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seun
06-21-2009, 05:02 PM
I watched Seven last night for the first time in years and while it's a great film, it made me realise something more: just how crap the whole torture porn deal is. In Seven, we have dark, nasty murders and yet relatively little violence and gore is shown. We see the aftermath of the murders and yes, there are unpleasant scares, but in the same way that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre isn't full of onscreen violence, Seven doesn't need gallons of blood to be a damn good film. That's something that a lot of film makers (and film viewers) either don't care about or have forgotten.

Lisa Cox
06-21-2009, 05:09 PM
I don't really think it's a fair comparison. Films like Saw and Hostel have carved a niche in the horror market. They're a specific type of film targeted at a specific blood-hungry audience. Torture-porn films are intended to shock and disgust. That's the (only) point of them.

Films like Seven are psychological thrillers/horrors. They deal a lot more with the mind than with gore and graphic horror.

Torture-porn and pschological thrillers/horrors and two entirely different kettle of fish and comparing them is pointless.

But I do agree that off-screen horror -- when done correctly -- packs a bigger punch than watching someone saw his own foot of.

ChaosTitan
06-21-2009, 06:36 PM
There's a whole long thread from last summer (?) in which we discussed the differences between torture porn, horror, and slasher films, so I won't go into that here.

But Seven isn't a horror, slasher, or tp film. It's a mainstream thriller, much like Silence of the Lambs was. The elegance of Seven is in how it portrays the violence of those deaths. The point John Doe was making had less to do with the method than with the results. He wanted to show people who were punished for their sins in order to make a point. The movie is about the cops unraveling this insane, twisted scenario.

You could take Saw and completely rewrite it so that we only see events from the POV of the investigating cops, after they find the bodies, in their pursuit of Jigsaw and suddenly it isn't horror, it's a thriller. But because we dash in some scenes of the actual violence, it jumps out of the thriller category.

John Doe and Jigsaw really aren't that different, but their genre and how people perceive those movies is dependant on presentation.

Jcomp
06-21-2009, 06:47 PM
I watched Seven last night for the first time in years and while it's a great film, it made me realise something more: just how crap the whole torture porn deal is. In Seven, we have dark, nasty murders and yet relatively little violence and gore is shown. We see the aftermath of the murders and yes, there are unpleasant scares, but in the same way that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre isn't full of onscreen violence, Seven doesn't need gallons of blood to be a damn good film. That's something that a lot of film makers (and film viewers) either don't care about or have forgotten.

Truth, the TCM comparison is excellent. It's also reminiscent of the first Halloween in that regard. Movies with a reputation for violence that aren't really that visibly violent when watched.

And I've long thought that the Saw flicks were just Seven taken to the extreme and moved away from the police procedural perspective. Speaking of which...


But Seven isn't a horror, slasher, or tp film. It's a mainstream thriller, much like Silence of the Lambs was. The elegance of Seven is in how it portrays the violence of those deaths. The point John Doe was making had less to do with the method than with the results. He wanted to show people who were punished for their sins in order to make a point. The movie is about the cops unraveling this insane, twisted scenario.

You could take Saw and completely rewrite it so that we only see events from the POV of the investigating cops, after they find the bodies, in their pursuit of Jigsaw and suddenly it isn't horror, it's a thriller. But because we dash in some scenes of the actual violence, it jumps out of the thriller category.

I've always sort of had a problem with this. I hate how horror--particularly on film--has to be boxed so that it can't be allowed to focus on police investigations or show have much scientific grounding or generally do anything too intellectual (beyond the purely psychological elements) before being tossed into another genre. It's partly the genre's own fault--fans and writers--for not accepting certain films and playing up certain aspects for so long people don't seem willing to let the genre grow into something greater.

We've seen so many other genres evolve and grow up and introduce new and different ideas, but horror keeps plugging away on its treadmill, pumping its legs and going nowhere. Just bugs me...

seun
06-21-2009, 07:50 PM
Films like Saw and Hostel have carved a niche in the horror market. They're a specific type of film targeted at a specific blood-hungry audience. Torture-porn films are intended to shock and disgust. That's the (only) point of them.


I've seen people comment that they watch Saw, for example, for the mystery of the film, for the twist at or near the end which among other things, sets up the sequel. They don't watch it purely for the shock.

I suppose my original point was that Seven manages to be horrifying without getting into Saw territory. I'd like to see more films made along those lines.

scarletpeaches
06-21-2009, 07:51 PM
Plus, Se7en (didja see what I did there?) has Brad Pitt and Morgasm Freeman.

seun
06-21-2009, 07:51 PM
Truth, the TCM comparison is excellent. It's also reminiscent of the first Halloween in that regard. Movies with a reputation for violence that aren't really that visibly violent when watched.


