You are currently viewing Why has cannibalism become so popular in the movies?
A biology professor explains why the topic of cannibalism has become so popular of late in film and television

The world has a particular fascination for the morbid. Whether through stories of serial killers like the controversial Dahmer, or Saw. or even through of horror movies that show us sexy bloodsucking vampires, there’s something about watching humans suffer that draws our attention and is a great source of entertainment.

And now, with series like yellowjackets and tapes like Raw and Bones and All, The world is preparing to face a rise in pop culture of one of humanity’s greatest taboos: cannibalism. The film starring Timothée Chalamet and Tyler Russell has no qualms about showing us people eating other human beings, and while we’ll talk about how effective that is later, there’s no doubt that will give a lot to discuss.

Why is it a topic that can become so popular? Could it stop being taboo? Believe it or not, a university biology professor who is an expert in cannibalism answered these questions in an interview for The Hollywood Reporter.

Shouldn’t it be so taboo?

The teacher Bill Schutt, who recently wrote a book titled Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History, he told Hollywood reporter that he does not think that there is a natural revulsion towards the subject of cannibalism, but rather that our revulsion is deeply rooted cultural. And that with the dominance of Western culture, cannibalistic practices in other parts of the world were seen as something inhumane and totally prohibited.

“From the time of the Greeks and the Romans, the idea began that cannibalism was one of the worst things that could be done. Suddenly, it became a practice that “the others” did and colonization made it the number 1 taboo

Professor Bill Schutt

Therefore, at the moment in which we see Hannibal Lecter in The silence of the inocents having a whole ritual to eat human flesh as if it were a great delicacy, causes “fascination to see that taboo through a fictional eye”. In addition, he assured that the subject, being so controversial, generates an attraction simply by hearing the word. “The moment someone says cannibalism, you see people react instantly. In an article, in a movie or a book, it’s an automatic hook.”


Are we already insensitive towards violence?

In the same interview, the professor also said that a very likely explanation for this new fascination with cannibalism is that we are already desensitized to violence due to the large number of series and movies we consume. “I think it all started with Bonnie & Clyde in 1968, when we started seeing big blood splatters on the screen.”

The professor compared the issue of cannibalism to that of vampirism, but also said that the former is “a much more shocking theme” since it is related to crime and something much more real, but he assures that the attraction comes from “seeing this kind of thing from a 100% fictional perspective.”

However, much has also been said about the romanticization of violence in series and movies. Not only through our fascination with serial killers, but also through the representation of certain violent elements that sometimes they prepare to captivate and seduce the audience. And the more we put a critical sense to those images, the more the question arises if what we are doing is normalize certain violent images or practices that can resonate with the psyche of the audience and impact their behavior in the real world.

Of course, no movie or series directly makes us violent people nor incite us to commit crimes (There are several studies that prove it). However, we do need to be more aware of the type of violence we see on screen and what role it plays in the overall story we consume, so that we can understand why we are so fascinated by seeing it portrayed in fiction.


What do moviegoers and moviegoers think?

Source: Fueradefoco

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Peggy McColl

Mentor l NY Times Bestselling Author. Hi, I'm Peggy McColl, and I'm here to deliver a positive message to you!

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