History Main / TortureAlwaysWorks

14th Aug '16 6:47:23 PM PaulA
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* Generally averted or subverted in LoisMcMasterBujold's ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga''. Partly because it doesn't work, but also because the drug "[=Fast Penta=]" works quicker and more reliably. (It is easily obtained, makes those who take it amiable enough to answer any questions and ensures perfect recall. The only immunity is a fatal allergic reaction. (Which most of the people who know sensitive information have, as it can be artificially induced.)) (Or, if you are Miles, having an atypical reaction.) Most of the torture that occurs is motivated by pure sadism and insanity (Shards of Honour, Mirror Dance) and the victims have extensive issues years later (Mark Vorkosigan, Bothari, Elena Visconti).
** Of course, the existence of Fast Penta doesn't stop people from occasionally wistfully wondering if it's time to start yanking fingernails when the drug won't work.
* Played straight and subverted in ''HisDarkMaterials''. Mrs. Coulter uses torture twice to get information from witches in ''The Subtle Knife'', but when she's threatened in ''The Amber Spyglass'', she says that she would have thought that they would "know better than to expect truth to come out of torture."

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* Generally averted or subverted in LoisMcMasterBujold's Creator/LoisMcMasterBujold's ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga''. Partly because it doesn't work, but also because the drug "[=Fast Penta=]" works quicker and more reliably. (It is easily obtained, makes those who take it amiable enough to answer any questions and ensures perfect recall. The only immunity is a fatal allergic reaction. (Which most of the people who know sensitive information have, as it can be artificially induced.)) (Or, if you are Miles, having an atypical reaction.) Most of the torture that occurs is motivated by pure sadism and insanity (Shards (''Shards of Honour, Mirror Dance) Honor'', ''Mirror Dance'') and the victims have extensive issues years later (Mark Vorkosigan, Bothari, Elena Visconti).
**
Visconti). Of course, the existence of Fast Penta doesn't stop people from occasionally wistfully wondering if it's time to start yanking fingernails when the drug won't work.
* Played straight and subverted in ''HisDarkMaterials''.''Literature/HisDarkMaterials''. Mrs. Coulter uses torture twice to get information from witches in ''The Subtle Knife'', but when she's threatened in ''The Amber Spyglass'', she says that she would have thought that they would "know better than to expect truth to come out of torture."



** In ''The Cardinal of the Kremlin'', the [[MoscowCentre KGB]] uses sensory deprivation to break a [[TheMole mole]] in their service, in their efforts to capture the titular agent. Once said agent was captured, the sensory deprivation method wasn't used due to his health, so instead they used other methods that weren't as harmful to physical condition. Ultimately, he did break, though it took a lot longer than the KGB had planned. The designer of the "new technique" muses that the old methods had more to do with satisfying the sadism of the interrogators than with getting accurate information
** Played straight in ''Without Remorse'', involving a pressure chamber on an old Navy base used to basically destroy the drug dealer that Clark was questioning.

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** In ''The Cardinal of the Kremlin'', ''Literature/TheCardinalOfTheKremlin'', the [[MoscowCentre KGB]] uses sensory deprivation to break a [[TheMole mole]] in their service, in their efforts to capture the titular agent. Once said agent was captured, the sensory deprivation method wasn't used due to his health, so instead they used other methods that weren't as harmful to physical condition. Ultimately, he did break, though it took a lot longer than the KGB had planned. The designer of the "new technique" muses that the old methods had more to do with satisfying the sadism of the interrogators than with getting accurate information
information.
** Played straight in ''Without Remorse'', ''Literature/WithoutRemorse'', involving a pressure chamber on an old Navy base used to basically destroy the drug dealer that Clark was questioning.
11th Jun '16 4:21:20 PM nombretomado
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* The Mord-Sith are an entire order of {{The Baroness}}es in Terry Goodkind's ''SwordOfTruth''. To be fair, they are ''long-term'' torturers, in that they "break" a target over weeks or months so that they [[RapeIsLove want to obey their Mistress]], who have been trained since girlhood. They're less a method of gaining information and more a method of making someone into a slave. Hell, they don't even ask any questions until they're sure that their victim is properly "trained."

