Dearest friends and colleagues,
We are going to a place in this column that sadly too many of us know about. We have discussed this before an each time it comes up, we all cringe at the implications that can be had when ignorance and being too overly conservative starts becoming a state of intolerance and dangerous to the creative mind. Unfortunately, we are having to discuss censorship once again as another one of our own is facing criminal charges for making realistic looking horror films. Yes, you read that right. Criminal charges. I am once again disgusted and frustrated and I will explain why in a minute. I hope that you not only read this through but you share it with your friends, supporters, and colleagues to bring to light what a problem this is becoming and how soon enough none of us will be safe.
Just a few months ago I wrote an article about Angel Sala. He is the director of the Sitges Film Festival who was charged with showing child p*rnography due to his allowing of the film A SERBIAN FILM during the fest. I had seen the film and always have and always will attest that NO child p*rnography was present. Yes implied but not present. There is definitely a line that should never be crossed and although I will agree the film was CLOSE to the line, it did not cross it.
Slightly before that article had been written, I had talked about the case of the Soska Sisters who had their film DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK removed from a film festival because the town it was set to play in had previously housed a string of murders with prostitutes being the victims. The town rebelled by vandalizing posters and threatening the venue’s owners until they finally pulled the film. Although I understand the sensitive nature of the crimes that had been committed, I still stand by the thought that this was a case of ignorance spreading like wild fire and people blurring the lines of fact and fiction.
Now we come to the present where, sadly, I am reporting on yet ANOTHER instance of gross overreactions and another person facing criminal charges for their art.
Artist and film maker Remy Couture is facing criminal charges in Canada for allegedly violating obscenity laws due to the graphic and realistic nature of the short films he had posted on his website. I went to check the links of all of his work for posting but am not surprised to report that they have been taken down. People have come out in swarms to protest the charges and support Remy including dressing up in horror related costumes and standing in front of the court house he is being tried in.
The complaints that stem against him are that he has made a series of short films and photographs that depict vile and horrific acts that have crossed their idea of decency. He is also being made to provide proof that none of the actresses in his films were under age and are accusing him of child p*rnography. The actresses and models who have been profiled in his work have come out to say they were treated very well and are, indeed, of age.
Here is the skinny, kids. I have just given you THREE instances of very recent events that show things are getting a bit out of hand in regards to the increasingly ignorant pursuit of criminal charges and discrimination against those who choose to make horror films and related art. Why is it that common sense can fly out of the window when some are faced with images or ideas that THEY may find offensive but have not hurt anyone including themselves. The entire purpose of horror is to invoke feelings of fear and dread in the viewer but doing it in a way to be entertaining to an audience that enjoys those types of situations. This is very simple. If you do not like that type of entertainment, there are genres such as comedy, romance, westerns, etc that would love to have your attention. But to attack and target a person and their art because you were disturbed by the content they presented is not only wrong but also incredibly out of line. I don’t like romance films but you don’t see me calling for criminal charges because sex was presented between two stupid people who found each other in a completely unbelievable and ridiculously illogical way. Can I say I was offended by the implied p*rnography in the film and it damaged my delicate sensibilities? I understand where some of you may find a difference but then again isn’t this all subjective to the person who is viewing the content? There is always going to be censorship. But how far are we going to let it go?
We are seriously looking at having an artist be convicted for doing what all of us do in one way or another. He is being persecuted for his work because it was “too realistic”. Seriously?! OF COURSE it was realistic! That’s the point of horror films! (with the exception of some who make the over the top films for the purpose of being over the top.)
We need to stand up and make a statement. We need to not only support our brothers and sisters in the industry who aren’t doing anything wrong but also to fight this type of abuse of power. That is exactly what it is. An abuse of power by the “morally righteous” who take it upon themselves to decide what people should and should not be able to view, access, and create. We need to talk about this openly and often to make it a big enough issue that something starts being done about it. We need to band together and start being proactive instead of worrying if we will be the next to experience this type of discrimination and persecution. Enough is enough.
I am asking you all to join me in the fight to end ignorance and force upon a new age where people are allowed to create their art freely as long as the REAL morals of decency are not crossed. If we are not actually harming anyone (unless it is with consent from the subject being harmed) and no children are involved, we should be able to create and view what we choose.
If you don’t like something, stay away from it. That is what is called “freedom of choice”. But I refuse to watch my friends and colleagues suffer for what someone else doesn’t like. I won’t stand for it any longer and I hope you won’t either.
Dai Of The Dead: When censorship goes too far. The line between fact and fiction