The Deterioration of Extreme Cinema
The Goals of The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre
This is a both a personal rant on the deteriorating state of 'extreme cinema' and also a statement on the changes to the goals and ambitions of this site as of 2017 (assuming you care). If you prefer to read a positive statement on extreme cinema and why I maintain this hobby in one form or another, try this essay.
I am, simultaneously, an ardent devotee of all types of cinema, an enthusiast for all things extreme, and a pedantic completist. After concluding (late 90s) that there were no sites on the internet at the time that covered these types of movies adequately, I decided to start my own list. Other than a few scattered small lists of movies and recommendations of movies that people saw, it was very difficult to discover these movies, and tidbits of knowledge had to be collected from many sources. Even today, movie sites and books are far from comprehensive. Therefore, towards the goal of pursuing this hobby of extreme cinema, I started my own list. I primarily wanted to keep a diary of the movies of this type that I've seen in order to be able to keep track of the movies and compare my own notes and descriptions while searching for and viewing more movies over the years. I shared it on the internet for people with similar hobbies, but the primary goal was, and still is, my own hobby and interests. However, since I am a completist, and because there were so many interesting and unusual movies, I decided to track down every last one and create an encyclopedia that would be as comprehensive as possible, just for the challenge and for the sake of completion.
Unfortunately, with the advent of digital cameras, the proliferation of home and amateur movie-makers, the increased interest in extreme cinema by anyone and everyone regardless of the value of such projects, the death of most of the old-school surreal and experimental film-makers that inspired me to start this hobby, and the subsequent deterioration in the quality, inspiration, intelligence and ambitions of the people making such movies, this has increasingly become a painfully tedious hobby to pursue. It's not the difficulty in finding and obtaining all these movies, but a matter of wasted time, insulted sensibilities and intelligence, and the frustration that goes with it.
Where once there were experimental, challenging and surreal works with a developed theme or idea and an inspired vision, now there are too many film-makers that just incorporate weirdness and shock values for their own sake in order to be 'edgy'. From Raoul Ruiz and Alain Resnais we come to the likes of Thomas Nöla and Calvin Reeder. Perhaps we have David Lynch's popularity to thank for this, except that he always has a vision and his own internal, strong sense of a story and mystery that he wants to follow, and a very original and idiosyncratic method by which to explore it, whereas many of his followers merely think it's about showing random weird things. Where once we had inspiration, now we have attempts to emulate cult movies; where there were films that used experimental techniques to deliver their ideas, now we have mere attempts to be bizarre and different; where once experimental film-makers had ideas, now people just want to be labelled the next Lynch and cult film-maker; and where we had films that used shock, now we have shock that use films.
Even gore was once occasionally witty or disturbing, now it is mostly merely disturbed. From a plot with splatter we deteriorated to plotless splatter, and film-makers that just want to prove how brutal and vile their imagination can be, as if that makes the movie into a horror movie rather than just a showcase for their tastes in fetish-porn. And so we get torture for its own sake, sickness that hasn't been earned, characters and story constantly sacrificed on the altar of depravity, and shock that manages to be boring. Where once gore was used for horror, now it is stupidly assumed that gore by itself is horror. And where once we had mondo satire shockumentaries and provocative documentaries, now there are just gornography montages. And so on.
Of course we still have the likes of Peter Greenaway, Terry Gilliam, Ki-duk Kim, Guy Maddin and Shinya Tsukamoto, as well as newer talents of Darren Aronofsky, Gaspar Noé and others. There are also entertaining extremists like Takashi Miike, Sion Sono, Quentin Dupieux, Yoshihiro Nishimura, etc. as well as the rare splatter film-maker with a more interesting vision of horror like Brian Paulin (and Necrostorm, at first). Which is why I still enjoy exploring this world. But the direction that this form of cinema is taking is obvious, and the talent is becoming increasingly rare. One has to wade through increasing amounts of brainless nonsense and time-wasting garbage in order to find the good and interesting movies.
Which is why I decided to turn from obsessive exploration back to sanity, from a completist survey to personal taste, and with this, from increasing frustration and wasted time, back to an enjoyable hobby. What all this means is that this site is only a comprehensive 'encyclopedia' until 2016 (inclusive). Any extreme movie released from 2017 onwards will only be watched and reviewed if it sounds interesting to me, and thus, this site reverts back to the original intent of being a personal film-diary.