The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Susannigans: Bloodbath and Beyond

2 min read


I love gore. And I’m not talking about Al. or Vidal.

Yes, Susannah Clark, with her Christopher Robin haircut and plethora of cardigan sweaters, loves to watch movies where people get slaughtered in the most graphic and absurd ways imaginable.
It’s sick. I’m aware.

There is a distinction between “splatter films” and horror films. The intent is less focused on scaring the viewer, but rather  repulsing them.

For the past five years, countless bloodbaths like “Hostel” and “The Devil’s Rejects” have grossed millions of dollars and grossed out millions of viewers. The four films of the particularly revolting “Saw” franchise have collectively grossed almost $550,000,000 worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

It may be perverse, but people buy into it. And why?

Immediately, Tipper Gore and her ironic last name come to mind with the age-old “violence in the Arts represents and causes the downfall of morality in all of society” philosophy.

But maybe, in some twisted way, this obsession with graphic deaths is encouraging morality.

Before you dial the psych ward at Snowden, hear me out.
Death is the ultimate human fear. Duh.

By portraying such a taboo subject in a completely explicit and bizarre light, we are confronting death’s inevitability.

The images and circumstances in these gory movies are so over-the-top, that they are almost mocking the concept of death and even pain in general.

By desensitizing our selves, we are conquering our fears.

The audience finds itself with such intensity, that the only natural response is to laugh. When gallons of blood start to look like the strawberry syrup from IHOP, you’ve officially crossed over.

In the words of the regal Stephen King, “Good art should make you uncomfortable.” As much as I gasp in terror and squeal in disgust, there is always the comfort that it’s only a movie.

I am by no means a masochist. I’ve been known to scream bloody murder over a stubbed toe or paper cut.

But when I watch a graphic death scene, I cringe with my entire body. It’s a painless fix of intensity. Art that affects with such raw feeling is hard to come by these days.

And then there’s always the dare-devil element. I take pride in the fact that I’ve stomached a scene where a man gouges his own eyes out with a butter knife. Now that’s an accomplishment.

I was extremely disappointed after seeing Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, “There Will Be Blood.” Granted, there was blood, but only a little.

I guess some movies manage to get by on plot alone.