‘Split Wide Open’ – Cannibal Corpse and Carnographic Pleasure | By: Catherine Hoad

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‘Carnage is my fetish.’ – Cannibal Corpse, ‘Butchered at Birth’[1]

Gore and pornography is by no means a new combination in entertainment. Despite the wealth of literature examining this union in cinema, however, relatively little exists in regard to the blending of carnage, gore and pornography within music. Nonetheless, this ‘carnography’[2] has played a formidable role in the lyrical and artistic content of many musical acts, often manifested in horrific depictions of sexual violence that far exceed anything that could be represented on screen. For American death metal band Cannibal Corpse, this combination of sexual pleasure and bodily trauma has proven the major focus within their music. As proud owners of a 25-year-old back-catalogue boasting song titles such as ‘Fucked With a Knife’, ‘Entrails Ripped from a Virgin’s Cunt’ and ‘Stripped, Raped and Strangled’, Cannibal Corpse’s visions of brutality offer a complex and problematic exploration of the simultaneous disgust and desire represented by the human body. This article argues that Cannibal Corpse’s imagining of the female body – as a theatre for perverse and grotesque entertainment – has allowed a sexualised gaze to extend to the mutilated interior of the human body. Their music affirms both the forms of power that would repress female bodies and the boundaries of masculine violence. Moreover, Cannibal Corpse’s narratives of mutilation and torture also reveal confronting realities about the human attraction to gore. This morbid curiosity with looking raises questions about the insatiable fascination represented by a body split wide open.

Cannibal Corpse and the Limits of Acceptability

Cannibal Corpse is an American death metal band formed in Buffalo, New York, in 1988. Despite having little radio or television exposure, the band has become the best-selling death metal act in the United States. Nevertheless, while their music itself has received very little airplay, its themes have attracted a great deal of attention within political spheres. Cannibal Corpse was specifically targeted in 1995 when then-senator Bob Dole accused death metal bands of ‘undermining the national character’ by producing ‘nightmares of depravity’ that ‘[slashed] the social fabric of the nation’ and ‘[threatened] our children’.[3] Only a year later the band was charged with endangering the welfare of children and the community [4] when a campaign led by conservative activists and senators called upon major record labels to ‘dump 20 recording groups [...] responsible for the most offensive lyrics’.[5] More recently, Western Australia’s then shadow police minister Rob Johnson was joined by community groups in calling for the cancellation of a 2006 Cannibal Corpse concert in Perth, suggesting that the band encouraged youth suicide and violence.[6]

While Cannibal Corpse’s lyrics (if not their music) have been repeatedly called into question regarding their allegedly threatening content, the band’s album art has proved just as controversial. Album covers, frequently designed by American comic book artist Vincent Locke, depict scenes of gore and horror deemed unsuitable for sale. As such, reactions to this cover art, coupled with wider concerns over their lyrical content, have led to perhaps the most tangible attempts to prevent Cannibal Corpse’s attack on the moral vanguard. From October of 1996 until 2006, the sale of any Cannibal Corpse recording was banned in Australia; upon their re-release in 2006 and 2007 the band’s albums were given an R rating and sold only to those over 18, often with alternate or censored covers. Similarly, Cannibal Corpse’s first three albums were prohibited from sale and display in Germany and the band were not permitted to play any songs from these records in concert, a ban that lasted until June of 2006. These acts of censorship fit within broader attempts to repress the subversive interests of heavy metal. Throughout the genre’s history, metal has come under attack precisely because it engages with the ‘dark side’.[7] This engagement needs to be explored not as a form of dangerous transgression, but rather as a means of opening up humanity’s morbid fascination with the ‘abject’; that which disturbs and threatens social reason.