Yep. And the thing that strikes me as funny is a lot of those films are now seen as classics of the genre. When they were released, they were just really violent horror films.

seun
06-21-2009, 07:52 PM
Plus, Se7en (didja see what I did there?) has Brad Pitt and Morgasm Freeman.

And Gwyneth gave good head.


Sorry. Couldn't resist.

ChaosTitan
06-21-2009, 07:57 PM
I've always sort of had a problem with this. I hate how horror--particularly on film--has to be boxed so that it can't be allowed to focus on police investigations or show have much scientific grounding or generally do anything too intellectual (beyond the purely psychological elements) before being tossed into another genre. It's partly the genre's own fault--fans and writers--for not accepting certain films and playing up certain aspects for so long people don't seem willing to let the genre grow into something greater.

We've seen so many other genres evolve and grow up and introduce new and different ideas, but horror keeps plugging away on its treadmill, pumping its legs and going nowhere. Just bugs me...

I agree with you. It seemed for a long time, people resisted calling The Silence of the Lambs horror, simply because of the reputation the genre had at the time.

Unfortunately, the typical person still immediately goes to the slasher film as their first example of horror. Never mind Alien, The Thing...Showgirls... ;)

There is so much more to the genre, but the best of these films rarely make it into the mainstream market, which is oversaturated with things like Friday the 13th and My Bloody Valentine remakes.


I've seen people comment that they watch Saw, for example, for the mystery of the film, for the twist at or near the end which among other things, sets up the sequel. They don't watch it purely for the shock.

Yes. Which is why I hate the term "torture porn" for Saw. Hostel? Meh. I honestly thought it was dull as dirt. But the Saw films present a twisted mystery with each film, which for me overpowers the over-the-top violence and sets it apart from the films that gross you out for grossness sake.

Jcomp
06-21-2009, 08:16 PM
I agree with you. It seemed for a long time, people resisted calling The Silence of the Lambs horror, simply because of the reputation the genre had at the time.

Unfortunately, the typical person still immediately goes to the slasher film as their first example of horror. Never mind Alien, The Thing...Showgirls... ;)

There is so much more to the genre, but the best of these films rarely make it into the mainstream market, which is oversaturated with things like Friday the 13th and My Bloody Valentine remakes.


Yeah. It's unfortunate. Alien is always what immediately pops into my mind when I think of this too. Many critics and fans at the time and still considered it one of the scariest, if not the scariest movie they had ever seen. But a lot of those same people are still reluctant to call it a horror movie. It's almost like if they find the movie too good then they have to distinguish it from the horror genre, because of course horror films can't be that good, right?

maestrowork
06-21-2009, 08:57 PM
I think Se7en was brilliant, the way all the violence was off screen and we only see the aftermath, but by evoking the audiences' imagination, the effect is more chilling, scary, and disturbing. Our own imagination is the worst nightmare.

SPOILER: We didn't even get to see Gwyneth Paltraw's head but we KNOW what's in there. That ending spooked me so much I thought about it a lot after seeing it.

I have absolutely no interest in torture porn and I'm very picky about my horror and violence -- can't really do gore. But I highly recommend Se7en to everyone I know.

ChunkyC
06-21-2009, 09:08 PM
I'm with Ray and others who don't do gore. I am so not into the gross stuff, which is why I also don't watch shows on TV that venture too far into that area.

Alien is a fantastic science fiction / horror crossover film. It and movies like Jaws scared the bejeesus out of me more than any 'gore' film I ever saw. Gore is just gross and disgusting, nothing more and I have no use for it.

maestrowork
06-21-2009, 09:19 PM
To be fair, there is some gore in JAWS or Alien.... the chest bursting was rather cool. And the shark's nom nom nom... I was 8 when I first saw it. Didn't go back to the ocean for another year or two, I think.

childeroland
06-21-2009, 09:26 PM
What lisamarie84x said -- torture porn is a different genre, akin to splatterpunk literature and giallo films, aimed at an audience looking specifically for that stuff. Sometimes it's done fairly cleverly -- Dario Argento's masterpieces, the first Saw film.

Thomas Ligotti and S.T. Joshi have been complaining for years about most horror (films and books) really being mystery-thrillers with lots of gore.

katiemac
06-21-2009, 10:27 PM
It was similar to what people were saying in The Dark Knight thread after it came out last summer -- "it should have been rated R" because it was so violent. Yet there wasn't a drop of blood in that movie, but something more psychologically scarier was happening.

Celia Cyanide
06-22-2009, 05:19 AM
It was similar to what people were saying in The Dark Knight thread after it came out last summer -- "it should have been rated R" because it was so violent. Yet there wasn't a drop of blood in that movie, but something more psychologically scarier was happening.


Oh, there was blood! "Never start with the head! The victim gets all fuzzy!"

