I have a confession: I’m not a big fan of gore. I get squeamish easily, so this is topic that comes from a person who has a low tolerance. I’ve gotten better in my old age, but I couldn’t even make it through a Yahoo Image Search for ‘Gore’. So, you get the above picture in order for me to handle this post. I’m sure some people find that scarier than the bloodiest horror movie, but let’s avoid politics here.
A few weeks ago I found that there were more Youtube videos of an Anime Music Video mash-up called AMV Hell. I watched the latest one and saw one clip that had monsters devouring people with a lot of blood. Now, I’m an anime fan and I remember the spurting of Ninja Scroll and the gore of Elfien Lied. I made it through that, but something was odd about it. Apparently, this was a series called Blood-C and it had a habit of upping the gore with every episode. In fact, some people said it was all gore and no plot until the last two episodes. I’m not here for a review, but I did check out episode 9 . . . I don’t have it in me to post it:
Basically, the main character is a girl with a sword and can go super powered to kill these monsters. In the episode I found, a monster is at her school where her class is the only one there. The first half of the episode is the butchering of every character, except the main one. Blood, screams, and body parts are everywhere, which was really gross and so over the top. Yet, it wasn’t funny over the top. It was disturbing over the top because I saw no reason for it to happen and the main character simply wouldn’t use her powers to put a quick end to it. Not until everyone was dead, so you add bad character usage in here to make me sick to my stomach.
This made me realize that many people use or see gore as a powerful tool when it comes to storytelling. It shocks the audience when it occurs, but there is a limit. Eventually, a person can become desensitized to it. For a reader, it means they get bored with the death and start seeing it more as a joke. For a writer, it can lead to upping the gore and methods of demise until it’s so far over the top that it hurts the story. One has to remember that you can’t keep pushing the same button on a person without it wearing out.
So here are some quick rules about gore that I just thought up:
- Do NOT use it every other scene.
- Do use it sparingly to get the proper shock value.
- Unless you’re making an anime or a comedy, try to remember that blood is not a highly pressurized liquid in the human body.
- There is not enough blood in the human body to spurt fifty feet for an hour. At least I don’t think there is.
- Try to stay with only one beheading, one loss of limb, and/or one evisceration per story. Exception is if beheading is the only way to kill characters like in Highlander or Supernatural’s vampires.
- Never replace plot and character development with massive amounts of bloodshed.