Halloween: Too Gory or all in Good Fun

By Michael Abler, Staff Writer

As Halloween approaches, it’s time to celebrate this occasion with candy, costumes, and of course, by watching a few scary movies throughout October.

However, ever since the George Romero films of the 60s, there’s been an element of the holiday that seems to be growing, not just in movies, but in the Halloween spirit all around. It seems that Halloween as well as certain horror movies emphasize scares produced by gore, which leads to the question: is gore needed for scares, or is it just a tool for shock value?

There are some more recent films that have become iconic for their gory scenes, like the “Saw” movies, and even some of the greatest horror movie series have made this a part of their identity, like the “Nightmare on Elm Street” and the “Friday the 13th” movies. But, the question remains, are there reasons for the gore to be there in these kinds of movies?

Most of these movies have earned R ratings, and some have even warranted stronger ratings like NC-17, as was the case with the first “Evil Dead” movie from 1981, but the movies that usually go this route are those in the slasher film subgenre. Those movies almost always rely on some form of graphic violence to enhance the threat that the main characters are up against. However, throwing in graphic violence because it’s expected to be there for a film in a certain genre doesn’t necessarily answer the question at hand.  

Senior Kristen Hotek believes that this is simply a matter of preference.

“It depends on the person, some people focus on the candy aspect, while others like to focus on the gore of Halloween.”

NOVA Student Mike Faunda believes that, “halloween hasn’t gotten too gory for kids, to them, it’s all about the candy. We just grow up and gain a different set of preferences.”

“This really all started with George Romero’s horror movies, and gore is 100% used for shock value, but creating a creepy world and balancing other elements, i.e. eerie atmosphere, jump scares, and chase scenes out can make a horror movie work too, more so than just using gory effects, which will always shock those that get easily disturbed,” he added.

Someome viewers are neutral and feel the amount of gore varies. Junior Jackie Reed feels that, “some horror movies have more gore than others, but I can’t vouch for this since I don’t watch horror movies.” However, Jackie doesn’t feel that gore is necessarily an exploitive measure.

“I believe that all movies, including horror, try to appeal to their audience in an engaging way. If the moviegoers are expecting more blood and gore, then the filmmakers will make sure they add more of that in, the most recent movie that has gotten buzz with its gore and was successful was ‘IT’, but I have no intention of seeing it.”      

There’s no definitive answer to the question of Halloween – whether both the movies and the holiday  have gotten too gory or not. But if that’s your thing for celebrating, enjoy the candy, the costumes, and the gore for this unique time of the year.  

Graphics by Ally McAlpine and Billy Ferguson