May 2008

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Comments

Pete Jensen

My theory is that it's a lot like watching a guy get kicked in the groin, it can be amusing, as long as it's not happening to us. Furthermore it helps us realize why we enjoy NOT getting kicked in the groin. Maybe some people associate themselves with the victims, and some with the killers, but I hope that most people like to imagine themselves as being one of the survivors (if there are any), who escaped unmentionable horrors, certain death, and then can comfortably rehash the whole experience over coffee two weeks later without a therapist in sight.

Then again maybe we do associate with the killer, and gleefully imagine impaling the jock who gave us wedgies on the playground with a rusty meat hook. Who knows? : P

Zanthor

When I first watched "SAW" from the moment I saw the "body" in between the two victems I thought "Gee, if I was a sick twisted bastard who wanted to watch his victims destroy each other, I'd lay myself right between them so I could be there at ground zero while it happened...

When that ended up being the case... I shudder to think what would happen if I had no sense of morality.

Claire

I disagree that the "rush" of a roller coaster is the same as watching someone be killed. I dont understand how people can derive pleasure from viewing gruesome acts of violence against other humans.
It scares me to think that there are people out there that do find them pleasurable. But more scary is how many.

I dont think people could be "influenced" to murder by watching a horror - murderers will kill ppl in a way that fits their psyche - criminologists can build a character profile of a killer (white, male, was sexually abused as a child by a male, etc), just by way the murder is performed, ie sawn off hands, etc.
Then again, maybe it gives them more creative ways to do things, i dunno.

I suppose everyone has their own reality and how they perceive it and interact with it. So ppl can watch horror, but they can stay the hell away from me!

I've never "identified" with characters in movies! i thought that was a very wierd concept, i never think "oh i could be her..."

...no wait...thats a lie. Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge and Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider... i think i fantasised about "being" those two (or as u say, "empathise" with those characters)

My sister and i used to fight about which Xmen character we were going to be when watching saturday morning cartoons, but we pretty much stopped that before adolecence... dont most people grow out of that then?

adora

It's called "Schadenfreude".

le Big MAC

One person almost mentioned the moralist (religious) angle. I wont get into the politics (Michael Weldon of "Psychotronic" does it so much better than I) for now. I just think it's ironic how many people mention the foreplay effect (teen girl clutches in fear, the big strong arm of her bemused boyfriend to be) where these movies are extremely Catholic in the justice on their characters. Teenagers have sex -> execution by kitchen utensils! The vampire/zombie stories are of course rife with religious symbolism. One zombie film, "The Beyond" mixes zombies with the Gate of Hell story. I have to admit I want to see that, even though I already know it will be gross beyond any imagining.
Violence is a perfectly acceptable element of cinematic storytelling, as "The Passion of the Christ" asserted.

Everyone has sick thoughts. We just don't act on them. You know someone who has gone out of their way to hurt or humiliate you, or someone you love. Maybe it's a boss who you can't confront directly, or some rival who gets off threatening you, or Gordon Ramsey. You have to release these thoughts through some form of catharsis, or you will be victimized by them. Notice how many serial killers are raised in strictly religious or otherwise oppressed homes? Or Al Quaeda beheaders? Like Cho Seung-Hui, whose parents refused to let him get treatment for his obvious mental illness and prayed over him instead. Those people are scarier than Leatherface to me.

I generally like more gothic horror style (vampires, witches, haunted house) or funny like "Shaun of the Dead". I love zombies too! Skip the "Dawn of the Dead" remake and see the original, it's my favorite. So where am I on the sicko meter?

Jim

Why the asterisk on "fuck," Scott?

You've certainly spelled that word out before.

Getting soft in your bald old age?

Roby Bang

I'm not going to go into this wierd offshoot about horror, porn, and perverted wish fulfillment, since it seems like everyone and their mom has talked about it (which is REALLY scary). But here's my opinion about watching movies: Movies are fiction, and any movie that tries too hard to make me believe that they could really happen annoy me. Soap operas, anime, epics, and TV dramas want me to invest all this time and caring for people who act like they're real, but they're not. Spy movies, parodies, sitcoms, and slapstick comedies don't expect me to care like they really exist. The plots and characters are so unreallistic that there's no emotional investment; I just turn on the TV and watch. By the way, I gotta go, just taped "Airplane!".

~~Roby Bang

Isaac Thimbleby

The below is very interesting - there are a large number of studies about how modern media effects or brains. To quote from the editorial, incase you cant read it;

"Meta-analysis shows that the statistical correlation between exposure to media violence and aggression is not quite as strong as that linking smoking to an increased risk of lung cancer. It is, however, double the strength of the correlation between passive smoking and lung cancer, twice as strong as the link between condom use and reduction in risk of catching HIV, about three times the strength of the idea that calcium increases bone strength, and more than three times as strong as the correlation between time spent doing homework and academic achievement."

http://www.newscientist.com/channel/opinion/mg19426003.600-editorial-in-denial-about-onscreen-violence.html

http://www.newscientist.com/channel/being-human/mg19426001.900-mindaltering-media.html

rediiss

i do not like hooror films, where some maniac kills everybody in many freakig ways. i like films with ghosts, some hair rising secrets and so. maybe it is because i have not seen eny ghost in my life and i like to imagine, what it would be like if i see one - what would i do in a such situation, would i run, cry or just freeze. i can not explain why i would like to see a ghost. maybe just because i want something extraordinary happen in my ordinary life. i don't know why, but i have always liked ghost stories. maybe it is a certain kind of mental problem, i don'know. should i visit a doctor? :)
i have another question about horror films - what about guys who make them? what is going on in THEIR minds? how can a normal person write a film script about a maniac who does crazy and totally sick things to his victims? imagine a guy sitting in his room, in his home shoes with bunnies, drinking chocolate milk, swinging his little sweet baby in a lap and writing with one hand something like this "and then he cuts off her fingers one by one" pretty scary, no?

