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The Halloween Movie Marathon Lineup!

Here in New Zealand tonight it is October 31, and just as sure as there will be annoying kids trekking up the streets looking for food to make them even more overweight, people around the world will also be indulging themselves with an (un?)healthy dose of horror films.

I’ll admit: last year, I did not watch any horror movies just because it was Halloween; I continued doing what I would normally do, as if it wasn’t October 31.

But this year, I’ve just found it impossible to resist the charm of those bloody, gory horror movies. And so, I’ve decided to make up for missing last Wednesday’s movie marathon night by moving it to this Monday, and focusing on my favourite horror films. I’m gonna have to start early if I hope to fit all these in, but, here’s what I’ve got planned:

Funny Games (1997)

A film that still scares the shit out of me every viewing and convinced my girlfriend not to lend any eggs to anyone, Funny Games is a terrifying classic.

Suspiria (1977)

Visually stunning and bizarrely photographed, Dario Argento’s Suspiria is a frightening, gripping horror classic. While the plot isn’t original and the ending is disappointing, Argento more than makes up for it with the unique and terrifying way he crafted the film’s look and design. And of course there’s the music.

Antichrist (2009)

Lars Von Trier’s “failed attempt” at crafting a horror film turned into a dark experiment, which examines the way women have been treated throughout history by channelling their mistreatment into the grief of a couple who have lost their child. Bizarre, explicit, shocking and brilliant.

Audition (1999)

“Kiri kiri kiri kiri kiri kiri!” These chilling words alone should send a shiver down the spine of anyone who has seen Audition, the horrifying Takashi Miike masterpiece, with a final half hour so shocking and gruesome it even caused one viewer to have a heart attack. See it now!

The Hour of the Wolf (1968)

The closest thing to a horror film Ingmar Bergman ever made, The Hour of the Wolf is an incredibly disturbing, frightening nightmare which examines a clan of people on an island and their attempts to drive a visiting couple insane. Creepy stuff and a perfect way to close my night.

That’s what I’m watching. Now tell me, what horror movies have you been watching recently, and what do you think of the ones I’ve listed?

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Ten Great Movies That Aren’t Afraid To Push the Boundaries!

10 Movies That Are Extremely Uncomfortable to Watch with Family

Every fortnight, me and a group of friends have a Movie Night. We go to my friend Stephen’s house. He has a large study which he has converted into a “theatre room” over a long period of time. He is also an avid collector of Criterion Collection DVDs (He has 60-something. I have 5.) We’ve been doing this thing for about six months now, going through all his Criterion movies, and last night we watched the Lars von Trier “horror” movie Antichrist.

Stephen and I were the only two present who had seen the film before. Also in attendance was my girlfriend Ashley, and four other mutual friends who had not seen it and had very little idea of what to expect. I told Ashley (who dealt with the on-screen “happenings” rather well, considering…) that it was a sexually-explicit, often mistaken as misogynistic festival of violence and gore. She was at first optimistic, saying she hadn’t seen a good horror movie in ages. The optimism didn’t last once the film reached the third act. She was unable to watch some parts, and I can well understand why.

Antichrist is not the sort of film you want to watch with someone you hold close or even respect. And I can imagine watching it with actual family would be even worse (my mother would vomit, my dad would laugh). So, without further ado, here are ten movies that (I imagine) would be extremely uncomfortable to watch with family, and since I don’t often actually rank lists, I’m going to make this one a count down from ten.

10: Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Darren Aronofsky’s hellish drug drama turns downright terrifying in its drawn-out, brutally punctuated third act. Scenes of Ellen Burstyn being incessantly electrocuted and Jennifer Connelly losing all dignity at a drug-fuelled sex party are enough to make anyone squirm in their seat.

9: Funny Games (1997)

Who really wants to see two men mercilessly break all conventional horror movie rules to draw out torture and eventual murder upon a young couple and their son during the long 100 minutes of this typical Haneke thriller? I know I don’t, and certainly not with family.

8: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1990)

In a horrific home-invasion scene brutally replayed on a home video camera, we see two psychopathic killers at their worst, most disgustingly inhumane attitude. And as if that weren’t enough, an overly depressing, nihilistic ending combined with countless scenes of unmotivated violence punctuate a brilliant reality.

7: Man Bites Dog (1992)

In one of the most unconventional horror films ever made (and one of my personal favourites, he-he-hee), a camera crew follow a serial killer around, documenting his rapes and murders (including the sickeningly slow death of an elderly woman from cardiac arrest) and eventually getting involved in them. A horror film which comically delights in some of the most disgusting acts, Man Bites Dog is grotesque but brilliant.