Cannibal Corpse’s narratives of mutilation and torture also reveal confronting realities about the human attraction to gore

Cannibal Corpse have made a career of finding distinction in transgression. Their music, lyrical content and album art is unabashedly violent and frequently misogynistic, pushing at the boundaries of social acceptability. However, the association of gore with pleasure is by no means a new phenomenon. The term ‘carnography’ (excessive violence, bloodshed and gore) had been deployed as early as 1972 in reviews of David Morrell’s book First Blood. [8] This interest in carnage as entertainment, though, has a much longer history. Mikhail Bakhtin applied notions of the liminal and grotesque to the medieval carnival, suggesting that the ‘carnivalesque’ operated as a challenge to the structural and moral orders of everyday life. The grotesque nature of the carnival allowed for an ‘exaggeration of the improper’[9] , a transgression of all limits within which ‘the world is destroyed so that it may be regenerated and renewed’.[10] These moments of destruction define the boundaries of humanity – between human and animal, life and death, proper and improper – and allow people to locate their own place within such binaries. This violent transgression of boundaries – ‘leap[ing] into the unknown’[11] initiates the engagement with the abject, an embrace of the rejected, occult world. For author and philosopher Georges Bataille, the ‘two complete contrasts’[12] of divine ecstasy and extreme horror are then in fact twin poles, underpinned by the same sensations.

Gore and Pleasure

Bataille’s correlation between divine ecstasy and extreme horror is an important one for understanding the significance of carnography’s relationship with pornographic gore. Skow wryly observed the similarities between lust and coercion, noting that carnography’s adrenal rush and blocking of intellectual senses was remarkably similar to the ‘sexual flush’ of pornography.[13] Certainly, both passions involve physical contact: ‘one must touch the body of another, whether to caress or assail’.[14] The combination of these actions both in pornography and other forms of cinematic entertainment underpins much literature on carnography, particularly as it relates to gender. Pornography’s mainstream success in the late 1960s and early 1970s coincided with increased concern from feminist academics concerning the use of female bodies as exclusively sexual objects.[15] Such representations of women demonstrated the centrality of male domination and female subjugation within society at large. Steinem argued that ‘Pornography’s basic message is domination’, suggesting, therefore, that pornography contributes to a climate of ‘psychological degradation and physical danger’ for women.[16] The rumoured rise of the pornographic ‘snuff’ film (i.e. that which depicts an actual murder) in the 1970s is perhaps the most graphic example of the eroticised element of carnography – that is, hyper-sexualised violence towards female bodies in entertainment. Horror, in this regard, is ‘culturally gendered’[17]; it works to enforce the differences between male and female bodies. Within these mediated glorifications of feminine allure we then see a ‘celebration that also dismembers the body it desires’.[18] To possess the female body sexually is one aspect of masculine domination; to mutilate, torture and ultimately kill, however, subsumes all other forms of control and becomes representative of total power. It is this desire for power that underpins Cannibal Corpse’s approach to the female body and subsequently announces their morbid fascination with the violated corpse.

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Scholarly approaches to carnography have rarely been extended to media other than cinema. While the carnal nature of ‘splatter films’ has been widely explored within academia [19], those same themes have been visited only briefly by literature exploring heavy metal. Just as the focus on the body within such films has led to representations of these niches as ‘low culture’[20] , so too has death metal been forced to exist on the peripheries of entertainment. Frequently, this marginalisation emerges from within the metal community at large – Cannibal Corpse were the first death metal act to trespass into the Billboard Top 200 [21], a notable achievement given that fellow artists felt that the band was the most vile that the genre had to offer[22]. Music’s engagement with gore and pornography, however, offers an experience which differs from cinema’s. Much of cinema’s power rests on its ability to make us look at what we cannot bear to see – music audiences, though, possess the ability to refuse this ‘invitation to horror’[23] and create their own means of ‘looking’. Furthermore, the overwhelmingly aural nature of music allows for depictions of sexual violence that would not be permitted – whether physically or morally – by the visual constrictions (and regulations) of film.