Stuart Booth

I love some horror flicks, though not others, I find them funny, I dont have to empathise with anyone, I have never found a horror flick I didnt find funny, its just not convincing enough. Does this make me a psycho? hope not, I have to sleep in this body you know.

Nona

I imagine myself as being in the movie, but being the one person cool and intelligent enough to outwit the bad guy, and survive to fight another day.

Plus, people like being scared. The chemicals it produces makes us feel good. Its the same reason people like free-fall parachuting, and white-water rafting.

Karibu.us

better for you not to watch movies since you seem to be a little behind

Asher

people have an inherent fear of death that they elaboratly repress. watching these movies plays on this simple fact, and brings curtained horror to light.

so my thought is this -- you enjoy horror movies if you fear death. if you do not enjoy horror movies then there are 2 options. (1) you do not fear death. (2) you repressed the fear of death so much that you think you do not fear death.

otherwise, you are already dead! which in a way means that you are alive, because as the cliche goes, we need to learn to die before we can live.

asher

gautan

scott, you are a very clever guy. why do make such generalizations when i am quite sure you dont belive them yourself? on the second thought it makes perfect sense. nobody would like to comment on or even read your blog here if you wrote perfectly ploticallly correct stuff.

mr_poopyhead

i hate horror movies... why would i put myself through a week of hiding under the covers, and not leaving my room to take a leak at night? yes... i admit it... i'm a big wuss.

i don't understand the lure of horror movies... if you're NOT scared shirtless by one, then it was a lousy movie and you wasted 2 hours of your life. if you ARE scared, then you'll spend a few days peeking around every corner of your own house... so where's the attraction?

someone explained it to me using this flawed analogy: eating spicy food. capsacin causes pain, so why do we enjoy the pain of spicy food? i for one am a spicy food fan, so i suppose i understand the desire to experience pain or fear...

kj

i did enjoy the movies like saw and its sequel and few other horror movies .. its not like everytime u like to be in a situation shown in movie .. sometime u just like to envision the climax or sort of it
and in the end .. in most of horror movie the good wins .. so u can imagine him/her as yourself and have fun :D

PS:it showed my email address as invalid .. though i keep receivin lots a mail(n junk) on it without neone complainin .. and to post it here m tryin with a different email id

Red

150 years ago we would watch hangings in the town square. A few hundred before that beheadings and all sorts of awful things (watch Braveheart). In a 1000 years people will look back at what we watched for entertainment and say what a bunch of ignorant and horrible people we were. At least I hope so.

jerry w.

In the past year I worked on 6 zombie or vampire films, and one zombie AND vampire film. As it turns out, in that one the vampires were the good guys, they only drank cows blood.

As if I could make that sort of stuff up.

The market for this crap has dried up a bit due to a glut of these films (videos actually, only the z+v pic was shot on film), which has made them more or less unable to get distribution unless they have name actors, great special effects, or most rare of all, an actual story.

That being said, I'm out here in East Bumfuckistan working on yet another piece of crap that no one will ever see. It's about a group of college age idiots going to camp out near a haunted river on Native American land, where they will follow what's for the most part a remake of the Jason films (don't go to sleep, that's when the spirit will kill you). Not really a piece of shit, but with some re-writing and re-casting, it could work its way up to that level.

One person is the writer, director, and the star.

At least he'll have no one else to blame.

http://boskolives.wordpress.com/

Listo Cómics

And what about porn? Woudn't it be more enjoyable if the main characters were easier to empathize and hadn't such big tools?

Sir Mike Tallon

You only describe stereotypical horror movies, Mr. Adams, and any movie that sticks to the stereotypes very closely can be nothing more than inane. The good ones are "1408", "Saw", or "Vacancy"; these movies are not all slash and dash, they're just delightfully fun to imagine what you would do if you were in what is a plausible situation. (And I don't like most horror movies.)

Michael

I don't emphasize with any of the characters in horror movies, I just have fun pointing out monster-suit-zippers and guessing what minority characters will die off first.

Ventriloquist

Ditto to Gregor's comment. Why are you censoring yourself in your own blog?

Ventriloquist

Ditto to Gregor's comment. Why are you censoring yourself in your own blog?

notralph

Hey, wrenchbert?

A sociopath and a psychopath are the same. Sociopath is the sanitized label that psychiatrists and psychologists agreed on, because psychopath had taken on too much social meaning as an insult and a stereotype.

You're talking about an actual mental disorder, after all.

Frizzell

What, you mean you didn't watch the recent horror movie remake that starred Paris Hilton? No, I'm not talking about One Night in Paris, although with the shaky footage, it could be mistaken for the Blair Witch Project. I'm talking about House of Wax, and although I haven't seen it, I'm told that Elisha Cuthbert looks hot, and Paris Hilton suffers a gruesome death. Thus, this film should satisfy both sides of the debate from your last week's posts. Paris works and dies.

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