With the release of horror movie trailers for deliciously disturbing titles such as The Void, The Autopsy of Jane Doe and The Eyes Of My Mother, one can't help but wonder which of the new films might become a modern controversial hit.
The power of self-expression through art mediums, especially one as viscerally powerful as film, is something many fans of the genre may take for granted. There was, after all, a time when various barriers were set to prevent so-called disturbing films from being released to the public.
In the 1980s, the term "video nasty" gained traction after the British Board of Film Classification started a movement to enforce the Video Recordings Act, which meant if a film didn't meet the board's regulations it couldn't be distributed.
During that period, a list of 72 banned "video nasties" was created, many of which were considered extremely difficult to obtain. However, due to many valiant efforts, infamous titles such as The Evil Dead and I Spit on Your Grave are now staples among genre fans as well as inspiration for daring filmmakers.
Many other "video nasties" remain incredibly difficult to view in their original uncut versions — but the recent horror market shows much promise in fixing that. Various titles have begun to resurface, such as The Driller Killer, which was remastered and rereleased onto Blu-Ray by Arrow Video, a cult film company in the United Kingdom.
The most recent trailer for Raw, currently being hailed as one of horror's next big disturbing movies, encapsulates the level of freedom that directors are able to work with today. The trailer depicts a girl who seems to have a strange obsession with flesh as she is seen eying a shirtless man in between quick cuts of her holding raw meat close to her mouth.
Another trailer for the film The Void harkens back to the influences of horror master John Carpenter (The Thing), as the trailer's quick but merciless cuts show the skin-crawling effects of body horror when spider-like legs are seen clawing out from the mouth of a bloodied corpse. Similar cuts showcase a group of people in cult-like robes surrounding a hospital, while an eerie narrator's solemn, but unnerving words echo throughout the remainder of the trailer: "Do you know where you go when you die? I do."
This year shows promise for the genre. Films such as the all-female directed horror anthology XX are telling different tales through new perspectives within the form. In addition, the exploration of taboo topics, such as in the foreign film We Are the Flesh, challenges viewers with primal images of lust. And classic splatter-fests are practically guaranteed, with a fabled resurgence of Leatherface, the origin film for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre's infamous villain.
Fans of the genre should be happy. Based on these trailers, this year's horror films don't seem afraid to step over any boundaries.