Heavy Metal, Gender and the Abject

Death metal has traditionally been characterised by its extreme depictions of violence, gore and all that is anti-social.[24] As James has noted, death metal lyrics ‘deliberately violate the standard norms of contemporary society’.[25] It remains important, though, to examine the manner in which Cannibal Corpse’s catalogue lends an insight into the psychological and social functions of forbidden or illicit entertainment forms. The gore and violence endemic to death metal is embedded within a much broader history of depictions of horror and madness. [26] Cannibal Corpse’s music is not broaching any new territory for perversion and depravity, but rather exists within an ongoing engagement with violence, abjection and the ‘dark side’. For Kahn-Harris, this obsession with violence is attributable to a fascination with the human body that all people share to some degree, a fascination that mixes desire and disgust.[27] This desire is key to exploring death metal’s relationship with the abject – the desire to explore the ‘unknown’, a desire to lose oneself in violence, and a desire to ‘know’ death. It is this attraction to the carnal state that sets the stage for Cannibal Corpse’s fascination with both unveiling and mastering the abject, and thus necessitates an exploration of the correlation between violence and pleasure that permeates their music.

Heavy metal, Walser states, ‘is, as much as anything else, an arena of gender’.[28] Metal is very much a man’s world, underpinned by a masculinist mindset that enforces the binary logic of gender dichotomies [29] – and, consequently, the subservient position of the female. Metal’s masculinist fantasies are frequently underscored by the exclusion of women, who are represented as ‘Others’ who must then be destroyed. The myriad of ways in which this destruction is imagined, however, is indicative of the problematic representations of gender within much heavy metal, and death metal in particular. Cannibal Corpse’s lyrics are dominated by a first-person perspective ‘overwhelmingly concerned with mastery over a female Other’.[30] The centrality of fantasies of sexual violence and misogynistic murder within their lyrics has made Cannibal Corpse’s output problematic in a way that other groups’ music may not be.[31] Cannibal Corpse’s approach to the female body reveals the ease with which a ‘radical transgressive project’[32] that questions bodily boundaries can transform into something much more sinister. Rather than liberating the female body from the burden of a femininity that is always socially constructed, Cannibal Corpse instead condemns her to it – their music ‘affirms both gendered bodies and the violent forms of power through which gender is strongly affirmed’.[33]

Violating the Female Other

Abjection then forms a key theme within death metal lyrics, where the abject body – a body which is terrifying or threatening – is presented as something to be mastered and dominated. These fantasies of violent mastery permeate Cannibal Corpse’s lyrics, the vast majority of which are narrated from a first-person perspective and are explicitly concerned with the domination of female bodies. The primary narrative within Cannibal Corpse’s music is one of control – and specifically, the capacity to control through violating bodily boundaries. That this violation is most frequently realised through graphic acts of rape is the most confronting and problematic aspect of Cannibal Corpse’s fascination with the body. Rape transforms its victims into ‘abjects’,[34] reconfiguring bodies into ‘soiled’ objects of disgust. This is the case within Cannibal Corpse’s lyrics, wherein the victim is not only violated through forced intercourse, but torn apart, forcing the interior of the body to become explicitly exterior. Beyond its troubling title, ‘Entrails Ripped From a Virgin’s Cunt’[35] offers a traumatic narrative of rape and mutilation represented by ‘orgies of sadism and sexual perversion’. ‘Entrails’ is an unavoidably carnographic experience, as the victim is tied to a mattress, sodomised with a knife and has her internal organs mutilated and removed. She is raped while dying; the protagonist announces gleefully that he ‘fucked her dead body’. The restrained female body witnessed throughout Cannibal Corpse’s lyrics is readily apparent within ‘Entrails’, where victims are held down with their mouths taped shut, their physical restraint rendering them helpless and thus foregrounding this obliteration of the female body.

