The horror… the horror

I’m not into pointless gore, but I’m not a prude either. I enjoy a good blood-letting, if it is done in the right way. I’m a huge Tarantino fan, and I think that the Japanese movie The Audition is one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen, and it was so well done that I recommend it to horror fans. I think that sometimes the blood splattered movie-sets do a bit of stress relief, let out the monsters of the id which our modern, civilized lives lock into the closet. However, gore for gore’s sake, and a celebration of it for celebration’s sake is silly and lazy.
Enter, Captivity’s producer Courtney Solomon. This guy knows how to work the media. The more people complain about his film the better it is for him, and he’s blatantly riffing on them as he prepares for the roll-out of his July 13 premiere. I won’t see this film, and haven’t seen films like Hostel or the retreaded Hills Have Eyes or Texas Chainsaw Massacre films. The reason: the director’s don’t really get what scary is.
For evidence of this, check out this quote from the article (emphasis added):

The idea behind Mr. Solomon’s planned party of course is to put “Captivity” back on the map, no small task given the scheduling hiccups and recent woes in the horror genre. Over the last few months a series of horror films have done poorly, culminating with the disappointing performance earlier this month by Lionsgate’s “Hostel: Part II.”

If horror is indeed lagging, part of the cure, Mr. Solomon said, is for the genre to get even scarier. To that end he persuaded the director of “Captivity,” Roland Joffé, the much-honored filmmaker behind “The Mission” and “The Killing Fields,” to undertake reshoots. These added explicit torture , including a so-called “milkshake” scene that involves body parts and a blender, to a picture that was largely psychological in its thrust when After Dark acquired the rights to it.

So to make things “scarier” he adds more gore? The problem is that scare does not equal gore. Scare comes from an interruption of normalcy. I am scared when solitude is broken by a roar. I cringe when I see a hand in a blender, not because I’m scared, but because I’m grossed out. Filmmakers like Mr. Solomon have confused the two, and are unwilling to do the hard work necessary to truly earn an audience: come up with a premise and technique which will hold the audience’s attention while NOT showing gore, so that gore isn’t even needed.
Someone once pointed out that one of the first slasher films (it was either “Friday the 13th” or “Halloween”) didn’t have any blood in it. A good lesson in what “horror” can be.

One thought on “The horror… the horror

  1. It wasn’t “Friday the 13th” which was bloodless. At the first sign of it, I sunk in my seat, covered my face, and remained so for the rest of the movie. Then I left the genre, never to return.
    You points are very well taken here. I’ve heard this new spate of “horror” called “torture porn”. Never, ever will I see any of it. And you can add such little gems as the “Final Destination” movies too. I’d like to see this disturbing trend go peacefully by the wayside. I don’t think we need any further desensitization in today’s climate.

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