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Can gore, or a noticable lack thereof, make a horror movie great, or break it down to something that isn't scary?

Personally, I don't think gore can break a truly good horror movie. To me, gore is not a completely necessary item as long as the story is strong and the horror (on a psychological level) is solid.

In my humble opinion, some filmmakers slosh on tons of gore to make up for a lack of horror in other aspects of a film. To me, that alone is not scary, that's just trying to be more disgusting than the other films out there with no real purpose (movies like City of the Living Dead come to mind).

Not to say gore doesn't have a place in horror. A movie like Saw is scary on a psychological level and the gore just adds a more visual element to the fear. They work hand in hand to scare.

What are your feelings on this topic?
 

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A good movie doesn't need it, but a bad movie that DOESN'T have it, can be even worse. :voorhees:
 

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I think personally that it all depends on what type of movie you're putting together. Psychological Thrillers, Vampire, Giant Monster, Movies about the Occult and Sci-Fi Horror do quite well without the Karo syrup and food coloring. They should depend more on atmosphere and a good plot than gore to get a point across. Silence of the Lambs, Se7en, Alien, Interview With the Vampire, The Devil's Advocate etc. all show blood, but it isn't in such copious amounts that it overshadows everything else and they all make use of the aforementioned elements that I listed and work out quite effectively. As always, there are a few exceptions (Angel Heart immediately comes to mind) but not many

On the other hand, Slasher flicks, Werewolf, Zombies and other beasties aren't so subtle so one can forgive the overuse of the claret. These things are out to rip you apart and to eat you alive and screaming. Implying gore in these type of movies is preposterous and I don't think it really works at all. You need all the elements of the above genre's I listed, but for the most part these are monsters we're talking about and their aren't any niceties about them, so let the blood flow.
 

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In a situation such as this, I like to think about one of my more recent horror favourites -- Haute Tension. I've seen two versions of this film, one which is slightly cut, and the other which is totally uncensored. Ironically, I almost prefer the cut version. In a case like this, the additional heaps of gore and blood just didn't do much for me -- in fact, they made the film less realistic, and almost detracted from the tension which they had so masterfully built simply through good filmmaking.

Of course, if the film is intentionally supposed to be a "gorehound's dream", then yeah, heap on the gore -- after all, that's the whole point. :D
 

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I love a little gore. A lot usually seems a cop-out in a film where the story isn't making the movie by itself. But story isn't always the most important thing to me. And gore can be interesting, just like sex can be, on it's own. But there are so few films that can work on just gore, so it's nice to consider the gore only after the story. Gore is more like salad dressing- the film can feel naked without it, but it's not the main course. And if the film's going to be a gorehound's dream, I just want to say it better have some really good people on the FX team.
 

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I personally think it doesn't make or break the movie. For me, sometimes I find psychological thrillers to be more scarey. Have you seen Hide and Seek yet? That wasnt very gory .. but it had it's parts where I jumped alittle. I guess it all depends on what you are into to. Real lovers of the horror genere, should find both to be appealing in there own special ways :p
 

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In my crusade to give old threads another chance in the spotlight, I am giving this the bump. Much like my Nudity thread where it applies to Horror films, is it really necessary for excessive wetworks?

The floor is yours, new members and old. :xbones:
 

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IM a gore girl. I love House of 1000 corpses and Wolfe Creek. I think part of me likes them because I can separate it from reality if it is really gory and then I can sleep at night. If its too realistic - usually not so gory, then those movies really bother me. I rate a horror movie on its gore. I rate a good Thriller on its lack of gore. Thats my take.
 

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I'm half and half. I like gore (From Dusk til Dawn, Hostel, the remake of Hill Have Eyes) but I also like the thrillers that make your skin crawl with anticipation (The Exorcist, Nightmare on Elm Street, Misery, The Silence of the Lambs). It depends on what I feel like watching too. Some movies you know already that are going to have it (Night of living dead, Dawn of the Dead) I means it's a given.
 

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I'm not exacly the bravest person when it comes to bloody horror movies. I guess it all depends on how the gore is presented to me. Evil Dead (I use this example because it is A) The gorest horror movie I've ever seen and B) It's one of the only horror movie's I've ever seen) Didn't bother me. I mean it was kind of justified gore that was needed. You can't really chop people up and have nothing spilling from their veins can you.

But if somthing like someone ran over riped out a persons eyeball bringing a torrent of blood spewing from the empty socket I probly feel a little sick...So as long as the gores justified I don't think it ruins a movie.
 

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I never liked gore much. the shower scene in psycho actually made me feel ill.to the point i started to sweat and felt I was eaither going to **** or puke. however i can watch monsters eat people all day. its wierd. I think I have a harder time with people killing people.
 

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HibLaGrande said:
I never liked gore much. the shower scene in psycho actually made me feel ill.to the point i started to sweat and felt I was eaither going to **** or puke. however i can watch monsters eat people all day. its wierd. I think I have a harder time with people killing people.
Maybe the reason that the shower scene made you feel ill is that it was filmed realistically, as if were happening in real life. On the other hand, monsters eating people is not something you would come across in real life. You know it really couldn't happen, and so you don't take it as seriously as a scene that could happen. We see something like this in the doctor's office where I work. Patients sit in the waiting room reading Stephen King and any other horror writer you want to name. They don't seem to mind it. But show them one of the pictures in the Journal of Medicine (or just the article itself), and they're out like a light.
 

