Happy Friday Every-bloody! It’s been quite a prolific week for Saucy Josh. Check out my Summer 2011 Horror Movie guide on Film Sponge: http://filmsponge.com/summer-blood-2011-upcoming-horror-movies. Lots a good stuff for the discriminating aficionado is coming our way!
I decided to do another original list this week. My topic? The 10 most disturbing Horror movie I’ve ever seen! While doing some research, I realized that there are quite a few infamous flicks I’ve yet to experience, like: A Serbian Film, Men Behind the Sun, Salo, Irreversible, August Underground Mordum, Eden Lake, and The Woman. Dare I investigate these disturbing pieces that apparently push the very definition of Art to its extreme? Yes, I believe I shall.
While it’s been a long time since any film has given me a severe scare or caused lost sleep, there are still a few that can shock even this jaded old Horror Hound. The majority of the films on this list are well done and powerful pieces of art (Cannibal Holocaust and Cabin Fever 2 being the most obvious exceptions), but that doesn’t mean Saucy Josh is in any hurry for multiple viewings. Once was plenty, thanks you very much! I cannot, in good conscious, recommend any of these movies (except for one). I can, however, promise that these films will affect you—perhaps permanently. Consider yourselves—WARNED!
Audition: Forcing a person to watch this movie would be a violation of the Geneva Convention. Audition has the most explicate and inhumane torture sequence ever committed to film, made all the more terrifying by the gleeful, almost childlike manner in which the punishment is delivered. I will never be comfortable around acupuncture needles again. Audition also features severed tongues and vomit eating. You might think this is some outlandish, over-the-top gore fest, but it’s actually serious, emotional, and surprisingly down to earth.
Eraserhead: I’m a huge David Lynch fan. I remember how accomplished I felt when, after 3 viewings, I felt like I finally understood Lost Highway. Of course, I first became acquainted with Mr. Lynch when I got hooked on Twin Peaks in the late 80’s. I was excited to see Eraserhead when I first realized I could watch it for free at Netflix online. And while this movie isn’t scary in terms of shock, gore, or even suspense, it was very VERY difficult for me to watch the entire thing. Watching Eraserhead, and trying to establish emotional connections with its characters, is like being trapped in a nightmare you can’t wake up from. For a movie that moves at a snail’s pace, I have never felt more unnerved. There is not a single comfortable setting and even scenes without dialog are polluted by droning industrial noises. If this is what the inside of David Lynch’s mind looks like then I say, “Get me outta here!”
Threads: As a child of the cold war, I had a very real fear of nuclear annihilation. Threads was born out of this same period and, while I whole-heartedly agree with its anti-proliferation sentiments, it’s my opinion that this work of art is dangerously close to left-wing propaganda. Lots of radiation sickness, vomiting, miscarriages, rapes, and decimated landscapes. Survivors feast on carcasses of diseased animals in a world where the sun no longer shines. Threads goes a little overboard with the melodrama in its final minutes, but the very last scene is guaranteed to stick with you for days, weeks—maybe even years.
Cannibal Holocaust: DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE. Cannibal Holocaust was made in the 70’s and still enjoys an extensive cult following. Perhaps deserving of a footnote for being the first “found-film” Horror movie (a style later popularized by The Blair Witch Project), Cannibal Holocaust was so convincing that the director had to prove in court that no murders were actually committed. Or, more specifically, no HUMAN murders were committed. Not because of artistic censorship, but for ethical reasons, this film ought to be banned, burned, and burried. Depicted are acts of actual animal cruelty and murder; a pig, a giant sea turtle, and a monkey are all killed in the name of entertainment. This makes Saucy Josh thoroughly disgusted (and not in a good way). Fuck Cannibal Holocaust.
The Road: While it isn’t particularly bloody or graphic, The Road is one of the most depressing nuclear apocalypse film ever made. It’s the story of a man and his son who are constantly on the move in an American wasteland, dodging thieves, murderers, and cannibals. As the movie progresses, the son watches his father give in to the horrors around them, becoming just another selfish, cutthroat survivor. There is no such thing as a happy ending in a movie this bleak, but we Americans just love that glimmer of hope, don’t we?
