Growing up, my friends would always try to convince me to watch scary movies. They love excitement of the gore and suspense. They find a thrill in that bah dum… BaH dUm… BAH DUM… that replicates their heartbeats right before a monster or villain jumps out to attack. The only scary movie I ever sat through – and not by choice – was Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I can still envision, years later, the scene where the traumatized hitchhiker shoots herself in the head. I remember pulling the blanket over my eyes and cringing at the bang of the gun. But my friends barely flinched. Shocked by their lack of reaction, I remember questioning the influence of horror films. Surely they are meant for entertainment, but could they be doing more bad than good?
I feel that as a society, we have become placid by horror films. Even the most gruesome scenes don’t affect moviegoers. What does this say about our society as a whole?
In parallel, I believe we as “viewers” have become jaded by the abundance of unethical behavior by companies. There’s no shock factor any more. A company commits fraud, avoids tax regulations, and provides insufficient working conditions overseas? It barely phases us.
How have we developed the ability to distance ourselves from these events? Many of my friends have explained to me that while yes, the events on the screen are frightening and ghastly, “It’s all fake. I mean they use ketchup as blood!” And as for misconduct overseas, or even on US soil but contained within a company, there exists a clear division between a corporation and American citizens. But this behavior is a recent phenomenon. We didn’t used to be complacent about blood and guts and we certainly did not accept the misconduct of American enterprises, corporations or the government? We have an electric past of Americans rallying across the states to bring soldiers home.
When and why did this hange occur? And should we be doing something about it?