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Old 11-11-2005, 12:52
McPhee
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Back in the days when the Roman Empire was glorious, and the Flavian Ampitheatres were packed full of a mob of up to 50,000, gladiators would act out real battles, wars and historical events. The mob would cheer in a thrilled frenzy at the blood, mutilation and death. When I try and imagine the atmosphere, I wonder what it was that made this spectacle so irrestistable to the Romans.

In our own history, public executions were commonplace. I wonder if families packed sandwhiches for their day out to the scaffold. I wonder how loudly they cheered as they watched the condemned being tortured...

Today people love to watch horror movies. Some are simply packed full of vile butchery, gore and blood. Do we relate to the murderer, or do we relate to the victim? Why do we want to watch such things?

Is it similar to pornography? What is the appeal?

pornography
noun [u] (INFORMAL porn) DISAPPROVING
books, magazines, films, etc. with no artistic value which describe or show sexual acts or naked people in a way that is intended to be sexually exciting but would be considered unpleasant or offensive by many people:


Sorry for the long opening post. I know sometimes they can be off putting.
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Old 11-11-2005, 13:08
Richie12345
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Apparently the Gladitorial games was a spring board of sexual excitement, prostitutes in ancient Rome were at their busiest after the games (apparently). Female members of the Roman society lusted after the men who partook in the games. But i can't for the life of me see why it was such an appeal. Just a different time and the Romans belived that they were superiour and didn't care about other races maybe.
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Old 11-11-2005, 13:14
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I suppose we're just fulfilling our base needs.. Hummanity on the whole is pretty vile..For another example of this kind of behaviour see here (You could buy postcards of the lynchings) ..

Don't really see the connection with porn and horror films myself though
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Old 11-11-2005, 13:16
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I've heard a few times that one of the reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire was a decline in morals and values.

I see things going on in this country and think 'it seems like we're going back to the Roman Times'.

Makes you wonder where our hedonistic society will lead us.
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Old 11-11-2005, 13:18
McPhee
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Originally Posted by Misanthrope
Don't really see the connection with porn and horror films myself though
I suppose my basis for connecting porn with horror films is that both are based on visual images that are there to stimulate some sort of inner instinct or base emotion, without any sort of intellectual point behind it.

For some reason I went to see "Saw 2" last night. At the end I thought, why the hell do people want to watch something like that? It was terrible. It was blatantly just a film about people being mutilated in nasty ways.
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Old 11-11-2005, 13:31
Knarf44
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On the Roman Empire stuff I think it was largely a result of the attitude that Romans felt they were far superior to everyone else, the slaves were nothing to them, mere chattels there to please the owner in any way they saw fit. If that meant having them butchered for entertainment or amusement then so be it. I guess it was one huge meglomanical trip for them.
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Old 11-11-2005, 13:32
Girth
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Originally Posted by McPhee
For some reason I went to see "Saw 2" last night. At the end I thought, why the hell do people want to watch something like that? It was terrible. It was blatantly just a film about people being mutilated in nasty ways.
It's a vicarious thrill, a bit like bungee-jumping or roller-coasters - you experience danger/horror/fear without any risk (or minimal risk, at least).
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Old 11-11-2005, 13:36
Misanthrope
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Originally Posted by McPhee
I suppose my basis for connecting porn with horror films is that both are based on visual images that are there to stimulate some sort of inner instinct or base emotion, without any sort of intellectual point behind it.
Yeah, I agree with you there.. I phrased my post badly, I meant I didn't see the connection between the reality of public executions etc and the simulated acts in horror films..People know the films not real.

I'd like to think that most people would be unable to deal with the acts portrayed in horrror films if they were to see them in reality.. But then again people enjoyed a good lynching so I don't know what that proves other than humanity is fairly horrible..

I can see the appeal of porn much more easily as wanting to **** would be a logical base need for a species.
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Old 11-11-2005, 13:37
Richie12345
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Originally Posted by McPhee
I suppose my basis for connecting porn with horror films is that both are based on visual images that are there to stimulate some sort of inner instinct or base emotion, without any sort of intellectual point behind it.

For some reason I went to see "Saw 2" last night. At the end I thought, why the hell do people want to watch something like that? It was terrible. It was blatantly just a film about people being mutilated in nasty ways.

I think where horror films are concerned it's just about being entertained in a different way. I love horror films and i suppose it's about the suspense not the gore, the gore is just an aid to the suspense. If every film was a comedy we would soon stop finding things funny.
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Old 11-11-2005, 13:46
Knarf44
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Originally Posted by Misanthrope
Yeah, I agree with you there.. I phrased my post badly, I meant I didn't see the connection between the reality of public executions etc and the simulated acts in horror films..People know the films not real.

I'd like to think that most people would be unable to deal with the acts portrayed in horrror films if they were to see them in reality.. But then again people enjoyed a good lynching so I don't know what that proves other than humanity is fairly horrible..

I can see the appeal of porn much more easily as wanting to **** would be a logical base need for a species.

But isn't it the old problem of the more you see of death, destruction, mutilation, porn the less it shocks. You become hardened to it and then you want something that will return you to that feeling of shock or revulsion. As a result you want everything to become more extreme, more graphic, more vile, more scary etc etc

Don't wish to hijack the OP but there's another obvious and often debated subject that arises from this and that is should there be a line drawn at some point or should these things be left to naturally evolve until individuals themselves decide they have had enough?

