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Morons. There’s no escaping them. It doesn’t matter what race, class, nationality or religion you belong to. Whatever your passion, your interest, your general schtick – every grouping attracts its fair share of degenerate, pea-brained, crayon-eating, window-lickers who spoil it for the rest of us. Some fandoms more than others. None perhaps more so than the horror genre.

Just what is it that brings about such supreme levels of dickery amongst horror fans?

It has to be machismo, right? There’s something about a horror film that produces a certain amount of bravado. In a society where the majority of our aggressive and morbid preoccupations are easily (and safely) sated through digital media – so the need to ‘prove’ oneself as fearless and brave is also shifted.

I have abandoned the message boards, forums and websites dedicated to horror. If I see one more “sickest movie ever” thread or “most disturbing moment” contest I may just have to google google and destroy the internets forever. I’m not sure what’s worse, the tedious putdowns endlessly regurgitated as teenage boys battle to prove themselves the most hardened surveyor of celluloid carnage or the mindless, thrill seeking which is paraded as these shock junkies trawl the movie world for their next fix. How often are we subjected to the infantile diatribe of “it’s not even scary” from snot-nosed, gore-hungry, idiots when they watch something that doesn’t paint the screen with blood and vomit?

The same movies are trotted out again and again with the occasional addition, demotion or reshuffle. These are some of the most commonly listed (* indicates sequel):

  • A Serbian Film (2010)
  • Salo (1975)
  • Irreversible (2002)
  • Saw* (2004)
  • Hostel* (2005)
  • Cannibal holocaust* (1980)
  • Human Centipede* (2010)
  • Men Behind the Sun (1988)
  • Flowers of Flesh and Blood* (1985)
  • The Last House on the Left (1972)
  • I Spit on Your Grave (1978)
  • The Exorcist (1973)
  • Audition (1999)

These are the ususal suspects (I could have added many more: Ichi the Killer, Switchblade Romance, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Eraserhead, Antichrist, Martyrs, A Clockwork Orange…the list goes on). For now let’s just examine this list a bit more closely.

Of them all, 2 are revolting exploitation movies that masquerade as meaningful examples of cinema (A Serbian Film and Men Behind the Sun). A further 3 are certainly in the exploitation genre but with a little more substance and comparatively realistic pretensions (I Spit on Your Grave, Salo and The Last House on the Left).  Of the rest 7 are unashamedly gore-mongering, gross-out nasties of varying quality and substance (with Audition and The Exorcist at the top end of the scale and Saw, Hostel, Human Centipede, Flowers of Flesh and Blood and Cannibal Holocaust at the other). Which just leaves Irreversible which is not a horror film but a drama with several deeply disturbing violent scenes.

Most of them have been banned somewhere, at sometime for some reason. They are all extremely violent. Most of them are shit. But what’s really disturbing, is the way people discuss these movies. “That’s not even scary” and “what are you, twelve?” or “Have you actually seen [insert movie equivalent of trial by fire here]?” Even in a more ‘adult’ conversation, you will rarely see any discussion about the emotional impact, tension or pathos. It’s all about the thrills, the gore, the shock value.

And who the hell compares a film like Irreversible to garbage like Saw? Why would you even think about them in the same way? One is a serious piece of drama, attempting to make a statement about the effects of violence – the other is about a sadist who likes torturing people to make them appreciate their lives more. What were you thinking? That’s like making a list of films about anti-Semitism and including Schindler’s List and You Don’t Mess with the Zohan. It’s inappropriate people! You’re cherry picking in the most facile way. You make a good film bad because you cheapen it with your thrill surfing.

The biggest impact most (not all) of these films had upon me – beyond morbid curiosity and nausea – was a sense of utter bewilderment: WHY would anyone enjoy watching, let alone making, the damn things? The vast majority are pointless melodramas.

So to all those people who brag about how they weren’t scared and couldn’t see what the  fuss was about; to all those who uphold A Serbian Film or Cannibal Holocaust as ‘truly horrific’ I say this:

Congratu-fucking-lations, you have absolutely no imagination. You have succeeded in desensitising yourself to the extent that you need to watch that kind of maudlin garbage before you can develop and emotional response, to anything. Well done. Have a nice crayon then go back to licking your windows, fuckwit.

Of course, it is all a matter of taste and you are entitled to your opinion – and I am entitled to call you a moron, with the artistic sensibilities of a turd.