Horror films are meant to do one thing: horrify the audience. They often do other things as well, such as provide commentary on society. But modern horror films seem to have lost their edge. Or, they’ve at least stopped trying to actually scare the audience. Instead, it seems like modern horror flicks are only trying to do one thing: make the audience feel as uncomfortable as possible. In other words, we are currently witnessing the death of the horror film and instead gaining films filled with mindless gornography.
Now, many will argue that gore and horror go hand-in-hand, which I would agree with. At times gore is certainly necessary and appropriate to include. But we’re at a point now where it’s so over-the-top that it effectively serves no purpose. The blood and guts are simply just there. Of course there are classic films out there with on-screen blood. Take films like Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) or Wes Carven’s The Last House on the Left (1972) and The Hills Have Eyes (1977). While these older “classic” horror films offer plenty of gore, especially considering their time period, they act as social commentaries, made in direct response to the Vietnam War.
When looking at modern horror, however, the gore seems to have increased, but it has increased in such a way that cheapens it. Films like Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses (2003), Eli Roth’s Hostel (2005) and the later part of James Wan’s Saw film series (2006 – 2010) simply offer gore for the sake of gore. I do not include the early half of Wan’s Saw series (2004 – 2005), due to the fact that the first two films of the series operate on more of a psychological thriller level, engaging the audience in a mystery. This is the obvious reason why this group of filmmakers have been dubbed the “splat pack.” Their films offer excessive gore for no better reason than to test the audience’s collective stomach rather than to actually frighten.
There doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. A prime example of its continuing success would be the remake of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead (1982). Not only did it completely drain all of the camp found in the original, but it went all-out with the gore. The trailer alone features a girl vomiting blood onto another girl’s face and a girl cutting her tongue in half with a rusty pair of scissors. The consensus on rottentomatoes.com, a film aggregator website, states that the film is full of “brutal terror, gory scares, and […] bloody violence.” Modern filmmakers have to realize that, at some point, the blood and guts are no longer serving any sort of aesthetic purpose. They’re simply just there. A sequel to the Evil Dead remake has already been announced. No word on how much resemblance the new film will have to the original Evil Dead 2 (1987), but if the first remake is any indicator, my guess is very little.
While I see little to no purpose for these gorno flicks, there must be a reason they continue to be produced. And the reason is simply that they make money at the box office. So, when all is said and done, it’s not the filmmakers, but the audience. Somewhere down the line, the filmmakers had to up the gore content because the audience wanted it. And as long as they continue to make money, they’ll continue to be be produced. So sit tight, because it will only get worse.
By Stewart Turkeylink