Hollywood Gothique
The Archive

Defending horror from misguided moral guardians – one more time

I swear to god, it’s like a broken record that just repeats, repeats, repeats – over and over again. Is there some insane shit going down in the world? Blame the media! Even better: blame the horror genre! After all, everyone knows horror movies are violent, offensive and disgusting, so they must be to blame, right? WRONG!

What inspires this rant today is a nice Reuters article, which links two incidents that took place this week:

  • In the first, the Federal Communications Commission issued a report this Wednesday, suggesting that violent media can increase violent behavior in children – temporarily. The FCC recommended that Congress come up with a definition of excessively violent programming, which could then be regulated.
  • In the second incident, director John Carpenter (HALLOWEEN) was among a panel at the Tribeca Film Festival, arguing that media in general and horror films in particular do not inspire real-life violence and that government control of the media is not necessary.

Carpenter said, “Real life causes this; fake life does not cause it. The reason for a lot of these movies is the culutre that we live in, the events that have gone on in our world.”

He added, “Censorship never works; you cannot destroy an idea. You can hide; you can try to cover it up, but you can’t destroy it – it will be there and it will bubble up again.”

I think Carpenter is being a little too diplomatic here. To put it bluntly, when our country is at war with another country that did not attack it – when thousands of people have died and the President of the U.S.A. refuses to call it quits, despite popular opinion, because he thinks he’s on a mission from God – well, at such a time, it is completely beyond absurd to even debate the issue of violence in the media.

It’s as if somebody’s beating you over the head with a two-by-four and you’re worried about the red ant that just bit your big toe. Even if your worst fear is true – even if the ant is poisonous and even if you’re allergic – the most you have to worry about is some swelling.

Meanwhile, you’re gonna be braindead from the beating. Which you probably already are, if you’re worrying about ants at a time like this.

Maybe the FCC should concentrate on media that really does lead to violence, like the network news mindlessly regurgitating White House lies about Weapons of Mass Destruction, offerng up sanitized versions of the warfare that results, and then televising blatant propaganda (like the infamous “Mission Accomplished” photo op) – all of which is meant to create a glossy, glorious facade to hide the mountains of dead bodies.

Now that’s programming that truly is obscene.