Now I come to the root of all film evil… SAW! It started all those years ago with an interesting, gross but bearable, low budget feature but has now evolved into a monster which for me, is aptly described as “torture porn”. What sort of a person wants to watch people being burnt alive, having their wrists slashed or their face eaten? This is desensitisation to the nth degree, bluntly beating the minds of our youngsters into a violent pulp. You may be an adult who can understand the fiction, even the comical element of something so crass, but even you can also recognise that with the internet and the supersonic growth of pirated DVDs these images can’t fail to reach the eyes of children.
The solution is clear, do not make SAW, do not distribute SAW and do not screen SAW. Are we so selfish that we will happily risk scarring children indefinately so we can get a fix of this brutality? The global, oppressive world of advertising, proves that people, no matter how objective one tries to be, are influenced by the images that they see. I’m not saying that everyone that watches films like SAW are going to turn into raging psychopaths, but I would argue that to some extent they are going to be desensitised to such images. It follows that their personalities will be altered – I can only assume for the worst, although it is an assumption. But how can watching someone slashed to death with a scythe while another person bathes in their blood, be good for your state of mind? If it is a release from internal desires as some might argue: then in my view these people don’t need to watch a movie, they need to be looked after by state care.
In today’s British liberal society, many will see this view as extreme censorship and an attack on “freedom of speech”. I would argue that those who reject the view are irresponsible, perhaps without the necessary principles to make such a seemingly strong statement. It takes very little moral fiber to defend freedom of speech because it is an “everything goes” philosophy, but we all know that in practical terms “everything DOES NOT go”. The primary example of this, is that famous cartoon of Mohammed. Certainly the Muslim community had the right to be thoroughly pissed off and wave their fists and protest peacefully etc. But where was the defence of freedom of speech? Well, as we all know the defence slowly melted away in the face of national apology and mass resignation. Freedom of speech in this case was exposed as a farce and became what it is today, “freedom to say what you want as long as no one is offended”. Thus freedom of speech is not a justified reason for allowing SAW-like films to be developed and screened, the government of Britain has the responsibility to sensor what it feels is morally inappropriate, and does not represent the best values of this nation. There are things you don’t say, you don’t do and you shouldn’t film – how did “torture porn” slip under the radar?
Money £££££££. Unfortunately the reality is that films like SAW are extremely lucrative, it seems that a lot of people get pleasure from blood, guts and torture. How else do you suppose the SAW franchise is making so many terrible sequels? SAW, it seems, is giving the people what they want. I would argue that the reason the people want it, is to reach the next levels of sensation. The average person spends an inordinate amount of time and money, plugged into visual media – computers rule our lives and we live vicariously through the actions of virtual people or TV/Film celebrities. The general mass of the human population has no inspiration, creativity or hope, that they can achieve something better then their first pint on the weekend. The release from the daily humdrum, something exciting, something to tell their friends about. SAW does not provide an escape, it is a fuel to that desensitisation and numbs the mind. It crushes everything which makes humanity inspiring and wonderful. It’s not clever, it’s not creative, it is a lazy style of film-making – censor it!