6: Audition (1999)

This one actually happened. I saw Audition at a young age with my Dad, and the next day we decided to play a prank on my mum. We told her it was a romantic comedy about a man who tries to audition the perfect girlfriend. We completely left out the brutal amputation and torture in the third act, and let her discover that herself…

5: A Serbian Film (2009)

One of the most gratuitously graphic films I have ever seen, A Serbian Film has it all. Kids watching porn, graphic oral sex, rape, paedophilia, facial cumshots, implied rape of an infant, and the gouging of eyes with an erect penis, among many other atrocities. Just perfect for a night in with the family, right?

4: Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Two years ago, I broke up with a girlfriend who was a vegetarian when she told me she was in another relationship. I was very angry and immature at the time. I contemplated sending her a downloaded DVD of this disgusting animal snuff film in the mail at one point, though thankfully I refrained from doing so. It’s notorious, repulsive, excessive and bloody. Not for the faint of heart, or anyone with an emotional attachment to turtles.

3: Irreversible (2002)

Gaspar Noe’s 2002 masterpiece may be controversial and filled to the brim with excessive, gratuitous violence but it is nevertheless a serious work of art, as demonstrated in the horrifyingly beautiful final scene. However, that is no reason to watch this with anyone you value in any way.

2: Salo, or: The 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

Pier Paolo Pasolini’s almost unendurable, 2-hour festival of disturbing violence, rape, sex, and general mistreatment of human beings may be a hateful metaphor for fascism, but that certainly doesn’t make it any easier to watch whatsoever.

1: Happiness (1998)

Some will debate this film at the position of number one, but I put it here because, a) it is the most honest of the films on the list, which makes it scarier, and b) it is a disturbing film about family, perfect for a list of movies that are uncomfortable to watch with family. Who wants to see their mum peering curiously at their dad while watching Dylan Baker masturbate to pictures of kids? It’s an awkward, paranoid moment no-one wants to encounter, and makes the movie all the more uncomfortable.

So, those’re my picks. Let me know, was there anything I missed out?

Leave a comment below. Thanks for reading.

10 Movies I’ll Never Be Able To Watch Again

There are a lot of really disturbing movies out there, but I’ve been able to formulate a list of ten I’ll never be able to watch again. Some of them are just because they’re bad. Others are brilliant films that are just difficult to watch. Either way, these aren’t on my queue any time soon.

In no particular order:

A Serbian Film (2010)

Though I didn’t hate this movie, it’s certainly not good. Borderline pornography with explicit sex and violence, a lot of it seems wasted and pointless. The continuous references to paedophilia is more than unnerving… it’s disgusting. I’m not the kind of person who gets angry over those sort of things being in movies, but this is really sickening. 5/10. And that’s being very kind.

Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Again, not the kind of person who gets angry with violence, explicit sex or anything nastily gratuitous, but this is awful. I’m not an animal rights person, and I realize that the animals that died in this film will probably have died anyway at the hands of those natives, but I didn’t want to see it on camera. It was a complete waste of my time. And I usually love handheld camera movies. 3/10.

Salo, or: The 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

“All’s good if it’s excessive.” The line is scary enough, and what follows is horrifying. Pasolini’s “poem” about his hateful vision of Fascism got him killed, but despite its graphic and excessive content, it is a “beautiful” movie (don’t take that the wrong way, I mean the cinematography was beautiful) that leaves a pondering thought in my head every time it is discussed. I wish I could watch this again, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. 6/10.

Irreversible (2002)

This is a tricky one because I actually LOVE this movie. Gaspar Noé is a fantastic director. His swooping and sweeping camera will probably make you sick, and then there’s the infamous rape scene, which is the main reason it’s on this list. I might actually watch this movie again, but I think I’ll skip past the rape. 9/10. (The reason this film has such a high rating is for its final scene, so perfect it almost made me cry. Almost.)

The Idiots (1998)

I love Lars von Trier. Which makes my dislike of this movie all the more confusing to me. It’s filmed as one of his famed Dogme 95 (read my article on this fascinating genre here) but, surprisingly,  that only makes the strange effect of the film seem even more shitty. I mean, did we really need unsimulated group sex? Seriously? Von Trier has a point he wants to make, but he makes it better with movies like Dogville and Antichrist. 4/10.

Funny Games (1997)

One of Michael Haneke’s most affecting movies, this is an essay on the pointlessness and insanity of violence, and how often, a lot of it is completely unmotivated. While we’re searching for the Why?, Haneke doesn’t care and relentlessly continues to push the What in our faces. It’s a tactic that works, though it’s difficult to watch. Once is enough. 8/10.

