Monday, 21 October 2013

Reservoir Dogs and copycats

People love drama. They  love gossip. They love controversy. It was no surprise to hear people at work this morning almost drooling at Mark “Chopper” Read’s admission last night on 60 Minutes that he killed four people. To be honest, my ears pricked up when I first saw the ad for the interview. Then I considered it and thought, “honestly, why do I care about some crime figure talking about killing four people I have zero connection with?”. The only reason my interest was roused to begin with is probably because I, like the majority of people in our society, love to hear shocking stories.
After the release of the movie Chopper in 2000, Mark Read become a cult hero. Why? Because he was a crime figure who provided people with shock factor and controversy and drama. How many people do you know that cut their own ears off? What I find interesting is that almost everyone would agree they wouldn't want their son to be involved in activities that Chopper was almost glorified for, yet they revered him anyway.

Similarly to this, people love violence. They love blood and gore. Look at the nature of horror films these days, and the level of violence in most action movies. The violence levels now are well above those of say 15 to 20 years ago. Not that movies 20 years ago weren't violent. Reservoir Dogs was released in 1992 and it was violent. However, it seems in recent years, movies like the Saw series or Hostel have taken the step from pure violence to disturbing, sick violence. I always wonder about the personalities of the directors of these films. For example, what is the director of The Human Centipede like as a person? Surely he is warped to come up with a concept like the one in that film, or if he didn't come up with it himself, still making a movie out of the idea. Quentin Tarantino has made a living out of turning sick ideas into graphic movies.

It seems that as each year goes by, films have to be bigger, badder and more outrageous than the last one. People judge the merits of these films on how disturbing they are whilst hiding behind the premise that the movies are fine because they're predominantly fictional. "I mean, who would actually do anything seen in a horror movie for real?"

Just Google copycat murders and you'll find a list long enough to shock you. There have been numerous murders based on movies such as Natural Born Killers and the Scream movies. Journals found of the two killers at the Columbine High School massacre referenced Natural Born Killers boastfully.

Whether or not people actually copy murder scenes from movies, they can become desensitised to violence through repeatedly watching violent movies. Once they are desensitised, they can come up with all sorts of inhumane modes of murder and torture. The case of the 26 year old Israeli girl who escaped a torture chamber in Hamburg in 2011 is a good example.

What is also disturbing is the complete lack of shock that some people have towards these films. I just stumbled across a blog on films of which the blogger was analysing a sequel horror film. To quote him: "The sequel was way better than I thought it would be. Here's hoping they can keep the momentum going and Part 3 will be even more fu*#d".

There is no doubt movies are getting more and more gruesome. Prior to the release of the sequel to The Human Centipede, writer, director and co-producer Tom Six stated the sequel would be a much more graphic and disturbing film and that the first film was like "My Little Pony compared with part two."

With movies getting more and more violent and disgusting, do we really wonder why we are seeing more and more disturbing murders?

You only have to turn the news on every day to hear of a disturbing murder somewhere. A lot of people I talk to comment along the lines of "what's going on in the world these days?". It's a seriously good question. What the hell is going on? It seems to me that in the last 20 years there has been an increase in horrific crimes. From Martin Bryant to Adrian Bayley. From Josef Fritzl to Kermit Gosnell. To the ever increasing US school shootings to the torture chamber the Israeli girl escaped from in Hamberg. The list goes on. These things seem to be happening more frequently than they used to.

It's not only movies that are worrying. Our society is so obsessed with sex that a book that heavily conveys sadomasechism became a best seller worldwide. Many people will tell you Fifty Shades of Grey is a must read for entertainment value even though it glorifies violent and dangerous sexual acts. I
f you don't agree the book conveys dangerous and violent sexual acts, just ask the 31 year old Swedish man who is to stand trial for the death of his girlfriend after a sado-masechistic sex game went wrong. Have we really got to the point where regular love making is boring?

The irony of the whole problem is that nearly everyone wants to live in peace and harmony and be involved in committed, loving relationships. This is in complete contrast to the violence we see in films or the "erotic" entertainment we read in Fifty Shades of Grey or the "bad boys" or "adventurous" girls we look for in relationships.

The world is in bad shape if we rely on these topics as forms of entertainment. In my opinion, directors and authors have a huge say in terms of the messages their audience take away from their films and books. We really need more virtuous directors and authors.

Ending where I started, I honestly hope and pray Chopper can rest in peace. Based on a public view of his life, he had limited peace on earth.

All the best,
Dom Meese

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