Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Latent "Hostel"ity

I watched "Hostel" today, and "Wolf Creek" last weekend.

Two of the crueler horror flicks to come out in recent years.

I enjoyed both, though "Hostel" more than "Wolf Creek." And I enjoyed "Saw" and "High Tension" ("Haute Tension") recently, too. Basically, any court in the world would convict me of being a gorehound.

But enjoying watching some poor schmucks get tortured in "Hostel" (for those who haven't seen, the best description I've heard yet is that the first half is all sex, and the second half is all blood) sort of makes me wonder.

Is something wrong with me?

During the recent Duke lacrosse rape flap, it comes out that one of the guys on the team apparently sent an e-mail talking about killing strippers.

I'm going to assume, for his sake, and based on having once been a college frat boy myself, that it was a saracastic joke, and he's not actually some kind of psychopath/sociopath.

It makes me wonder, though. Is the difference between your average, everyday person, say, me, and your average, everyday torture-and-murderer simply a matter of conscience? Restraint?

I mean, who among us hasn't thought or said, "I could kill my boss," or "... my wife" or "... that asshole who cut me off today" or whatever?

But very few people really do it.

I'm not talking about self-defense, or rescuing someone you love, or even revenge. I'm not talking about killing or committing another crime with understandable, if not justifiable, motivation.

I'm not talking about robbing a bank to feed your family, or even drunken driving.

I'm talking about committing crimes just for the hell of it.

I'd like to have more money. I think I'm smart enough and aggressive enough that I could rob a bank. So why don't I?

I need to get laid. I'm big enough and strong enough to rape a girl. So why don't I?

Yes, I realize the obvious answer is that I'm a nice guy trying to lead a good life. And I realize that I wouldn't want to get caught and go to jail.

But there's always that question: What if you knew you wouldn't get caught, what would you do? And that's something present in these horror movies I've been watching - it's sort of a given that they've gotten away with it, and will/would continue to get away with it if it weren't for the main characters.

I still don't think I'd do it. I mean, I'd have to live with myself. And I don't think I could.

But... and it's a big "but" (not to be confused with a big "butt")...

As someone adventurous and curious and maybe a little unhinged, yes, I wonder what it would be like. I wonder what it would be like to be a bank robber, to be a killer, to be a criminal of some sort.

And that's what makes me wonder. What would I do? Would I really be as good as I think I am?

In "Hostel," for instance, people pay money to kill other people. I wouldn't. I know I wouldn't. Right? But what if someone paid me? I always say everybody's got a price. Could someone pay me enough to murder a stranger - with no repercussions?

It makes me think of the "ordinary" men and women who tortured Iraqis at Abu Ghraib. Would I torture an enemy for information? I think I would. I'm not saying I'd like it, I'm saying I could justify it in my mind, in time of war. I think it wouldn't take much. But to me, that's different from the pointless murder of innocent people.

Perhaps I have some secret, sadistic side buried somewhere in my subconscious. I don't know. Maybe I'm capable of things I can't imagine I'm capable of.

But I'd rather rescue the girl than gouge out her eye. I'd rather make love than make war. But I'd rather fight than sleepwalk through life. I'd rather live for the adrenaline and aggression than be bored to the point of depression.

I really do wonder, what would it take to tap into my visceral side? What would it take to do that to anyone? And once there, how does one turn that psychosis back off? Or is it just always there?

I know I'm a little unstable, but does grinning at a torture scene in a horror movie, instead of cringing, say more about me than I know? After all, I know it's a movie, right? I'm allowed to be entertained. Right?

I know I'm crazy, but sometimes I wonder.

Youth hostels, probably without hookers and murderers
Wolfe Creek Crater, probably without a madman
Saw blades, not for feet
High-tension lines, a different kind of danger

Yeah, this post is really going to help me get girls. Not. And have I gotten all introspective and philosophical lately, or what?


Freak Magnet said...

Good blog.

I'd comment more, but I think of a lot of the same thing you brought up.

Stewie said...

Perfectly natural, perfectly healthy.

I kill people on a daily basis.

Nothing wrong with your thoughts at all.

Aric Blue said...

Do I even need to tell you my thoughts about all this? :)