How Far Is Too Far?
I could take it a step further and ask, what is the purpose of Art? John Steinbeck said that it was to help people understand each other better, and I’m down with that. But I’d add to it. It also helps us to understand ourselves better. In some respects, every artistic expression is a celebration of human life, of the simple phenomenon of being human. There are degrees, of course. Some expressions are surely “better” than others. The Sistine Chapel is an expression of it and THE ROOM is an expression of it, but the two are hardly on the same level.
How about Horror in particular? What is the purpose of Horror? I would say, at the risk of gross oversimplification, that make-believe scary stuff makes the real scary stuff we have to deal with in life less scarier, easier to process. Sounds good, dunnit? But is there a point wherein an artistic expression ceases to be a reflection of the phenomenon of humanity? At what point does something stop being Art and become gratuitous flailing in the dark, inchoate sound and fury signifying nothing, mental masturbation indulging the basest animal urges? At what point does it no longer celebrate human existence and begin to devalue it?
The line is porous. It’s impossible to put a finger on it. But eBay recently decided that a prop from A SERBIAN FILM had crossed that line. I’m not comfortable with eBay serving as the decider of artistic relevance, and I oppose censorship in all its forms, but I can understand why they’d want to distance themselves from the movie. It is repugnant. Considering that one of the primary motivations of the filmmakers was simply to create something to shock—their own admission—it’s hard to find anything whatsoever artistically worthwhile about it. (Same goes for those HUMAN CENTIPEDE movies.) While the creators claimed the film was meant as a commentary on the exploitation of Serbian cinema by outside financiers, I don’t buy it. If they’d tried to convince us that it was metaphorical of the wartime atrocities all too common in that part of the world, I might have been more inclined to believe them. As it is, this is a movie the Marquis de Sade would find sickening. When I think of Serbia, I want to think of it as the homeland of Petar Blagojevic, not as the country that birthed such a cinematic abomination.
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!