Now Playing: When Did Horror Movies Become Gore Porn?

When Did Horror Movies Become Gore Porn?

Who could forget the first time Stanley Kubrick introduced us to the two creepy girls at the end of the long corridor in The Shining? Or when the clown came to life and grabbed Carol Anne’s brother in Poltergeist? And how could anyone possibly not get the chills when they think back to Samara climbing out of the television in The Ring? These iconic movie moments sent theater-goers’ nerves alight, the terrifying scenes serving as EpiPens to our already panicked hearts. And while they were all horrifying, not a single one was really all that grotesque. They were each effective without being repulsive. Alarming while not being nauseating.

And filmmakers today seem to have lost touch with this art. Whereas Ridley Scott could raise colonies of goosebumps before even showing you a single one of the Aliens, and William Friedkin could cause you a sleepless night with effective music and a little girl with brilliant makeup, directors today just load on the blood and guts hoping that viewers will mistake looking away from a hard to watch—because it’s violent—scene with one that is actually terrifying.

And it’s ruining the entire genre of horror.

For instance, the film ratings board in Great Britain made a stand by saying that they would not be allowing The Human Centipede II into their country—not to be sold or viewed in any form. The explanation for why they chose to keep its citizens from this movie was that it overtly glorified sick and sadistic tendencies. It elaborated that the movie had a protagonist who masturbates—with sand-paper, none-the-less—to images from the first Human Centipede, eventually going out to make one of his own. According to the statement made by the BBFC, what follows in the film is a series of disturbing and terrible scenes including multiple instances of defecating into another person’s mouth, violent and awful abuse to characters that are never developed and used only as fodder for the director and finally—the piece de resistance—an unfathomable scene where the sick “hero” of the sequel rapes his so-called centipede with barbed wire wrapped around his genitalia.

Who thinks this sadistic shit up? And why—why!—would anyone want to bear witness to such a thing? It’s not a scary movie, it’s just sick, twisted shit for people who have little to no outlet for their repressed thanatos.

It’s hard to trace where it all fell apart for horror movies. Some would point to 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which at the time was seen as a hideous display of graphic violence, but if you look back at it through the lenses of modernity, you’ll realize that the movie really isn’t all that awful. The film’s scariest scene, for instance, involves Leatherface’s simple slamming of a metal door. In comparison with today’s pulp pollutants, the movie is lame. There isn’t a single large intestine slithering through the scenes, not one eyeball popping in a goopy mess. There isn’t even any rape!

When I think back upon the progression of the disturbingly violent nature of today’s horror films, I think back to Saw. The original in the never ending series is actually a decent film (though a little over-the-top in the gore category for my taste). It had some plot, it had good use of ambient sounds, it even had a few nail biting scenes. But after its large success, the studios went on to make another and decided that they would turn the sadism dial even higher in the follow-up. What they eventually released was a plotless vehicle to make money from stupid Americans (myself included) by showing them the slow and torturous deaths of a houseful of people. Soon after that, Hostel was released and Eli Roth rose to fame. It wasn’t long before it was hard to find a horror movie that wasn’t filled—from beginning to end—with repugnant scenes of human degradation and evisceration. (Barring such entries as 2005’s The Descent, 2007’s The Mist and 2010’s The Crazies.)

But where does it stop? When will we, as a society, cease making it profitable for producers to make a rape-and-maim-by-numbers gorefest that lacks any suspenseful effects that the masters of the genre had spent nearly a century perfecting? When will we see another Exorcist quality flick or bite our nails during another Jaws-like freak fest?

Or is that just not possible anymore? Maybe i’m stuck living in the past and the rest of this brave new world actually craves to see human flesh torn from limb to limb. And maybe that’s what brings society joy in these modern days.

But if that’s the case and a bunch of blood-thirsty purveyors of gore is what we’ve become, then that’s the really horrifying thing for me. 

Written By Jared Pulliam

  1. ethenorah reblogged this from dustjacketdispatch
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  4. existentiallychallenged reblogged this from dustjacketdispatch and added:
    Great article.
  5. kenshiro28 reblogged this from dustjacketdispatch and added:
    started escalating how fucking crazy...top other slasher movies or themselves.
  6. 80toypsi reblogged this from dustjacketdispatch and added:
    Reason #3-16 why I dont like horror movies all that much.
  7. dustjacketdispatch posted this
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