Nazi Cinema never produced a horror film. Soviet Cinema only slightly touched the genre in one film – VIY (1967) – that only escaped the censors because it was adapted from an old folktale. Why? Because totalitarian regimes will hate any genre that will tell its people that there is no utopia. It’s harder to keep the people under control when you tell stories where horrible things happen to innocent people. It’s harder for the regime to justify its actions when horror stories tell you that the universe is chaos.
Through their existence, horror films have told us that the most gorgeous people get slaughtered by horrible monsters. The political undertone in so many horror films is clear: we are all alone and help is not coming.
Film trailers, many times, summarize the whole idea of a film in order to attract its target audiences. Eli Roth’s THE GREEN INFERNO (2013) had this very effective trailer.
The trailer is amazing because it clearly shows one of the essences of the horror genre: a disparity between how we think things are (or would like them to be) and the way things really are. It’s the same issue author Robert Bloch nailed when he says “horror is the removal of masks”. Sometimes we are the ones taking off the masks. Other times it is the entire universe taking off its mask.
Poor gringos. They left the comfort of their country (the comfort of free market economy) and went to the Amazon jungle to fight for a cause (and change the world). Well, expect the world to fight back.
Of course the political orientation is irrelevant to the genre. Instead of young dreamers, the film could be about a ruthless real estate developer trying to build a hotel in the middle of the jungle. Well, expect the jungle to fight back too.
The lesson here is this: horror is subversive. It will always throw a couple of “what ifs” that will make you question the powers that be. So the tightest the regime is and the more authoritarian the leader is, the more unwelcome the horror genre is. Other genres merely like to start discussions. Horror usually ends them.
That is why the horror genre is essential. We should support it, celebrate it and respect it as a fundamental contributor to our sanity.