“For thousands of years, people have been tortured…”
So begins the first installment of what ElitePain.Com promises to be a series of documentary-style films that will examine man’s inhumanity to his fellow man (or for this installment, women). Each film will express one particular aspect of torture, either by time period or by concept – the Inquisition, plantation slavery, and war camps are suggested in the introductory segment. “Spy Interrogation” is exactly what this film is about – the techniques employed by military, police, and others to extract information from their adversaries. To lend the film credibility, the producers have turned to a former interrogator identified only as “Sgt. M.G.” and Dr. Sandra Aziz, a medical expert, both of whom cover the psychological and physical aspects of the methodology of torture.
Sgt. M.G. gives his expertise in such a way that we never see his face. Backlit, all we see is the silhouette of his head in a dark room. His voice is also electronically modulated, making positive identification even more difficult. On the other hand, Dr. Sandra Aziz presents her material much like you would expect in an interview – well lit, clearly spoken, and succinctly informative. Are these individuals real? If they aren't, then they are really good actors and somebody did a lot of good research to make their dialogue convincing. Most of what they say matches what I learned in my “Crime and Punishment” courses in criminology, so while you're watching this, just remember that you can get college credit, too!
Psychological techniques are discussed first, covering the simple tricks police can use to fool a suspect into divulging information without leaving any marks on the suspect’s body. From there, we're taken through the more physical forms of interrogation, beginning with the forced stripping of the prisoner as a way to emphasize the power the police have over her, and to shame her into accepting their dominance. This act of stripping the victim can be enhanced through the use of sexual abuse, and in the film the suspect is forced to strip and then to finger herself in front of her captors.
Gigi Weiss portrays the captive in this segment. I loved her in Milgram Experiment and even more so in Fear when she went back to her blonde hair color. Here, in this segment, she’s either a really good method actress or she’s lost a scary amount of healthy weight, because she almost looks sickly. Don't get me wrong – she’s still hot, particularly in the whipping segment later – but my first thought when I saw her in this film was “eating disorder” or perhaps “drug abuser”. Hopefully she can get some muscle back for the next segment of the “History of Pain” series. She’s one of my favorite Mood/ElitePain models and it'd be a shame to lose her.
Next up is the technique of sleep deprivation, as a way to disorient the prisoner and break down her willpower. In this case, it’s Ivette Bata, who throughout this movie will be used to express the more emotional scenes. You may remember her as the final captive in the horror film Fear where she looked far more mainstream than she does here. In my opinion, she looked better in Fear simply because she didn't openly display her piercings and tattoos. That aside, I will give her credit as an actress. She turns in a credible performance and I can see her going on to bigger things some day (but her options will be limited if she keeps getting pierced and tatted up).
After that comes exposure to cold weather, dousing with water, and dunking the head in a barrel of water. The first two are certainly real. You can see Bata’s breath as she hangs from a rope, clad only in her underwear, and Weiss certainly is being sprayed with water. The third technique – dunking the head in a barrel – could have been done better. For one thing, I would have used the Vietnamese style of roping, where the wrists are tied and then another rope is passed around the torso to pin the arms to the sides of the body. This enhances the restriction of the captive. The other thing I didn't like about this scene is that – like electro-torture – it is easy to fake. While we are to believe that the guard is forcing Bata’s head into the barrel, it’s just as easy for the guard to grab Bata’s head and let Bata pull her hand into the barrel so that it looks like Bata is being pushed. If the producers really wanted to make this dramatic, the guard should have locked her arm through Bata’s elbows, put her hand on the back of Bata’s head, and pushed her whole torso into the water so that the captive is off-balance and reliant on the guard to pull her back out. To make things worse, the scene goes on longer than it needs to, and at one point the captive uses the water to spit on her interrogator. Like we've never seen that before…
Tell me you couldn't break out of this if you really wanted. Right?
If there’s one saving grace about this part, it’s that the interrogator doesn't haul off and backhand her, which is the typical response used in so many movies. Instead, he simply orders her to be dunked again. That’s very professional of him.
I will also say that Bata does a very good job of acting defiant, then frightened, then defiant as she runs the spectrum of emotions. She truly is a find for Mood/ElitePain and I'd love to see her again in a future film, possibly as an evil interrogator. She’s been a captive twice now, so maybe she should try her hand at playing the evil side of the captive/captor equation. In a way, I'm glad that she doesn't turn in any nude scenes, because she’s an actress I would not want to see naked. Did I mention the tats and piercings? She might make a very convincing punk-rock vampire-like henchwoman. She’s also underweight, but maybe that’s a fashion thing in eastern Europe now.
Next we get to the good parts.
Weiss is the victim this time, strapped to a metal bedframe and wired up to a generator controlled by Mandy Tortega, who played a henchwoman in Fear as well as the “qualified executioner” in The Milgram Experiment. For an evil-doer, you couldn't ask for one lovelier. It’s hard to believe that someone with such a beautiful face would be capable of zapping a human being with volts of electricity, but she does. After Dr. Aziz educates us on the finer points of electrical charges passing through a human body, we get to see the machine in use.
