I finally sat down and watched the first episode of Idris Elba’s TV show Luther.
I’d been told to watch it for months by people I knew…but never did. Now I wish I’d seen it earlier. It’s awesome.
Only problem I’ve found is that, in the 3 episodes I’ve watched so far, some of the violence causes me to go “Ew!” and turn away from the screen (pervy middle aged guy licking woman’s face while she pisses herself with fear AND he laughs at her, being one example of several).
A few years ago this wouldn’t have bothered me. Many years ago and I’d have thought it was brilliant. Now, it’s not to my taste so much.
But something I didn’t see before as clearly was just how much the violence I lapped up on TV and in books and comics as a kid and young adult, was a fuse and a safety valve for my rage and depression at being unhappy and feeling like an impotent victim.
I was bullied badly growing up. Teachers, my mother, my peers, even my so called friends. From physical to verbal to emotional. Biggest problem was that I was never EVER allowed to retaliate. After all, I’d brought all this on myself so the least I could do was to take my beating/ humiliation/ punishment/ tongue lashing with humility. One lad at school began hitting me and after about 30 seconds shouted in indignant fury, “don’t you KICK me!!!”
Kind of a King Joffrey from Game of Thrones attitude.
People said back then (and still say now) that violent films and violent novels “make” people go out and commit violent crimes. Ignorant cunts like Mary Whitehouse (thankfully now long dead) or even Prince Charles would state it was “palpable nonsense” that it DIDN’T have this effect. Without offering any palpable evidence to back up these twatty theories.
In the Jamie Bulger case, the two kids who bounced rocks off his head and threw him onto a railway line were obviously inspired to do it by watching horror movie Child’s Play 3. There was no proof they’d seen it.
Michael Ryan gunned down his neighbours in the village of Hungerford in 1987 as he was clearly a massive fan of the movie Rambo (even though he didn’t own a VCR and there was no proof he’d ever seen the film).
And let’s not forget Columbine. Where Marilyn Manson was blamed for his “goth rock” influence on making two angelic cherubs pick up automatic weapons and kill their classmates. They also had classical music CDs in their collections…but blaming Mozart for what they did wouldn’t sell as many newspapers.
But I digress…
Something that has occurred to me for the first time this week is that my violent fantasies (some of which were sexual) were not inspired by what I saw on TV or read in books and magazines. I did not wish to recreate these events in real life. What this world of dark imagination was achieving was allowing me a refuge to vent my anger (an anger I was never EVER allowed to verbalise or express in anything other than in the calmest, most polite of voices…with a smile and an “Excuse me?” to get attention).
When you spend most of your waking day thinking everyone dislikes you, becoming frustrated as the injustice and abuse that the everyday world continues to shit all over you, then you turn to other methods to cope.
Fantasy and the world of the imagination is a place full of light and dark. In my case the world was very, VERY dark but it felt soooo good.
In the 1981movie The Prowler/ Rosemary’s Killer (a shite and very dull Friday the 13th rip off) there’s a scene where a man sitting on the edge of a bed has a hand clamped over his mouth and a bayonet thrust through the top of his head so far that the point emerges from under his chin. He makes an agonised choking sound and then attempts to prise the fingers off that are covering his mouth. All the while blood runs in torrents down his face and shirt. The camera briefly cuts to his girlfriend in the shower and when it cuts back he is still struggling but then his eyes roll back into his skull so they look completely white and his hands fall away while he continues to try and move his jaw.
The icing on the cake is that the killer then goes to the shower and murders the guy’s naked girlfriend with a pitchfork. You even got to see her big tits bouncing around as the blood poured out and she screamed in pain and tried to push the prongs back out of her chest.
Reading that back now it sounds truly horrible but this movie had special effects by Tom Savini (make up artist on George Romero’s zombie movies and two Friday the 13th films AND he played groin guarded-machine gun biker Sex Machine in the George Clooney movie From Dusk Till Dawn). The film went on to make a LOT of money worldwide, mainly due to the protracted and realistic looking (at least at the time) gore scenes. Go on YouTube and search for this movie and you will find at least 10 separate uploads of JUST the kills from the film in lovingly crafted montages from people all over the world.
So it wasn’t just me that felt like this.
What I realised today is that this dark, thorny and horrifying world of violence, pain and domination was simply a release. I never wanted to go there for real. I never wanted to hurt innocent people (invariably the victims in slasher films)** BUT I found my safety valve for how bad I was feeling was to escape to a place in my head where pain and retribution were mine to distribute to whoever the hell I liked.
Without this release mechanism I probably wouldn’t have dealt so well with the feelings of anger, isolation, loneliness and despair that were my daily bread from the age of 9 to about 17. I’ve never been arrested. I’ve never hit anyone in anger since I was a child, unless it was self defence. I’ve never deliberately hurt anyone (physically or emotionally) unless I believed they fundamentally deserved it.
Stephen King has written some very violent and beautifully crafted horror stories. Despite the fact that my favourite King tale is The Jaunt the most unpleasant short story he’s written is 1408. The imagery is beyond terrifying and the whole thing is a masterpiece. King is a happily married man with grown up children. Thing is, he is VERY much in touch with his dark side and is able to tap into it to write his stories. As a result, he’s a world renowned millionaire author, not some freak who may go out and commit mass murder due to his violent visions.
When I got off thinking about garrotting my former boss with piano wire. When I had posters of Jason Voorhees and Freddy Kruger on my bedroom wall. It wasn’t because I wanted to dress up and be like them for real*** it was because they spoke to my dark side. They allowed me a release for all that negative energy that otherwise would have been stored up and would always be contained until it spilled over and became horrific and unstoppable.
Some women watch the movie An Officer & A Gentleman because they like to “have a good cry.”****
Some people watch drivel like Coronation Street or Eastenders as it allows them to live vicariously through a variety of adulterers, bigamists and killers.*****
Others read novels, because their imagination is allowed to envisage the worlds that the author has so lovingly displayed.
And more people than you would guess, are into violent fiction of different media varieties, because it allows them to let off steam in a harmless way that reality cannot ever provide for ordinary people.
** Although they would invariably provoke the killer's wrath through such unforgiveable sins as smoking pot, having casual sex or swearing.
*** Except maybe at a fancy dress party/ comic con.
**** Not sexist. Name one bloke who would admit to this! Even a gay bloke!
***** And occasionally fruit sellers or barmaids.