Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Recommendations for Gore-o-phobs! A Guide to Not Puking in Your Popcorn.

Yes I found this gem when searching "I hate gore"

A few days ago during an email correspondence with my dear mother, she relayed to me the recent movies she had seen. Believe it or not a good portion of these films were horror! There were the obvious choices such as District 9 due to their recent Oscar cred and then the less obvious choice, Blood Creek, which she promptly exclaimed that there was too much gore for her to really enjoy it. I couldn't believe my ears...my mother watching gory movies?? As it turns out most of these decisions to watch such things were a mistake, including the ending sentence "I found another new title I don't remember adding, "Midnight Meat Train" is that gory?" MOM! I practically spat at my keyboard- delete that immediately!!!!!"

Yesterday, a very good friend of mine messaged me with a personal request. While he loved the blog, he was wondering if I could do a post on horror movies for people who dislike/ are scared of gore. I exclaimed, although not well because Miley Cyrus on American Idol was both disgusting and enthralling me, that I would LOVE to write such a post. As it turns out my dear friends, I am one of a rare breed. I do not love gory horror movies. I do not believe that it makes the movie, nor do I believe that it is a necessity. Yes there are amazing movies that have scenes of intense gore- but then there are also terrible ones. And yes I do realize that a large part of the horror genre is blood and guts oriented, but I tend to concentrate more on the innate fear that movies exude- and how they affect you and stay with you long after. This is another reason why I get so offensive when people get all huffy puffy about genres- and about movies like The Silence of the Lambs not being a horror movie. Call me crazy but, Silence of the Lambs is a movie that stays with you and haunts you a bit more than say, Saw. If something has the power to scare you, or visibly shake you, why can't it be called a "horror film"?

And so these are some recommendations for those of you that like to be scared and like to be creeped out- but do not want to vomit in your popcorn due to excessive amounts of ripped out intestines and vital organ soup. And yes- these are the same movies I recommended to my mother.

Note that there is one moment of gore in this movie-BUT it's quick enough that if you close your eyes you will be OK. The difference between the kind of gore in this film and the kind of gore in movies like Saw is that it is not the sole purpose of the film and it doesn't carry the film. The Orphanage is probably one of the more creepier and moving films I've seen in a long time. There are scenes in this movie that made me want to hug my cat and cry because I was so terrified. I'm serious! If you enjoy movies with a supernatural element, want to be scared out of your wits and then cry a little- put this on your Netflix queue (or watch it instantly) straight away.

The Changeling is your classic ghost story, only George C. Scott is in it- so as usual that gives most things a special kind of zest that is hard to find. What I find to be most intriguing about The Changeling are the little things that worm their way into your head and really mess with you. There are moments in this film that simply turn your blood to ice- and that is something quite hard to find with movies these days.

The Innocents is a prime example of a classic masterpiece that many people may have forgotten. It is a rare occurrence when a black and white film puts me on edge (easy now I'm just being honest), but I can promise you that I did have to turn the lights on while watching this film. Plus the uber creepy kid in this is the same uber creepy kid from Village of the Damned. AND I could and have listened to the opening song for hours. Pay attention to how it plays against a black screen for 45 seconds until the 20th Century Fox logo appears- a simple touch that many theaters thought was an accident and mistakenly started the film once the logo appeared. It's one of many subtle touches that make this film so very very creepy.

Carnival of Souls is a movie that perfectly captures an atmosphere and places us directly in the main character's shoes by the way it's filmed. There is this incredible fuzziness happening that truly makes you feel a bit removed from everything that is happening. While you can probably guess the "twist" within minutes- thanks to more modern takes on the same idea, the movie as a whole does not disappoint when delivering off putting scenes, extremely creepy floating men outside of cars and one of the scariest waltz sequences known to man.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a movie that often gets easily passed over by gore-o-phobs. The title and the implications of the deaths that take place are most likely at fault but if you do sit down and watch it you will have a hard time finding a solid bit of gore in the entire film. It's grittiness and it's honesty make it one of the most subtly intricate movies in horror history. Don't be afraid to watch this- it's a landmark and a vital piece of heck-- general cinematic history.

If you enjoy creepy religious er non religious cults and if you would like nothing more than to see Christopher Lee dressed in a long wig and dress, then The Wicker Man is for you. How much creepier can you really get? The impending doom is present from the moment we start wondering what a wicker man really is- and the ending sequence will have you wide eyed with something that resembles terror.

While I found Paranormal Activity to be a bit overrated due to excessive amounts of hype and really only truly terrifying if you saw it in the theaters- I will say that it accomplishes a great deal while showing no gore or blood or even boobs. It's a movie that will give your heart a bit of a flutter as soon as your turn your bedroom light off, and that simply cannot be ignored.

Peeping Tom was hailed in it's day as being one of the most controversial movies to date but today remains an entirely too interesting concept of voyeurism. A kind of voyeurism that speaks as a whole to the audiences that enjoy watching a horror movie and how we (or most of us) desire to "watch" terrible and ugly things enfold on the screen.

Movies with a bit of gore that you have to see anyways because you just have to.

An American Werewolf in London
The House of the Devil
Jacob's Ladder

I would also recommend avoiding anything with meat, blood, or guts in the title and even though it may be one of the finest and most thought provoking movies ever made- I would suggest you gore-o-phobs stay far away from Martyrs.


William Malmborg said...

Great post. I am like you in my feeling that gore does not make a movie great and that Hollywood seems to forget that blood and guts does not equal fear and terror. Anyone can gross me out, but few can scare me and make constantly fear my surroundings, and it is this latter emotion I crave when watching a horror film.

Christine Hadden said...

Super post, André! You put up some great choices there, all of which I've seen and love. I think some people believe horror and gore are synonymous, and they are most definitely not.
William is right - anyone can throw a bunch of gore in a film and call it horror - but it's the subtle, sometimes low-key scares that I'm going to remember.