5 comments on “Little bloody pieces. Where should we draw the line?

  1. you have certainly mentioned some of thye classics of the genre. I loved ‘Hostel’; surprisingly you didn’t mention ‘Saw’ or ‘The Human Centipede’ both which push the envelope of horror. I hope you get one of your stories published. I am working on the ant one right now. And btw thanks for visiting my blog

    • I only gave Saw a passing mention I think. I may edit this to include The Human Centipede. But it’s about the same thing as the others in terms of the question of going too far. I still haven’t seen Full Sequence yet which is a shame because it looks demented and I would like to see if I can sit through it without feeling sick. Thanks for leaving a comment!

  2. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head about gore in movies. This is a conversation I have with my friends a lot. Horror movies have always suffered from a “When is it too much” argument. It’s funny. I dislike Hostel. Actually, I HATE Hostel. It was not because I felt sick or gross or any sort of offensiveness from the movie. I was simply bored. The violence has no context. Nothing is added to the movie by the obscene violence, and nothing is taken away. It just is and I felt like it suffered from being the worst thing a movie could be: pointless. I think when a gory horror movie is effective, you feel an emotional connection to the characters, and in fact, I felt none. I knew they were going to die from the beginning but I didn’t care, and I lost interest. At least Saw makes an effort to shake things up by introducing a slightly creative plot and uses actual torture devices people have used on each other throughout history (At least the first one, I didn’t enjoy it enough to continue watching the others). I also didn’t feel like “Human Centipede” pushed the envelope as much as it likes to think it did. I was incredibly surprised that it was not as horrendous as everyone made it out to be and I think that it is a like like the chainsaw scene in Scarface, the actuality of the scene is not actually as bad as people describing it. I believe the second one tries to capitalize on it’s gross factor and goes too far in the opposite direction: being gory for gory’s sake.

    Amazing post, I enjoy your posts tremendously.

    • Thanks for the very thoughtful comment. I can understand why you were bored. You probably aren’t in the demographic they are targeting. I technically am though I don’t respond too well their product. In fact I watched the abridged version on youtube that consisted of just the torture scenes. It was good in the effects department. I was genuinely impressed with the practical effects. But I think that was a flaw of the film. It was like watching a big budget Hollywood blockbuster with in-your-face special effects. To quote Peter Griffin from Family Guy, “It insists upon itself.” Either you have horror with a great story that gets you emotionally involved or you have one that is self-aware and is trying to have a good time like these grind house flicks. But again, these torture porn films are there to test yourself. I think back to the narrator in the Last House on the Left trailer when he says, “Sights and sounds far beyond anything you’ve tested.” That is what draws people. People want to know if they can stomach it. That is the appeal and also why to some people it will be boring. When you become aware of the artifice and what the film is trying to do, you lose the suspension of disbelief. In a movie like the Human Centipede, there is some sick humor in it to play off the horror elements. In the Full Sequence, it’s full tilt gore and horror. Is it too much? I suppose but it is too much because it is intentionally trying to shock us and now more than ever, just using shock is hard to do since we’ve seen it all and we must go to Marquis de Sade lengths to get a reaction from the audience. But without either characters for us to identify with or humor to entertain us with, we are just left with a sequence of disturbing images. And as has been shown, we are very good at adapting to disturbing images so they no longer disturb us. Just talk to soldiers. They have to turn on this numbing mechanism to survive and that is what the audience does. It’s interesting to watch this stratification of gore based subgenres develop and it does seem quite natural that this would happen since now there is a market for all tastes. People who want serious character and story, those who want silly and fun schlock, and those who want to see how much they can take.

      Thanks for the comment again and I hope you continue to enjoy my blog.

  3. Pingback: Going to Extremes: Sadism and the Pit of Nihilism | Speculative Fiction Writing

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