Granted, there are some quality examples out there, but all too often, some indie director out there seems to say "fuck plot, we gotta go further than 'A Serbian Film'!! Mix up some more entrails!".
Extreme? Bitch, please!
So, how did we get here? At what point did it become de rigueur to just come up with a kooky mask, phone in some plot points, and rush into some outlandishly done, over-the-top, slice and dice set piece (usually involving some sort of genital or anal trauma...and when the righteous fuck did that become necessary?!?!?).
From wide release world, the roots can be traced back to the "torture porn" movement. You know, shit like "Saw" and "Hostel" and the like. For a while there, it seemed like to MPAA hassles from the 80's and 90's never happened. Life was, relatively, good until the dreaded sequels started popping up.
which end do I blow in?
Indie wise, the grandfather of extreme low budget horror is, in my opinion, "August Underground". While not exactly my cup of tea, Fred Vogel's foray into neo-snuff (and it's sequels) are widely regarded as classics (and while we're on the subject of Toe Tag, I only just recently saw Vogel's absolutely brilliant "The Redsin Tower" and it's easily one of the best modern indie horror features of ALL TIME. Seriously, check it out, and also it's cinematic, illegitimate, bastard child, Adam Ahlbrandt's "The Cemetery").
And don't you fucking dare bring up Lucifer Valentine!! Those are fetish films and you fucking know it!! But, yeah, Vogel, Tim Ritter and a few others did "Extreme" extremely well, Eli Roth be damned, this stuff out does it's pricier brethren.
Place your bets, am I going to fuck, eat, or kill this puppy? Maybe all 3!
Filmmakers like Ahlbrandt, Stephen Biro, Dustin Mills, and Jessica Cameron, to name but a few, are currently doing "extreme" right (and for the record, I hate the term "extreme", sounds like a fucking energy drink...). They're pushing the envelope to the limits, but they're doing it while keeping one foot firmly planted in the "storytelling" grave. That's how it's supposed to be done, and that's why they're enjoying more and more success.
My point is (oh shit! there's a point?!?!), indie horror has always been the wellspring of originality. This is the place that the studio assholes mine for good ideas whenever they actually get balls enough to think about funding a decent film, and while we'll never fully shrug off the carpet baggers in this genre, indie horror filmmakers owe it to themselves (and the fans) to do better! There's more to making a great film than finding an excuse to film 80 minutes of chunk blowing gore! While there may be a niche audience for this stuff, even the most hardened gore-hounds eventually want to be mentally stimulated. You don't have to one-up anyone man, just do your thing, and if you do it right, we'll respond.
Don't get me wrong, I love violent, fucked up shit as much as the next guy, just please, please, please give me some plot, characters, and, above all, a reason for all the gut spilling!! Call me a pussy all you want, but I like to be entertained while I'm being repulsed (keep the tits though, always keep those...).
I am your Scream King, I can do anything...