it comes to creepy movies, I'm utterly yellow.
up all those brought up with the cane, and threatened
with monsters, prison or violence for mischief,
idleness or bad grades
resisted watching The Ring, bowed out of The Blair Witch
Project, avoided The Exorcist.
I've never had a problem with gore or violence.
flying in gritty flicks like Saving Private Ryan are just
so much SFX rubber and fake blood to me. So I swallowed
the gut-wrenching visuals of Hannibal last week with little
more than critical distaste: Such unsubtle movie-making,
I heard the faint sounds of my fellow moviegoers sobbing,
whimpering and gagging, during - you know - the dinner scene.
''What were the censors thinking?'' exclaimed a friend in
Australia when told about the film getting a PG, then NC-16
rating only after public protest ('So, sex is bad but violence
okay?' Eyeball, Feb 23).
he's one of those who routinely lament the heavy hand of
the Films and Publications Department (FPD) lost their touch?
the film's undeniable commercial appeal hold sway?
had they deemed the general public, like myself, largely
inured to gruesome violence?
all, the full-coloured gore of real-life decapitated heads
and spilt blood have already been splashed in the newspapers.
Hannibal is arguably a morality tale, that oh-so-Asian art
1: Don't be rude.
2: Never take food from strangers.
culture loves to scare its children straight.
up all those brought up with the cane, and threatened with
monsters/prison/violence for mischief, idleness or bad grades.
the Hell Galleries - once the signature dish at Haw Par
a child, I was marched past its 3D cavalcade of imaginative
punishments meted out for various moral crimes - adultery
(boiled in oil), lying (tongue cut out), treason (hung,
drawn and quartered).
made Hannibal seem positively amateurish.
course, the tour was designed as a moral tonic for the young.
something primal about inflicting violence as retribution
- and it's been creeping into our cultural psyche since
be rude to your elders, ''or else the lightning god will
strike you down'', writer Catherine Lim reminds us in an
about the clueless recruit in the NS ghost story?
tactlessly defiled some ancient grave - and was found the
next day with trench tools in his belly and innards on the
grow up with the macabre - and that might explain the runaway
popularity of horror stories in our bookstores and cinemas.
love for horror could also be harmless escapism, all the
more appealing because it's so remote from our ordered,
safe, rational existence.
might even answer a deep human call for natural justice.
yearn to see the big, bad and ugly receive - or in some
cases become - just des(s)erts.
while sex, particularly in art, tends to celebrate transgression,
horror reaffirms the authority of forces beyond our control:
Divine retribution, the supernatural, Hannibal's genius.
all about respect.
censors probably have more earthly reasons when they chop
out porn and let in the slashers.
the process certainly deserves a closer look after the ruckus
helps that the FPD's new website and film database (http://www.fpd.gov.sg)
exposes film-rating decisions (though not the reasons behind
them) to the light of public scrutiny.
they're slowly opening up their X-files and engaging with
the alternative - a mysterious censorship process that's
still in the dark and out of touch with public taste - is