08 October 2006

What's the appeal of horror films?

Interesting article in this weeks Entertainment Weekly, talking about horror movies and their impact on the box office and why, more and more, they are becoming the norm.

The sad part is they are highly lucrative -the last four horror films this year: Descent, The Hills Have Eyes, Hostel, and Saw II have grossed over $200 million. The impressive thought here, is all four films together cost less than $35 million to make.

All of this means, with October now here, we’ll see more of these sick genre films. Apparently, because this is what the audience really wants, or so says Hostel director Eli Roth: “People want something that’s visceral, grisly, violent, and realistic.”

I question the sanity of some one who pays for and then watches a film so they can get off watching people cut off body parts to escape a serial killer.

Do these films represent everyday peoples fear? And that going to them some how makes those fears go away? I can’t say I have a fear of having to cut off my leg because its caught in a bear trap. It’s not a realistic in any sort of the way, because I know its never going to happen.

I like a good scare (the original Halloween scared the pants off me, but you never saw a drop of blood), but what’s with the gore? Is it necessary to show this type of violence (especially towards women, even though Hostel turned the corner on that mainstream philosophy)? Or is this a pure masturbation fantasy of straight teen males (who make up the majority of the box office totals for these films, along with DVD sales)?

While, I guess, there is a need for cheap films that make a great return for its investors, does anyone question the disturbing minds behind these films? Eli Roth, Rob Zombie (The Devil’s Rejects) and James Wan (Saw) are all making sequels to their films, all pushing the violence and gore up a notch, “There’s a bit of a pissing contest between directors to try and get the most blood in their movies,” Roth told EW.

And before someone says what about the violence in, say, Lord of the Rings or even the old Warner Bros. Bugs Bunny cartoons, I’ll say that is all it is: cartoon violence. They never reveled in that type of violence.

If I may paraphrase Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park

Today’s horror film dress themselves in blood and gore simply because they can. If I may paraphrase Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park , the studios and directors are so preoccupied with whether or not they could {get more gory) , they don’t stop to think if they should.

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