As a horror writer, one of my major concerns is injury. What will kill? What will blind or cripple for life? What will put someone into shock – and what will the shock do to them? What will do less damage than you might expect?
The problem with this is that the media often gives unrealistic depictions of violence and its results. Mostly because if they were depicted realistically, the stories would be over very quickly.
Admittedly, my chosen genre often treats human bodies as more fragile than they really are – here I’m thinking of Pamela Voorhees, psychotic but lacking any of her son’s super-strength, shoving an arrow through the muscle and bone of Kevin Bacon’s neck (not to mention a bed). Of course, Pamela herself shrugs off some pretty serious head trauma later in the same movie, and the Saw series seems to think humans can be pruned like trees as long as they have enough will to live and no vital organs are hit.
Still, whatever horror’s sins might be in this regard, the greatest culprits are still action and slapstick comedy. Everyone knows that they’re exaggerated – but how exaggerated? And they’re still so ubiquitous that they can’t help but distort our understanding. Usually, I turn to my sister the doctor for a more realistic assessment, but today, action and slapstick comedy themselves volunteer to help clear up some misconceptions in Honest Action:
My only issue with these clips is that they don’t discuss the affects of the accumulation of injuries. How many times can John McLane get punched in the head before it starts to cause lasting damage? But I suppose when you’re discussing a long series of instant kills that he waltzes through and keeps coming, that gets lost.