Surviving History

2008 NR 3 discs

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Surviving History

2008 NR 3 discs
  • Overview
  • Details
The History Channel enlists the clever craftsmen of renowned design studio Scarefactory to reconstruct and test an arsenal of weapons and torture devices used around the world, as described throughout the annals of history. The brutal list of inventions includes the iron maiden, Judas cradle, whirligig, shame flute, chastity belt, strappado, pretzel, rack, pendulum, brazen bull, Baghdad batter and more.
Full Screen 1.33:1
English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
NR - Not rated. This movie has not been rated by the MPAA.
age 14+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 14+
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age 14+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that this series follows a team of artists and craftsmen who re-create and test ancient weapons and torture devices, trying them out on both on mannequins and willing humans. While there's an educational component to the show, much of the focus is on the destruction, pain, and suffering that these devices caused. Although no one gets hurt, the fake-but-gruesome images of blood and gore -- as well as the endless discussions of fear, torture, and death -- make the show pretty iffy for younger viewers. Also, most of the experiments are extremely dangerous and should not be imitated.

Sexual Content

Historical illustrations occasionally show people being tortured in various stages of undress; bare breasts are sometimes seen. These images aren't sexual and are shown in a historical context. One of the devices studied is the chastity belt.


Lots of discussions about and demonstrations of how devices were used to torture, punish, and/or kill people. Lots of fake blood and gore, including gruesome re-creations of the injuries incurred. Some of the design team members are shown using swords and other devices to "kill" mannequins after they're used in experiments.


Words like "ass," "hell," and "brass balls" are audible, while curse words like "f--k" are bleeped out.

Social Behavior

While there's some teaching here, much of the show's focus is on highlighting the painful, gruesome impact that historical devices had on people. The team is male and Caucasian; occasionally a female administrative assistant participates in some of the experiments.


Prominently features The Scare Factory company; many of their scary re-creations are visible throughout the factory floor.

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Not applicable

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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