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Gore: Sometimes You Gotta Have It!

JAS from Bitter Balcony tells you all about it.

The Cheese of gore: Confessions of a Gorehound

Look up the definition of “gorehound” in the source of totally accurate information that is Urban Dictionary and you’ll see two definitions. For sake of not having a six-page post, the short one reads: “An individual that is immersed in the genre of horror that revolves around intense displays of gore and mayhem; Films like ‘Dawn of the Dead’ and ‘Zombie’. Someone that loves b-horror films that have poor plot and acting, and watch for the scenes of extreme violence and gore. Anyone who thinks that Lucio Fulci is a genius.”

It’s going overboard to label Fulci as a genius, but the man does have some brilliant ways to shoot gore. Scenes like the endless puking of guts in “City of the Dead” or the eye meets stick scene in “Zombi.” However, Fulci might just qualify as a genius (not your standard Albert Einstein variety) in the George Romero (back in the day) mold. Fulci’s movies are slow and not overly complex. What makes them great, aside from Fabio Frizzi’s musical scores, is the fantastic gore.

Gore is a lot like a squirt of Easy Cheese (the “good” stuff in a can) on top of, well, anything. You can have something bland and barely edible, but once you blast it with a dollop of Easy Cheese, you’re golden. Classic horror movies that rely on gore are great because of that. For gorehounds like myself, these potentially flat films become cultlike thanks to heads that explode on queue.

On rare occasion you get a film like John Carpenter’s remake of “The Thing,” a standout among remakes because it was handled by talented folks with respect to the source material. “The Thing” is a great film, from casting and directing to writing and scoring. Add in some truly amazing makeup effects, and you get one of my personal favorite films of all time. “The Thing” is an exercise in masterful filmmaking coupled with the old-school special effects that make a gorehound like me shriek like a little girl with glee.

Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) has grown into a photo-realistic and cheap filmmaking method, but nine times out of 10, it doesn’t match the work of people like Tom Savini, Robin R. Bottin, Stan Winston, and Rick Baker. Filmmakers like Paul S.W. Anderson use CGI for movies like “Resident Evil” and it just doesn’t work as well. Uwe Boll takes poorly made CGI to a whole new basement level. Sure this is a different caliber filmmaker, but when a few zombies pull out a ton of guts and a whole chicken like in “Day of the Dead,” the bar is set pretty high. I mean, it’s a whole chicken! How did the guy even eat that?

“Ichi the Killer” is an example of how CGI can be used artistically, making blood ‘n’ guts almost like paint on a canvas (bodies sliced in half or body parts and blood shooting out a door). When the exaggeration reaches such heights it’s hard not to laugh, sit back and enjoy the show. This goes for most popular Takashi Miike movies. He’s a modern master of splatter film making (not to say there aren’t “those” moments).

Some people see gorehounds as sick bastards – and to that most of us say “thank you.” However, what is being appreciated here is not the actual violence or mutilations, but the art that goes into making it believable and just fun to watch because of it’s exaggerated nature. Say what you will about gore, but no one can deny the dedication that goes into sculpting and painting a replica of a human head – only to shove some dynamite and blood in it and watch it go boom.

The first career (aside from being a cop like the ones in “CHIPS”; yeah I’m getting old) I wanted was to create horror movie effects. I still have my first issue of Horror FX magazine showing how Freddy Krueger’s makeup was done, step by step. I was fascinated! The first time I realized how much I dug horror effects was when I was eating spaghetti while watching some cheeseball sci-fi horror film. My mother walked into the room to see me eating a giant meatball, while a laser cut the top of a guy’s head off leaving the lower jaw and neck shooting blood. The poor slob rises up, runs around and somehow screams. My horrified mother took a look at me and said, “This doesn’t bother you?” To which I replied, “Nope. It’s cool” – and took another bite of my meatball. She shook her head and walked away. While I sat there it dawned on me that this may not be normal behavior… but who cares? It was too much fun.

While a movie should never rely on any one thing to make it great, gore always seems to be the crutch that many can use to keep on their feet. And for that I will always love exploding heads.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. JAS
    06/28/2010 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks for having me guest blog! It was fun to share the love of gore. 🙂

    • JAS
      06/28/2010 at 1:14 pm

      Also, when you see the pics attached to this post I even start to think I’m a sick bastard. Hehe

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