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3 pages/≈825 words
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Level:
Chicago
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Visual & Performing Arts
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Essay
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English (U.S.)
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Transgression and taboo in Hellraiser (Essay Sample)

Instructions:
students were required to explain how the themes of TRANSGRESSION and taboo were used in hellraiser , the movie. This sample analyses the use of these themes in the film. source..
Content:
Insert Name Inset Lecturer’s Name Insert Subject Insert Subject TRANSGRESSION AND TABOO IN HELLRAISER In this regard "the taboo equates to those issues that the majority of the general public and society see as being forbidden and far too removed from the norms, to the degree that society is irritated both emotionally and mentally. The themes of transgression and taboo are expressed through sexuality, both in nature and tone. Baker’s work uses this perverse and dark side of sex. Such dark (and evil) delights include: bestiality, gay sex and necrophilia. In Hellraiser, the role of sadomasochism is explored in detail. This a type of taboo which is associated with leather, whips, chains, domination, bondage and submissiveness (King, 156). Hellraiser delineates sadomasochism as having a duality, that of torment and delight, however there is a gossamer line between this duality. Hellraiser utilizes sadomasochism as an illustration to investigate these twin ideas and how they are interlaced. Delight at its extreme can become torment. Furthermore, in sexual circumstances, torment can manifest itself as delight (Everman, 4). The culprits of this sort of instinctive delight are the cenobites. They clad dark leather and when summoned they appear with many chains swinging from the ceiling. This serves to strengthen the sadomasochism analogy that Baker needs to pass on to his audience. In the mid-eighties, when Hellraiser was made, sadomasochism was a subversive practice that was done behind closed doors. The amount of impact Hellraiser would have had in impacting society and culture in bringing sadomasochism from being a taboo to something that has been launched into the mainstream and given another sense of voguishness and respectability is impossible to say. With prominent motion pictures like Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997), Batman Returns (1992) and The Avengers(1998), the female characters clad in leather are depicted as "sexy and strong" in the customs of the dominatrix; while the bound-up male characters adopt submissive roles, for example, Gimp in Pulp fiction(1995). Where audience from the eighties would have found Baker’s references to sadomasochism unsettling; audience from the nineties would probably see it as being chic (Mathjis and Mendic, 63). Another way in which Hellraiser explores the themes of transgression and taboo is through suffering and pain caused by the characters’ sexual experiments. Once in they are in hell, they are denied their sexuality. In Hellraiser 2 (1998), Frank is being tormented by apparitions alluring him to satisfy them sexually, just for them to vanish as he goes close to touch them. Hellraiser creates an impression concerning the utilization of sexual symbolism that is pervasive in all types of medium to tempt and lure its recipients to perform consumer service, such as purchasing a brand name item or going to watch a recently released film, which is becoming a norm in Western civilizations (Staiger, 179–187). Hellraiser offers a visually irritating new horror, the Cenobites, who depict themselves as being demons to some and angels to others. The Cenobites are illustrations of pain and pleasure. One has had tracheotomy, one has had eyelids sewn, and the master Cenobite has a complicated lattice tattooed onto his head, with nails embedded at each intersection. Every Cenobite has had their flesh sliced, punctured in a few ways. Transgression is dominant throughout the film as the basic human form is re-sexed, transfigured and de-evolved into bizzare creatures that are barely recognizable as once being normal human beings. Aspects of body modification and body horror are brought into perspective. The image of the body is an important aspect of our culture. Hellraiser stresses the "gross out" element or factor that strikes our senses when the body is ripped apart, blown up, dismembered, devoured and dissected. Along with other luminaries such as Friday the Thirteenth (1980), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and Halloween (1978), Hellraiser has been considered a pioneer in exploring the human body (Williams, 23). Frank, one of the characters, is torn apart by fish snares. In regard to the flesh fetish that is illustrated, it is evident that the film shows us how corrupt and weak our bodies are. On the other hand, the film depicts the dangers associated with modifying our bodies to the point of dehumanizing ourselves as shown by th...
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