The Human Centipede: First Sequence (2009)

The premise is disgusting enough without the movie, which is surprisingly not as graphic as you might expect. But it is shitty. Really shitty. Which makes Daniel Tosh’s spoiler even funnier. An awful movie by all respects, even if this was halfway decent, the plot itself is enough to help you to decide which crowd you are in. Torture-porn lovers, eat your heart out. No, on second thought, don’t even try. This is too awful even for you. 2/10.

Pink Flamingos (1972)

Ah, John Waters. He has to make the list somewhere. And considering this is the only film of his I’ve seen (and I think it’s the only film I need to see), I can easily say that I have no desire to see Divine eating a dog turd again. Seeing it once is one time too many. It’s a fun movie, in its own disgusting cult way, and many an absurd, awkward laugh is likely to strike a few times throughout. 5/10.

The Last House on the Left (1972)

The most disturbing of all horror master Wes Craven’s films is not only a blatant insult (don’t call it a tribute, or a remake) to Bergman’s The Virgin Spring, it’s also gratuitous, annoyingly excessive and a waste of time. I didn’t feel sorry for the victims in this movie, but The Virgin Spring… now that was a movie that affected me, in a good way. 4/10.

Audition (1999)

This is the only film on this list I have actually seen twice, and once was when I was a kid. It scared the shit out of me, and when I rewatched it four years ago, I discovered it still retained that power. A film that wouldn’t normally horrify me, this is a smart, intelligent work of horrific cinema that continues to impress, please, and disgust. 8/10.

What do you think? What are some movies you could never watch again? Have you seen any of my choices? Whaddaya think? Leave a comment below and thanks for reading.

Five Movies That Scared the Shit Out of Me When I Was A Kid

When I was a kid, I certainly didn’t watch movies anywhere near as much as I do now, but of the ones I did watch, many of the memorable ones were horror movies. And a lot of them scared me. These days when I watch horror movies they’re not as scary as they are strangely farcical, but my nightmare recollections of first seeing these movies ring true in my head and they were far from funny…

1: Audition (1999)

I know what you’re thinking: how the Hell did you get to watch Audition as a kid? Well, it was right after me and my Dad watched Ring (1998) (see below). I was thirteen and we’d just started to really get into foreign movies. My Dad didn’t regret showing me this movie; he knew I was mature enough to handle it, but it still scared the bajeebuz out of me, nonetheless.

2: Ring (1998)

The second scariest of the horror movies I viewed before I became an adult was watched right before Audition. They’re similar movies in some ways, except Audition‘s scarier because its plot could actually happen to you. We enjoyed watching Sadako (whose long dark hair was intensely scary for me for some reason), and even had a good time with the remake when it was released in 2002.

3: The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Since most people define this as horror (whereas I see it as a thriller) I suppose it makes the list. I remember watching it fondly at age twelve, intensely scared, riveted and moved by Hopkins as Lecter, and then never seeing it again until I bought it recently. A fantastic film, but still an insomnia trigger at the ripe young age of 12.

4: The Shining (1980)

Jack Nicholson swinging an axe at his desperate, screaming wife was enough to give me nightmares at age ten. I remember feeling like little Danny throughout the whole movie, and, according to my brother, I started talking to my finger for a while, answering questions with it and having conversations. This quickly passed and I moved on but there’s no doubt The Shining has had an effect on me and my perception of horror films.

5: The Evil Dead (1981)

I remember it well. 1996, at the age of nine. My brother sneaks into my dad’s video cabinet and slithers away with a copy of this Sam Raimi classic. He invites me into his huddled bedroom to watch it with him. I’m curious. We watch it, and my brother makes me swear not to tell Dad we saw it. I agree. But the film has such an effect on me that I start to look disturbed and have trouble sleeping. When my mum asks me what’s wrong, I break down and tell her. An unpleasant memory, but hey, I got to hear my brother get a verbal thrashing from Dad so that’s cool.

What horror movies scared you as a child? What are your favourite horror movies? Do you have any recollections of experiences with horror movies when you were young? Leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading.

100 Things I Love About the Movies

Recently, John at The Droid You’re Looking For made a sequel to his hugely successful “100 Things I Love About the Movies” post, and being a fan of both posts, I’ve decided it’s about time I did my own. It was a very inspirational and thoughtful post, and if you read it yourself it might just make you want to do one of the same. For now, here’s mine:

1: Hi-hi-hi there, at last we meet.

2: The shaking fence in Evil Dead.

3: A rape depicted through the clever usage of a silent movie in Pedro Almodovar’s Talk to Her.

4: Qantas never crashed.

5: Whatever you want, Leo Getz.

