saw, Hostel, Martyrs. Can’t think of any others. It’s pretty distinct from a thriller, slasher, etc.”

However, others jumped to the defense of the director, with many even questioning what the term actually meant. “Torture porn, I never understood that… Hellraiser was torture porn” said one, and “What exactly constitutes “torture porn”? I swear people use that label for every horror movie nowadays” added another.

With the movie doing reasonable business in these transitioning times, when cinema is still very much in early recovery, it is not unfair to say that we can likely expect more entries in the Spiral series of Saw movies. The real question is, will it continue to hold back from becoming just another reason to show brutal forms of death, or will the need to outdo its predecessor prove too much to avoid being branded as torture porn once more.

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