Given that #TheWalkingDead is centered on a group of survivors in the zombie apocalypse, it's pretty much guaranteed there will be blood, guts, and as reputation proceeds it, emotional anguish when beloved characters are killed off.
For six seasons, fans had been treated to routine graphic violence every Sunday night on AMC, witnessing characters shot, stabbed, amputated, set on fire, eaten alive by zombies, blown up, and decapitated - to say the least.
Only on a very few occasions did the series garner limited media attention, both negatively and positively, over whether the series went too far with young-adult characters using weapons and getting killed off.
Most recently, when the season seven premiere rolled around, the media and fans voiced their ire like never before, criticizing that "the show finally went too far".
Hype left fans dangling over a massive cliffhanger between the season six finale and season seven premiere about who would meet their fate against a barbed-wire bat named Lucille armed by the new villain #Negan, played by series newcomer Jeffrey Dean Morgan. [Spoilers ahead for season seven!]
When the summer hiatus was finally over, two characters Abraham Ford and Glenn Rhee were bludgeoned to death in the season premiere. Nothing was left to the imagination for audiences at home watching in shock-and-awe. The victim's heads were cracked open, eye socket bulging out, blood splattered all over and brains pummeled into the ground as their friends and loved ones could only look on helplessly.
For comic book fans, the moment was more than a long time coming. Though the death of blunt ginger Veteran Abraham was added to give the premiere more weight and subtly throw fans off the track of who was going to die, the death of Glenn Rhee was a monumental occasion in the graphic novel series, marking the 100th issue of Robert Kirkman's popular series. Those who also sought spoilers knew who was getting killed.
For others, complaints were filed to the FCC, obtained by The Daily Dot, drawing on comparisons to beheadings by terrorist groups, concern of teenagers' exposure to the graphic violence, and the emotional mental state fans were left to grapple with.
Critics everywhere from Slate to USA Today questioned not just the sheer violence of the premiere, but deemed the gratuitous nature was an all-out display of pure carnage with little emotional or creative reward.
The rest of season seven continued taking hits. The creative pace died down significantly as every episode focused on scattered characters dealing with the event or their own issues in separate ways. Critics and fans began speculating if the show was in a definite rut it couldn't recover from as ratings ultimately hit an all-time low.
When asked about the recent absence of violence, exec producer Gale Anne Hurd revealed with Variety:
“We were able to look at the feedback on the level of violence,” Hurd said during a panel session at the NATPE conference. “We did tone it down for episodes we were still filming for later on in the season. This is not a show that is torture porn.”
According to Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Scott Gimple and exec producer Greg Nicotero have gone on to clarify that the series will not be editing down the violence.
With The Walking Dead set to return February 12th, 2017 to begin airing the rest of season seven, fans are biting back to Support The Gore.
The movement has started to grow through Walking Dead centered blogs, citing a multitude of reasons: a toned down show does not adhere to Kirkman's comic book series, the show is geared towards adult viewers - not young adults or children, and that a lack of gore does a disservice to the practical effects team.
Fans are eager to show the producers that a core element of the zombie apocalypse is the gore. Not only does the threats of the literal walking dead up the ante of how survivors continue to maneuver around in the world, but it also challenges those characters who have lost loved ones to keep fighting and moving forward.
For now The Walking Dead is stuck with how it deals with violence and keeping fans satisfied instead of traumatized with its use of horror. What do you guys think about The Walking Dead toning it down?