5 Movies Which Busted Open Taboo Subject Matters

There are certain subjects in society that are just plain taboo. They don't make for polite dinner conversation and they are swept under the carpet in a hasty manner. Personally, I have no problem discussing each and every subject under the sun - even the ickiest - and I have from an early age sought out transgressive cinema, music, literature and art. It has to be said that cinema has provided me with the finest and most memorable moments of transgression. The portrayal of taboo subjects or acts is fascinating in the world of film, even just to see how directors will present the issues and what thought provoking morsels we can take away with the films. In real life there ARE necrophiliacs, coprophiliacs, people into bestiality and incest, as well as the enduring snuff movie myths. and the films that cover such subjects are not necessarily exploitative in their approach to their subject matter. Some are serious works of art. So I present to you five memorable films that have dared to delve into the world of taboo subjects. Please remain morbidly fascinated!

5. Snuff - Emanuelle in America (1977)

Featuring the delectable 'Black Emanuelle' - Laura Gemser, Emanuelle in America is a sexploitation film helmed by one of the sleaziest directors in the annals of Italian exploitation cinema - Joe D'Amato. The D'Amato Emanuelle films feature sexual perversions that go far beyond anything portrayed in the 'official' Emmanuelle franchise. In the film, Emanuelle gets up to all sorts of sexy hijinks in order to get the ultimate scoop for her career in journalism. She joins a modern day harem and travels to Venice to see what diplomats get up to in their parties. There are all sorts of sexual goings on. Some of it hardcore and totally outrageous (a woman fondling a horse for real) but what really stands out are the (simulated) snuff movie scenes that Emanuelle stumbles upon in her investigations. The snuff contains scenes of women having their breasts cut off, hot tar dildo assaults and women being strung up by their vaginas. It is extremely jarring in the film, which is 95% based on consensual somewhat pervy sex, to have these moments of grotesque snuff violence. What did D'Amato hope to achieve by juxtaposing sex with murder? He was probably exploiting fears about the existence of snuff movie rings around the world. Snuff and exploitation have a long association with each other - ranging from the death scenes in the Mondo Movie right up to Ruggero Deodato parading the actors in Cannibal Holocaust in an Italian court to prove that he hadn't produced a snuff movie. As an exploitation maven, I have to say that I love Emanuelle in America despite, or maybe because of, its insane sleaze factor and that includes the snuff sequences. It's just so random, prurient and bizarre it makes a delicious heady exploitation cocktail. And for the record, the snuff scenes look like something out of Salo - they are that nasty. But Gemser's infectious enthusiasm for all things salacious is catchy and we capitulate to the debauchery in the film - horse penises, snuff et al.


My first film watched was Carrie aged 2 on my dad's knee. Educated at The University of St Andrews and Trinity College Dublin. Fan of Arthouse, Exploitation, Horror, Euro Trash, Giallo, New French Extremism. Weaned at the bosom of a Russ Meyer starlet. The bleaker, artier or sleazier the better!