Monday, November 13, 2006

I don't know what they 'Saw" in this!

I recently saw a news article that interviewed the "creative" talents behind the Saw movies. They gained industry interest by making a short scene that involved a woman with her head caught in a man trap. This got them a movie deal that is up to 3 movies, with a fourth in the pipeline. What do people see in this?

I've watched a number of hack and slash type movies, being a big fan of Army of Darkness, though enjoying Evil Dead 1 and 2 a lot less. And I've played the Doom games. Yes, I understand to a point the entertainment value of the odd disembowlment. There is something about a good fright that reminds us of how precious our relative safety is. However, how much explicit violence is needed? Hitchcock can still frighten the crap out of me without the need for blood and guts. Where is subtlety?

What does it say about a society where this is the standard fare of our youth (and not so young). What are the limits we should place on this sort of thing? Yes, I know that censorship is a dirty word, we are all responsible adults and can make our own choices (which is why so many people eat junk food and are obese, or are dying of lung cancer thanks to the Malboro Man, etc). How much violence is enough? What need is this sort of thing meeting?

I can understand why some people hunt for sport. People evolved eating meat, and the meat we ate was what we killed with our own hands (would I be vegetarian if I had to hunt or slaughter myself). It uses up testosterone one needs to aggression (play more sport or do a martial art?) I suspect however the need to passively watch people physically and psychologically tortured for entertainment goes beyond any evolutionary constraint.

There is a scene in Dante (I've read this second hand, not that well read yet) where the hero is berated for watching a pair argue for too long. There is a need to look violence in the face. I am not sure whether entertainment plays a role. We live in a violent world, whether it be nature (typically to eat and survive) or human atrocities (the need to uncover the facts to shame the perpetrators and ensure what happened is not repeated). I wonder if we gaze too much and if our passivity is as culpable as we went out and actutally did these things ourselves?

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