It seems there are already many people suffering from an inability to distinguish between movie based fanstasy and reality. Everyday violence is becoming more extreme, kids now blow up small dogs with fireworks or try to hang each other from trees etc. Pensioners are beaten to a pulp just for the sake of it and schoolgirl stabbed with scissors etc etc
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Old 11-11-2005, 13:52
Girth
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Originally Posted by Knarf44
Everyday violence is becoming more extreme, kids now blow up small dogs with fireworks or try to hang each other from trees etc. Pensioners are beaten to a pulp just for the sake of it and schoolgirl stabbed with scissors etc etc
I would contend that these things have always happened, and always will happen, it's just that the moralists like to get in a froth about it.
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Old 11-11-2005, 13:55
Misanthrope
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Originally Posted by Knarf44
But isn't it the old problem of the more you see of death, destruction, mutilation, porn the less it shocks. You become hardened to it and then you want something that will return you to that feeling of shock or revulsion. As a result you want everything to become more extreme, more graphic, more vile, more scary etc etc

Don't wish to hijack the OP but there's another obvious and often debated subject that arises from this and that is should there be a line drawn at some point or should these things be left to naturally evolve until individuals themselves decide they have had enough?

It seems there are already many people suffering from an inability to distinguish between movie based fanstasy and reality. Everyday violence is becoming more extreme, kids now blow up small dogs with fireworks or try to hang each other from trees etc. Pensioners are beaten to a pulp just for the sake of it etc etc
Yeah it seems fairly clear cut that people generally become desensitised to stimuli over time..I don't know for sure but I would speculate most "normal" people have some kind of mental barrier or line which once reached they won't go past..

I don't know if violence is becoming more exteme, I reckon peoples overall vileness is pretty much a constant, it's just easier to get an idea of it these days..

If anything I'd speculate we might even be a more civilised society than in the past
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Old 11-11-2005, 14:12
Knarf44
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Originally Posted by Girth
I would contend that these things have always happened, and always will happen, it's just that the moralists like to get in a froth about it.

Ok, perhaps the point I should have made is that we all seem less shocked by hearing about these things nowadays than perhaps our parents and grandparents would have been.

What is wrong with being a moralist? Are you saying that we should live in a society where anything and everything is tolerated, no matter what? Surely, that would be a step back into our dim and distant past?
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Old 11-11-2005, 14:19
Girth
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Originally Posted by Knarf44
Ok, perhaps the point I should have made is that we all seem less shocked by hearing about these things nowadays than perhaps our parents and grandparents would have been.
Given the amount of frothing that goes on in newspapers/phone-ins/message-boards when these things occur I would say that people are at least as shocked as previous generations, if not more so.

What is wrong with being a moralist? Are you saying that we should live in a society where anything and everything is tolerated, no matter what? Surely, that would be a step back into our dim and distant past?
No, I'm saying people should be less judgemental and self-righteous.
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Old 11-11-2005, 14:30
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Originally Posted by beneneuman
...where our hedonistic society will lead us.
Straight into the fires of hell, where Satan will punish you with eternal suffering for your sins and debauchery!

I wonder whether he uses a leather whip
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Old 11-11-2005, 14:33
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Originally Posted by McPhee
For some reason I went to see "Saw 2" last night. At the end I thought, why the hell do people want to watch something like that? It was terrible. It was blatantly just a film about people being mutilated in nasty ways.
Thank you. You have reminded me of what apalled me about the first one, and why I shall now choose not to see the second
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Old 11-11-2005, 14:36
McPhee
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Originally Posted by Girth

No, I'm saying people should be less judgemental and self-righteous.
I'm not sure where you are coming from here. How is it self-righteous to speculate, and to consider the human race and their inner tastes? To speak for myself, I am not condemning single people, I'm questioning all of us. It's not judgemental either, no one is saying "this is wrong or bad", what I am asking is "why?"
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Old 11-11-2005, 14:41
Girth
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Originally Posted by McPhee
I'm not sure where you are coming from here. How is it self-righteous to speculate, and to consider the human race and their inner tastes? To speak for myself, I am not condemning single people, I'm questioning all of us. It's not judgemental either, no one is saying "this is wrong or bad", what I am asking is "why?"
Perhaps I should have said 'self-appointed moral guardians' rather than 'moralists'. I'm not having a go at you.
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Old 11-11-2005, 14:44
Knarf44
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Originally Posted by Girth
Given the amount of frothing that goes on in newspapers/phone-ins/message-boards when these things occur I would say that people are at least as shocked as previous generations, if not more so.
Sure, a lot of shock is expressed but is it real genuine gut wrenching sick to the stomach shock that you then think about for the rest of the day or more of a Oooh, that's terrible now where's my coffee type of reaction?

No, I'm saying people should be less judgemental and self-righteous.
We are all self-righteous/judgemental in our own ways, you are for saying that others should be less so.
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Old 11-11-2005, 14:46
Girth
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Originally Posted by Knarf44
We are all self-righteous/judgemental in our own ways, you are for saying that others should be less so.
Which makes me self-righteous, doesn't it? Confound you and your blasted logic!
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Old 11-11-2005, 14:47
McPhee
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Originally Posted by Girth
Perhaps I should have said 'self-appointed moral guardians' rather than 'moralists'. I'm not having a go at you.
Oh I know you are not having a go, neither am I.

But as far as I'm concerned morals don't come into the debate at this stage. I am interested in the motivations.
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Old 11-11-2005, 15:00
Knarf44
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I see the motivations as I have already mentioned, the need for us humans to be more shocked than we were lastime. I am sure it was the same for ancient romans, those who used to watch public executions etc as it is for us now.

You can only watch someone having their head cut off or being hanged or being eviscerated so many times before you become desensitised to it. The motivation is therefore a personal one, you want to see how far you can push your own individual limits before you end up barfing.
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