CannibalCorpse-ButcheredAtBirth

This desire for overwhelming dominance is central to these imaginings of bodily violence and desecration. ‘Stripped Raped and Strangled’[36] recounts a similarly brutal act of murder, placing emphasis on the pleasure experienced by the protagonist – ‘They think they know who I am/All they know is I love to kill’, ‘It felt so good to kill’. The female victim, much like that in ‘Entrails’, is forcibly restrained – ‘Tied her up/And taped her mouth shut’ and raped with a rope around her neck, leading to her eventual strangulation. What is significant about ‘Stripped Raped and Strangled’ is the suggestion that the female victim was in some way responsible for her own demise: ‘She was so beautiful/I had to kill her’. Victim-blaming is again highlighted by ‘She Was Asking For It’,[37] in which the female victim is strangled by the protagonist who claims ‘I know now it’s not my fault/She was asking for it’. Rape is configured as punishment, operating as both a strategy for patriarchal control and a form of retribution for women who would subvert such power. The rape fantasy present throughout Cannibal Corpse’s lyrics manifests itself graphically in ‘Nothing Left to Mutilate’.[38] The narrative here is an especially predatory one. The protagonist stalks and traps his victim, suggesting that ‘she will pay’ – a phrase made particularly discomforting by the subsequent observation that she has been ‘captured by the gender she loathes’. The rape allows the protagonist to satisfy an ‘urge’ as he desecrates his victim’s ‘hallowed feminine domain’. Once again, however, the act of rape does not conclude this bodily violation, as the woman in question is murdered and mutilated, her organs removed and ‘inspected’ before her attacker consumes her body.

Rape is configured as punishment, operating as both a strategy for patriarchal control and a form of retribution for women who would subvert such power

Cannibal Corpse’s lyrical content is representative of what have been identified as the two crucial traits of extreme metal discourse. One is an obsession with fantasies of control; the other is the unflinchingly explicit way in which violence is described.[39] Cannibal Corpse’s lyrics, which are undeniably confronting for both seasoned death metal fans and even more so for those unfamiliar with the genre, have systematically challenged and transgressed boundaries of ‘the acceptable’ in art.[40] While my exploration of Cannibal Corpse’s fascination with the abject is largely concerned with their lyrical depictions of masculine violence, it must be noted that such misogyny is enacted not only lyrically, but musically as well. Cannibal Corpse’s musical approach is one characterised by strict focus and control, based around structured repetition and clear, powerful riffs.[41] Similarly, the deep, growling vocals characteristic of death metal are performed effectively by original vocalist Chris Barnes, often noted for the brutality of his vocal style (as opposed to current frontman George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher, whose own vocal style is frequently described as ‘technical’ by fans).[42] For Kahn-Harris, Cannibal Corpse’s lyrical absorption with violence and power is complemented by the severity of their music. However, despite their experiments with transgression, Cannibal Corpse ‘enforces certain limits through its emphasis on control’.[43] This control is achieved partially through extreme musical discipline (it should be noted that despite death metal’s position on the ‘edge’ of entertainment, musicians within the genre are generally extremely technically proficient) and partially through obsessively constructing images of dominant masculinity.[44] This fixation on control goes some way to challenge the liberatory possibilities of ‘losing oneself’[45] in the dark side represented by the abject. Cannibal Corpse affirm rather than challenge gender binaries through their fixation on bodily violence; their unremitting project of unveiling the interior of the body is illustrative of the extreme violence that underpins the desire to dominate the female form in all its bloody, fleshy horror.

