Thursday, May 29, 2014

Call Me Slash

image borrowed from bing

Call Me Slash

Horror movies would not exist unless people
went out to see them--& they always will.”
--Joss Whedon.

Recently I was recruited to write movie reviews on a Horror Movie 
Website. Joining a spirited staff of younger writers, I soon discovered
that the torture porn slasher splatter Indie horror films were the primary
focus of the reviews; which I was cool with.

Back in the turbulent awakenings during the 60’s-70’s, when I was an
actor, as a lark I chose a stage name, Slash Phuque, as a sarcastic
response to the actors named Rock, Rip, & Tab. My theatrical friends
still call me Slash, so now my horror film reviews are written under
that lauded moniker. 

But my new avocational pursuit made me wonder about myself, &
millions like me, right across the age spectrum that really enjoy
graphic violence, nudity, & action in movies; always did. If you recall,
the violence in the movies of the 40’s-50’s was pretty tame, even lame.
Then the cultural revolution in all the arts blossomed in the 60’s, & wham,
we suddenly had nudity in public, mainstream porno theaters, kung fu
& yakuza & samurai & Black Exploitation & Italian Western movies
flooded the screens & altered our consciousness. 

Which transitioned into the 70’s-80’s where mass murderers ran up
phenomenal box office bucks & spawned new horror series that soon
aped the success of the old monsters, the Frankenstein, Dracula, Mummy
films of the past--new characters that were blood thirsty & inexorable, with
names like Michael Myers, Freddy Kruger, Jason Voorheas, Chucky,
Pinhead, Leatherface, & Jigsaw--producing sequel after sequel, clones &
contrived extensions of their personas, where the killers favored cutting
tools like knives, machetes, axes, hatchets, cleavers, & saws. 

The horror eggheads broke down our attraction to, & the popularity of this
genre, & found solid psychological & homo-erotic tendencies to be the culprits;

Catharsis: Where we can find an expression or a release or a confrontation of
many of our primal fears regarding bodily injury, being devoured or buried 
alive, or even from personal, vocational, political, or social fears.

Recreation: Within action splatter slasher horror films we actually can 
experience a physical thrill, something visceral, like a carnival roller 
coaster ride, or driving on bald tires at 130 m.p.h, rock climbing, or keeping 
a python as a pet. 

Displacement: This is the primary one for me, understanding that
audience member's sexual desires can be displaced onto the 
characters in the film--why cops get fired for looking at porn in
their squad cars, why 12 year old kids can watch porn in public
libraries, & their right to do so is protected by law. 

Ever notice that after driving over 100 m.p.h. for a few minutes,
one loses the sense of speed, gets used to it quickly & becomes
desensitized to the actual danger? The same can be said for the
die-hard fans of horror torture porn, where a constant exposure to
explicit violence juxtaposed with explicit sexual scenes seems to
blunt our emotional response to both violence in films, video games,
& even reality--leaving us less disturbed by reoccurring scenes of extreme
violence & degradation directed at women. The Armed Services love
recruiting young gamers, since their reflexes & mental states are
primed & conditioned to be functional within the techno-warfare
they are consumed with. 

imagery does fuel intense
hormonal responses. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets MTB

Would you like to hear the author read this Haibun to you?


Björn Rudberg said...

A true essay on a subject you truly know.. and yes it seems like being desensitized to violence, especially if you actually take part, like in a computer game means that you are more prone to violence... great contribution Glenn

Brian Miller said...

its so interesting how many of us were drawn to this topic of degredation of women and it was not even the prompt...ha...or ugh...not a fan of snuff films...its like a whole other level of unease with me...when i think of the kids that are growing up shooting others and does change you....

Mary said...

Well, I have never been one to enjoy horror movies of any kind. I have seen few of them, as I don't enjoy being frightened. After I saw "Scarecrow" (in a week moment) I had nightmares long after & still can remember a particularly awful scene. Give me a good drama or comedy any day.

Anonymous said...

I have to second Brian's commewnt--what's up with that--I dunno! >KB

Gabriella said...

Frightening what kids can and do watch so easily and without thinking twice about it! I must say I have a hard time understanding "why 12 year old kids can watch porn in public libraries, & their right to do so is protected by law."

Anonymous said...

I always expect to learn something when I read your poetry, Glenn, but you have opened my eyes tonight well and truly! I worry for the children whose parents don't take care of wheat they are watching... that has to be part of the problem as well.

Kathy said...

Another great social statement ..hard to accept that these things have evolved into our culture as everyday silencers of our kids...nothing is left to the imagination anymore...again, where did our innocence go and can we balance it out in the long run??

Claudia said...

i think the movies we watch will have a big influence on us and it scares me when even young kids already watch terrible stuff... i'm way sensitive with my movie choice... well written piece glenn

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Must admit to being a sucker for horror - love being scared to death. That said, I choose my horror wisely, cheap or sick shit - I turn off.
Do so understand the desentisation and I have alluded to this in my offering - but this a desentisation to the real world (in which we live)...
Anna :o]

Heaven said...

I enjoyed your comprehensive review Glenn but this slash horror genre is not for me ~ I get scared easily by all the screaming & blood ~ But I hear you on being desensitized after a while ~

Hamish Gunn said...

Very interesting, gave pause for thought.

Linda M said...

You make a good point about military recruitment of gamers. Ah, such is the current state of the world, I guess.

Give me a time-machine back to the 40s, though, and I'll be on my way to that nicer world.

Katie said...

An interesting subject for a poem, and I like it! Desensitization seems to come more and more to out society.

Anonymous said...

The only "scary" movies I can watch are Hitchcock.
Our world seems to be desensitized... maybe it started with 24 hour, 7 days a week of news broadcasting... that and real time war footage.
Wonderful piece you've written.

kaykuala said...

Beautiful shot Glenn! You really take it seriously and great info to share. A lot of knowledge extended. But I don't really like horrors though. It wears me off! Thanks for sharing!


steph said...

Well said. The horror of it for me is that the horror escalates every decade. All the more reason why limiting access to guns is essential. There, got my small rant in. I cannot watch any of it. I love the dark side of emotion, and the reasons it becomes dark, but the graphic violence and torture.. oof.. Great essay..

vivinfrance said...

The moral of this story is "Don't waste your soul or your money on horror." Recent mass killings in California and elsewhere have their roots in the numbing effect of the horror-film-video-games industries.

Excellent essay and condluding sentence.

Victoria said...

Not my genre, Slash, as I'm sure you can imagine, but fun to read about and really enjoyed the haiku. You are full of surprises and that makes it fun to read.

janet said...

Excellent essay. I'm not a fan of horror and I do believe you become desensitized to it as well as to almost anything you experience over and over. Whether or not that desensitization is a problem depends on what you've become desensitized to.


The Bizza said...

Very interesting assessment. It's like immersing oneself in a bath drawn slightly too hot; it feels fine on the hand, but once the rest of the body enters, it is quite uncomfortable until your body adjusts to the temperature, catching up to the hand that initially tested the waters.

A really insightful observation how our collective culture has adapted to the bath water over 40-80 years.