Extreme cinema

Extreme cinema is a genre of film which is characterized by excessive violence, torture, and sex of extreme nature. The rising popularity of Asian films in the 21st century has contributed to the growth of extreme cinema, yet the extreme cinema is still considered to be a cult-based genre. Being a relatively new genre is, extreme cinema is controversial and widely unaccepted by the mainstream media. [1]

Extreme cinema films. [2]


The prehistory of extreme cinema can be traced back to censorship of art films and advertising tactics to classical exploitation films to Anglo-European markets along with liberal representations of sex in the first half of the 20th Century onwards. [3]

The genre of extreme cinema itself is relatively short; the term was widely used until the early 2000s. The name ‘extreme cinema’ originated from a “line of Asian films that share a combination of sensational features, such as extreme violence, horror and shocking plots”. [4]


Extreme cinema is highly criticized and debated by film critics and the general public. There have been debates over hypersexualization that makes these films a threat to the ‘mainstream’ community standards. [5]

There is also criticism of the increasing use of violence in modern-day films. Ever since the emergence of slasher-gore movies in the 70’s, the rising popularity of extreme cinema has contributed to the violence in popular media. [6] Some criticizes the easy exposure and unintended targeting of adolescence by extreme cinema films. [7]

Classification and guidelines

BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) classifies extreme cinema films into a ‘R18’ rating, which is defined as “special and legally restricted classification primarily for the purpose of consenting to”. [5]


Some of the controversies surrounding extreme cinema has had its effects when exposed to the general public without proper censorship. Some studies have suggested the correlation between exposure to extreme sex and violence from the media and violent behavior and aggression in children. [8]

Notable movies

Some of the notable examples of this genre of cinema are Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom [9] and the works of Lars von Trier . [10]


  1. Jump up^ Dirks, Tim. “100 Most Controversial Movies of All Time.”100 Most Controversial Movies of All Time. Filmsite, nd Web. 9 Feb. 2016.
  2. Jump up^ http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/project/C6FD3EB5-9542-4A98-B2E1-3F2E834B88FF
  3. Jump up^ https://books.google.com/books?id=oqq_CwAAQBAJ&pg=PA19&lpg=PA19&dq=extreme+cinema+the+transgressive+rhetoric+of+today’s+art+film+culture&source=bl&ots=KN46_CS2kK&sig=rYJ7CboAzRRup3nNc7NB502f93Q&hl=en&sa = X & ved = 0ahUKEwiqzorAjanYAhXMOCYKHeaLAus4ChDoAQhCMAY snippet # v = & q =% 20salo & f = false
  4. Jump up^ Lee, Eunah. “Trauma, excess, and the aesthetics of the affect: the extreme cinemas of Chan-Wook Park.”Post Script2014: 33. Literature Resource Center. Web. 7 Feb. 2016.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a Pett B , E. “A New Media Landscape? The BBFC, Extreme Cinema As Cult, And Technological Change. ” New Review of Film and Television Studies 13.1 (2015): 83-99. Scopus. Web. 9 Feb. 2016
  6. Jump up^ Sapolsky, Barry S., Fred Moliter, and Sarah Luque. “Sex and Violence in Slasher Films: Re-examining the Assumptions.”J & MC Quarterly 80.1 (2003): 28-38. SAGE Journals. Web. 9 Feb. 2016.
  7. Jump up^ Sargent, James D., Todd F. Hetherton, Bridget Ahrens, Madeline Dalton, Jennifer J. Tickle, and Michael L. Beach. “Teen Exposure to Extremely Violent Movies.”Journal of Adolescent Health31.6 (2002): 449-454. JAMES MADISON UNIV’s Catalog. Web.
  8. Jump up^ Fyfe, Kristen. “More Violence, More Sex, More Troubled Kids.”Media Research Center. MRC Culture, 11 Jan. 2007. Web. 9 Feb. 2016
  9. Jump up^ https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-cultivating-extreme-art-cinema-hb.html
  10. Jump up^ https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/against-happiness/#!