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Related: confession - death by a thousand cuts - martyr - inquisition - punishment - violence - pain

Titles: The Torture Garden (1899) - Octave Mirbeau

The Torture Garden (1899) - Octave Mirbeau [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Metaphorically related: tortured artists

Connoisseurs: Roland Villeneuve


Torture is the infliction of severe physical or psychological pain as a means of cruelty, intimidation, punishment or for the extraction of a confession or information. Torture is prohibited by the UN Convention Against Torture and is considered a severe violation of human rights. Nevertheless, torture is a controversial issue, with debates over whether or not certain acts constitute torture, whether torture is ever justified, and which countries or political groups use or have used torture, and for what ends. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torture, Apr 2004

The Milgram experiment [...]

The Milgram experiment was a famous scientific experiment of social psychology. The experiment was first described by Stanley Milgram, a psychologist at Yale University in an article titled Behavioral study of obedience published in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology in 1963, and later summarized in his 1974 book Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View. It was intended to measure the willingness of a participant to obey an authority who instructs the participant to do something that may conflict with the participant's personal conscience.--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment [Sept 2004]

Bloody Theater or Martyr's Mirror of the Defenseless Christians (1660) - Thieleman Van Bragt

Jan Luyken. Burning in Amsterdam in 1571. Engraving. XVII century.
Image sourced here.

Jan Luyken (1649-1712) was a Dutch poet, illlustrator and engraver. He illustrated the 1685 edition of the Martyrs Mirror with 104 copper etchings. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan Luyken [Jan 2006]

Bloody Theater or Martyr's Mirror of the Defenseless Christians (1660) - Thieleman Van Bragt [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Here is a collection of accounts of more than 4011 Christians burned at the stake, of countless bodies torn on the rack, torn tongues, ears, hands, feet, gouged eyes, people buried alive, and of many who were willing to bear the cross of persecution and death for the sake of Christ. --via Amazon

The Martyrs Mirror or The Bloody Theater, first published in 1660 in Dutch by Thieleman J. van Braght, documents the stories and testimonies of Christian martyrs, especially Anabaptists. The full title of the book is The Bloody Theater or Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christians who baptized only upon confession of faith, and who suffered and died for the testimony of Jesus, their Saviour, from the time of Christ to the year A.D. 1660. The use of the word defenseless in this case refers to the Anabaptist belief in non-resistance. The book includes accounts of the martyrdom of the apostles and the stories of martyrs from previous centuries with beliefs similar to the Anabaptists.

The 1685 edition of the book is illustrated with 104 copper etchings by Jan Luyken. Thirty of these plates survive and are part of the Mirror of the Martyrs exhibit. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martyrs_Mirror [Jan 2006]

See also: 1600s - martyr - saint - torture - inquisition - Christianity - The Netherlands

Amnesty International


Tortures and Torments of the Christian Martyrs - Gallonio, William D. Edwards

  1. Tortures and Torments of the Christian Martyrs : The Classic Martyrology - Reverend Antonio Gallonio (Author), William D. Edwards (Author) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Repellent and fascinating at the same time, the terrible tortures of Christian martyrs evidence a sort of evil creativity and gleeful bloodlust on the part of their tormentors. This book, originally published in 1989 in a limited edition, captures the gruesomeness of torture and provides an intellectual examination of it - with an awareness of the visceral thrill that such images provide. It includes a reproduction of the 1591 book of the same title, with engravings and descriptions of Christian tortures; segments from The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (1824), by an Augustinian nun (which helped inspire Mel Gibson's film Passion); the article "On the Physical Death of Jesus," by William D. Edwards, describing the forensic realities of the crucifixion (which also impacted the film); and 24 illustrations by a variety of well-known artists, performers, and infamous criminals including Daniel Clowes, Joe Coleman, Raymond Pettibon, and Kaz. --Book Description via amazon.com


  1. Don't Torture a Duckling (1972) - Lucio Fulci [Amazon US]
    The oddly titled Don't Torture a Duckling (taken from a minor plot point) is one of director Lucio Fulci's most linear and conventional narratives, relying more on story and mystery than on gore and atmospherics. In a rural Italian village, young boys turn up dead, and the authorities are stumped as to who the murderer is. A reporter lends his efforts to the hunt for the killer, many red herrings turn up, and more kids are murdered while the police search for the culprit. A sexually liberated young woman from Milan, a local witch, and the village idiot all fall under suspicion until the killer is uncovered. Gone is much of the director's trademark visual style, replaced with the blinding sunlight of an Italian summer for a hyperrealistic feel (though Fulci's affinity for the zoom shot and deep focus comes through). More tellingly, though, Fulci points toward the superstition and ignorance of the villagers as being as dangerous and destructive as the murderer himself. Also, the film's vehemently anti-Catholic sentiment had to have been controversial at the time of its release. Fans of the giallo and Italian horror in general would do well to seek out this film for an example of Lucio Fulci at his most grim and serious. --Jerry Renshaw for amazon.com