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I think there is a certain niche for a good slasher film. You aren't really seeing them with the idea they are going to be a great movie - it's just diversion and entertainment. Watching the body count grow.

Good horror films may require some gore but not to the extent some directors seem to be going lately. I wholly agree that a movie like Saw wouldn't be the same without the gore it had. Lambs had a reasonable amount of gore to make the movie experience more visceral.

Then there's movies like 1000 Corpses. Basically and unoriginal film that used ubiquitous amounts of gore to cover its obvious short-comings. Let's face it - that was nothing more than a retelling of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre...and a bad job at that.

So there you have my three levels. In some movies the gore is a necessary element of the story and it just fits. Other times it carries the movie along making the elements of terror and horror just that much more present and raw. And other times it is gratuitous just to cover and obviously horrible and otherwise sorry waste of celluloid.
 

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Spooklights said:
Maybe the reason that the shower scene made you feel ill is that it was filmed realistically, as if were happening in real life. On the other hand, monsters eating people is not something you would come across in real life. You know it really couldn't happen, and so you don't take it as seriously as a scene that could happen. We see something like this in the doctor's office where I work. Patients sit in the waiting room reading Stephen King and any other horror writer you want to name. They don't seem to mind it. But show them one of the pictures in the Journal of Medicine (or just the article itself), and they're out like a light.
I think you have an excellent point SL. Our perception of the level of gore and the level of realism combined with our expectations.

In Psycho you never actually saw the knife stab the girl in the shower - it was all your mind connecting the dots. Hitchcock was an absolute master in letting the movie-goer draw their own conclusions therefore making the movie experience just that much more personal. On one level we KNOW the shower scene is just some off-screen foley effects, 27 different camera angles, and some great acting. On the other level we have a shared fear of moments when we are vulnerable (such as in the shower) and defenseless - do we not, in fact, put ourselves and our own fears into that scene? Isn't that the intent of the director?

Whereas watching the giant thingy attack a whole city and devour countless screaming hordes of people is completely unrealistic - and we know this - so we switch off the reality button and just sit back to enjoy the show. It's a complete departure from anything we know as reality and therefore treat it as such. It's just a monster flick and does not enter into any recognized concepts of our own fears.

Would the appreciation of horror actually be tied to the degree of realism, how we perceive that situation as real, and our expectations going into the theater?

Do you go to Descent expecting to see something real or just some horrific fantasy? What about other horror films? is your enjoyment based on any other criteria than what's mentioned and observed above?
 

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Dr Morbius said:
I like Al Gore. Although I haven't seen him any movies, too much Gore might ruin them.
He was in one about global warming and somthing. I think they tried to make it come across as a horror because I quote... or paraphrase.

"If you love your contrey, If you love your children. You have to see this movie"
 

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roadkill said:
..........Would the appreciation of horror actually be tied to the degree of realism, how we perceive that situation as real, and our expectations going into the theater?

Do you go to Descent expecting to see something real or just some horrific fantasy? What about other horror films? is your enjoyment based on any other criteria than what's mentioned and observed above?
I certainly think that the more realism there is in a horror film, the more likely it is that we will be truly scared. The monster/slasher films tend to give more of a sudden shock, or more or less the kind of thrill you get when riding a roller coaster. It's the realistic horror films that take your everyday, normal life, and turn it into a nightmare. And that, to me, is what's really scary, because it has the possibility (even if we do have to stretch our imagination a little) of really happening.
As for me, I prefer the psychological/realistic horror films. Less gore; More scare.
 

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Spooklights said:
I certainly think that the more realism there is in a horror film, the more likely it is that we will be truly scared. ... It's the realistic horror films that take your everyday, normal life, and turn it into a nightmare. And that, to me, is what's really scary, because it has the possibility (even if we do have to stretch our imagination a little) of really happening.
As for me, I prefer the psychological/realistic horror films. Less gore; More scare.
Exactly. A departure from reality but being somewhat tied to the reality we know makes a film more frightening and gives us the chills we crave.

I'm with you, SL, about the more psychological and realistic horror films. Bring me a reality with a twist of nightmare thrown in and I'm glued to my seat. Give me a giant lizard chowing down on a subway car and I am entertained but not enthralled.

Of course there are those films where they deviate wide of reality but touch on specific fears that can really getcha. Evil clowns and puppets will have me fascinated and horrified in no time (if done properly). Mainly those come in books but there are a few movies, shorts, and mini-series where these have factored in and I am riveted - just like the accident on the highway...I know it's going to be horrible but cannot avoid looking all the same.

Why is that?
 

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roadkill said:
Of course there are those films where they deviate wide of reality but touch on specific fears that can really getcha. Evil clowns and puppets will have me fascinated and horrified in no time (if done properly). Mainly those come in books but there are a few movies, shorts, and mini-series where these have factored in and I am riveted - just like the accident on the highway...I know it's going to be horrible but cannot avoid looking all the same.

Why is that?
I have a feeling that it's because we're most fascinated with what we are the most afraid of. Our minds tend to take our worst fears and twist them around so that we become almost obsessed with them. Have you ever been scheduled for surgery or a diagnostic test? I have, and I know I though of what seemed like a hundred horrible (and statistically improbable) outcomes. Overactive imagination? Sure. But then, that's where the psychological angle of some of these horror movies comes in. As I mentioned before, it takes everyday life, and turns it into your worst nightmare. I guess that's why we look at accidents, too; just to see if what we imagine is as horrible as what's really there.
 
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