If you're a fan of electro-torture, you'll love this scene. You'll eat it up. You'll go to bed thinking about it and wake up in the morning wanting to watch it again. On the way to work you'll be glad you saved a copy to your smartphone so you can watch it while you sit in traffic. It’s that good. It'll be all you can do not to tell your cubicle neighbor “Dude, I saw the most intense thing last night. Here, let me show you.” Yes, it’s smartphone good. It’s beyond smartphone good. It’s cubicle neighbor good.
Credit to Gigi Weiss for enduring a) laying on a metal bedframe without a mattress, which hurts because if you've never done it, you don't want to, and b) giving an outstanding performance while being zapped with juice. And I should point out that, other than head-dunking-in-water being the most easily torture to fake, electricity-to-the genitals is the second-easiest to fake. So is it real? Well, there’s the shaky camera shots, the sound of electricity popping, and a blonde woman stripped naked, stretched out, and moaning. If it’s real, it’s hot. If it’s fake, it’s still hot.
After something like that, we need a break, so Dr. Aziz treats us to the technique of a mock execution. It’s slow and there’s no nudity, so you don't really miss anything important. You can pour yourself a drink here. By the time you get back, you'll be ready to see the whippings.
First up is Weiss in one of my favorite positions on one of my favorite Mood/ElitePain restraints – the standing-spreadeagle-against-the-chainlink-fencing frame that was used so well in The Milgram Experiment. Dr. Aziz educates us on the technique of effective whipping, and then Weiss is the poor model that gets whipped.
I'll admit that I loved this scene. I love it more here than I did in The Milgram Experiment because Weiss looks so much better without the pink hair dye. She’s lovely here and really shows us what she can handle in terms of physical punishment. She takes ten lashes as a warm-up, then twenty, and then Mandy Tortega is replaced by the Man himself, “Max Lomp”, who takes her even further into the House of Pain.
If I have one complaint about this scene, it’s the intentionally shaky third camera, which tries to impart dramatic tension with fade-ins and fade-outs and drifting clumsily around the scene. That style doesn't work here. One camera is stationary at an angle, another is fixed to shoot from behind the victim, and this third camera is the “free roamer”. If you're going to roam, at least be in focus so we can see what the hell is going on.
You can fake dunking. You can fake electro-shock. You can even fake a whipping. But this, ladies and gentlemen, is absolutely real. We see the whip impact the body. We see the victim recoil and yelp. Then we see the red welt rise from the skin where the whip has kissed the flesh.
This is what the after-effects of a whipping look like.
ElitePain could have ended the movie right there and we would've been satisfied that we'd gotten our money’s worth. The lesson would've been over and we would've said, “Well, that was nice.” But no. It’s not over yet. What’s worse than being a victim enduring a whipping?
Watching a loved one being whipped in your stead.
Bata, blindfolded, is brought out and directed to stand in a particular place. Her blindfold is removed and she sees that it is not her, but her younger sister, cuffed to the same metal frame to which Weiss was just strapped, who will suffer now.
And, I now have a new favorite Mood/ElitePain model. Sorry Bertha Black. Sorry Angel White. Nancy’s a cutie with girl-next-door charm and a child-like innocence. Look at those soft brown eyes. Look at that tender face. Who would want to hurt a girl like that?
Us, that’s who.
After the guard rips the captive’s clothing away, she’s immediately subjected to the whip. I won't go into excruciating detail, but I will say that, as good as this scene is (and it is good), it could have been so much more intense if a) the view hadn't kept switching to Bata so much and had allowed us to get a better sense of the whipping’s escalating pain, and b) the third camera had actually been in focus so that we could see what the hell was going on (wait, didn't I just say that a second ago?) I hated the effect when Weiss was being whipped, and here it seems like it is even worse.
Still, this scene works very well because a) Nancy (the younger sister) is such a cutie and b) she has a great scream. In another film that she was in – Ring of Pain: Training Day – she had a high-pitched yelp. Here, she has a much deeper guttural howl that sounds so much better for the scene. It emotes pain so much better. It will rattle your bones. I will also give her credit for making us weep for her as she endures her whipping.
This is early on. I won't show you what she looks like at the end. Her tears should be evidence enough.
I will, however, tell you that the producers must be mind-readers, because in the bonus footage we get “The Making Of” segment in which we see Nancy’s whipping straight through, without the annoying cut-aways to Bata. It’s as gut-wrenching as you would imagine it would be.
If you're a fan of electro-torture, you'll want this movie in your collection. If you're a fan of pretty girls being whipped, you'll want this movie three-times over. Fans of water torture may be a little disappointed, as will be fans of exposure, showers, and forced masturbation. But this film isn't about those. it’s about showing us the techniques of a military interrogation, and certainly electro-shock and whipping have a long and successful legacy of extracting confessions, certainly more so than the shame of finger-fucking yourself in front of a couple of strangers (“Speak! Or I will force you to orgasm!” just doesn't have the same spark as a shot of electricity).
If ElitePain can bring this same level of production value to its next installment, they just might become legendary for this series. Not only is it fun, it’s educational, too.
I can't wait for the next one.