Horror and Violence: The Bloody Myth (take 1)

“The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.” Revelation 19:13-21

Throughout my time as a Christian – my 11th year anniversary is March 28th, 2008, by the by…


(fairly representative picture of how old I feel – in terms of spiritual maturity and wisdom)

In those 11 years, I have heard many criticisms about the violence displayed in horror. Church folk are wont to say it is too violent – or too gory, too bloody, too gratuitous, et al. And in some cases, I agree; but sometimes it can be tastelessly well done.

Take, for example, one of my more recent horror watching pleasures (if that is the right word) The Brood. Directed by David Cronenberg (think The Fly with Jeff Goldblum) this film was released in 1979. I snagged a brief plot outline from IMDB (don’t worry, no plot spoilers):

“A husband tries to uncover a shady psychiatrist’s therapy techniques on his institutionalized wife, while a series of brutal attacks committed by a brood of mutant children coincides with the husband’s investigation.”

“Mutant children,” you ask?



(You caught the title of this blog – violence – right?)

The Brood is a seriously chilling story of pent-up rage gone berserk. Remember the Biblical admonition, “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26). Well, for these kiddies, many suns have set, which leads to our next set of movies.



Directed by Gore Verbinski (2002). Remake of a Japanese film Ringu by Director Hideo Nakata (1998).



Directed by Takashi Shimizu (2004)


Whereas in The Brood we can say that many suns have set on pent-up anger, in these J-Horror films, death itself has passed, but the anger has lingered.

This is, in fact, one definition of poltergeist (taken from the same named film directed by Steven Spielberg) – a spirit, a ghost, a lingering remainder of violent disposition.

Spaced nearly 20 years apart, these 3 films (4 counting Poltergeist) are really saying the same thing: Pent-up anger kills. Granted, it is not a very profound message, but these are hardly very profound movies. Remove the atmospheric suspense, the blood, the creepy music, the strange hair effects (is there anything as freaky as that girl coming out of the TV?), and you are left with the bare-boned structure that unresolved anger will build into something bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and then…




Published in: on February 24, 2008 at 5:02 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Interesting. I still don’t like horror movies though but I think it’s just because they give me nightmares. It has nothing to do with shaking Bible verses at you which, heh, I am the last to ever do. It is more about my own psyche and the fact that I sleep with the lights on for a few days after watching them. I’m not kidding. I like being scared in the moment but once I get home…not so much.

    Except The Ring. Saw that on a date once, and my date (who owned the movie) was freaked out. I, on the other hand, thought it was hilarious. Especially the part where she climbs out of the TV. So un-scary. But Poltergeist? No thanks. I saw it as a kid and it gave me many sleepless nights. Especially that stupid tree…yeah, you know the one.

    And those are some creepy looking kids you have on your blog there.

    One more thing; I agree that pent up anger is terrible for you. This is one of the (many) reasons why I blog sometimes. I mean, I can’t sit and vent at people because that is socially unacceptable but I can turn it into a blog post. So I wonder if some of the writers of horror find that it is somehow… cathartic?

  2. Hi Allie,

    I wanted to comment about your comment. Or, answer your question, as it were.

    I cannot speak for all horror writers, their motivations of writing are as multitudinous as their tastes, but I can speak on David Kronenberg (I read an interview concerning the Brood).

    Director Kronenberg most definitely wrote the script for The Brood as a cathartic exercise. He was going through a rough divorce, and he vented a lot of his anger into this very angry film. It is especially vicious (on screen) when the Brood child kills the protagonist’s father-in-law. Kronenberg’s editor asked him to play down the violence, but Kronenberg argued he would not. In some sick way, he needed to see the father-in-law killed so violently, echoing desires from his own life.

  3. das is lol

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