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* The Mord-Sith are an entire order of {{The Baroness}}es in Terry Goodkind's ''SwordOfTruth''.''Literature/SwordOfTruth''. To be fair, they are ''long-term'' torturers, in that they "break" a target over weeks or months so that they [[RapeIsLove want to obey their Mistress]], who have been trained since girlhood. They're less a method of gaining information and more a method of making someone into a slave. Hell, they don't even ask any questions until they're sure that their victim is properly "trained."
2nd Jun '16 1:07:11 PM Morgenthaler
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* The basic trope is OlderThanFeudalism, since in classical legal systems slaves could only testify under torture, and a stock gambit by the accused was to defy the court to torture his slaves. However, it is subverted in {{Aristophanes}} Theatre/TheFrogs, where Dionysus' slave, impersonating Dionysus, tells the underworld guards to torture Dionysus, impersonating the slave. They end up BOTH getting tortured to see which is the real god, and hilariously trying to pretend that it doesn't hurt a bit, no, sir.

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* The basic trope is OlderThanFeudalism, since in classical legal systems slaves could only testify under torture, and a stock gambit by the accused was to defy the court to torture his slaves. However, it is subverted in {{Aristophanes}} Creator/{{Aristophanes}} Theatre/TheFrogs, where Dionysus' slave, impersonating Dionysus, tells the underworld guards to torture Dionysus, impersonating the slave. They end up BOTH getting tortured to see which is the real god, and hilariously trying to pretend that it doesn't hurt a bit, no, sir.
2nd Apr '16 3:12:52 PM AtticusOmundson
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-->-- ''Film/RobinHoodPrinceOfTheieves''

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-->-- ''Film/RobinHoodPrinceOfTheieves''
''Film/RobinHoodPrinceOfThieves''
2nd Apr '16 3:12:14 PM AtticusOmundson
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Added DiffLines:

->'''Sheriff of Nottingham:''' Would you prefer pain or death?
->'''First Prisoner:''' Death.
->'''Sheriff of Nottingham:''' Torture him. ''(To second prisoner)'' What about you? Pain or death?
->'''Second Prisoner:''' Uh, pain.
->'''Sheriff of Nottingham:''' Torture him. You see? It makes no difference.
-->-- ''Film/RobinHoodPrinceOfTheieves''
2nd Apr '16 7:06:52 AM Grudgeal
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* In ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'', torture (or the threat thereof) tends to work on Contractors because, as TheTinMan, they have no emotional stake in their objectives and will spill the beans unless there's a rational reason not to. Of course, that means that a sufficiently good argument or bargain not involving the threat of force is just as effective, but Hei, who has a very un-Contractor personality at times, prefers torture.

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* In ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'', torture (or the threat thereof) tends to work on Contractors because, as TheTinMan, [[TinMan being emotionless]], they have no emotional stake in their objectives and will spill the beans unless there's a rational reason not to. Of course, that means that a sufficiently good argument or bargain not involving the threat of force is just as effective, but Hei, who has a very un-Contractor personality at times, prefers torture.
2nd Apr '16 7:05:45 AM Grudgeal
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* From ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'':

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* From ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'':In ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'', torture (or the threat thereof) tends to work on Contractors because, as TheTinMan, they have no emotional stake in their objectives and will spill the beans unless there's a rational reason not to. Of course, that means that a sufficiently good argument or bargain not involving the threat of force is just as effective, but Hei, who has a very un-Contractor personality at times, prefers torture.
26th Mar '16 6:35:33 AM ading
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Added DiffLines:

* Inverted in ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'': The Party tortures its victims with the specific intent of getting them to give ''false'' information. They don't stop until the victim is 100% willing to say, do, and ''think'' anything the Party wants them to without question.
12th Mar '16 9:19:50 AM StarSword
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* {{Downplayed}} once in ''Series/BurnNotice''. Michael tortures absolutely accurate but borderline useless information out of an assassin sent after him during the first season by poisoning his food with peanuts that the assassin was fatally allergic to. As the assassin painfully chokes to death, Michael dangles his medicine just out of reach until the assassin eagerly reveals everything he knows to Michael, which isn't much (he was hired by old enemies who want Mike dead now that the CIA is no longer protecting him). This is the only time in the series that physical torture even slightly works, even when performed by protagonists: Michael has notably gotten better information on occasion by letting ''himself'' be tortured.

