Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Philosphy of Horror - Part 2

Nihilistic Horror

There is a point beyond any meaningful redemption, where horror becomes tragedy (or, in the eyes of the court, obscenity). I call this nihilistic horror. There is no morality, no right, no wrong - just things that make me upset and ultimately depressed with the human condition. It's a sad story where bad things happen, well, just because. Natural disasters such as earthquakes or volcanic eruptions could be classified as nihilistic horror. Nihilism Defined.

This horror is simply a bastard child of tragedy and this tragedy wants to crush all hope, morality and value. It's the perfect vessel for the 'gross-out'. With that in mind...

Mr. Arashi's Amazing Freak Show

Suehiro Mauro
pushes boundaries you never knew existed. This one will test your views of the first amendment and free speech. It really is that nasty. Midori, the 12-year old main character, suffers every physical and emotional indignity imaginable, including rape. It would seem easy to write this off as child pornography. In the manga however, Mr. Mauro does not exploit the sexual aspects and keeps the scene horrific. The anime didn't and was banned in Japan. You know it's bad when it's banned in Japan.

I am not going to launch into a review of "Mr. Arashi's Amazing Freak Show". I've read it once. It made me depressed, especially since I have two young daughters and it hit a little too close to home. Yet I would never push to have it banned (although it is only for a very mature reader). This is not entertainment, this is artistic tragedy and steeped in impressionsim. It is the 'gross out'. Originally published 1984, go figure.

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