The best films blending erotica and horror explore the link between the two very different genres.
While detestable torture porn movies linger on the distress and humiliation of the often nude, often female victim for no reason other than for the audience to revel in the on-screen sadism.
Perhaps surprisingly it is lustful women rather than predatory men who blur the line between sex and terror in the films – female vampires are common theme, mostly inspired by Elizabeth Báthory, most famously in the late Ingrid Pitt’s finest hour as Countess Dracula.
Two directors stand above all others in the erotica/horror subgenre. Spanish filmmaker Jess Franco owes his career to sadism-laced adult cinema, ranging from Marquis de Sade adaptations (Eugenie) to concentration camp sexploitation (Ilsa the Wicked Warden). Jean Rollin amped up the gore quota in his outrageous vampiric lust films and rape-revenge fantasies.
Gay cinema is not exempt from the genre, with pornmeister Bruce LaBruce’s demented Otto; or Up with Dead People, while Japanese pink cinema often tilted its titillation towards terror, including Blind Beast and The Watcher in the Attic. All these DVDs show the darker side of erotica.