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* {{Downplayed}} once in ''Series/BurnNotice''. Michael tortures absolutely accurate but borderline useless information out of an assassin sent after him during the first season by poisoning his food with peanuts that the assassin was fatally allergic to. As the assassin painfully chokes to death, Michael dangles his medicine just out of reach until the assassin eagerly reveals everything he knows to Michael, which isn't much (he was hired by old enemies who want Mike dead now that the CIA is no longer protecting him).him, which has little bearing on the MythArc and is something Mike already expected). This is the only time in the series that physical torture even slightly works, even when performed by protagonists: Michael has notably gotten better information on occasion by letting ''himself'' be tortured.
12th Mar '16 9:18:43 AM StarSword
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* PandoraHearts subverts this in the first five minutes. Though the torture is mundane... the victim promptly gives quick information. Quick, and WRONG information!

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* PandoraHearts ''Anime/PandoraHearts'' subverts this in the first five minutes. Though the torture is mundane... the victim promptly gives quick information. [[TortureIsIneffective Quick, and WRONG information!information!]]



[[folder: Fanfiction]]

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[[folder: Fanfiction]]Fan Works]]



[[folder:Film]]

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[[folder:Film]][[folder:Film -- Live-Action]]



* Subverted very well in ''Series/BurnNotice'', where the main character has had to extract information several times, but always uses alternative methods (usually messing with the guy's head). As a plus, he usually narrates the scene and gives helpful tips on how to trick information out of people.
** Several times said character also explains why torture ''doesn't'' work. These range from "they'll say anything to make it stop" to my personal favorite:
--->The fact is, torture is for sadists and thugs. It's like getting groceries with a flamethrower. It doesn't work and it makes a mess.
** Notably, Michael once gets better information by ''letting himself be tortured'' than his torturer does.
** Played straight. Weston himself tortured absolutely accurate spot-on information out of an assassin sent after him during the first season by poisoning his food with peanuts that the assassin was fatally allergic to. As the assassin painfully chokes to death, Michael dangles his medicine just out of reach until the assassin eagerly reveals everything he knows to Michael.

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* Subverted very well {{Downplayed}} once in ''Series/BurnNotice'', where the main character has had to extract information several times, but always uses alternative methods (usually messing with the guy's head). As a plus, he usually narrates the scene and gives helpful tips on how to trick information out of people.
** Several times said character also explains why torture ''doesn't'' work. These range from "they'll say anything to make it stop" to my personal favorite:
--->The fact is, torture is for sadists and thugs. It's like getting groceries with a flamethrower. It doesn't work and it makes a mess.
** Notably,
''Series/BurnNotice''. Michael once gets better information by ''letting himself be tortured'' than his torturer does.
** Played straight. Weston himself tortured
tortures absolutely accurate spot-on but borderline useless information out of an assassin sent after him during the first season by poisoning his food with peanuts that the assassin was fatally allergic to. As the assassin painfully chokes to death, Michael dangles his medicine just out of reach until the assassin eagerly reveals everything he knows to Michael.Michael, which isn't much (he was hired by old enemies who want Mike dead now that the CIA is no longer protecting him). This is the only time in the series that physical torture even slightly works, even when performed by protagonists: Michael has notably gotten better information on occasion by letting ''himself'' be tortured.



* In a ''TekWar'' episode, the police use a modified lie detector as a torture device. It works on the first criminal but the mastermind gave him unreliable information. The second person it was used on didn't give out information because she feared for her life, and entered a panic attack before needing medical treatment.



* In the ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' episode "War Stories" Wash and Mal are tortured by Niska. Mal continues arguing with Wash over Zoe throughout in order to keep both of them from breaking. Subverted, though, since Niska wasn't really looking for information, just punishment.



