Gore versus the Imagination

     After viewing the 1961 film The Innocents, directed by Jack Clayton, I began appreciating the concept of black and white horror films. Nowadays, it is very difficult to find good, interesting horror films that allow the viewer the room to have an imagination.

     Today, many films leave no room for the imagination of the viewers. If a person in a film is locked in a room filled with rats and flesh-eating insects, the viewers are given the wonderful opportunity to see the results of that person's wonderful venture. Most of the time I find myself more disgusted by the content of a horror film than I am frightened.

     With the 1961 film The Innocents, based on Henry James's 1898 The Turn of the Screw, I found myself actually frightened. The scene in which the governess, played by Deborah Kerr, is playing 'Hide 'n' Seek' with the children (Miles Stephens and Pamela Franklin), she sees the ghost on the balcony, I could actually feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. When something bad happened, the mind was allowed to wonder; and the extent of the horror was up to the viewer. I thank films such as this for reminding me why I love horror films.

     I do not enjoy watching horror films any more because blood, guts and gore can only go so far. Some stories do need to have a point. With movies such as Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, the film would be rather dull and boring without the guts and gore. The entire point of modern horror films seems to be how fast can we gross a person out.

     Guts and gore are not needed with films such as The Innocents, The Haunting and the original version of Psycho. Fear was put into the viewers just by the idea of the film. Viewers did not need to see the stab wounds in Psycho to know the women was being stabbed. In the original version of The Haunting, viewers did not need to see the evil things roaming the house. They could sense the fear and the evil just by watching the actors expressions and by noticing the things happening around the house.

     Overall, my main point is that in order to make a true horror film, true fear needs to be felt by the viewers. I do not need to see blood and guts in 3-D. Besides, that is not scary; that is someone having a bit too much fun with stage props. I want to see more films which would require.

Kimberli DeRossett

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