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I’ve only watched the film in its entirety
twice, before writing this. I’ve seen a lot of horror movies. I’ve seen a lot
of indie and homemade horror movies that try really hard to shock and freak out
the viewer with extreme gore or violence. What is special to me about the
SOCIAL MEDIA MASSACARE series and this episode (“From the Heart”) in particular,
is how uncomfortable it made me before I ever saw a drop of blood.
Ron Purtee is the creative mind behind the
series of shorts and, I have to say, he is on to something here. Social media
and the internet are a huge part of our lives now and I think everyone can
relate in some way or another to what they are seeing in “From the Heart.” The
film is essentially about two lovers meeting over a webcam session for an illicit
tryst. It’s a simple enough concept, but the genius of it lies in that it was
shot as if the audience were voyeurs on either end of the web chat. Purtee
creates this webcam-verite world where we are drawn into this very intimate
moment between two characters and seeing them in circumstances which they would
naturally prefer to remain private. There is both a voyeuristic thrill and a
sickening sense of too much intimacy. When we witness the real horror of the
situation, it’s almost anticlimactic.
The cheap and dirty feel of watching this
webcam session on your laptop, as if you are experiencing a part of it yourself,
is a real demonstration of art from adversity. Purtee clearly isn’t making big
budget shorts here and in looking for a way to do this within his means, he’s
tapped into this powerfully intimate and creepy experience. This is the kind of
thing Facebook stalkers would die to see. In our information age, people are
putting so much of themselves online and relying on the internet to deliver so
much of their interaction with others. Whole relationships are being conducted
on the internet without people every physically meeting. Seeing this webcam
session is something we can all sort of relate to in a strange way and it
strikes a chord within us; the one that tells us maybe there is something wrong
with this way of life. Closing yourself off to the people physically around you
and opening up to virtual strangers probably isn’t healthy. Reducing our most
intimate moments to YouTube clips cheapens the experience.
It also points a finger right back at the
voyeur that the internet has revealed so many of us to be. Technology has allowed
us to capture these images—these moments—and hordes of people are waiting to
see them exposed and humiliated. Whole websites exist now for people to post
intimate photos and videos of their exes in some kind of creepy revenge. A
window into other lives is oddly compelling, so is it any wonder this stuff is
out there? The question is, what happens when a fragile moment is exposed to
too much light and burns away. What remains of the real people behind them and
what of the atrocity tourists (I count myself among them) who are both
compelled and repulsed by the spectacle?
There is a struggle on for us to understand
each other, or to find others who understand us. This is of course reflected in
our social media. My fear is that this is a vain struggle and so many in that
act of putting themselves out there will come back bearing the scars of it—or
never come back at all, lost in the shallow reflecting pools of internet
I want to offer readingers some warning
with “From the Heart.” It gets its weird hooks into you and makes you squirm a
bit. It’s a genuinely disturbing piece and has some sexual content that might
offend some. I don’t personally get why people will get bent out of shape over
sex, but not gore, but that is another topic for another time.
Bloody Blogs -
Long Live the New Flesh
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