There are no Walking Dead spoilers in this post.
I don’t get the same kick from disembowelling that I used to.
The lust of raw offal seems to fade with age.
I am of the Fangoria generation, though I was always more of a fan of the gothic, shadowy, inky House of Hammer magazine with its adaptations of Hammer horrors that could go where cinematic budgetary constraints couldn’t.
Fangoria delighted in revealing the techniques of putting machettes through heads and making eyes explode.
Friday the 13th and its imitators were the major contributors of peak gratuitous gore.
Psycho, Peeping Tom and Texas Chainsaw Massacre may all be mentioned when discussing the new age of horror, but they were still manipulating our mind more than spraying guts at us.
The filmmakers brought up on peak gore then paid homage with torture porn flicks like The Human Centipede and Hostel. They were gratuitous, but they didn’t disturb the mind once the eye squelching was done (eye torture was one of the main reasons the infamous and forbidden nasties made the DPP list).
I can’t stomach the gore anymore.
It is not forbidden anymore, it’s primetime mainstream in The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead is far superior to the torture porn, and far more depressing because of it.
I’ve still not done Breaking Bad, but have watched five and a half series of The Walking Dead.
It rarely makes me happy, but I keep going back for more.
Perhaps it replaced my previous malignant addiction of reading the weekly columns of Melanie Phillips.
I would watch five episodes in a row and then wonder why I felt melancholy.
But I like a good zombie romp, so I went back again and again.
Even the repetition didn’t get in the way.
“What’s that, Rick, you’ve had a great idea? Well you are our leader, let’s do it. Oh no, your idea has left most of us dead again. What’s that, Rick, not stay here in this safe place, just keep walking in the middle of nowhere? OK. Oh, you’ve had an idea again. Sure, why not, what could go wrong this time?”
But something happens with age. You’ve read too much of real life atrocities and maybe you have children, and that seems to have changed your fears of the world and reaction to it.
You watch a documentary about Rwandan genocide and you read some Primo Levi, and the escape of watching mindless hordes tear children apart somehow isn’t quite the escapist entertainment it used to be. I think my escapism may need a little more escape in it.
It’s not as bad as Eastenders, where we escape from real life screaming rows by watching fictional screaming rows, just with more smashed crockery and murder.
Is all this an escape or does it mean we can pretend that it is all pretend, it’s all just a story?
I watched The Road once, but The Walking Dead has become like watching The Road over and over again, why would you want to do that?
What I don’t understand is that I convince myself that I shouldn’t watch it, then time passes, and I see the first episode of the next series, and before you know it, I’m knee deep in the offal of my former favourite characters. I’ve read about the new series opener, and it seems like few people felt happy about what they saw.
Do I really need to keep practicing feeling miserable about tragedy and loss with fictional characters when there will be plenty of time to do that for the real?
Brilliantly made, compellingly told, well-acted and all the rest, but I wonder if I can give up this addiction to repeated violent tragedy, I’m not sure it is good for me anymore.
Though I am not giving up horror all together, as this new anthology of horror and ghost stories by Josie Long, Stewart Lee, James Acaster, Alan Moore, Natalie Haynes, me and many more shows. It just got a 9/10 review in Starburst and is available HERE.