Some weeks ago I was explaining to a friend why I will never watch Saving Private Ryan. To me it seemed pretty self evident. I regard Spielberg as a hack, and I detest gratuitous violence. I would define gratuitous rather broadly with regard to film. The Cinema's propensity to depict graphic images of violence and sex is its cross to bear. Sex and violence are only the most prominent cliches a visionary film artist must overcome. Many filmmakers who would call themselves visionary mistakenly believe that the path to overcoming is through immersion. My aforementioned friend refers to the first twenty minutes of Private Ryan as “sublime,” and I suspect that Rob Zombie, who has churned out another Halloween remake, would like savvy viewers to say that about his torture movies as well.
What exactly is measured by the degree of violence I can tolerate? Is it my intellect? Is it my coolness? Like Quentin Tarentino, Zombie would probably say that I'm dumb if I don't understand how cleverly he uses violent imagery. If he thinks that he is making “classic slasher films,” whatever that means, Zombie may be right, because the point of the genre has always been to create for teenagers, or anyone else with an adolescent mentality, a carnival spook-house. I imagine Zombie thinks he is making his audience confront their fears, and therein lies the value. The problem is that Zombie's fears are the fear of an adolescent boy. No. I am misrepresenting adolescent boys. Zombie's fears are the fears that adolescent boys use to distract themselves from their real fears.
I fail to see a substantive difference between the violence he portrays and that which Spielberg portrays.