For years, some people have looked at horror and other such genres as a lesser form of art. They believe these films are setting bad examples for children and must be kept from them at all costs. There are even some who, if given the opportunity, would keep everyone from watching horror movies and shows that deal with paranormal/supernatural topics as well. What those who are opposed to them may not realize is, these same things they seek to censor are actually promoting some great values. Ones are that are sorely needed in today’s reality show-obsessed culture that promotes “me” above all others. Let’s look at the evidence…
Take Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for example. Conservative groups were angry at the show for promoting witchcraft, demons, etc., overlooking the moral messages in each episode. The main characters, known as the Scooby Gang on the show, were teenagers who decide to take a stand and help out when they discover their new friend is sworn to save the world from evil. Each week these characters risked their lives to make sure the world woke up the next day. Buffy even gave her own life willingly to stop an apocalypse once. What better message is there to send then this? When Willow gets involved with magic, she ignores the advice of the group’s mentor and jumps too fast into her occult studies. She mocks Giles as being over-cautious and insists she knows exactly what she’s doing. Years later, she became a victim of this power she craved and nearly destroyed the world. When Buffy decided to sleep with her vampire boyfriend, he turns into a psychotic monster due to a curse placed on him a long time ago that prevents him from really experiencing happiness. Year after year, the Scoobies worked to defeat evil and always won. Seems like a great message… if one looks beneath the surface.
The series Tales from the Crypt is a series full of moral lessons. In one episode, a husband who kills his wife’s pets and stuffs them suffers the same fate when she discovers what he’s done. A woman who kills her husband for the insurance money ends up falling victim to a deranged Santa on Christmas. Yet another episode features an extremely vain and greedy woman who agrees to a procedure that takes her beauty, leaving her old and wrinkled. She goes so far as to kill her boyfriend to get the money to buy her beauty back, but finds out she can’t because the cops are on to her. She has to stay ugly to avoid going to jail. Bottom line? Bad people always get what’s coming to them.
Slasher films are almost as good for this. The people who are selfish, into drugs, and other such activities are usually the victims in these films. Only the hero and/or heroine (who have done none of these things) end up surviving the killing spree in the end. The movie Jason X even makes a very pointed joke about this. In one scene, the characters Jason is stalking use a hologram of several women asking if he likes drugs and sex to distract him. As soon as the questions are asked, the rage is clearly visible through the infamous hockey mask as he sets his sights on the “wicked” girls in the hologram, forgetting all about the real people he was stalking. Another movie, Scream, has a self-proclaimed horror movie expert in it who lectures the others on this and similar other “rules” of the genre. A Nightmare on Elm Street is the same way. In the fourth film, one of the only characters to survive was the virginal and sweet Alice, a quiet girl who spends most of the movie trying to cope with an abusive parent and her increasing guilt over the loss of her friends.
So why is this genre considered to be bad for people and part of the corruption of today’s youth? Because they contain material that some may find offensive. The people who carry on about the values these movies/shows are (possibly indirectly) promoting are not looking beyond the surface to see the symbolism in them and explain it to their sons and daughters. To me, that is the real problem with today’s society: the inability to look beyond appearances and see what’s really there.