So I will say, first and foremost, when it comes to horror movies, I avoid those that advertise themselves as just gore horror. Though first, I should say what I define as gore horror. For me, it is adding as much violence and blood platter as you can in a single piece to the point that it looses my interest in keeping me on my toes. It goes to a point where after the first few deaths I feel like everyone is going to die or do something stupid that puts themselves in danger.
So why do I feel Clive Barker’s Rawhead Rex is gore horror? Well it goes at practically the very beginning of introducing our monster. He grabs the farmer and attempts to pick him up by his hair, only to scalp the man. Then he shoves the man into the ground where Rawhead Rex had just been buried. Alright, we now know he is pretty strong and is very dangerous. That one is fine by me. We continue this journey of splitting between a multitude of characters all doing their own things in life, unknowingly walking close to the monster.
Once we reach the couple and their young child, it turns into the gore horror at its truest sense. The farmer gets thrown into the air like a cat playing with a mouse and leaves the corpse there to rot, only to chase after the mohter and daughter. Just before this, the farmer sees the guts of the horse strewn about in vivid detail. Nothing else but the innards, blood, and anything else grotesque is ever described in the novel. It puts this all on its sleeve for us. Even the death of the daughter is shown in a great detail as she it eaten.
This isn’t exactly what makes me uncomfortable in the sense that I worry abought nightmares. Instead, it just makes me lose my appetite. The same reason I have yet to fully watch a Saw movie or get into Final Destination. They scare us through gore instead of the monster and the environment itself. Obviously the people in these situations are terrified, but I’m not which is why I love a good horror movie that makes me stay up for another hour while watching puppy videos afterward and refusing to look out my window.
With knowing Clive Barker is known for these features in his books now, I probably wouldn’t willingly pick up one of his books on my own, but it does let me set a line in my mind for book genres I would or wouldn’t pick up on my own. If this were done by another authors perhaps we would lean more into the creatures intelligence and embrace much more of the fear and cult-like nature that Declan showcased. This would have given me far more of a fright.
Am I saying it is a bad story? No. There’s a reason that Final Destination had so many movies and Saw became so popular. People love gore horror. It’s just not something that I would love.