By Daniel Johnson-Kim, Sports Editor
Some people enjoy watching murder.
Whether it’s torture, gore or a gun shot to the head, some people just can’t get enough of an old fashioned killing.
But instead of crowding the Coliseum to get a front row seat, modern murder lovers get their fix from horror movies. And Halloween is the most wonderful time of the year to be a horror flick fan.
Whether it is the gruesome Saw series or slasher classics like Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street, horror films continue to thrive in this country. According to www.thenumbers.com, a Web site that compiles and analyzes box office figures and trends, horror films have made close to $6 billion dollars since 1995. Of the 229 horror films produced over the last 12 years, the average gross is $24 million per film.
The horror genre is No. 7 on thenumbers.com topgrossing list – romantic comedies just beat horror films out with almost $7 billion grossed – and during October and November, horror films are the most watched movies at the box office.
Murder has not lost its appeal.
Despite the evolution of our society from the times of Rome, we continue to encourage the entertainment industry to use murder, even if it’s fake, to make money.
The millions of dollars a year we spend on horror films is like a vote; our dollars tell producers of these films to keep making movies we want to see. The more we pay, the more blood, guts and gross-outs we get.
But there is difference between a horror movie and a scary movie. I have no problems with a movie like The Silence of the Lambs, where the intent of the movie is to scare you, not through an orgy of blood, guts and nudity, but to challenge the security we all believe we have.
A horror movie, at least in my connotative understanding of the genre, is a film that involves a murderer, some victims and a long list of creative ways to kill them.
And we eat it up.
From a Texas chainsaw massacre to a torturous Hostel, today’s horror movies are nothing short of a gross-out competition. Where one finds a way to include a pit full of dirty needles, the other writes in a zombie giving birth.
I hope Alfred Hitchcock is rolling in his grave.
His films challenged the courage of his audiences without overwhelming them with red corn syrup and severed limbs. And like Hitchcock’s films, scary films that find creative ways around unnecessary gore are true examples of the genre.
If gore is your thing, it’s your money to spend, but at least stay away from the snack bar if you like watching someone’s head get chopped off.