Oct 30 2006

Ghosts, goblins and serial killers

Published by at 3:09 am under BlogRant,MyLife

An unusual number of bed-sheet ghosts and rubber-masked monsters are roaming the streets of Vancouver these days. It’s Halloween time again.

Growing up, Halloween was always my favorite holiday of the year. It had no religious or national significance of any kind; in fact, most people couldn’t give a straight answer why we celebrate Halloween at all. It’s just a good time for fake-scary fun and lots of sugar highs.

It’s also the biggest time of the year for horror movies, of course. Unfortunately, in recent years the line between what I would consider to be a horror movie and a blood-and-gore splatterfest has been blurred… and the line for common sense has been crossed.

Saw 3, the prequel for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the relatively new on DVD Hostel are just the latest examples of a genre of cinema that bares more resemblance to criminal snuff films than Bram Stoker’s Dracula or Sleepy Hollow. These kinds of films are not only in bad taste – they may provide inspiration for deranged individuals to act.

There is no evidence that watching these films causes the average audience member to turn into a bloodthirsty serial killer. On the other hand, human behavior is learned. To say that no one could possibly be influenced by these films to carry out copycat torture-slayings is just ignorant. Stanley Kubrik’s A Clockwork Orange inspired copycat crimes based on the actions of the film’s brutal protagonist and his accomplices.

Censorship is not compatible with a free press and freedom of thought. But film-inspired violence is not compatible with individual security, which allows for those freedoms. Would we really be losing all that much by banning these splatter-fests from our theatres?

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