Nancy Regans 'Just say no to drugs' campaign in the 80's was the supposed retaliation and answer to the 'war on drugs.' A fitting retort, and a new exclamation to all the would be 12 year old boggie sugar users and nerduels contemplating a tasty joint being dangled in front of them by the same country supplying them with said narcotics.
Here, today, on Halloween were not dressing up like Nancy Regan, were replacing the word drugs with Outlast, Metro, Dreadhalls, Vanishing, Resident Evil. That phrase campaign is just as relevant today as we want it to be. I didn't say no to anything in the 80's and look at me now. A popular adage in the improv game is 'just say Yes', which i have been living by for years. But we all have friends who just have to 'say no to horror games.'
Saying no to a great Horror game is really hard for me. Especially with all the great indie titles being released in the past years. Although many of them fall flat they are just as important. At the very least, we learn what doesn't scare us so we can streamline our terror and tailor our experiences for a truly personal exercise in fear. That's not crazy right? The more i play the more i realize when to put my severed foot down, what i just can not allow into my horrorscape any longer. This includes
Rape: I've seen enough of this for a lifetime of celibacy. I'm done with rape and I get it. I don't need to see that anymore. In games it's pretty rare to walk into a huge rape scene (Tomb Raider, Hotline Miami 2). But with film its rampant, Usually its pointless and only serves the viewers discomfort. The power of rape on screen is that we are helpless as a viewer to do anything about it. I have a FF button and eyes that i can close but that's about it. There is nothing new or inventive to be done with rape scenes anymore and there is nothing to be gained by it. Of all horror i'm the most uncomfortable and annoyed with rape and one other exception.
Torture: Nails torn free from hands, knees stabbed slowly, eyes pulled out, you get the idea. We've all experienced torture in some way. I don't mean that 'friday can't come fast enough' kind of pain but real helpless, nightmary agony. I just can't take it anymore. The last torture anything i saw was Wolf Creek 2. This villain is amazingly well done. With John Jarratt playing the role of Mick Taylor. Hes essentially the protagonist of the story as well. You can see his face, he shows up at the beginning of the movie. He simply hates people and does very Snarff worthy things to innocent travelers. Maybe its watching someone tied up in a chair, or the screaming, or the sound of the skill saw whirring at 1200 RPM. or the blood mist covering the body parts. It captures my imagination so well that i cant help but kick and squirm when i watch it because i can easily assume the role of the victim. It a very powerful device horror uses and something i just can't do anymore. Fuck, i had a hard time with watching Snake in Metal Gear 3. It physically effects me. My heart is jacked, my hands are sweaty and my mouth gets really dry. I respect the power of torture in a story but i just have to say ' Nope, fuck this' pause, menu, quit.
An interesting conversation i had a few weeks back with some friends involved rape vs torture. See i learned that for women Rape is a mans version of Torture. A man watching Saw should stir up the same reaction that a woman might have to a rape sequence. Except for us men, were not continuously thinking about possibly being overwhelmed and tortured as were walking home alone late at night. It was a great conversation that had me really realizing how women feel about rape and how ubiquitous those thoughts for women are.
That being said the real reason we can't turn on our PC's and consoles at night is the tried, tested and always effective jump scare. What a cunt these things are. I feel like every time it happens to me i loose about a week off of my total life span. Incredibly cheap yet effective. They are here to stay and will be forever be keeping us on our toes.