There’s no denying the fact that the internet can be a dark, fucked up place.
Just as you can’t help but rubberneck when you drive by a truly brutal car crash, similarly, you cannot help but check out that new gruesome, disturbing video you’ve heard about as it makes its rounds through the Twitter-sphere; it’s science, it’s human nature. Carl Jung, the father of analytical psychology, concluded we have a legitimate need to indulge our most morbid of thoughts and interests. Moreover, repressing these thoughts may actually result in their festering in your brain until they become full-blown neuroses and psychoses. So don’t worry – you’re not as fucked up as you may think.
And to the point, I promise you that I’m not the product of the Manson Family. I have never brutalized animals. Never tore off limbs from my sister’s Barbie dolls (Cabbage Patch Kids – well, that’s a different story) – but I am just as disturbed as most of the contemporaries, at least in terms of content consumption.
Perhaps this fascination was borne from my own experience, like when my brother ripped his face open on a trampoline spring while wrestling with friends. One bad bounce and unfortunately his face was punctured with the end of a metal spring and the force from the actual bounce ended up ripping his face open. Thankfully, it only resulted in a minor scar that is no longer noticeable because over time it has moved to the crease of his nose. Or maybe it was during summer league baseball when he slid into home and hit the plate at just the wrong angle so that it ripped open his knee, exposing his kneecap and all. There are so many more gruesome examples of things that transpired over my childhood that could contribute to my desensitized nature regarding gore.
I was simply a boy who grew up in the ‘90s with a brother 5 years my senior who introduced me to Nirvana, skateboarding, and Faces of Death. For the uninitiated, Conan LeCilaire’s Faces of Death (and the many sequels and derivations that resulted) is an American horror film depicting numerous violent and fatal acts in unnecessary detail; the film created a cult-like following steadily growing since the film’s original release in 1978.
My mom would drive all of us to the local Blockbuster and we’d each get to pick out a VHS (and later a DVD). More often than not, Older Brother would rent Faces of Death…I can only hope that my Mom only allowed this out of complete ignorance. According to one study, the average TV-viewing American youth will be exposed to 16,000 simulated acts of murder ad over 200,000 acts of violence before their 18th birthday. I think Faces of Death filled my lifetime quota. Thankfully, (to the best of my knowledge) my brother has yet to act out any of the acts we watched…he’s actually a very nice, passive person…again, somehow.
My interest in the films wasn’t as authentic as my brother’s, but this poor, little closeted gay boy would be willing to endure far worse than Faces of Death if it meant fitting in with my older brother and his friends. My blue doe eyes, still innocent in my youth, were affixed to the screen – murder, after suicide, after (literal) train-wreck. The cheers, laughter, and yells from my stoned brother and his friends grew in volume and intensity as the scenes became more and more offensive. As hoops and hollers turned into groans of disgust and simulated vomiting, we all willfully watched this shit.
Skip to many years later and here I am on Facebook clicking around when I came across a group of like-minded weirdos like myself relishing in this masochistic relationship we’ve developed with gore. The private Facebook group appropriately titled “why the fuck do i always click uncover photo despite my better judgement” [sic] has over 18,000 members aggregating the goriest and most grotesque videos and images the internet has to offer in one place.
Is it bloodier than a Tarantino film? Yeah. Is it disturbing? You betcha.
But if your constitution can stomach seeing entrails pouring out of someone, badly broken limbs, animal attacks, or someone decapitated…then check it out.