  2. Marathon Man (1976) - John Schlesinger [Amazon US]
    John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy) directed this gripping, entertaining 1977 thriller that centers on graduate student Dustin Hoffman (The Graduate, Tootsie). Hoffman plays a sullen and cowardly loner haunted by the suicide of his father, a suspected communist. He is drawn into a murky web of international intrigue when his brother, CIA agent Doc Levy, played by Roy Scheider (Jaws, The French Connection), is murdered by a former Nazi (Laurence Olivier) who has come to the United States to reclaim a valuable stash of diamonds. Babe (Hoffman) must confront his fears of the past as he runs for his life and tries to avenge his brother's death at the same time. Featuring a classic torture sequence and a terrific cast that includes William Devane and Marthe Keller, this film written by William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President's Men) stands as a great entertainment and as one of the seminal films of the 1970s. --Robert Lane for Amazon.com

  3. Chinese Torture Chamber Story (1995) - Bosco Lam [Amazon US]
    Pleasantly surprised, September 4, 2002
    In reading some of the reviews below, some seem to be for another movie - presumably Part I with the same title (but I can't be sure since I haven't seen Part I). The December 6, 2001, does a excellent job of reviewing the plot of ASIN: B00005IAQQ and I'm not going to re-review what s/he did. Rather, I'll focus on what s/he didn't touch upon:

    The topic is unquestionably prurient, a la Dolcett, et al. If you can't handle that, do yourself a favor and run, don't walk, away. Some of the story is traditional Chinese theatre: simplistic dialogue which falls easily into the "silly" column. That being said, the overall "arc" of the movie isn't silly. In a very limited way, I could see some Shakespearean influence to the plot: he dies loving her, she dies avenging him, everybody dies. The scenery is almost perfect for the genre. The torture/blood-FX are (in Hollywood standards) outright horrible, pathetic, deplorable, break-out-the-thesaurus bad - which is really too bad since I got the impression the movie was trying to be a well-made torture/soft-porn flick. The sex is the typical, late-night cable, TV-MA fodder plus some S&M. The digital video is *very* good: wide-screen, stable, crystal clear. In fact, I saw a few analog boo-boos but the conversion to digital is top-notch. Utilization of the traditional DVD capabilities (menus, etc) is par. The box says "CC" but I couldn't find it - however there are English subtitles (picky, I know, but! If it says CC, I want captions. If it says subtitled, I want subtitles. If it says both, darn it! I want both!) Speaking of subtitles: eww... get an interpreteur! There are many grammatical errors, a nonsensical sentence or two, etc. Additionally, don't put the remote away as you'll be freezing the image to read some of the subtitles... they are *that* fast.

    Anyway, thumbs up. Why? For the genre, the movie is well made. Splasher flicks don't have to be pathetic. Porno movies (which this ain't) don't have to be artistically and intellectually void. Just because you choose to make a film which caters to the basest of our species aspects, doesn't mean you have to do it in a moronic, low-class sort of way. If you don't understand that last sentence, this movie isn't for you. --A viewer from Los Angeles, CA

  4. Reservoir Dogs (1992) - Quentin Tarantino [Amazon US]
    Quentin Tarantino came out of nowhere (i.e., a video store in Manhattan Beach, California) and turned Hollywood on its ear in 1992 with his explosive first feature, Reservoir Dogs. Like Tarantino's mainstream breakthrough Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs has an unconventional structure, cleverly shuffling back and forth in time to reveal details about the characters, experienced criminals who know next to nothing about each other. Joe (Lawrence Tierney) has assembled them to pull off a simple heist, and has gruffly assigned them color-coded aliases (Mr. Orange, Mr. Pink, Mr. White) to conceal their identities from being known even to each other. But something has gone wrong, and the plan has blown up in their faces. One by one, the surviving robbers find their way back to their prearranged warehouse hideout. There, they try to piece together the chronology of this bloody fiasco--and to identify the traitor among them who tipped off the police. Pressure mounts, blood flows, accusations and bullets fly. In the combustible atmosphere these men are forced to confront life-and-death questions of trust, loyalty, professionalism, deception, and betrayal. As many critics have observed, it is a movie about "honor among thieves" (just as Pulp Fiction is about redemption, and Jackie Brown is about survival). Along with everything else, the movie provides a showcase for a terrific ensemble of actors: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen, Christopher Penn, and Tarantino himself, offering a fervent dissection of Madonna's "Like a Virgin" over breakfast. Reservoir Dogs is violent (though the violence is implied rather than explicit), clever, gabby, harrowing, funny, suspenseful, and even--in the end--unexpectedly moving. (Don't forget that "Super Sounds of the Seventies" soundtrack, either.) Reservoir Dogs deserves just as much acclaim and attention as its follow-up, Pulp Fiction, would receive two years later. --Jim Emerson for Amazon.com [this movie is very derivative; Postmodernism: Quentin Tarantino might make a new movie which is just a lot of scenes copied from old movies ]

Le musée des supplices (1968) - Roland Villeneuve (1922 - )

Le musée des supplices (1968) - Roland Villeneuve
image sourced via http://marchese-desade.org/saggi/saggiuv.htm [Mar 2005]

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