Torture chamber

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Torture chamber in Penzlin castle, Germany.
Medieval witch's chair torture.

A torture chamber is a room used for torture, such as historically for cruel forms of judicial interrogation and punishment. It would be typically part of a prison or similar building, and often located underground, such as in the cellars of a castle (dungeons). The chamber would be equipped with items such as racks, pulleys and various other devices to be used for torture. Torture chambers also often featured "fake" instruments, such as spiked chairs or the Iron Maiden, that were not actually built to be used, but whose purpose was to scare the interrogated person into compliance. The torture chamber was specifically designed to evoke fear in the victims.

Torture chambers are featured in literature and films of various genres, including historical, horror, splatter and sexploitation films. In some places, real historic torture chambers, or reconstructions of these, can today be visited by the public as part of a museum.

In BDSM[edit]

A slave girl chained in a dungeon.
Vintage BDSM torture scenario with unusual rack device. Photo: Ostra Studio (c. 1930s).

The concept of the torture chamber has inspired writers and artists of BDSM fiction of all times as a location for the most cruel forms of punishment and torture. It has also inspired the active BDSM community to design play rooms based on the "torture chamber" concept — but of course to be used for safe, sane and consensual play. These are generally called dungeons.

Influence on fetish films[edit]

Starting in the late 1980s, producers of corporal punishment and BDSM videos eroticized torture chamber punishments in a wide variety of period-piece and contemporary stories.

London Enterprises released Witchfinder (1989) and Tower of Lyndon (1994). B&D Pleasures put out Medieval Dungeon Masters (1994) as well as The Inquisition (2002) through their Bon-Vue Enterprises division.

Lupus Pictures set The Master Executioner in a realistic medieval dungeon and filmed The Warlock's Revenge in an actual 13th century castle using its dungeon, courtyard, and an ancient looking birching horse. Lupus also made two films set in the Stalinist era in 1953, Stalin II and Stalin III, that include a medieval-style torture chamber.

Historical videos from House of Milan that involve torture dungeons include Prisoners of the Inquisition, Dungeon of the Borgias, No Mercy for the Witches, Terrors of the Inquisition, and The Legend of The Torturer.

Dungeon Witches (formerly Inquisition World) is a German company entirely dedicated to making historical torture chamber videos, mostly set in the Middle Ages. They also produce torture-based videos from more recent fascist regimes such as Nazi Germany.

Outside of the history-based videos, the majority of the hundreds of titles produced by London Enterprises, B&D Pleasures, Bon-Vue Enterprises, and House of Milan (to name a few) are stories about present-day mistresses who spend most of their time tormenting female slaves in their well-equipped dungeons.

See also[edit]


  • Medieval Warfare – Historical dungeon implements including the Chair of Torture.