Original Publication Date: 9/20/08
I enjoy horror films. They’ve been an adrenalin rush, a curse, a healthy jolt and recently, again, something quite ugly.
Let me go back in time for a moment. A co-worker and fellow horror film fan ushered me over to his cube one day about four years ago and said he had something to show me. He tended to be a little more “out there” and fringe than most people I knew, not necessarily in a good way, so I tended to make the effort to stay on his good side and avoid any unpleasantness.
“You’ve got to see this video,” he looked around to make sure nobody else was near, then opened his laptop, “but you can’t tell anybody.”
That right there was enough to intrigue me.
The beginning of it showed a heavyset man on his knees, arms tied behind his back and surrounded by guards wearing black hoods. It looked incredibly low budget and no scene from any horror movie I’d ever seen and, believe me, I’ve seen a number of the best and worst made.
It was all done with a single camera, no cutaways or editing or anything, and somewhat grainy. Real low budget. There was some dialogue I didn’t understand, then one of the masked men pulled the heavyset man’s head back, showed the camera a machete (or cutting instrument like a machete) and proceeded to cut the man’s head off. It was agonizingly slow and the sounds that heavyset man made… I’d never heard anything like it before and haven’t since. It tore through my skin, took me to a very dark place and I swear it chilled my soul. It was real. The scene was real. It was the sound of death.
It took two months before I was able to sleep without thinking about that video. I’d seen an actual human being murdered…butchered. The only way I know how to describe the feeling, aside from complete and total shock, is that some innocence I didn’t even realize I possessed had been taken away from me. I felt raped, even. He could have warned me. He could have told what it was and I would have politely declined, but he didn’t. The video didn’t phase him and he couldn’t understand why it had me.
Flash forward four years. I stopped in at Best Buy yesterday for my weekly haul of New Release DVD Tuesday (on Thursday this week instead) and, against better judgment, picked up the latest Uwe Boll film, Seed. Uwe is a favorite whipping boy for critics and horror film fans alike. The man is passionate about cinema, only his films… Well, if you’ve ever seen House of the Dead, then you already know what I’m talking about. Strangely enough, I have enjoyed a couple of his films, so this one could go either way.
Anyway, I inserted the disc into my player and prepared myself for the possibility of another cinematic catastrophe. The film started and immediately took me back to that dark place four years prior. PETA had apparently given Uwe some footage to use at the beginning of the movie, footage of actual animal abuse and torture. It was real. I don’t even want to describe it for you. It’s nothing you’d want to know about.
Why was it integral to the story to be there? Who needed to see it? Hell, who needed to hear it? And to think I’d paid money for the disc… I was sick last night after watching it. Why didn’t I turn it off? I’d honestly hoped it wasn’t real because, seriously, who would use real footage like that unless it’s for a documentary? I wanted to be able to see how they did it, find that frame or two that told me it was special effects. I needed to know it was fake. It wasn’t. I looked it up and discovered, yes, it was real.
Horror films have had a tarnished reputation in the past and, if you look at the trends, one can see why. This whole “torture” craze is the latest and I wish I understand the attraction. What do people get out of it? If you’re someone who enjoys this kind of film, maybe you can tell me.
Has anybody else ever seen any of this real ugliness that the Internet has made available for those who would seek it out? How did you react?
And, for the record, I threw Seed out.
Kage Alan is the Madonna Truth Or Dare watching, M85 listening author of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Sexual Orientation,” “Andy Stevenson Vs. the Lord of the Loins” and the first book in a separate series, “Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell.” He just loves when people call him, then put him on hold to talk to somebody else and leave him hanging for a ridiculous amount of time. No, my time.