Sunday, October 29, 2006

Halloween Movies: Enough With The Torture Porn

At a Halloween party this past weekend, the conversation turned to horror movies. Our host had set up a video projector and was showing Halloween-appropriate movies in the background. I brought my copy of Dead Alive on dvd, and one friend had to cover her eyes on occasion because of that film's crazy gore. "I like scary movies, but I don't like gory movies," she said. I happen to love both, but if I had to pick one, I might chose gore.

Yet it was with some frustration that I read a story on the state of horror cinema in last week's Time magazine. Actually, I'm quite happy that in the past few years, horror has been in one of its periodic renaissances. I just wish the genre would get over its torture jones. I get it. It is kinda weird to get your kicks by watching people get chopped up. But I'm sick of movies like Saw and Hostel that revel in their ability to make audiences uncomfortable. It is much too self-conscious, and it is just one part of what gore is about.


Mrs. C said...

I like scary movies but I don't quite care for long gore or torture sequences. For me, a long gore or torture sequence is like a long action sequence in a move--I get it, a long action-packed exchange is happening. Can we just get on with it so we can see what happens next? Of course, there is also the fact that a long torture or gore scene is just aversive to look at. I like to be scared by spookiness or a creepy unexpected even that keeps me in suspense and confusion, but I don't see the need for physical exposure to the blood, guts, and violence. Movies with too much of the latter actually bore me, but then again, my therapist believes I use boredom to defend against connecting to painful material.

Com$tock said...

Hey, Mrs. C. You say you like spooky and creepy movies? You have to see "Don't Look Now." It is one of my favorite horror movies, and nearly all of the horror comes from atmosphere and suspense. I'm sure you'll love it!

As for your aversion to gore, I would suggest it is because you are afraid of the body, particularly the "open body" that Bakhtin wrote about. I suspect early on you learned that bodies are icky or the source of scary or uncontrollable urges. This is exactly the sort of body panic that gore challenges.

Anonymous said...

As I suspect I am the person quoted in the post, I would like to pipe in and say I agree with Mrs. C. Though, while I get bored during long action sequences in a movie -- I simply can't follow them and don't want to-- I don't get bored during gore. I just get disgusted. I guess I do think the body is gross. But surely you also think gore is gross, right, Aspi? You just are also excited/fascinated by it? I'm much more excited by the vulnerable Rosemary and her baby, trapped in the nest of devil worshippers.