If you look at most horror writers today, or those wretched people who produce slasher films, you’d have to wonder if they do nothing all day but sit around and invent ways to extract blood from humans in the most splashy and flashy manner. Theodor Bundy once told the investigators of the Green River murders that they ought to talk a theater in having nonstop slasher films for a weekend and somewhere in the audience would be the man they sought for the murders of over forty women, and possibly a great deal more. Bundy’s words, any of them, ever, must be considered to be tainted by madness but most of us who do not enjoy such films wonder deeply about those who do.
But let’s break this down a bit. We are, in fact, not dealing with anything more or less than imagination. Is it your fault if you are seeing at a friend’s house watching a Disney movie and suddenly you imagine having sex with your host or hostess, whoever the pressures lies? If you’re over thirteen, and you have any sort of hormone level at all, then you’ve likely secretly considered illicit sex with someone you should not have. A friend’s wife bends over and your imagination trots off with the image like a six month old lab puppy who just got into the coffee. Yet unless she really starts to push the issue you’re very likely to stash the image back into the dark recesses of your mind, where a lot of stuff is hidden away.
In a society where open marriage is the norm, and people switch partners as often as they borrow and trade Dave Matthews CDs, there might be a time and place where you could say, “ “Gee, Professor, Mary Ann looks really hot in those shorts. Ginger thinks you’re hot, and we were wondering if you two would like to trade off for a long weekend.” As odd as this might sound to some people, I have known couple who did this, and who lived happily ever after. Religious connotations aside, human beings don’t really seem to have many control mechanisms when it comes to promiscuity, and religion seems to make matters worse, in point of fact.
Sex and violence; it is amazing how much control we put into one or the other, and it is equally amazing how much of one we would allow but not the other. We will show films to teens that depict someone cutting a woman up with a chainsaw but we’d ban that same teen from watching someone bring that same woman to orgasm in a full nude sex scene. Somehow, we imagine that ten is less likely to be influenced into violence against a woman than he might be in having sex with her, or we think that violence against women is more acceptable than having sex with them. Or is it we think the consequences of sex are more than the consequences of violence? Or is it we think sex, as shown in films, is a less effective control mechanism when it comes to woman than violence is? No matter how you look at it the attitude of sex and violence in mainstream media isn’t exactly uplifting.
But suppose you are sitting in your friend’s living room watching the latest slasher film and you look over at Mary Ann, and she is looking at you, and it occurs to you she’s thinking the same thing as you, and it doesn’t have anything at all to do with a chainsaw…hopefully. The feeling that there might be some connection between you and someone forbidden is a very odd feeling not altogether unenjoyable unless you and Ginger are in the middle of great sex and you scream out “MARY ANN!” and then we’re going to get back into the violence thing as Ginger snaps. But you do see where if you were thinking about cutting Mary Ann up with a chainsaw and saw her looking back at you with that same thought, suddenly and quite clearly, you would understand why violence is not the thing we ought be to become desensitized to as a society, don’t you?
A more open and loose view on sexual encounters may or may not appeal to you and your partner. It is strictly a manner, I would think, between the people involved. Certainly there is trouble and pain to be had if one person views the relationship as a monogamous and steady relationship and the other views it as an elevator ride with people getting on and getting off, no pun intended, wherever the doors open. Hollywood rarely shows any heroic figure as anything less than a slut, with manly men taking woman between gunfights and car chases. But that is where sex and violence mix, and as someone who has been shot at before, I can tell you without a doubt, moments after the event I was not looking for Angelina Jolie.
Mostly, I think all humans have odd thoughts about sex and violence, as well as odd thoughts about just about everything else. Nothing sells like sex and violence, and both are extremely primal urges. Yet I am perfectly capable of writing a scene where someone is killed, or someone gets laid, without going out and committing murder or adultery. I have very odd dreams that sometimes involve violence and not often enough involve sex, yet through the day I am not encouraged to act upon these impulses anymore than I am prompted to leap off a cliff simply because I dreamed I could fly.
Mostly popular culture is to be ignored because it’s the product of someone else’s imagination and not my own. I create my own worlds, my own demons, my own storylines, my own fiction, and my own desires. My mind is not to be rented out to someone else’s horror or someone else’s vision of lust. The popular vision of bloodlust and just lust is nothing less than kneeling before the altar of the lowest common denominator. I think we can do better than that, and I know I can.