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Despite their obsession with control, Cannibal Corpse frequently engage with themes of chaos and unrestrained lust. This would then suggest that the protagonist is momentarily operating within Bataille’s animalistic state of suspension,[46] abandoning all notions of decency and instead submitting to carnal desire. The ‘urge’, which is almost uniformly sexual in nature, is often cited within Cannibal Corpse’s most graphic and debased depictions of rape and mutilation. ‘Dismembered and Molested’[47] draws a direct link between mutilation and sexual pleasure – ‘Sever the limbs/decapitate/Yank out the teeth/then masturbate/Pounding the face/Ejaculate’. This act represents the satiation of his ‘darkest needs’, which are satisfied by close engagement with the tortured body: ‘I put my cock into the carcass/My climax can wait no longer/Expectorate my seed of hate/onto her mutilated corpse’. The ‘urge’, then, is key to exploring this attraction to carnage. For the protagonist in ‘Rancid Amputation’[48], suffering is entrenched with pleasure. Upon observing ‘torsos [hanging] from their own intestines’, he notes that his muscles tighten as he feels the rush. The protagonist’s engagement with these dismembered bodies is grotesque and intensely visceral – ‘I slice through the limb, a human dissection/Portions of half-eaten flesh in my mouth… I will swallow your pus’. Such violence is bound up with a sense of power for the narrator as he conflates causing terror with sexual pleasure: ‘Feel my hell, I feed on fright/Rape the limbless cadaver’.

The Centrality of ‘Looking’

Cannibal Corpse’s lyrics are especially confronting precisely because they relate such tales of horror from the perspective of the perpetrator.[49] The first-person ‘I’ narrative is deployed nearly universally across Cannibal Corpse’s catalogue, giving particular power to these morbid urges to sexually exploit and violently slaughter others. ‘Fucked With A Knife’[50] dwells on the ability of the protagonist to control and conquer a female subject – ‘Tied tight to the bed, legs spread open, bruised flesh, lacerations, skin stained with blood, I’m the only one you love’. What is crucial within this song is that the protagonist’s ability to cause physical harm is compounded by his ability to control the perspective through which the assault is seen.[51] A first-person narrative, for Stam, is implicitly concerned with the control of intimacy and distance.[52] This distance (or rather, lack of distance) is crucial – the perspective in Cannibal Corpse’s lyrics is unreservedly intimate, though brutally so. In deploying the first-person narrative, Cannibal Corpse coerce their audience into viewing any and all actions from the point of view of the protagonist. Any reading of Cannibal Corpse’s lyrics therefore necessitates an act of ‘looking’ – listeners are denied an immediate image of the actions recounted within the lyrics, but construct a vision nonetheless. Hence, just as Mulvey introduced the concept of the male gaze as a feature of the gender asymmetry of cinema,[53] I contend that the patriarchal function of scopophilia – the pleasure derived from looking – can extend into the aural environment of music. The male protagonist within Cannibal Corpse’s lyrics undoubtedly experiences a pleasure in looking; one that can be readily reproduced within audiences who are not explicitly ‘seeing’, but looking nonetheless.

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The centrality of ‘looking’ in Cannibal Corpse’s narratives of masculine mastery is crucial in exploring their fascination with the abused body. ‘Looking’ is made even more significant when one considers the overwhelming frequency with which corpses appear within the band’s lyrics and album covers. The corpse represents the utmost of abjection.[54] It is ‘death infecting life’,[55] a dissolution of boundaries that questions the identity of the self. What is perhaps most problematic about Cannibal Corpse’s rape fantasies is the fact that they are frequently enacted upon corpses or dismembered body parts. Within ‘Addicted to Vaginal Skin’,[56] the female genitals are configured as ‘meat’ with which to feed the protagonist, who has been afflicted with a curse that can only be broken ‘by the vaginal skins of young women’. There is an explicitly sexual connection being forged between bodies and consumption here – for Stallybrass, ‘the gradient of displacement is from the ‘sexual’/ genital to the digestive’.[57] The female victim, in this case, is rendered undeniably abject; she is literally a flesh resource used to maintain the power of the male protagonist. Certainly, many of the victims encountered within Cannibal Corpse’s lyrics exist in a strange limbo between life and death. This polemic existence is explored tangentially by ‘I Cum Blood’[58] , wherein the protagonist sexually abuses a female corpse while fantasising about the desecration of a ‘live’ body – ‘I need a live woman/to fill with my fluid/A delicate girl, to mutilate, fuck and kill’. That he projects this fantasy of cognisance upon a body ‘swollen with liquid and ready to burst’ after one month in the grave – a body that can’t fight back, to phrase it crudely – alludes to the desire for control espoused throughout the song. Upon conclusion of this act of necrophilia, he reburies his victim in a shallow unmarked grave, mentally absolving himself of his behaviour – ‘The sickness I have left behind/undetected go my crimes.’

