Thursday, November 12, 2009
Would You Like a Side of Laughs with Your Torture Scene?
I watched Eli Roth's "Hostel pt. II" last night on fearnet.com and it inspired me to draw some comparisons between the realistic "torture porn" horror flick and the cheesy 80s B movie horror flick. I feel like this is a relevant topic in the horror genre and it is definitely one that has heroes on both sides. Who is right and who is wrong on this debate? Well, much like anything else, it's all a matter of opinion.
Allow me to draw some lines, the more recent horror films (Saw, Hostel, [the new] Texas Chainsaw Massacre) all fall into a newly created sub-genre known as "torture porn." These films--according to mostly non-horror fans-- are void of plot lines, structure and character development entirely. The "torture porn" horror flick focuses mostly on shocking the audience and finding new and gruesome ways to kill characters.
This is really nothing new, there has always been a genre for gorehounds, but most of those movies are hardly worth mentioning because they're so low budget (Toxic Avenger). What films like "Saw," and "Hostel" have done is infused the gory and gruesome aspects of horror movies with smart and interesting plots. Unfortunately, this is something that non-horror fans don't notice because they don't watch horror films!
On the contrary, 80s cheese-ball horror flicks like "Return of the Living Dead," "Evil Dead" and "Terrorvision" throw out intelligence in favor of slap-happy humor. Instead of deep themes of betrayal and evil scheming, 80s horror films had wacky monsters and bizarre sound effects. These cheesy horror films didn't skimp out on the gore though-- most of them were quite extreme when it came to depicting death scenes. The difference in the scenes is that they were too far-fetched and weird to be realistic.
Personally, I tend to enjoy the more funny horror flicks with crazy monsters and villains. For instance my favorite is "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and its sequels because Freddy can be both sinister and funny at the same time.
I am not opposed to the "torture porn" genre, but I feel like I have a little more to grasp onto with the off-the-wall humor and comic relief of the cheesy horror flicks. I mentioned at the beginning of my post, I watched "Hostel pt. II," and wasn't too impressed. I'm not a big fan of Eli Roth, mostly because of it seems like he's trying too hard to shock people. I must say that some of the "Saw" movies are well done and smart.
Choosing sides is definitely tough, but if I had to pick, I would side with the 80s slashers/comedy films. If you can laugh, scream and hide while watching a horror flick... that's a good one!