Cabin Fever Part 2: Yes, Cabin Fever Part 2 is disturbing, disgusting, and offensive, but that’s not why it’s on this list: It’s just such a goddamn disappointment! Nothing like its amazing predecessor (save for the contaminated water) CB2 takes us out of the woods and into a high school gymnasium for a homecoming dance. I don’t mean to imply that this sequel isn’t gory—it’s extremely gory in fact: Truck-loads of fake vomit, a teenage penis unleashing a river of puss, and a disgruntled janitor pissing bloody urine into a punch bowl are all on the menu. But whereas the Part 1 is original, smart, well acted, and scary as hell, CB2 is an immature, lazy Horror comedy of the lowest denominator. If I ever meet Eli Roth, I’ll shake his hand for creating the Hostel movies, then I’ll kick him in the nuts for allowing CB2 to exists.
The Children: An extremely disturbing film, exponentially so for anyone who has kids, The Children is nonetheless the only film on this list I actually recommend viewing. Unnerving is an understatement, but most of the gore is left for us to imagine. The kids in this movie make the Children of the Corn seem like honor students by comparison. The final scene isn’t really a twist, but it still left me gasping—wishing I could see just 10 minutes more. The Children is a disease Horror in the vein of 28 Days Later and Quarantine in a microcosm, except the virus only effects the young. Another difference is that these wicked kids never act rabid or zombified, instead displaying a very un-childlike poise that makes their actions all the more horrific. Be brave—even though you may never look at your kids the same way again.
Blue Velvet: As a huge David Lynch fan, you might be surprised to see Blue Velvet on my list. You may also wish to split hair with me over whether or not this is an actual Horror movie or just a creepy and surreal drama. Considering the appearance of a severed ear in the first 5 minutes of the film, it’s a Horror movie in my opinion. While shocking to be sure, I didn’t find this film overly graphic or violent or disgusting. It’s just so goddamn sad! Even the “good guys” suck (“Hit me!”). Of course, if you’re a Dennis Hopper fan, his portrayal of ultraviolent psychotic/masochistic Frank cannot be missed (“Baby wants to fuck!”).
Last House on the Left: It’s just too hard to like a movie about gang rape, and the girls in Last House on the Left are put through absolute hell. As viewers, we only have two options: Either we identify with the victims, empathizing with their pain, terror, and humiliation (an emotionally draining experience, believe me), or we can identify with the torturers (and if you do identify with this heinous crew, you probably need to see a psychiatrist). Much more enjoyable was the 2008 remake. Not only does one of the girls manage to survive the ordeal, but the retribution phase of the movie incorporates some wicked black humor: Exploding head in a microwave—ah yeah!
The Human Centipede: This movie enjoys a reputation as one of the most disturbing films of all time. This is a vast overstatement in my opinion. It’s not nearly as sick or explicit as its synopsis will lead you to believe. Yes, the premise ranks very high on the gross-out meter, but its sheer ridiculousness takes us away from the realm of reality (and how scary can something be when it’s so blatantly impossible?). This is not to say that The Human Centipede is completely without merit or entertainment value, but believe me, you won’t gain a speck of additional insight form watching this flick twice. Tom Six, the writer and director, recently completed The Human Centipede Part 2 which he claims makes the first installment look like Bambie in comparison. He must be on to something as the film was banned in the UK after being reviewed by an advisory board. If it’s really as horrific as the rumors and hype describe, then I’ll have to see it (if for no other reason than to say “I saw it”).
Honorable Mention goes to Suicide Club: I might be willing to watch Suicide Club again if I was sure I’d be able to understand it. There’s some good stuff going on in this Asian Horror flick, like mass teenage suicides and hypnotizing pop songs. The majority of Suicide Club, however, is surreal to the point of meaninglessness. Even the plot outline on Wikipedia leaves me scratching my head. What’s up with that ribbon of flesh?
Well, that’s it for this week my lovelies. I’d love it if someone out there could suggest a topic for next week’s blog, be it a list or an essay or even a review. It’s hard thinking up ideas on my own. See you next Friday!