Quotes: Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy

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    Newspapers 

That things happen as they do in Shuttle I suppose is true, however rarely. But a film can have an opinion about them. This one simply serves them up in hard merciless detail. There is no release for the audience, no "entertainment," not even much action excitement. Just a remorseless march into the dark.
Roger Ebert on Shuttle.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 

The characters have achieved nothing, learned nothing, and will hopefully now jump into a big black hole and RETURN to nothing! Just as the visuals succeed too well at being deliberately hideous, the protagonists succeed too well at being deliberately wankers! There's nothing fun about the game, no light relief; just one piece of nauseating unpleasantness after another, like a roadside café breakfast special by Jeffrey Dahmer!

    Web Original 

I’m pretty sick of tortured characters being depressing. Too many stories seem to revel in the second act at the moment. I’m not a fan of the second act.
Tom Taylor, IGN Comics interview on Injustice: Gods Among Us

By all means, writers, let your story wander around the dank, twisty little passages. You may even permit that journey to come to a bad end. But without some light source, your story will be eaten by the Grue of Indifference.
The dePlume Dimension, "Always Keep a Door Open"

This entire show is so amoral that it had to be pulled off the air after one of the contestants murdered and dismembered a woman who later had to be identified by her breast implants. And what's crazier than that is that given a choice, he wouldn't even be the first one you execute. Megan Wants a Millionaire is a Greatest Hits of man's inhumanity to man. They probably burned down an Indian reservation to build the set, and during a few scenes you can see the altar of panda bones where Megan has congress with the Beast.

I actually wrote during this scene in my notebook I don’t want to be watching this toss.

It's like the absurdity of the '90s fucked the grittiness of the '80s and then they both doubled-teamed decency until... you know, I could go on here but then I'd be getting as graphically vile as this title itself.

You half expected them to turn their guns on each other. Not that you'd know which cop to root for if it did come down to that, as there was zero character development and the whole thing looked like it was shot through a rusty window screen.

A bullet to the brain and an unmarked grave was so sadly predictable and depressing that when I finished Worm and while earlier chapters literally left me shaking with excitement and sweating at their climax- I felt nothing when reading the ending. I completely lost my emotional investment in the series. And while my investment is no doubt less than yours, I definitely noticed the loss.

I suspect the ten thousand incidents where generosity and kindness and genuine heroism were spat on, leading up to the ending, just finally struck me all at once... I just hated every single member of the cast.
— Commenter Fantastico on Worm's ending note 

Thunt hasn't shown much ability to make the audience sympathize with the characters by fleshing them out (certainly not with the "main" group of characters), so his only recourse is to constantly shit on them so that the audience sympathizes with their plight. In fact, Thunt is so adamant on this tack that he pursues it even when it results in phenomenally bad narrative decisions, like killing off a main character for no reason at all and with no payoff or flushing several months of character development down the toilet... And if the characters keep getting the rug pulled out from under them, what reason do I have to remain invested in their plight?

Watching cardboard characters meet horrible fates can be entertaining, but where's the fun in watching real human beings die in what you thought was going to be light entertainment? A certain plot development in one of the films mentioned here made me sob so convulsively it almost washed my contact lenses away, and, honestly, I'm not sure how much of that level of cinematic trauma I could take. The better-written the characters, the harder their deaths are going to hit us – but how grief-stricken do we really want to be?

    Web Video 

Making every hero on earth as dark as Batman? That was your master plan? Great. So, after the audience gets bored to tears by every hero being just like every other hero, they'll be so depressed over how freakin' BLEAK they are, they'll KILL THEMSELVES!

All that happens is that Picard discovers that if he grew up in a space mine, he'd just turn into a raging psychopath that pulls a spike through his guts. Gee, how uplifting. But couldn't they've ended it like the show ended? with a nice game of Pinochle? somethin' where ya don't feel like slitting your wife's wrists?

(oh and in related news: Bambi killed herself in the bathroom after I found out she was TAKIN' MONEY OUTTA MY WALLET I guess she felt guilty about it.)

Is every single character in the film a loathsome cad?! Did Governor Schwarzenegger just designate Visalia as a haven for assholes that were too assholian for greater Los Angeles? Is the town built over a hellmouth that attracts people who are less appealing than Richard III?! I don't want to sound callous, but... I want to see this place become a crater!

    Real Life 

Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.

And what are we left with? Monsters killing monsters?
Todd MacFarlane, on Spawn's depiction of Heaven.

It's the monotone crapness of everything — governments, cultures, people, Exalts, gods, the cosmos, everything. No redeeming features, nothing worth fighting for, nobody who'd bother to get up off their ass or stop filling their pockets to do the fighting even if there were. Dark and shitty.
Exalted freelancer Holden Shearer, defining the term "shitdark"

I learned a long time ago when I was on The X-Files, we had our sister show, which was also created by Chris Carter, called Millennium. And it was one show that I felt was very worthy, but it was so very dark, because it was about one very haunted man hunting serial killers week in and week out. There was really no honestly derived humor that you could attain with a show like that... I would watch every episode, and afterward, I would just feel like I couldn’t sleep at night, it was so dark. I guess that was instructive to me. That show told me, “Be honest with your show, make it as dark as it needs to go, but you’d better find a way to leaven it with humor, otherwise people are going to want to slit their wrists after they watch it.”
Vince Gilligan

Both the story and the score were deliberately nerve-jangling and harsh; Grind was a show about violence, and it was frequently ugly and unpleasant. So Grind was not the kind of musical audiences took to their hearts.
Ken Mandelbaum, Not Since Carrie