A guide to gory films this Halloween
Halloween is a great time for film and television as we are showered with horror films left, right and centre. No Halloween is complete without a movie marathon and you might want to theme your marathon to that of blood, guts and gore. To enjoy a gory film is to give in to the morbid curiosity we all secretly harbour, the same curiosity that makes us crick our neck when we see an accident on the motorway.
The power of gory films comes from exposing our own mortal fears and exploring the nightmare of the worst things that could happen to our physical bodies. Some splatter films are more tasteful than others and involve plot and social commentary, whereas others are so depraved that you feel like you’ve physically lost something after watching (I’m looking at you, A Serbian Film/The Human Centipede 2). The list compiled here contains the best of splatter cinema and gives a wide variety of the different types of gory films that are out there.
The shallowest form of gore, these films are especially focused on sadism, torture and violence. They are also often associated with sex in some way or another.
This 2005 Eli Roth film is the perfect example of gorno. It has no metaphorical or social message; its main aim is to make us recoil in disgust. It is also heavily themed with sex and the mutilation of sexual organs. However the film is done with at least some inclusion of plot and characters that we root for, so it doesn’t feel like some of the less credible films of the same genre. It is successful and captivating for these reasons but definitely not one for the faint hearted.
SAW FRANCHISE 2004-2010
Directed by James Wan and created with screenwriter Leigh Whannell, Saw is one of the most successful franchises within horror. Although they disassociate themselves with the label torture porn, it is quite obvious why the label has become attached to the films. Although a more extensive plot with an attempt at a “deeper meaning”, the films are watched for one reason: to see the imaginative ways a human being can be destroyed. A lot safer than Hostel and more enjoyable (the first one is, at least), the Saw films are a great addition to your movie marathon and will have you checking your wardrobe before you get into bed.
This type of gory film is probably the most rewarding and fun to watch. You are presented with all the guts and gore you need but the seriousness is taken out of the situation by the excessive amount of gore, ridiculous characters or over the top scenarios.
EVIL DEAD II
Evil dead II is a classic example of a horror comedy. The cackling monsters are humorous rather than frightening and there are some real slapstick gems in the film to watch out for. Bruce Campbell as Ash is arguably one of the best and most memorable protagonists in horror that there’ll ever be. Unfortunately the 2013 remake of Evil Dead I was not very impressive and lost a lot of the humour that made the classic franchise so outstanding.
Here is a clip of one of the funniest characters in Evil Dead II: Ash’s possessed hand.
A sub-genre of the comedy horror is those that focus specifically on zombies. Here we are guaranteed gore due to the nature of zombies and the zombies themselves give us humour by being bumbling idiots or by being given ridiculous personalities.
DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978)
George A. Romero’s critically acclaimed zombie flick finds humour in some of its idiotic zombies, although comedy is not its main aim. There is a wry humour in the film as it is set in a shopping mall and it gives us an obvious social comment on our generation of blind consumption and vacuous materialistic obsessions. Not only is it clever, the plot is decent and turns the zombie flick into a legitimate piece of film. It’s also super gory albeit outdated – but that’s all part of its charm.
BRAIN DEAD/ DEAD ALIVE
One of Peter Jackson’s less well known films that he wrote and directed in 1992, this over the top gore fest is one of the most surreal pieces of film ever made. It follows a man and his attempt to cover up his psycho mother’s descent into a member of the living dead, which gets out of hand and ends in a bloodbath so ridiculous you can’t help but laugh at the silliness of it all. It also has some of the best slapstick and comedy characters ever, including a gleeful zombie baby and an arse-kicking priest.
“Famously banned films”
These films are widely known for being so controversial that they were banned across the world. These are definitely only for the hardcore horror fans.
This 1980 mockumentary film inspired films like the Blair Witch Project with its faux found footage documentary style. The director Ruggero Deodato was arrested as there were rumours that the crew members did actually die during the making of the film, such was the convincing nature of the film (they did film with a real tribe in the amazon, after all) and the fact the actors were under contract not to promote the film in order to make it look as though they really were dead. They had to break their contracts in order to save Deodato from life in prison, making it well worth a watch.
This film caused a lot of controversy and it’s easy to understand why when you think about the plot. Japanese high school students are kidnapped and forced to kill each other by the government, and only one person is allowed to survive. They each have a collar around their neck that may or may not explode depending on their location at certain times of the day. It is incredibly violent and bloody and is based on the novel by Koushun Takami, the film being directed by Kinji Fukasaku. It is also highly critically acclaimed and has won several awards, including a Japanese academy award, namely the “Popularity Award”. A lot of controversy comes from the idea that The Hunger Games is a rip off of Battle Royale, and if you watch them both it is clear that The Hunger Games is child’s play compared to stuff-of-nightmares Battle Royale.
There are many other types of horror out there and not everyone can stomach too much gore. If you’re feeling brave I hope this list will be a good starting point for you and get you in the mood for one of the greatest celebrations of the year.
An edited version for The National Student http://www.thenationalstudent.com/Film/2013-10-24/A_guide_to_the_best_gory_films_this_Halloween.html