I watch a lot of horror movies. I play a lot of video games filled with graphic violence. In real life if I see blood I feel uneasy. This is to be expected. I can tell the difference between reality and fantasy. Then why is it when I see a medical drama showing blood I get sick to my stomach? The special effects used are no different than what I would see in one of my favorite slasher films.
One of the reasons I avoid medical dramas, aside from my aversion to drama in general, is the medical stuff. The images you see in a TV show set in a hospital are all too real for me. I can even handle a gory horror film that has scenes in a hospital. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare or even Flatliners both come to mind, among I am sure others.
A horror film is easier to digest in many respects. It isn’t just knowing the fantasy of film or TV being an illusion, when you watch a show there needs to be this separation of reality from fantasy that allows for the immersion requires to enjoy a movie. It is rare to see a horror movie that makes me cringe. The worst images that have made me shudder in horror films are very rare. The few which come to mind is the man eating his own brain in Hannibal as well as the pig scene in the same film. The entire premise of Human Centipede turned my stomach inside out to the point I have desperately tried to get the images from that film scrubbed from my brain.
While it is less common for an image to disturb me in a movie where death is the point, for some reason I can’t handle even little things when it’s presented in a TV show with real doctors saving real patients. I don’t mean those dramatizations of things like what you see on TruTV or the like, I mean relatively tame stuff like ER or Grey’s Anatomy. I haven’t quite figured it out. I can handle seeing basically the exact same sights in any action, fantasy, sci-fi or horror film but put it in a hospital, set in actual reality and I cringe. I flinch. Sometimes, I have negative biological reactions expelling fluids from my own stomach. I cannot quite put my finger on it.
Recently I made effort to get into Grey’s Anatomy. It was not by choice. I live on the same property as one of my sisters and her family. They enjoy watching TV and sometimes I sit in their living room on the couch watching a program they enjoy for the social aspect. One of their favorite shows is that medical drama. I have sat through enough episodes I can recognize some of the characters, recalling some of their names and even remembering things that happened in their personal lives. But whenever the gushy, gory gutsy stuff starts I have to call it quits and remove myself from the situation.
Maybe one of these days I will actually review the show on the merits of it being a drama. I am not sure I have enough exposure to be truly qualified to take on that task in a fair manner. That doesn’t mean I can’t speak my thoughts based on what I have seen. It reminds me of that episode of The Walking Dead where Negan bashes Glen’s skull in. I barely noticed the effect. When I see a woman gushing blood from her side in Grey’s all of a sudden I reach my limit.