Lame because: The "torture porn" boom-that-wasn't didn't fill 2007 with dull movie series (Hostel II, Saw IV) and lame attempts to cash in (Captivity, Turistas) that uniformly failed to deliver at the box office; it also led to even more tedious op-ed pieces and blog posts decrying the trend as yet another sign of the decline of civilization or defending it as a form of expression. I sincerely don't know which is worse; Eli Roth's inability to make a real movie, or people complaining about the movies he makes so badly. (Asked about where you can go as a direction for future artistic exploration with 'torture porn' by The New York Times, Roth's witty rejoinder was ""They say there is more than one way to skin a cat. Well, there are many ways to skin a human." Congratulations, Mr. Roth, but is it just the one trick that your pony does?) Another tedious element of talking about "torture porn" is that it reframes talking about horror films as good vs. evil, as opposed the way a reasonable person would go about framing the discussion, which is as good vs. bad. Anyone who thinks excessive violence is a modern trend in pop culture is invited to flip open a copy of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus or some of the more choice bits of the Old Testament; the high-pitched whine about 'torture porn' that came at us in stereo from the restrictive right and liberal left in 2007 is yet another droning tone in the mass-media chorus that drowns out any attempt to talk about the realities behind violence in this country -- underfunded policing and public psychiatric care, guns in the hands of people who shouldn't have them, the failure of individual responsibility. It's easier to talk about violent movies as a cause of violence than it is to tackle any of the things that actually cause violence but, really, when High School Musical was at the top of the charts, did you see a lot of singing and dancing in the streets?

How to turn it around: The better question is, why would you want to? Hopefully, studios will look at the dwindling return-on-investment these films represent (even if Lionsgate is threatening to run the Saw series into the ground) and realize that, hey, audiences might be interested in horror films that scare instead of disgust (The Orphanage) or are made by actual talents (the upcoming Funny Games) as opposed to hacks who only know where to get a bulk rate on fake blood and plastic sheeting.

Next up: Stop being greedy!

Where did they rank?