Films Aren’t Bleak Enough

Welcome to Meet the Founding Fathers, a series of articles in which the creators of Council of Zoom introduce themselves to the world. Up next is Kieron ‘Goth Krun’ Sim, our co-founder and chief gaming editor. Read on as he discusses his appreciation for films that destroy one’s soul.

When I sit down to watch a movie, I want something so harrowing that it will follow me through the coming weeks like a lingering malignant ghost. A trauma-induced fever dream, constantly worming it’s way into the back of my psyche, eating away at me, forcing me to look deeper into myself and the behaviour and actions of others. I want something dark and horrifying, not in the ‘Boo! A skeleton!’ sort of way. In the ‘People in the world are actually dying…’ sort of way.

When most people watch movies, they do so as a form of escapism. It’s been a tough day at work and they want to be free in the movie world for just a while before continuing on their mundane journey. That’s not what I’m looking for, I want to be challenged. The ice caps are melting, dictators are in power, social inequality, wealth inequality, drug addiction, theft, murder, kidnapping… but did you see the new Marvel film? None of that for me thanks. I want to face up to the mundane horror that lurks just behind the veil. Give me the bleakest thing you have, double helping, please.

Many, if not most, people aren’t even aware that films can get as grim as I’m referring to. They think that movies don’t get more emotionally charged than Me Before You or The Fault in Our Stars, and while dying teenagers being prohibited from conventional love is without a doubt something that tugs the heartstrings, I want something more tangible.

Movies often thrive or die based on “imagine that.” When you watch The Avengers and see Iron Man flying around, blasting techno-aliens out of the sky you think “Woah, imagine that!” But what I’m talking about doesn’t quite fit the same bill. What I’m talking about is the front page of the local newspaper as you walk by on the way to work. The articles you skip on Facebook because they’re a bit too much to process. You watch This is England and see a young lad beaten within an inch of his life in a racially motivated attack. Casey Affleck drunkenly kills his children in an accidental house fire and gets away with it in Manchester by the Sea. “Woah, imagine that…”

Now you may be thinking, “Oh yeah listen to this guy, thinks he’s the hard man because of all the edgy movies he’s seen.” No, I know I’m not a hard man because of all the movies I’ve seen. When I watch these films I picture myself in the characters’ shoes, forcing myself to imagine just what I would do in the cosmically horrifying scenarios pictured on-screen. And ultimately I always come to the same conclusion: I just don’t know. How can anyone know? And that’s what’s so beautiful about these films. They offer us an insight into a life worse than our own. At the end of the day I go to bed and sleep soundly knowing that no matter what happens, I haven’t killed my children in a drunken house fire.

While escapism is excellent in its own measure (I will die on the hill that Pacific Rim is one of the greatest films ever made) I implore the reader to try the other side of films. The side that tickles the part of your brain that you never, ever, under any circumstances want to be tickled. The part that you live your life making every effort to avoid being tickled. The part that, when tickled voluntarily, gives perspective on the tickling, and may even help when it’s tickled in a scenario that’s outside of your control.

The ending of The Mist wasn’t bleak enough, and you’re a coward if you think otherwise.

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