Leah_Michelle
06-22-2009, 01:32 PM
I think Se7en was brilliant, the way all the violence was off screen and we only see the aftermath, but by evoking the audiences' imagination, the effect is more chilling, scary, and disturbing. Our own imagination is the worst nightmare.

I completely agree with this. I would have been horrified to watch it, but just the imagination people have after seeing the photograph of it...that was definitely more disturbing that witnessing it.

Cranky
06-22-2009, 01:46 PM
Se7en was an awesome film, no question, imo.

And I have to say that movie was the first thing I saw Brad Pitt in that made me actually like him as an actor.

"C'mon, he's insane. Look. Right now he's probably dancing around in his grandma's panties, yeah, rubbing himself in peanut butter."

Effin' brilliant, the whole cast. Love this movie, can't recommend it enough.

seun
06-22-2009, 04:18 PM
The Exorcist is another one that comes to mind. Relatively little onscreen gore and violence and (although it has dated which is to be expected after 30+ years), it's still terrifying.

scarletpeaches
06-22-2009, 04:20 PM
It never scared me. It just seemed too over-the-top.

Mind you, I'm the woman who was chilled by The Blair Witch Project, so...

James81
06-22-2009, 04:27 PM
Mind you, I'm the woman who was chilled by The Blair Witch Project, so...

The Blair Witch Project freaked me out for weeks. lol The thing about that movie was that when I watched it, everybody was saying that it was a true story.

****

I always hated the "Se7en" (as opposed to just writing "Seven"). Something about throwing that "7" in there annoys me.

The movie itself was pure awesomeness, though.

****

As for Saw, I love those movies, but I have to turn my head at the gory parts. I think the whole design of those movies is brilliant. And Jigsaw is a very compelling and interesting character. Here is a man who, in his darkest hour, turned to what he views as salvation...which he manages to twist into some sort of torture game. He doesn't kill anybody directly (he makes them kill themselves) and he truly, deeply believes that he is helping them by offering them salvation.

I wish they'd tone down the violent parts a bit, though, because I think they are marring a good story by being so overt with the violence.

jodiodi
06-22-2009, 06:17 PM
I must agree with the posters who identify movies such as Silence of the Lambs, Alien, Se7en, and the first Saw as good horror/psychological thrillers.

Gore is boring. The whole point of the gore is to 'shock' the viewer. However, it grows stale really fast and loses any value. Not seeing the gore gives the viewers' imaginations a chance to come up with things a thousand times worse than anything the director can put on screen.

Jcomp
06-22-2009, 07:15 PM
I must agree with the posters who identify movies such as Silence of the Lambs, Alien, Se7en, and the first Saw as good horror/psychological thrillers.


Glad you mentioned that. The first flick, though having its fair share of gore itself, is nowhere near as violent as the sequels. It reminds me of Halloween in that regard. The first movie sort of carries the reputation of the ones that came later.

As much as I completely detest the Saw sequels, I did like the first movie.

James D. Macdonald
06-22-2009, 07:31 PM
My first thought on seeing Seven was, "Given how much it rains in that town, why doesn't Brad Pitt invest in a hat, and maybe even an umbrella?"

Celia Cyanide
06-22-2009, 07:42 PM
As much as I completely detest the Saw sequels, I did like the first movie.

Yeah, I like it, too. It has problems, and I don't love it, but I thought it was entertaining enough.

Over the top gore is a trend that comes and goes. Every time it comes back, people seem to forget that it isn't anything new.

maestrowork
06-22-2009, 08:01 PM
The last shot of Blair Witch was one of the most disturbing, chilling image I saw in cinema, and there was absolutely no gore or violence. It's a terrifying mindfuck nonetheless.

The rest of the film... meh... but it's the necessary buildup to the final scene. So I consider it a success.

ChunkyC
06-22-2009, 08:57 PM
To be fair, there is some gore in JAWS or Alien.... the chest bursting was rather cool. And the shark's nom nom nom... I was 8 when I first saw it. Didn't go back to the ocean for another year or two, I think.
Yes, there was some gore in those films. But the gore wasn't the point of the film, like it seems to be with far too many others.

Whenever I get into a discussion like this, I'm reminded of a Monty Python sketch from their TV show called "Sam Peckinpah's Garden Party", in which a group of upper crust types attend said garden party and end up being killed in all sorts of horrible, ridiculous ways that have nothing to do with anything. It's just random violence for violence's sake.

That's what I object to: gore for gore's sake. If there's a point to it, and if there's no other way to make that point, then okay. But if you don't have to put the graphic gore in to move the story forward, then why do it?

Celia Cyanide
06-22-2009, 09:12 PM
That's what I object to: gore for gore's sake. If there's a point to it, and if there's no other way to make that point, then okay. But if you don't have to put the graphic gore in to move the story forward, then why do it?

