De Quincey discoursed about studying a murder like if it was a painting or a sculpture, ignoring the moral aspects. Our morbid grounds are revealed in such situations, facing the uncomfortable fascination incites us sadism acts.
A vast gallery of sadistic women splashes History with sex and blood, mixing chronic and literary lucubration. The real character is enriched with mythical attributes, and the aura that preserves the light of these legendary ladies grows amid darkness themselves arise.
A paradigmatic case is that of Elizabeth Bathory, a Hungarian countess who murdered hundreds of maidens hosted in her castle, a kingdom of murky lust where male gender was excluded. The blood countess has inspired a lot of essays, novels and movies, from metaliterary experiment of Alejandra Pizarnik (based on Valentine Penrose writings) to episode that Walerian Borowczyk dedicates it in his Immoral tales, or fictionalized versions where is easy to recognise the inspiring model, as the castilian Bathory of Pilar Pedraza (La fase del rubí).
Most don’t go beyond an esthetician approach: short frames of Borowckyk could be confused with Vanessa Beecroft performances; historical anecdote is just an excuse to dwell on lesbian choreography staged in palatial.
Pizarnik, however, was able to join the aesthetic exercise and philosophical inquiry, digging into open sores by dementia, entering into a specular space, stunned, out of time, because the rhythm is marked by the macabre ritual, rites of passage where virginity’s and life’s loss go together.
Pedraza was more lenient with their Imperatriz, beautiful monster capable of great tenderness toward her creatures, although sooner or later will become part of stuffed dolls collection in the crypt of her harem.
Who dig deeper into the refinement that the human soul is able when cruelty excite lust was Octave Mirbeau. Le Jardin des supplices was an argument against the hypocrisy of Western societies, that hide their sadistic instinct by means of legal or ideological subterfuge: colonial trade, xenophobia … Clara’s character is the antithesis to this hypocrisy. Visits Chinese criminal weekly in which garden sophisticated tortures are practiced, in front of such vision she reaches the extasis.
Among dark dungeons and sunny gardens also walks the English aristocrat Lady W. in Le Park, a postmodern Clara of feline eyes. Bruce Bégout synthesized on a private island the future of entertainment, predicting a grotesque human park with high doses of risk, sex, sleaze and simulation.
Reptilarium is the favourite attraction of Lady W., where office workers continue their routine until one day they are eaten by snakes sliding between filing cabinets and computers: the “foamy spittle behind glass” produce “vaginal tingling” to the aristocrat, who also has a box seat in gladiatorial combats, in whose locker room she waits them for “kiss her swollen lips” and lick their wounds.
All these women suffer from melancholia, existential ennui that only expire when throw herself in morbid pleasures, in extreme perversions.
The most interesting aspect of Venus in Furs is not the man masochism himself, but the way that unconditional submission is gradually waking up a sadistic impulse in Wanda that at the end escapes her own control, a buried instinct “might not have never lighting” but fueled by male desire “reaches an irresistible force filling my whole being, causing me extreme pleasure.”
This is why we understand the muse of Sacher-Masoch more than the relatives of Bathory, because Wanda has merely become the feminine ideal desired by her beloved.