Friday, October 30, 2009
Violence In Movies and TV
Has violence gone overboard in movies and television, or even comic books for that matter? Uh, yeah I think so.
Even John Wayne who wasn't a stranger to violence in movies said about a popular movie of the day, "To me, The Wild Bunch (1969) was distasteful. It would have been a good picture without the gore. Pictures go too far when they use that kind of realism, when they have shots of blood spurting out and teeth flying, and when they throw liver out to make it look like people`s insides. "The Wild Bunch" was one of the first to go that far in realism, and the curious went to see it. That may make the bankers and stock promoters think that it is a necessary ingredient for successful motion pictures. They seem to forget the one basic principle of our business - illusion. We`re in the business of magic. I don`t think it hurts a child to see anything that has the illusion of violence in it. All our fairy tales have some kind of violence - the good knight riding to kill the dragon, etc. Why do we have to show the knight spreading the serpent`s guts all over the candy mountain? "
To me the Duke really summed it up pretty well. There is a huge difference between cartoon violence, or just an illusion of violence where a villain gets shot falls down and that's all we see of him, and some horror movie where internal organs are displayed for some sort of psychopathic fantasy. Seeing people torn and dismembered in graphic details can only lead to a person becoming hardened to real life suffering of other human beings. Seeing a cartoon coyote fall down a cliff, and get up again is about as harmful as looking a Christmas tree, but there has been more complaints about cartoon violence over the years than the violence depicted on horror movies like Saw. For that matter they've been more complaints about Christmas trees than movies like Saw where humans are tortured and mutilated for entertainment purposes.
Even the Simpsons cartoon violence goes too far these days. I watched a recent Halloween episode that featured several instances of characters literally bleeding to death on screen. Cartoon characters don't bleed! That's why cartoon characters are normally funny. They fall. They explode. They get back up. We laugh just the way we sometimes laugh when someone falls and gets back up with no injury in real life.
What's the really big difference in my mind to old action movie and cartoon violence to modern day horror pictures? Getting entertained by an action scene is one thing. The mind is being entertained by the adventure of a scene not the human suffering, but to be entertained by the torture of another human being is like training the mind to be a Nazi. People should be skittish to pain, blood, and suffering of others unless they are planning on a career in the medical field, and if so I hope they don't get their training from Saw movies.
Halloween doesn't have to be gorey to be fun. I much rather see an old Frankenstein movie, or maybe Van Helsing, or even better an old monsters meet Abbott and Costello type film for the Halloween season.
Another aspect of horror movies that bugs me is that it's not about being scared anymore. It's about being shocked out of your mind. There's no suspense to knowing everybody is going to die. After a while they've shocked their audience to not even care if the characters in the movie die anyway. You want to scare an audience then make them care about the characters, and relate to them before putting the character up against some unseen danger the audience can only imagine. Now hidden terror is much more scarier than in your face nonsense.
So here's a thought Hollywood. Get some writers that you know can actually write stories to go along with your movies.
I know it's easy money to make slasher films. These slasher horror movies are the cheapest thing they can make for the bucks they bring in, but you'd hope that little thing called a conscience would bother somebody out there in Hollywood at some point.
And comic book violence is getting a little too much to be, you know, comic books. It's nothing to see somebody get an arm ripped off in superhero fight anymore. Don't they know superheroes don't lose arms in fights. They are supposed to be superheroes.
Have a heart people for your fellow man people, and I don't mean that in the literal sense.