* Played straight in ''Series/{{Castle}}'': When his daughter Alexis is abducted, Castle and Beckett track down one of the kidnappers. Beckett leaves Castle alone with the seriously wounded man, who refuses to talk even after Castle's DeclarationOfProtection. Castle takes a deep breath, at which point we cut to Beckett's face as she hears the kidnapper's cries of agony from the other room. In the next scene, they are back at the precinct, having all the information they need.

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* Played straight straight, once, in ''Series/{{Castle}}'': When his daughter Alexis is abducted, Castle and Beckett track down one of the kidnappers. Beckett leaves Castle alone with the seriously wounded man, who refuses to talk even after Castle's DeclarationOfProtection. Castle takes a deep breath, at which point we cut to Beckett's face as she hears the kidnapper's cries of agony from the other room. In the next scene, they are back at the precinct, having all the information they need. This in contrast to torturing Ryan and Esposito being completely useless in an earlier episode. So in the ''Castle''-verse, Torture Always Works when a protagonist does it?



* Both played straight and averted in ''[[TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons The Book of Vile Darkness]]''. Torture makes it easier for torturers to Intimidate their victims, but they also take penalties to Sense Motive checks as most believe wholeheartedly in the reliability of knowledge gained from torture.

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* Both played straight and averted ZigZagged in ''[[TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons The ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''' ''The Book of Vile Darkness]]''.Darkness''. Torture makes it easier for torturers to Intimidate their victims, but they also take penalties to Sense Motive checks as most believe wholeheartedly in the reliability of knowledge gained from torture.



* {{Warhammer}} has an aversion: one Witch Hunter manages to get the information he needs from Slaaneshi heretics by giving them a potion that ''numbs'' all sensory input. To those who worship a god(dess) based on constant physical sensation, it's a complete MindRape.

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* {{Warhammer}} ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' has an aversion: inversion: one Witch Hunter manages to get the information he needs from Slaaneshi heretics by giving them a potion that ''numbs'' all sensory input. To those who worship a god(dess) based on constant physical sensation, it's a complete MindRape.
MindRape.



** In ''Assassin's Creed: Lineage'' prequel video, Giovanni Auditore (Ezio's father) captures one of Rodrigo Borgia's {{Mook}}s and delivers him to Lorenzo de' Medici. Uberto Alberti tortures the captive on a rack, who reveals the Templar plot to assassinate Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza.



* It's somewhat of a motif that sooner or later your character is going to get caught and have to undergo ElectricTorture for information in the ''Franchise/MetalGear'' franchise. To date, none of the {{Badass}} protagonists have given up information in any of the three games. [[spoiler:Even Sokolov, who has a family, refused to talk]]. You'd think Ocelot would have learned the old "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." adage, but alas.
** Volgin in ''VideoGame/{{Metal Gear Solid 3|SnakeEater}}'' is undoubtedly the worst interrogator ever. His only method seems to be beating the prisoner to death in under 15 seconds while telling ''them'' all of ''his'' information. Ocelot actually applauds Snake for surviving just one session, [[spoiler:and the Philosopher's Legacy Volgin was trying to protect winds up in the hands of America thanks to him telling everyone in the room, ''all of whom were spies for another country'', exactly where it was]].
* One of the big features of the latest ''[[VideoGame/ThePunisher Punisher]]'' game was the ability to torture any random mooks, either through "standard" means like pressing your gun against their head, or threatening to put them into furnaces or put a freaking ''drill through their head''. Only some of them would actually give you useful information, though (although they all gave you information of some kind).
** There's also two mooks per level who, if you torture, might say something that causes Frank to have a flashback. He'll even comment after killing/sparing them.

