1. Horror can still be very disturbing and very complete without gore and nudity
Is there even any profanity in The Mooring? I can’t think of it, if there is. Which isn’t to say over-the-top gore isn’t a complete riot, just all kinds of fun. I like it when I have to hide my eyes. Last time that happened, I guess, would have been Excision. First time? Probably The Exorcist. Well, okay, The Eyes of Laura Mars, but that wasn’t from gore, but absolute, undiluted terror; I was eight, I think. But, nudity in horror—for a long time the theory (or, maybe, just the practice?) was that it was enough of a pendulum swing the other way from gore that it allowed the visual palette of the film to achieve a kind of balance. Or is that just a rationalization? It could have been just as simple as the filmmakers knowing that, even if the story was thrown together and the production poor, there was still one way to lure their target demographic to the drive-in. One way that’s significantly cheaper than hiring a Tom Savini or a Kevin Williamson. And sometimes I think nudity in horror—in the slasher in particular—is just the director being all leery, taking advantage of girls fresh off the bus, as it were. It’s not called exploitation cinema for nothing. And nudity could even be setting the audience up to be punished, I suppose: if it’s thrilled when the clothes are peeled off, then what about when the skin is? Maybe you should have asked for that shirt to stay on, yes. Anyway, Scream got by without nudity, with just the suggestion of it (sexuality’s still important to the slasher, and there is some of that in The Mooring, albeit of the creepy kind), and a lot of others have as well, and are none the worse for it. But, yes, it is kind of built into the genre, I know, as the My Bloody Valentine redo makes very clear, in skintastic 3D. I prefer John Carpenter’s explanation over Carol Clover’s too. That axe-to-the-head, it’s not Jason punishing these people for having sex—what does he care?—it’s a single killer striking at the best opportunity: when people are distracted, and when they have no clothes, when they’re tangled up in blankets or seatbelts, and when they’re far enough from the group that their screams won’t be heard. And it’s probably night, too, making for an easy step back into those ever-important shadows. And, yes, the The Mooring cast is of course young, making nudity hardly an issue, but we’ve all seen beach and lake and river horror movies—even Kid Rock music videos—and know full well that half the time, the nudity comes from other boats. Boats that seem to be there specifically to display naked people. On the water, nudity’s always a bikini string away. For The Mooring to be set on the water and have no nudity, though—and be low-budget—it’s refreshing, it’s surprising. And it completely works.