Friday, October 06, 2006

Arousal WARNING!

I received an email from a feedback reader for Arousal who said they weren't finishing the script, that the script was a snuff film, and that they wanted to block me from their Myspace friends.


I'm keeping this person anonymous because I don't wish to mock them or single them out—feedback is feedback. It's neither wrong nor right. In point of fact, this kind of reaction is ten times more valuable than laudative remarks and I'm trying to figure out why she had such a strong reaction, especially since I've received remarks like "I LOVED IT!" and "You're sick, but you have a good screenplay."

But it got me thinking... Arousal does have a lot of sex and violence in it. And I wrote it specifically so it would. I had hoped to make the storyline require sex and violence or else it wouldn't make any sense. How, for instance, can you tell a story like Boogie Nights without showing them shooting a porn? How can you show the erotic quandaries the protagonist faces in 9 1/2 Weeks without at least a few sex scenes? How can you not show Jake watching the dancing naked lady in Body Double?

So here are some words of warning to any of you feedback readers who haven't read the script yet:

  • Arousal is a horror film—it is meant to get under your skin and yank your strings. If you don't have some kind of reaction to it, I haven't done my job.

  • Arousal was written to be easily marketable (and easily filmable).

  • Arousal has a lot of sex and a lot of violence.

  • Arousal is about a hemorrhagic fever—a virus that makes you bleed from every orifice—so you will see a lot of blood.

  • Arousal uses sex to explore different aspects of sexual arousal, but also to contrast sexual arousal with the clinical definition of arousal, which most people know as "fight or flight".

  • When you combine sex and violence, you get rape. So of course, rape is going to be a recurring element.

  • I love and respect my wife, my two cats, and everyone else, especially women—Arousal's gritty subject matter doesn't mean I'm a twisted homicidal snuff filmmaker. One need only read my yawner headstrong romantic drama 62 Blocks to Battery Park to know I originally didn't want to write horror films to make money. (I hasten to remind everyone that James Cameron's second try as director was Piranha 2. Not even Piranha 1, but Piranha 2!)

  • Not everything written in the script will get to the screen—there are some horrifying scenes I threw in at the last moment that I'm unsure about because they are too extreme, and frankly, may be gratuitous. This is why I have feedback readers.

Consider yourself warned!

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