Cannibal Corpse and Reflexive Anti-Reflexivity

For all the violence espoused by their lyrics, Cannibal Corpse have spent the vast majority of their career asserting that such projections of destruction are purely imaginative. The band have continually insisted that their lyrics are not to be taken seriously.[59] This carefully maintained distance between their music and real-world violence is undeniably representative of Kahn-Harris’ ‘reflexive anti-reflexivity’[60] – a crucial disjunction between theory and practice. The predatory sexual violence of Cannibal Corpse’s lyrics, however, has been interpreted as an acknowledgment of our repressed ‘death instinct’.[61] Freud claimed that ‘incest, cannibalism, and lust for killing’ are the three ‘instinctual wishes’ that civilisation must repress,[62] and certainly all three of these themes are liberally represented within Cannibal Corpse’s lyrics – ‘Split Wide Open’,[63] for example, explores the monstrous mother, mutilating her newborn infants and marvelling in fascination at the ‘virgin skin’ marred by this carnage. Intended or not, the desires that the violent lyrics allude to are never wholly imaginative. The hostile foetuses explored within ‘Born in a Casket’[64], ‘Butchered at Birth’[65] and ‘The Wretched Spawn’,[66] for example, are not a purely fantastical notion. Accounts of forced impregnation in warzones [67] indicate that such actions have been all too frighteningly real for thousands of women. Similarly, rape, domestic abuse and murder do not exist solely within the social imagination. The violence of ‘real life’ is not as hyperbolic as that visited by Cannibal Corpse, but it exists nonetheless. Cannibal Corpse’s morbid fascination with mastering the interior of the human body may be presented as entirely theatrical, but the violence and desires underlying such representations are never totally disconnected from the real world.

Ultimately, Cannibal Corpse’s accounts of bodily horror and violation affirm the boundaries of masculine control and the subservience of the enslaved female body. In approaching the female body as a site to be sexually exploited, mutilated and ultimately slaughtered, Cannibal Corpse offer a means through which to examine how sexualised violence operates as a particularly vicious strategy for control. Through the engagement with narratives of rape, torture and mutilation, their music thus indicates that the pleasures of carnography can be extended to musical audiences. Cannibal Corpse’s simultaneous obsession with control yet submission to lust is a telling, if undoubtedly confronting, exploration of the disgust and desire represented by the human body. Their music forces a reimagining of the desecrated female form, allowing sexual pleasure to extend to the horror of a body that blurs the lines of interior and exterior. Cannibal Corpse’s catalogue then reveals not only a fascination with unveiling the abject, but also a morbid enthrallment with ‘looking’ at the abject. This act of looking, however, is never purely imaginative, but is rather underpinned by a carnal attraction to the unknown, and the insatiable curiosity represented by a body split wide open.

Biography

Catherine Hoad photo

Catherine Hoad IS a PhD candidate in Critical and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University, Sydney. Her doctoral thesis explores how nationhood and masculinity have been symbolically constructed within colonial discourse, and the manner in which the relationship between the two has been represented across global heavy metal scenes.

