The Taste for Horror

Janis Hernandez

Violence on discs is increasingly popular.

HAVANA TIMES — Violence is defined as actions involving excessive force, brutality or horror that’s intended to causes damage. It can be physical or psychological if it’s carried out by individuals or groups, and whenever it’s employed it leaves unpleasant consequences or victims.

Acts of violence and horror often take place in wars, terrorist attacks, vandalism and in everyday life, as illustrated by kidnappings, assault, rape, murder or domestic violence.

But there’s also horror in circumstances such as accidents, car and plane crashes, collapsing buildings and in fires. Many broadcasters around the world have shows devoting to spreading violent images, and many websites also dedicate themselves to this unhealthy task.

Fortunately the Cuban media have taken great care to avoid this. It’s not often that we see images of violence or horror in our programs, except in foreign films or series that are occasionally shown on television.

Here, a great deal of emphasis is placed on children having access to educational games and healthy recreational activities as opposed to video games related to war or terrorism. Nonetheless, it’s exactly these types of games that children and young people are most interested in.

Every day we see a growing number of fans of scenes of horror and crime. These appear on CDs, DVDs, USB pin drives, SDs or micro SDs. Violence and terror are the preferred themes on computers and devices that play various video formats.

I don’t know what’s responsible for this interest, but the truth is that people with incredible curiosities seek out photos and films of horrifying rapes, murders, beatings and accidents.

An unfortunate fire that happened last month at a gas station in my town (Santiago de Cuba) was taken by someone from their cellphone, and that short video spread like wildfire across the country, in addition to being uploaded onto YouTube.

But what was worse and more terrifying was the video recorded by the security camera on that corner (monitored by the police). Likewise, there were pictures of the burn victims taken at the hospital (I imagine by forensic personnel).

But aren’t those materials for use exclusively by those institutions? Why and how did they get out? Why do family members and mourners of the victims have to see these or know that everyone else is viewing their loved ones in such painful contexts?

Autopsies of raped girls, photos of people brutally murdered, an elderly woman mauled by a dog, people on fire, terrible accidents… These come out of forensic departments and police units (I don’t know how) to fill our television and computer screens.

I don’t understand. Why is this interest growing? Why are these coming out of our forensic and police units?

If, as we all know, violence begets violence, then this taste for horror is making us insensitive. Things like these should not be disseminated. That’s my opinion.