Morb's filthy beginnings occurred many years ago with hardy groups of souls being forced to witness horrific events.
Here are a few of the reactions -
'To say that it was one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen does not nearly go far enough. The whole setting and atmosphere made it the most affecting and powerful movie experience I have ever had.'
'I actually cried from thinking about it the night after watching, not on the night as I guess I was still in shock. I could only just about mention the name of the film we were subjected to before clamming up and not uttering a word about it unless it was to someone who had watched it, but none of them really want to talk about it for fear of dredging up the memory.'
'Not only was the line crossed tonight, it was beaten, decapitated, raped and murdered.'
'At my first experience at Morb the group made their way at dusk to a space off a northside alley. Everything in the room was painted in white. I was very eager to see the picture but I soon found myself sitting through one of the most horrendous things I have ever or would ever want to see. Every time I considered leaving I told myself I could maybe stay because it couldn't get any worse, but it continually became increasingly sickening with every scene. For weeks after attending Morb I felt as if my heart had been replaced by an ice cold tin of coke - which had been shaken up and was on the constant verge of exploding. I was despondent and irritable to friends and co-workers. I don't think I have been able to get a proper night's sleep since seeing the film. I think that Peter Dunne should arrested or at least ostracized by society. Maybe he could be shipped to Siberia, or Serbia even. I will definitely be at the next one'
Morb continued to fester in the dark for many years. Now it comes into the light.
For horror fans who are sick of the same old scares in the same old boring cinemas then allow me to introduce you to Peter Dunne's MORB – a secret cinema lurking around Dublin where all manner of graphic horror films are screened. With a quivering mic in hand, I went to uncover the underground event for Culture File on RTÉ Lyric fm.
A mysterious new underground event has emerged in Dublin, whereby a small, select group of people are brought to an undisclosed location and shown an extremely violent horror movie. Sound like fun? Read on - 'We are so jaded, what could possibly affect us? Morb attempts to provide the answer.' So says Peter Dunne, the creator of the newest and most unsettling (that's a compliment)project in the city. But what inspired this committed film fan to take the next step and start showcasing obscure and violent horror late at night?
'Last year I saw a documentary about the birth of the Midnight Movie in the '70s,' Dunne explains. 'Cinema owners began to show really over the top, subversive and shocking films, like El Topo and Pink Flamingos. I was so jealous of those audiences, of that feeling of watching something new, underground, and a bit illicit. Morb was my attempt to provide that, mainly for myself, but also for an audience.'
Since November last year, Dunne has held three Morb screenings, opting first to show Pascal Laugier's 2008 bloodbath Martyrs (not, I repeat, NOT for the faint hearted). Then Inside (Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, 2007), and finally Braindead, a 1992 New Zealand zombie horror directed by Peter Jackson (yep - he of the hobbits). Though all are extremely violent, Dunne maintains that Morb is not merely about screening a film - it's a far bigger experience than that. I have to agree. For the first Morb outing, a small group - your humble reporter included - were sent a cryptic e-mail, asking us to meet in a city centre pub, one cold November eve. From there we were led (phones switched off) to an empty art studio. In the dark, Dunne led us up a winding staircase to a sterile white room, and instructed us to sit. A brief introduction followed, and then - the film began. An exploration of human endurance, Martyrs features extreme acts of torture; its female protagonist is the victim of a sadistic group intrigued by the concept of martyrdom and the afterlife.
And although that night's Morb was certainly not limited to the graphic images we were shown, I still maintain I am permanently scarred after witnessing that nice French lady being skinned alive. I have to ask - why did Martyrs and Inside appeal to Dunne? Is he trying to relay any particular message? About misogyny perhaps?
'Not necessarily',he responds. 'I knew the films contained violence against women, but they weren't selected because of that. It would be very easy to label these films as misogynistic, but I don't believe they are. Horror films have traditionally sided with the female - the 'final girl' and so on. These films are upfront in their violence, there's nothing underlying.What I find really shocking are romantic comedies like The Ugly Truth or Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which are aimed at a female audience, yet in my opinion, seem to hate women. The fact that their misogyny slips under the radar and is considered acceptable, worries me more.'
He might have a point there: the next Kate Hudson rom-com probably won't see her beaten to a pulp and/or de-skinned, but - chances are - she'll play a 'quirky', career-obsessed loon who just can't find Mr. Right. Graphic violence aside though, there are other factors at play which work to make Morb so unique. dunne utilises the space of the city, incorporating dark streets and alleyways into an experience which aims to unsettle and isolate. How important is Dublin to Morb?
'Very!', he asserts. 'Dublin is perfect, because although it's a relatively small city, and people find it very comfortable and familiar, there's such a variety of little spaces off the beaten track. Dark lanes, empty buildings - just one turn can take you somewhere totally alien. Everyone who has attended a screening says the location has made just as much of an impact at the film'.
Alienation is key then. Freud claimed it's in our human nature to try and familiarise the unfamiliar, the 'uncanny'. Morb's venues are very much at odds with the conventional cinematic experience. No comfy loungers, no popcorn - instead, a hushed, tense, almost uncomfortable atmosphere prevailed in this downright clinical location. Why does Dunne want to take people out of their familiar comfort zones?'Nowadays, we've seen it all', he says. 'In order to get that shock factor,I had to fiddle around with the way the film is experienced. People meet in a pre-arranged location, they have no clue where they'll be led, they don't know about the film they'll be shown. There's that initial rush of excitement, but talking to audiences later, a slow feeling of dread always creeps in. They realise they're totally powerless against what they're about to experience. By the time the film begins, they've built themselves into such a state of nervous tension, almost anything will be frightening.'
Agreed - such was the atmosphere that first night, an episode of Care Bears would probably have had us all cowering behind our chairs. So what does the future hold for Morb?
'I'm going to just keep doing what I'm doing!' Dunne confirms. 'It will always remain underground, there's a limit of 45 people, it won't ever become bigger, or that sense of secrecy and 'specialness' will disappear. I set up Morb because of a deep love of cinema, and sitting in the front and turning in my seat just as an especially 'out-there' moment occurs, to look at the faces of the audience members, is total magic. This is a dream'.