Monday, January 16, 2006

Hibbs on Hostel and Wolf Creek

National Review has a pretty interesting review by Thomas Hibbs that touches on both Hostel and Wolf Creek. Here's one part:

"Concerning the film’s early success, writer and director Eli Roth explained to Box Office Mojo, 'My whole theory was that if it's scary, the public will really respond to it. People want their horror to be horrific. They don't want it to be safe.' Respond? Well, yes, the film does call for a response, and at least Roth did not try to dignify the film by describing it as in the tradition of the suspense practiced by Hitchcock. 'Horrific comes closer, but Hostel is not so much scary as it is revoltingly grisly."

I definitely come down on Mr. Hibbs' side on this issue. I generally dislike horror movies that are gory for the sake of being gory.

There are some comments later in Mr. Hibbs' review about people being too jaded for old-fashioned movies like The Exorcist to have the same effect that they used to. That is just wrong. Two quick counter-examples are Blair Witch and The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Both were very powerful and popular without resorting to much gore.

Gore is the easy way out, and I'm disappointed that Mr. Roth claims otherwise above. Stephen King once said (I'm paraphrasing because I can't remember the exact quote): "First I try to terrify, then I try to horrify. If that doesn't work, I go for the gross out." That is the right way to go about horror.


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