Monday, April 30, 2007

Well, this (from today's New York Times) just seems really naive:

After Virginia Tech, Testing Limits of Movie Violence

If the horror at Virginia Tech has changed the chemistry of America's popular culture, those who count box-office receipts at Lionsgate would be among the first to know.

The independent studio, a clearinghouse for some of the entertainment industry's most graphically violent fare, still plans to release on June 8 its "Hostel: Part II," about the torture killing of college students.

... Peter Dekom, a longtime entertainment lawyer and author, with Peter Sealey, of "Not on My Watch: Hollywood vs. the Future" ... predicted that fallout from the killings would hurt the film's performance....

Er, Abu Ghraib came to light in early 2004. The breakthrough film in the torture-porn genre, Saw, was released in the U.S. just a few months later -- and made 15 times what it cost to produce in just its opening weekend here.

In fact, Saw became a hit in a year full of beheadings that were videotaped and posted on the Internet. If anything, all those real-life images of imprisonment and brutality seem to have whetted American moviegoers' appetites for torture-porn.

Oh, and, of course, that was also the year we reelected Bush.

The Times article goes on to suggest that the genre is starting to fade, and was doing so even before Virginia Tech. Back when it emerged, of course, Bush had a simple message: there are sick crazy psychos in the world, and if we don't do a few sick crazy psycho things, they'll do really bad sick crazy psycho things to us. It made sense to a lot of people then -- in real life and maybe on screen, too. But maybe it's all played, at the cineplex and in politics. Or maybe it is until someone (Giuliani?) revives the genre.

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