How Does Extreme Horror Affect You?

For a long time, I’ve been curious as to why extreme horror films, even those in the ‘torture-porn’ category, are so widely enjoyed.  Although technically not a genre in itself, ‘Torture-porn’ is a blanket term for any films with scenes of extreme violence or gore in them (said extremities normally being the main focus).  Other names for this kind of film are ‘Splatter’ or ‘Gornos’.  I find all of these names normally make a pretty uncomfortable topic over dinner, but to an extent, I think that’s why some people love them – the shock factor.

Extreme Horror - August UndergroundI used to think that my love for extreme horror films came from my early exposure to Alien, and how my dad would pause the film before the graphic scenes and explain in detail about what was going to happen. Almost making a joke out of it.

Ever since seeing that film I’ve felt pretty desensitised to the more “graphic” films, which in turn has let my morbid curiosity lead me to watching the nadir of extreme films such as the August Underground trilogy, Martyrs, A Serbian Film, and so on. Of course, Alien doesn’t belong to this category, but you must admit — it has some pretty shocking scenes.  Particularly for its time.

Extreme Horror – Pretty f**ked up?

The fact that I watched these films led to certain notoriety within my group of friends. ’Pretty f**ked up’ was a popular description of my tastes.   But, when you bear in mind that I was around 14/15 I guess it becomes more understandable.  When I was 14 I was invited to a sleepover and, after hearing so much about it, we were planning on watching The Human Centipede. But once my parents caught wind of this, they shut down ‘Operation Human Centipede Sleepover Party’ quicker than you can say ‘Mary Whitehouse’.

martin-xlargeYet here I am, 5 years later, and despite having seen all three films I not only think that they’re generally pretty terrible (click here for my review), I also have been left looking at them with a comedic perspective rather than a morbid one.  Whereas I’m sure that some people would actually feel bad for watching these.

As I turned 17 I started to realise that there were more people who enjoyed this genre, and I started to see different opinions on why people enjoyed them so much. It left me feeling almost proud to be part of a minority that can cope with, and actually enjoy films that consist of such ‘frowned upon’ content.

In conclusion, I’m sure there are many different underlying reasons as to why people enjoy this style of film, but I think a lot of us still can’t pinpoint why. For me, it’s about the shock factor, the feeling that I get of being part of a small(ish) community of like-minded people, and pride in the fact that I can keep an open mind.

What was it for you?  I’m really interested to know which films set you personally off down the road into the extreme, and why – if applicable! – you still watch them to this day.  You can tweet me at @CaptainKroch.  Looking forward to hearing from you!

By Murray McLellan (@captainKroch)

Want to join one of the fastest-growing horror communities in the UK for FREE?  Now you can.  Click here to become a member of The London Horror Society

Other Posts You Might Enjoy

Three Horror Films That Changed Me When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a woman, I put away childish things. – Corint...
5 Horror Films With Original Plots This is a list of 5 horror films that I believe have unique, interesting and original plots. I've always loved films that pushed past the grain to cre...
My Worst Horror Films of 2016 It's that time of the year again! You'll no doubt be seeing list after list of the best films of the year just gone, so I'm going to buck the trend an...
Launch Your Hollywood Career With Trash Horror My favourite movie genre is, of course, horror. My second favourite is one I like to call “god-awful-horror-movies-that-starred-super-famous-actors-wh...
3 Horror Films That Helped Me Grow Up As you can probably guess, I'm a big fan of horror films.  But what exactly do I love about the genre so much?  Well, for one thing it’s helped me gro...
This entry was posted in Feature and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.