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* It's somewhat of a motif that sooner or later your character is going to get caught and have to undergo ElectricTorture for information in the ''Franchise/MetalGear'' franchise. To date, none of the {{Badass}} protagonists have given up information in any of the three games. [[spoiler:Even Sokolov, who has a family, refused to talk]]. You'd think Ocelot would have learned the old "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." adage, but alas.
** Volgin in ''VideoGame/{{Metal Gear Solid 3|SnakeEater}}'' is undoubtedly the worst interrogator ever. His only method seems to be beating the prisoner to death in under 15 seconds while telling ''them'' all of ''his'' information. Ocelot actually applauds Snake for surviving just one session, [[spoiler:and the Philosopher's Legacy Volgin was trying to protect winds up in the hands of America thanks to him telling everyone in the room, ''all of whom were spies for another country'', exactly where it was]].
* One of the big features of the latest ''[[VideoGame/ThePunisher Punisher]]'' game was the ability to torture any random mooks, either through "standard" means like pressing your gun against their head, or threatening to put them into furnaces or put a freaking ''drill through their head''. Only some of them would actually give you useful information, though (although they all gave you information of some kind).
**
kind). There's also two mooks per level who, if you torture, might say something that causes Frank to have a flashback. He'll even comment after killing/sparing them.



* Death Knights in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' have to torture ''lots'' of people to death in one of their starting quests before one of them finally talks... but it's still an example, because as soon as anyone says anything it's the truth. Then it's subverted, because you ''don't believe them'' and [[CutsceneIncompetence the victim dies from the wounds before it can finish explaining]].

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* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'':
**
Death Knights in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' have to torture ''lots'' of people to death in one of their starting quests before one of them finally talks... but it's still an example, because as soon as anyone says anything it's the truth. Then it's subverted, because you ''don't believe them'' and [[CutsceneIncompetence the victim dies from the wounds before it can finish explaining]].



* Played with in ''VideoGame/CrusaderKings II''. You mechanically cannot torture prisoners for playable information, but torture events can give you a [[TheDreaded fearsome reputation represented by the "Impaler" trait]], which buffs your Intrigue and Learning stats and your troops' effectiveness in battle.



* Parodied [[http://nonadventures.com/2012/11/17/war-on-error/ here]] in ''Webcomic/TheNonAdventuresOfWonderella''. The torturee essentially points out the flaws in a {{Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique}}, even [[LampshadeHanging referencing]] the show ''[[Series/TwentyFour 24]]''.



* ''Webcomic/LastRes0rt'' subverts it with Daisy Archanis and her leaked confession that [[spoiler: she's actually the Galaxy Girl Scout Arael who set off a huge feud]], which was apparently extracted using torture... and ''everyone knows it'', including Daisy's supporters, arguing that because she was tortured for the information, it MUST be bogus.
** Veled admits later that she didn't need to torture Daisy for the information -- just the ''audio confession'' thereof, since Veled can extract whatever somebody knows just by touching them (and thus confirm the truth of Daisy's statements). In other words, Daisy had to be tortured into compliance, not into supplying new information.
* Called out in "WebComic/{{Fans}}!" where Rumy yells at her berserk subordinate that "Contrary to what you see on '24,' pain is not a Lasso of Truth."

to:

* ''Webcomic/LastRes0rt'' subverts it with Daisy Archanis and her leaked confession that [[spoiler: she's actually the Galaxy Girl Scout Arael who set off a huge feud]], which was apparently extracted using torture... and ''everyone knows it'', including Daisy's supporters, arguing that because she was tortured for the information, it MUST be bogus.
**
bogus. Veled admits later that she didn't need to torture Daisy for the information -- just the ''audio confession'' thereof, since Veled can extract whatever somebody knows just by touching them (and thus confirm the truth of Daisy's statements). In other words, Daisy had to be tortured into compliance, not into supplying new information.
* Called out in "WebComic/{{Fans}}!" where Rumy yells at her berserk subordinate that "Contrary to what you see on '24,' pain is not a Lasso of Truth."
information.



* In the ''WebVideo/AssassinsCreedLineage'' prequel video, Giovanni Auditore (Ezio's father) captures one of Rodrigo Borgia's {{Mook}}s and delivers him to Lorenzo de' Medici. Uberto Alberti tortures the captive on a rack, who reveals the Templar plot to assassinate Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza.



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