Most people think that Gore is a part of Horror: either an aspect, a device, or a subgenre.
It’s not. It’s distinct. It’s like the difference between Erotica and Porn, which was one best described as the use of a feather compared to using the entire chicken. Take that into the Horror world, and it’s like the sight of Jamal Khashoggi going into the embassy and then seeing men walking out of the embassy with large duffel bags, compared to actually seeing the bone saw cutting through his arms while his screams echoed throughout Istanbul.
It’s a matter of tact, of class. Sure, you can go for your Hostel, or I Spit on Your Grave, if you’re so inclined, but real Horror, I mean the REAL stuff, is the stuff that gets you in your sleep afterward. It’s the Psycho, or the original Haunting of Hill House. You never saw the blade actually touch Janet Leigh, and most of the horror of Hill House is the banging on the walls. THAT’s the stuff that really brings out the true terror.
Alfred Hitchcock once described how to build tension in movies: you have a scene where a man is sitting at a desk, talking, and the camera shows a bomb under his chair. As he talks, the camera cuts to the bomb. You even see a clock winding down. He doesn’t know there’s a bomb there, but you’re thinking GET OUT! GET OUT! … that, Mr. Hitchcock says, is much more effective than simply having a man talk and then suddenly a bomb blows up.
It’s the subtlety of craftfully building up a scene and just dumping buckets of blood all over the floors. Hey, though, I’m not here to tell you what you should watch, or even what is “better.” But I think you get where I’m going with this: I fall on the side of craft, elegance, style, over mere shock and schlock. Every time. It’s not just classier, it’s more effective.
And yes, Gore can be a part of a good Horror movie. When used well, it can truly emphasize the immediacy and the ultimate terror of the film. High Impact is a good example. John Carpenter’s The Thing is another. But when a film (or story, etc.) just uses Gore for the sake of shock, it loses all its true value, and becomes mere overhyped stimulation of the baser instincts of the brain.
It’s like Porn. I mean, the camera opens with two people going at it on a counter top is just like watching two hours of a hacksaw chopping up bodies. Whereas Erotica grows the story where the erotic tension builds between two (or more!) people where they finally just explode in a fit a passion in the same way that a horror movie builds and builds the suspense until the final moment in Paranormal Activity when that thing finally pops out of the ceiling and you’re like holy shi
[THIS IS WHERE THE MANUSCRIPT ENDED. WE FOUND THIS ON HIS COMPUTER AND THE EDITORS HAVE PRINTED IT IN ITS ENTIRETY. WE HAVE NOT YET LOCATED THE WRITER, KNOWN ONLY AS “MR”]