Gore, what is it good for? In my opinion, gore is just a tool used in horror and other genres such as thrillers. I suppose some fans like it for the gross out factor. But, personally, nothing grosses me out any more. Nowadays, it seems that filmmakers use gore too freely, often as a means to overcome their film’s inadequacies. But gore itself doesn’t make a good film, no matter the film’s genre or story. In my opinion, the best use of gore is in lighter-hearted horror such as Dead Alive and Evil Dead 2. In these films, the gore’s so over-the-top than it can’t help but be funny. Hundreds of gallons of blood and guts are too unbelievable to be taken seriously. So, if it’s a serious movie, don’t use TOO much gore. I think moderate levels of gore work well with movies such as Hellraiser and Texas Chainsaw Massacre (more so in the remake) because they’re not over-the-top and it’s fitting for razor sharp chains ripping through people or chainsaws chopping limbs off. One movie which bugged me was Cabin Fever which had tons of blood and peeling flesh but wasn’t really horror, it just bored me.
Another issue with gore is whether or not to show the actual method with which the fictional gore is produced onscreen. While the end result is really all that matters, sometimes fans, like me, want to see the violence being done onscreen, with the blades slashing and hacking, the bullets exploding out of the back of people’s heads, gnawing teeth and claws ripping flesh apart on screen in all its bloody glory. I suppose it’s to release some of our anger and aggression or just because we like to see it to be grossed out. Sometimes it’s not needed. In my opinion, this all has to do with what the movie is about and whether or not the gore is just done to cover up the film’s inadequacies. I can live without the gore but, to some fans, it’s crucial.
Just a quick rundown of some of my recommendations/comments:
Movies with off-screen gore that do work:
The Barber (no gore), The Untold Story (perpetrated just out of camera view but the results are super gory), Misery (but it could have used more gore)
Movies with off-screen gore that do not work:
The Grudge (needed gore!), Open Water (this one is debatable but I felt that it really needed tons more gore)
Movies with onscreen gore that do work:
Hellraiser, TCM (remake), Dead Alive (comical), Evil Dead 2 (comical), Day of the Dead, Creep (I liked it), High Tension (bad ending), The Hills Have Eyes (both versions), May, Motel Hell, Saw
Movies with onscreen gore that do not work:
Murder-Set-Pieces, Cabin Fever (I felt that this movie depended on the gore with little substance otherwise), cannibal Holocaust (this used real killing of animals just too gross people out with merely any story at all!)
Also, there is gore in books and stories. I judge gore in books almost the same as they do in movies but in books, one page of writing can show a whole lot of gore so a good gory horror book to me is one with a few pages of gore over the whole book. The gore is not as good and text as it is in visuals, so I feel that gore is better used in books when the killer’s and victims’ feelings and emotions are described in great detail. Again, books should focus on story and characters, rather than the gore.
In closing, I have nothing against gore if it is just used as a prop, tool or a snack of the movie but I against it if the gore is used as the main course of the movie. As long as the movie balances the gore with story, characters, and dialogue, I don’t mind the gore. However, I do not the gore at all, but that’s just me because I prefer atmosphere above all else in my horror movies.