This is a difficult topic to pin down for a number of reasons, one of which
is obvious from the postings we've seen on it. Everyone has different ideas,
reactions and responses regarding it.
Another is that only a proportion of filmmakers who make excessively violent
films -- and it might not be a very large proportion -- have anything to
contribute on the subject. A big reason such films are made is that they
sell tickets and DVDs. Does anyone really think anything as vapid and
nihilistic as most slasher films are could get made if a profit wasn't
almost guaranteed? And a lot of films are made these days because the
filmmakers know more about special effects or make-up than they ever will
about story or character. If it's possible to blow a hole through someone in
a film and then shoot the face of the killer through it, what director fresh
out of film school can resist that?
And maybe, to find answers to the questions we're raising, we should be
paying as much attention to the audiences as the auteurs.
A few -- well, more than a few -- years ago I decided to write a horror
story from the viewpoint of a completely despicable character -- a man who
callously murdered, tortured and so on to achieve his own aims. When I was
finished with it, I found myself drained emotionally. I haven't tried that
again, and I don't have a particular desire to try it again. But if I did, I
would do it the second time with more thought, and more care, and I would be
very, very cautious. It isn't just that these monsters are out there --
these monsters are in us, all of us, as well.
That's why it's important to write about them.
The best writers who have explored violence -- writers like Jim Thompson and
Joseph Wambaugh -- have staunchly explored the emotional and psychological
impact of violence. They have shown the effect of it less on the victims
than on the perpetrators and (certainly in Wambaugh's case) those who are
charged with dealing with such violence. Though the problem of violence
doesn't seem to have been lessened by their efforts, it is possible because
of them to understand it better.
And understanding -- for themselves and their readers -- is why good writers
Sorry this is so pretentious. But I'm just not a good enough writer to say
it any better.
----- Original Message -----
From: Stephen Burridge
Sent: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 8:15 AM
Subject: Re: glorifying violence (was Re: RARA-AVIS: Elmore Leonard)
I think lots of action movies "glorify" or perhaps more accurately
glamourize violence, by making it look interesting, even fun, and by showing
cool, good-looking movie stars engaging in it.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 22 Jul 2008 EDT