Apr 21, 2022


Time capsules like these are always amusing and occasionally irritating to revisit. If you came of age in the late '80s and early '90s like I did and grew up watching the titles featured in this exposé, you'll note immediately how wrong-headed much of the talking points are, collected from alarmed parents and so-called experts who are clearly grasping at straws and making points after having seen, at best, five horror films. 1974's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is specifically noted as being one of the first films to introduce the aspect of graphic violence to the horror genre, essentially putting to bed more chaste films like Psycho and Frankenstein. Of course, if you know a single thing about the genre, you'll know that Chain Saw Massacre is actually very low on violence, at least on-screen, and features exactly one chainsaw murder, most of which is left to the imagination. Though these parents admit in the same interview that they had "no idea" how graphic some horror films were until they sat down and watched them specifically for this report, they still managed to rattle off oversimplifications of horror's main thrust, which is "rape and torture," in which most of the victims are females, and that most of the kill scenes have a sexual connotation behind them. I dunno, you tell me: this was the '80s, after all, a time in which the majority of on-screen sexual trysts featured a girl and a boy. You mean to tell me the boyfriends escape the killer while the girlfriends fall victim? Have you seen a slasher movie before?

Though this report does feature notable pro-genre people like Linnea Quigley and critic Chas Balun, both of their collected soundbites are limited to out-of-context blurbs that only support the main thesis. Quigley rattles off every way in which her characters bit the dust in her past movies while Balun just sounds like a mimbo, telling the audience kids want faster and louder horror experiences because of MTV. Good grief.

Refreshingly, the report ends with a level-headed and rational argument for why horror films aren't the scourge of society that most of the talking heads argue and shouldn't be blamed for motivating real-world violence...which comes courtesy of a ten-year-old kid. Go figure.

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