A Fine Line Between Horror films and Horrific films.
@Lcfremont embarks on an epic rant
The horror genre suffers from a multitude of negative generalizations and silly stereotypes. Some of these are well earned and may be considered a badge of honor. Everyone loves a great boobie shot, right? Others are simply due to a lack of knowledge regarding the genre or ignorant and misguided snap judgments. For those of us who love and live horror, it's a normal part of life, but for the public at large, they don't get it, they don't care and you know what? That's fine. We are all allowed to have our opinions, but the one opinion or prejudice that exists against the horror fan community, that I take personally, is the notion that we will watch anything disturbing. Obviously, if we enjoy a good slasher film, then surely we want to see people engage in coprophagy and newborn porn. Right?
So many banned and controversial films to choose from and so little time; where does one begin? Absolutely exhausted from hearing about A Serbian Film and Salo:120 Days of Sodom I did the unthinkable and made them a double feature last night. I tend to be of the school of thought, "let's just do it all at once". You know when you think to yourself, "I may as well just finish off this pint of ice cream right now because then it will be gone"? That's how I tend to approach movies whose infamy precedes them. I prefer to revel in depravity for an extreme, but short amount of time rather than sprinkle it over many days. So, what kind of evening did I have? Not the best of my life, but certainly not the worst either. The thing that really got under my skin while watching these films is the fact that they are put upon the horror crowd. Neither of these films are horror films. They are horrific for sure, but not horror.
The most basic definition of a horror film goes something like this; a motion picture designed to frighten, panic, cause dread and alarm and generally invoke our worst fears, captivating and entertaining us while helping to create a cathartic experience. Regularly, Science Fiction, Thriller and Noir all overlap into this broad definition. So, while that covers a large swath of topics, I really do not see how the events of A Serbian Film or Salo are included in that. Yes, it is a very, very fine line that separates a horror film from a plain horrific film, but there is a difference.
Horror is a grossly misunderstood and misrepresented genre and by allowing films that are nothing more than crass and exploitative to share the same shelf space as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Exorcist, Halloween, Maniac, Night of the Living Dead (we could go on for days here) is a disservice to the entire genre and more than that, an insult to those of us who believe that horror is a legitimate place where the boundaries of cinema and storytelling can be pushed in thoughtful and respectful ways.