[1] Cannibal Corpse, ‘Butchered at Birth’ (Butchered at Birth, Metal Blade Records, 1991)

[2] This term was first used by critic John Skow in his review of ‘First Blood by David Morrell’ (Time, May 29 1972) p. 82

[3] Bob Dole quoted in Bernard Weinraub, ‘Films and recordings threatens nation’s character, Dole says’ (NY Times, 1 June 1995 ) para.1

[4] C. DeLores Tucker quoted in D.J Salem-Fitzgerald and Chuck Philips, ‘Rap foes put 20 artists on a hit list’ (LA Times, May 31 1996, ) para. 2

[5] Salem-Fitzgerald and Philips, ‘Rap foes put 20 artists on a hit list’ para. 4

[6] Ronan O’Connell, ‘Outrage over death metal band gig’ (The West Australian, July 8 2006) p. 53

[7] Robert Walser, Running With the Devil: Power, Gender and Madness in Heavy Metal Music (Wesleyan University Press, Hanover, 1993) p.162

[8] Douglas E. Winter, Faces of Fear: Encounters with the creators of modern horror, (Berkley Books, New York, 1985) p. 82

[9] Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and his world, [translated by H. Iswolsky] (Indiana University Press, Bloomington, [1965] 1984) pp. 306-307

[10] Bakhtin, Rabelais and his world, p. 48

[11] Georges Bataille, The Accursed Share: An Essay on General Economy, Volumes II-III [translated by R. Hurley] (Zone Books, New York, [1949] 1993) p. 93

[12] In Élisabeth Roudinesco, Jacques Lacan (Columbia University Press, New York, 2005) p. 122

[13] Skow, ‘First Blood by David Morrell’ p. 82

[14] James Tunstead Burtchaell, Philemon’s Problem: A Theology of Grace (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Michigan, 1998) p. 182

[15] see Eithne Johnson and Eric Schaefer, ‘Soft Core, Hard Gore: Snuff as a crisis in meaning’ (Journal of Film and Video, Vol. 45 No. 2/3, Summer-Fall 1993) p.41

[16] Gloria Steinem, ‘Erotica and Pornography: A Clear and Present Difference’ (Ms., November 1977) p. 55

[17] Gary Taylor, ‘Gender, Hunger, Horror: The History and Significance of “The Bloody Banquet”‘ (Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, Vol. 1 No. 1, Spring-Summer 2001) p. 2

[18] Taylor, ‘Gender, Hunger, Horror’, p. 17

[19] See, for example, Pinedo, Recreational Terror (1997), Hankte, Horror Film (2009) and Attwood, Campbell & Hunter, Controversial Images (2012)[20] Joan Hawkins, ‘Sleaze Mania, Euro-Trash and High Art: The place of European art films in American low culture’ (Film Quarterly, Vol. 53 No. 2, Winter 1999-2000) p. 18

[21] Ian Christe, Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal (Harper Collins, New York, 2003) p. 248

[22] Dee Snider, who had previously defended heavy metal against attacks by the Parents’ Music Resource Center, felt that Cannibal Corpse went ‘too far’ (in Christe, Sound of the Beast, p. 248)

[23] Taylor, ‘Gender, Hunger, Horror’, p. 2

[24] Natalie J. Purcell, Death Metal Music: The Passion and Politics of a Subculture (McFarland & Company Inc. Publishing, North Carolina, 2003) p. 1

[25] Keiran James, ‘From ‘The Undead Will Feast’ to ‘The Time to Kill is Now’: Frankfurt School and Freudian perspectives on death metal’ (Musicology Australia, Vol. 31 No. 1, 2009) p. 20

[26] Walser, Running With the Devil, p. 160

[27] Keith Kahn-Harris, Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge (Berg, New York, 2007) p. 43

[28] Walser, Running With the Devil, p. 111

[29] Deena Weinstein, Heavy Metal: The Music and its Culture (Da Capo Press, Massachusetts, 2000) p. 104

[30] Keith Kahn-Harris, ‘Death Metal and the Limits of Musical Expression’ in Martin Cloonan and Reebee Garofalo [eds.] Policing Pop (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 2003) p. 82

[31] Michelle Phillipov, ‘None so vile? Towards an Ethics of Death Metal’ (Southern Review, Vol. 38 No. 2, 2006) p. 76