The same reason why Quentin Tarrantino uses a lot of dialog he doesn't need to move the story forward--because some people like it.

You say, "if there's no other way to make that point, then okay." In JAWS, I think there were probably a lot of other ways they could have made that point, but they chose to use gore. I think gore can be overused, but I don't think it's something that needs to be avoided at all costs.

seun
06-22-2009, 09:55 PM
My first thought on seeing Seven was, "Given how much it rains in that town, why doesn't Brad Pitt invest in a hat, and maybe even an umbrella?"

I always liked the contrast between the seemingly constant rain and the weather at the end when they drive out to the middle of nowhere.

Cranky
06-22-2009, 09:59 PM
The last shot of Blair Witch was one of the most disturbing, chilling image I saw in cinema, and there was absolutely no gore or violence. It's a terrifying mindfuck nonetheless.

The rest of the film... meh... but it's the necessary buildup to the final scene. So I consider it a success.

Holy crap, you ain't kidding. I still get freaked out if I think about it. Especially at night. In my basement.

Oh gawd.

ChunkyC
06-22-2009, 10:11 PM
The same reason why Quentin Tarrantino uses a lot of dialog he doesn't need to move the story forward--because some people like it.
Fair enough, but I don't like gore. It disgusts me. As much as I love the movie Alien, I could have done without the critter busting out of the guy's stomach. But I do understand why they put it in the film.


You say, "if there's no other way to make that point, then okay." In JAWS, I think there were probably a lot of other ways they could have made that point, but they chose to use gore. I think gore can be overused, but I don't think it's something that needs to be avoided at all costs.
Perhaps I should have said "if there's no better way". I can concede that sometimes the gore is the best way (as in the aforementioned scene from Alien) to get across what the filmmaker is trying to express. I still don't like it, though, and it almost always diminishes my enjoyment of a film.

maestrowork
06-22-2009, 11:32 PM
I think gore can be overused, but I don't think it's something that needs to be avoided at all costs.

I think the gore is done to great effect, to tell a story and to create the effect and evoke the response they need for the story. And it's a great contrast to all the suspense (when we don't even see the shark for like an hour or so)... everything is offscreen or implied, like the prologue where the skinny dipper was killed. Of course, that wasn't Spielberg's intention at first -- they only had to do all that stuff because the mechanical shark kept malfunctioning. Still, when you look at the film again, it's a stroke of genius, accidental or not, and the eventual gore works as great contrast to all the suspense beforehand.

Jcomp
06-22-2009, 11:43 PM
I'm not all that averse to gore or violence and in some aspects think it's entirely necessary. For instance, in the Alien chest-bursting example, had they just cut away without giving us a glimpse into what was happening it would have either been way too ambiguous about the hell happened, or they would have had to resort to horrible expository dialogue to fill us in.

I'm a story-first kind of dude though, at the end of the day. If the story's good and the gore serves to enhance story, I'm perfectly fine with it. If the story only exists to serve the gore, then in my opinion you've got it backwards... that's just me though...

Cranky
06-22-2009, 11:46 PM
Nah, it's not just you, Jcomp. I agree. And I also agree about the chest-bursting scene. The immediate aftermath seems much more important, but couldn't have happened without it, so to speak. That beat there where everyone was dead silent, covered in his blood, and then the choatic rush?

Excellently done. It amped up the tension in a serious way. I don't know if it would have been as effective without the alien coming out of his chest like that, but instinct is to say no. Gore has its place.

ChunkyC
06-23-2009, 12:04 AM
I agree as well re: Alien. There the gore has a place and a purpose, and there really was no better way to do that scene. What helped make it so good was that it was an isolated occurrence, and so it came as a huge shock to us in the audience, just like it did to the crew of the Nostromo.

It still grossed me out and I would rather not have had that image imprinted on my eyeballs, but I fully understand how it fit in the telling of that story.

Zoombie
06-23-2009, 01:47 AM
I remember stories my dad used to tell me of hiding behind mom's back when they first saw Alien in theaters.

I think people actually RAN screaming from the theater at one point.

Good times. Good times.

ChunkyC
06-23-2009, 03:20 AM
Good times indeed. :)

When Jaws first hit the big screen, I went with some buddies and sat right below the front edge of the theatre's balcony. When the head popped out of the boat, we got buried in popcorn from the kids above us. I think I actually met it halfway when I jumped out of my seat. ;)

Zoombie
06-23-2009, 03:23 AM
I know that I broke the armrests of the chair I was in when I watched Aliens for the first time!

That's how tense I was through the whole thing. Tension and tension and tension and tension, just building building building...

James Cameron is awesome.

Is he still making movies?

ChunkyC
06-23-2009, 03:39 AM
Apparently so. According to the Internet Movie Database, he has one in pre-production called Battle Angel scheduled for 2011 and another in post-production called Avatar, due out this year.