The excellent answer to the Movies SE question Did they torture and kill a monkey during the filming of Andromeda Strain? explains in detail that in the filming of this 1971 feature film the monkey was exposed to a high level of carbon dioxide in order to evoke a very convincing "performance" that it died in a horrible way. It was convincing because it was genuine; this experience was known to be extremely distressing, an the convulsing monkey was within seconds of death when it was revived with oxygen under ASPCA supervision. (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; the film was released in 1971, things have changed)

I don't know if this meets a definition of torture because there was no attempt to coerce nor any threat; e.g. "tell us or we'll hurt you" nor if it meets a definition of sadism because I'm pretty sure nobody on the set nor viewers of the film derived any amount of pleasure from watching this.

Question: Is there a word for subjecting an individual or animal to a severe level of distress in order to evoke a very real display of suffering in order to film it for a movie and conveys that the experience was very distressing, without ambiguity?

  • 2
    I'd think that instances of this type of action are sufficiently few that it would be unlikely a single word was coined to describe it completely. Aug 5 '20 at 5:45
  • 1
    The closest word would be jeopardise or imperil but they don't have the connotations of "evoking a very real display of suffering". Aug 5 '20 at 5:53
  • 1
    That reminds me of Stanley Kubrick who was known for stressing actors by making them perform scenes over and over till they appeared real, to his eyes.
    – user 66974
    Aug 5 '20 at 7:57
  • @user121863 yes that's just the sort of thing... a mashup of that plus this answer gives Kubrickesque-like or Kubrickian-like abuse. I wish there was (were?) a few-word-request tag ;-)
    – uhoh
    Aug 5 '20 at 9:10
  • 1
    Animals used (even killed) in research labs are said to have been sacrificed.
    – Ram Pillai
    Aug 5 '20 at 13:46

I'd use the word abuse as a verb. Torture is close but it's not really pain that's intended but the appearance of pain, the distress felt by the monkey is almost incidental. I wouldn't argue against the use of the word Torture but I think I'd use Abuse, to speak of directors torturing actors to get the desired performance is common but it's a deliberate exaggeration for effect rather than an accusation of a crime.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.