Opinion

Seeking fear, moviegoers search for reason to gasp

The Saw franchise worsens every year, adding to horror movies’ reputations as being twisted forms of entertainment somehow desired by the audience.

The Saw franchise worsens every year, adding to horror movies’ reputations as being twisted forms of entertainment somehow desired by the audience.

Somehow, watching an oversized butcher knife pierce through human flesh, spewing blood and carnage everywhere, fascinates me. Horror movies hardly ever disappoint me – until now.

Often, the phrase, “I shouldn’t watch, but I can’t help it,” is associated with horror movies. People seek gratification in the tempting, frightening, almost hypnotic lull of horror movies, and year after year, moviegoers pour money into Twisted Pictures – the company that produces the Saw franchise – to satisfy these emotions.

Saw VI, the latest of the franchise with so many films only 12 Land Before Time sequels can compete, serves as yet another example of how Hollywood allows producers and film companies to continue with massive bloodshed on the big screen.

“Hollywood makes gore pleasurable,” sophomore film and media arts major Sam Venanzi said. “Watching people suffer is a relief. People can relate to suffering.”

The foundation of the Saw franchise is suffering.

The main character, Jigsaw – or whomever it is now; I stopped watching after the third installment – kidnaps ordinary people and forces them to endure cruel and unusual circumstances because of their faulty lives. Jigsaw inflicts pain upon them so that whoever survives will appreciate life and right their wrongs.

The concept is ridiculous, but most films nowadays do not really consist of substantial plots.

“Flimsy story lines are used to hold the gore together,” said film and media arts professor Paul Swann.
But the Saw movies are still popular without a developed plot, so the producers are allowed to only concentrate on ways to kill.

“People want to see the scariest thing imaginable so they do not have to fear it anymore,” said junior film major Wil McCall. “They satisfy their desire to see the worst possible death.”

People crave fear; it is an element of excitement.

“It’s like torture porn, watching things you should not see,” Swann said.

But the horror genre, including the Saw franchise, is technologically driven, which means effects will become more realistic. If Twisted Pictures continues to try to outdo itself with every Saw installment, the scenes may become too graphic to describe here.

“There should be a balance,” senior film major Greg Starr said. “People are not going to watch the [overly] obscene.”

Without boundaries, the advances of technology today might desensitize moviegoers to these garish acts. The line drawn between fact and fiction may become increasingly fuzzy.

The Saw franchise is slowly chipping away at the respect, esteem and credibility of the horror genre. Movie patrons want to walk out of the theater appreciative of a clever plot, not a new plot to kill.

Jillian Weir-Reeves can be reached at jillian.weir-reeves@temple.edu.

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