Torture Porn, Serbians, and Underground August: Taking Horror Too Far
by, 02-15-2012 at 10:45 PM (6281 Views)
I have a confession to make:
I saw Hostel for the first time the other day, and I felt sick to my stomach.
I have vowed to never watch A Serbian Film, Cannibal Holocaust, or Necromantik.
Human Centipede 2 made me want to throw up.
Now, this is coming from a guy who can laugh in appreciation of Tom Savini's work, loves Rob Zombie movies, and is generally not creeped out by blood. I'm no gorehound, don't get me wrong, I appreciate violence, but not to the depths it has been taken recently with the advent of the "Torture film."
When we are watching a classic film from the 80's for example, Pieces, it is a fun time. Pure escapist fantasy, as people are killed in gratuitous ways in generally unrealistic situations. As the genre and special effects have evolved, new ideas are constantly introduced to revitalize horror.
One such idea was the concept of a gritty, nihilistic movie, where unrelenting, realistic violence abounds. The idea can really be traced back to movies such as Cannibal Holocaust, where the director was accused of murdering the actual cast members; and Snuff, the 1976 movie that marketed itself as an actual Snuff film.
In recent years the idea of unrelenting, extreme realistic horror has resurfaced. In Eli Roth's Hostel, we get to see people getting tortured by other humans in agonizing detail. In all honesty, i find it hard to root for the kills in that movie. "Yeah, sever his tendons so he can't run away, now shove the drill down his throat! What a kick-ass scene!" I don't know about the reader of this blog, but my idea of a good time is not watching someone get tortured for a half-hour.
Tom Six's Human Centipede had a sickening concept, but the film was relatively bloodless, making for an effective and good movie. The sequel, however shows ever single detail of how to make an amateur centipede, with sledgehammers to teeth, nailguns to people, and fetus's going splat. When our horror films have come to the point where babies are being killed, what does that say about the audience?
Now, these examples I've given certainly are full of realistic gore and violence, and some of you might be calling me a wuss right now. But when a movie like August Underground appears, where realistic home video footage shows realistic looking murders of people, that's is definitely F***ed up. The point of the horror film, at least for me, is that is provides a little slice of unreality and unrealistic horrors to entertain in a world where far worse things happen every day.
A Serbian Film. Almost an art film, that deals with necrophilia, pedophilia, rape, and suicide. What makes this movie really screwed up is that this must be true in at least some part, because I would like to think that no one could dream up the concept for that movie. So the question is, did that movie have to be made for the world to see?
Oddly, enough extreme levels of violence are becoming the norm in horror today. Just compare the latest incarnations of Friday the 13th and Scream to their predescessors and notice how much more brutal they are. Saw, with its yearly segments, really made extreme violence part of the genre.
I guess the point to all of these ramblings is that sometimes, horror is taken into realms of the most extreme. In my opinion this should not be the case, leading to the question: do movies need realistic violence in realistic situations? Yes, it is scary, I think a little too much. I for one, don't want to feel like throwing up when I want to be scared.