Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rest in pieces

I enjoy horror movies to some extent.  As we all may know, I'm a coward, no doubt a result of watching too many episodes of Criminal Minds.  With that in mind, I enjoy horror movies that cross the line of unbelievability - I don't cower at something like a burnt monster with blade fingers who haunts your dreams, nor do I fear a hulking man in a hockey mask breaking down my door with a machete, simply because it'll never happen.  That doesn't completely exempt realistic horror movies, either, since things like Scream doesn't bother me, and I can't think of something more "realistic" than a (physically beatable) psychopath running around in a mask with a knife.  The things that do bother me, though, are things like the Exorcist or things dealing with the paranormal: okay, sure, not possible in real life, but they maintain a level of believability which gives me the chills.

You can't have a good scary movie without gore.  Beyond horror films, gory violence is a largely prevalent factor in action movies - I would know, my favourite movie ever is Kill Bill.  Why, then, is gore necessary?

(On a similar point, though partially a digression: crime shows.  Flip on the television at 8pm and you're either watching Glee, a reality show, or, more likely, a crime drama.  Why is it that everyone is obsessed with watching television shows with realistic crimes, bloated and bloody bodies, and cop shoot-outs?  Who knows.  Maybe it's gratifying to witness justice in a world sometimes devoid of some - who knows)

It's distressing to think of the general audience as obsessed with bloody violence and gory deaths onscreen, but it's undeniable.  Horror movies attempt to outdo each other by creating unrealistic, over-the-top gory ends to their characters - I think of, for example, Final Destination, a series based completely around the idea of disgusting death, or perhaps the Saw franchise, once great (and I use the term "great" liberally given that the first was marginally good and shocking but the rest are just freaking ridiculous) but now nothing more than "torture porn."  Don't get me started on the Saw movies.  (I'm gonna go off anyways.  I really can't believe the studio churned out sequel after sequel with more elaborate and disgusting deaths.  Even if you're a fan, it's chilling to think of the creative process: "guys, I know!  Let's throw a girl into a pit of needles!" "No, no, let's put a guy on a cross device that twists every segment of his body in a different direction!" "Excellent idea!  You're promoted."  That's disgusting)

I fail to come up with an answer as to why people are obsessed with violence and death.  I could argue that it comes down to everyone's obsession in the extreme: nobody wants to see a tame action movie, for example, they all want to see an entire city blown up by robots while a brainless female runs out of the explosion in slow motion.  Nobody wants to see a person in a horror movie have a heart palpitation out of fear (goddamn it, I would if Ghostface was after me), they want to see a prolonged chase sequence where the female victim just barely gets away before the killer reappears and drives a knife into her stomach or fake rack.  I suppose, then, a society already consumed in the extreme, a natural extension of said consumption is to want to see it onscreen.

Perhaps, though, a better reason for the obsession with bloody death, is the idea of indulgence.  I'm a firm believer that everyone is capable of the most unspeakable evils possible; it just comes down to heart, and whether or not a person acts on it.  I could very possibly kill someone, it sickens me to think, but I could.  (Let's please not take that the wrong way, I'm kidding)  Everything is possible.  In that sense, then, perhaps watching bloody offings onscreen is indulgence on behalf of the audience's "dark side."

I'm truly unsure as to why audiences are obsessed with this, though.  Maybe it's just for the thrill of watching something so horrifying; maybe it's for an unconscious reaffirmation of security, knowing that, in your moderately comfortable theater seat, you're safe from the crazed killer and that would never happen to you in your life.  I don't have an answer, it's merely speculation.

I am, though, sitting in eager anticipation for Scream 5.

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