Hollywood horror movies haven’t gone far at all in recent years. To think about this in terms of going to far, is ludicrous and idiotic to say the least. The majority of horror releases in the last ten years have not been gorey, nor have they been relevant in the form of arguments. If anything, the horror genre has been saturated with lackluster pg-13 films and horrible unrated versions on DVD. Hollywood as a whole has not released a hard rated R horror film in a while, and it has not gone too far whatsoever. Yes, some of them have been brutal, but none of them have reached the gore levels of the 1980’s. In fact, the most gorey horror films produced on American soil are not even major contenders for any awards, nor have they had official or lengthy releases outside of the DVD market. With Japanese horror movies, remakes, and political thrillers, Hollywood has been missing from the horror arena in regards to gore. To say they have gone too far is just stupid.
The Japanese, if anyone, should be blamed for pushing the envelope of horror cinema. They have continually pushed the realms of the unreal, and in American releases the films get toned down a lot. The American versions of Japanese films are usually only scary if you are scared by loud noises. There is little, to no gore in these films. Compare “The Ring”, “The Grudge”, or “Dark Waters” to their Japanese counterparts, and you see two very different films. The American releases are even given Pg-13 ratings and teenagers go in droves to see them. These films are not scary, do not focus on blood spill, and deal more with ghosts than anything truly horrifying.
The remakes of horror films can be seen as updates to the original stories. However, these films are just as gruesome and horrific as they were when they were originally made. If anything, the newer updates to these films use modern techniques, cg, make up and more sophisticated direction than their older counterparts. This is especially seen in the Halloween remake by Rob Zombie. Sure it was gruesome and bloody, and while the original “Halloween” film did not need any gore, this film only pushed the envelope to differentiate itself from the original. If you rewind time a little and compare the remake of “Psycho” by Gus Van Sant with the original Hitchcock masterpiece, you will see that a frame by frame remake is not a substantial benefit to viewers and fans of the original film. The Van Sant version, although done frame by frame and in color is a boring trot through what you’ve already seen. Hollywood can only push the envelope in hopes of getting viewers, and the generational gap of horror movie fans only proves that Hollywood hasn’t gone too far.
Political thrillers are never pointed to in regards of going too far. With strong criticisms of the government, the Middle East, and terrorism, the political thriller has never gone into the scrutiny that horror films get. People need to take a closer look at things like political thrillers and their content, before saying Hollywood Horror films have gone too far. The majority of Horror films deal with fiction, and even those based on real events are fictionalized to an extent that they are fantasy when compared to films that talk about the current state of the war, the oil crisis, or movies that aim to show the death of the president.
Do not get me wrong, I’m not trying to say that Hollywood should stop making politically aimed movies. I’m saying that when comparing Hollywood movies, one must consider that horror is fiction above all else. For those that believe that Horror has gone too far in recent years, maybe they should see non horror films like “Mysterious Skin”, or “Mean Creek”, both depict the death of innocence amongst children, before pointing the finger at horror films as a genre.
by Jorge Orduna