[32] Phillipov, ‘None so vile?’, p. 77

[33] Kahn-Harris, ‘Death Metal’, p. 87

[34] Bülent Diken and Carsten Bagge Laustsen, ‘Becoming Abject: Rape as a Weapon of War’ ( Body & Society, Vol. 11 No. 111, 2005) p. 117

[35] Cannibal Corpse, ‘Entrails Ripped From a Virgin’s Cunt’ (Tomb of the Mutilated, Metal Blade Records, 1992)

[36] Cannibal Corpse, ‘Stripped Raped and Strangled’ (The Bleeding, Metal Blade Records, 1994)

[37] Cannibal Corpse, ‘She Was Asking For It’ (The Bleeding, Metal Blade Records, 1994)

[38] Cannibal Corpse, ‘Nothing Left to Mutilate’ (The Wretched Spawn, Metal Blade Records, 2004)

[39] Kahn-Harris, Extreme Metal, p. 36

[40] Kahn-Harris, Extreme Metal, p. 36

[41] Phillipov, ‘None so vile?’, p. 76

[42] see the online discussion ‘Chris Barnes vs. George Fisher’,

[43] Kahn-Harris, ‘Death Metal’, p. 86

[44] Kahn-Harris, ‘Death Metal’, p. 86

[45] Kahn-Harris, ‘Death Metal’, p. 86

[46] Bataille, The Accursed Share, Vol. II-III, p. 104

[47] Cannibal Corpse, ‘Dismembered and Molested’ (Gallery of Suicide, Metal Blade Records, 1998)

[48] Cannibal Corpse, ‘Rancid Amputation’ (Butchered at Birth, Metal Blade Records, 1991)

[49] Purcell, Death Metal, p. 44

[50] Cannibal Corpse, ‘Fucked With a Knife’ (The Bleeding, Metal Blade Records, 1994)

[51] Kahn-Harris, ‘Death Metal’, p. 82

[52] Robert Stam, ‘Introduction: The Theory and Practice of Adaptation’ in Robert Stam and Alessandra Raengo [eds.] Literature and Film: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Film Adaptation (Blackwell, Carlton, 2005) p. 35

[53] Laura Mulvey, ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ (Screen, Vol. 16 No. 3, Autumn 1975) p. 8

[54] Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection [translated by L.S Roudiez] (Columbia University Press, New York, 1982) p. 4

[55] Kristeva, Powers of Horror, p. 4

[56] Cannibal Corpse, ‘Addicted to Vaginal Skin’ (Tomb of the Mutilated, Metal Blade Records, 1992)

[57] Peter Stallybrass, ‘Reading the Body and the Jacobean Theatre of Consumption’, in David Scott Kastan and Peter Stallybrass [eds.] Staging the Renaissance: Reinterpretations of Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama (New York, Routledge, 1991) p. 211

[58] Cannibal Corpse, ‘I Cum Blood’ (Tomb of the Mutilated, Metal Blade Records, 1992)

[59] James, ‘Freudian Perspectives on Death Metal’, p. 24

[60] Kahn-Harris, Extreme Metal, pp. 7-8

[61] James, ‘Freudian Perspectives on Death Metal’, p. 25

[62] in Taylor, ‘Gender, Hunger, Horror’, p. 22

[63] Cannibal Corpse, ‘Split Wide Open’ (Tomb of the Mutilated, Metal Blade Records, 1992)

[64] Cannibal Corpse, ‘Born in a Casket’ (Eaten Back to Life, Metal Blade Records, 1990)

[65] Cannibal Corpse, ‘Butchered at Birth’ (Butchered at Birth, Metal Blade Records, 1991)

[66] Cannibal Corpse, ‘The Wretched Spawn’ (The Wretched Spawn, Metal Blade Records, 2004)

[67] See Diken and Bagge Laustsen, ‘Becoming Abject’.

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