Friday, May 04, 2007

The Gruesome and the Ghost

Well, just watched Hostel - and I've got Saw II recorded ready to go, too...

I thought, to hell with it, I'll sit down and bear the gruesome and see what the hype is, or was, all about.

I'm not sure I worked it out. Hostel was okay but certainly not one of the most gruesome flicks I've ever seen, nor one of the best storylines, either. But it did make me think about things...

Hostel, Saw (and its sequels), Wolf Creek, The Hills Have Eyes - all of these flicks use 'loud' horror to express their story, and these movies are raking in the money at the cinemas. People love this shit.

Back when I was a teenager (God, so long ago now), I used to love this shit too; loved watching the most violent, disgusting flicks I could find. The more blood spilled the better. But now, I can barely watch when they show the blade slipping into the calf and slicing... Perhaps it's because I'm older and I value life more.

There are two quite dramatically different schools of horror; loud and quiet (there might very well be more, but these are my thoughts so if I say two, then two shall it be). Loud evokes feelings of disgust, while quiet causes shivers and feelings of fear, or fright, without actually showing anything (or everything).

I'm more a man of the quiet school. To me, the things that you don't see, or perhaps only glimpse from the corner of your eye, are the things that scare me best. Okay, sure, your loving next-door neighbour with the fetish for leather aprons, clamps, rusty blunt scalpels and hooks, and who knows where you leave your spare back door key, is pretty damn frightening, but that's different. It's a different kind of horror.

And I'm not sure I can explain why, clearly.

One is a fear of what might be done to you; the violation of your body, your sacred temple. It's the thought of that loon peeling off a steak of flesh while you thrash and scream, helpless to do otherwise. It's the terror of such pain, of such deformity. And in our most fucked up world, well, this type of thing is horrifying because it happens! Wolf Creek was based - perhaps loosely - on real events. The simple fact of the matter is that people torture people for no reason. And we, the sick voyers that we are, wanna watch. We get off on it.

But where is the fun in that? That shit happens in our world, and I choose to watch horror to escape from reality. Watching horror-snuff flicks just reminds me of what humans really are capable of. It does nothing to make me feel better about things. Sure, I might go, well struth mate, I'm sure as heck glad I'm not that poor unfortunate bastard, but at the end of the day, when I turn off the DVD, I'm more depressed than when I started watching because now I know so much more about humans. It's frightening what we can do...

Quiet horror, on the other hand, doesn't show you these extremes. It lets your mind play games with you. You're never quite sure what could happen. There could be torture, they may be things in the dark that are after you, or there might be nothing more than just your imagination and upbringing causing you strife. It's psychological. And it's spooky because it's more removed from reality than that torturous prick next door. Spooky in a different way, and certainly more enjoyable - for me, at least.

That's they key to the village; I like quiet horror because I find it more enjoyable than loud horror. You have to take that leap of faith and believe in the story, then the scares come. Once the flick finishes, you go on back to your real life and go, phew, what a rush. But you feel safe in your world 'cos you know there aren't any monsters, there are no ghosts.

You don't have to worry about the creaking floorboard in the middle of the night...