6: The stunning ending to Lars von Trier’s Dogville.

7: Dave. Stop, Dave. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it.

8: The best movie cut of all history in Lawrence of Arabia.

9: The theme that plays when we see the man with the Harmonica in Once Upon a Time in the West.

10: Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me…

11: The abrupt ending of Bonnie and Clyde.

12: I’m a star. I’m a star, I’m a star, I’m a star. I’m a big bright shining star. That’s right.

13: The final perfect five minutes of Irreversible…

14: …and how The King’s Speech stole the music!

15: Ellen Burstyn’s monologue in Requiem for a Dream.

16: The hand emerging from the water in Deliverance.

17: The final half-hour of Audition.

18: Jimmy Schtewart.

19: The emotion and raw energy with which Kirk Douglas delivers this line in Paths of Glory: “I apologise to you, sir, for not informing you sooner that you’re a degenerate, sadistic old man, and you can go to Hell before I apologise to you now or ever again!”

20: John C. Reilly shining his flashlight into the camera in Magnolia.

21: Blood Simple to True Grit and everything in between.

22: Hello… Hello, Dimitri? I… I can’t hear, could you turn the music down? That’s great, you’re coming through fine. I’m coming through fine, too, am I? I agree with you, it’s great to be fine. Now then, Dimitri. One of our generals… he went a little funny in the head… you know, funny. And he went and did a silly thing.

23: Tracking shots. All of them.

24: The Monty Python movies (“I fart in your general direction!”)

25: Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit crushing game shows, stuffing junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life.

26: Jim Carrey in Liar, Liar.

27: Steve Martin in The Jerk.

28: Isabella Rossellini begging Kyle MacLachlan in Blue Velvet (“Hit me!”).

29: In Heaven… everything is fine.

30: Did You Know You Can Use Old Motor Oil to Fertilise Your Lawn?

31: That lucky occasion when you come across a really, really good TV movie (Indictment: The McMartin Trial)

32: Get away from her, you BITCH!

33: I am Death. I have long walked at your side.

34: The most striking and disturbing use of colour in any film, that of Sven Nykvist’s brilliant cinematography in Ingmar Bergman’s fantastic Cries and Whispers.

35: NOT LOVELY, LOVELY LUDWIG VAAAANNNN!!!!

36: The slow-paced and slightly comic final duel in Barry Lyndon.

37: The deadly silent arrival of Martin Sheen into Colonel Kurtz new jungle home, rudely interrupted by an obviously high Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now.

38: The first six or so minutes of Persona.

39: This is my rifle, this is my gun. This is for fighting, this is for fun.

40: The haunting piano music that plays throughout the latter half of Kubrick’s fantastic Eyes Wide Shut.

41: A surprise cameo from the greatest stand-up comedian of all time in a non-comedy role in Lost Highway.

42: Tom Cruise’s finest hour:

43: The perfect opening shot of Apocalypse Now.

44: Bernard Herrman’s shrieking violins.

45: Black and White movies in the era of Colour.

46: The nameless dystopian city in David Fincher’s Se7en.

47: Uncomfortably casual nudity in Short Cuts.

48: Marge Gunderson.

49: Nobody fucks with the Jesus.

50: Bring Out the Gimp.

51: Norma Desmond’s delusions of grandeur.

52: The drug deal scene in Boogie Nights.

53: I only got two things in this world: my balls and my word. And I don’t break em for nobody.

54: Robert Downey, Jr. in Natural Born Killers.

55: The “train going into the tunnel” at the very end of North by Northwest, a clever albeit overused sexual metaphor.

56: Ricky Gervais. Always. Always.

57: A movie set entirely within one room (i.e. Buried)

58: Rob Brydon’s cameo in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

59: Nothing’s wrong with it, Tommy. It’s tip top. I’m just not sure about the colour.

60: I am Jack’s _____ ______.

61: Sean Penn in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, oh, and while we’re at it…

62: 80s high school movies. All of them.

63: The epilogue of Pink Flamingos.

64: Clerks. ‘Nuff said.

65: Try getting a reservation at Dorsia now, you fucking stupid bastard!

66: Silencio.

67: Earn this. Earn it.

68: The final shot of the rat at the end of The Departed.

69: Extended Director’s Cuts.

70: I’m mad as Hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!

71: The inability of Jack Lemmon to be able to watch Grand Hotel in The Apartment.

72: Memorable last lines in Billy Wilder movies.

73: We’re a loving couple that doesn’t touch.

74: Sunday nights, where I put aside a few hours to rewatch one of my favourite movies, no matter what it is or how many times I’ve seen it.

75: The creepy hidden camera shots in Michael Haneke’s Cache.

76: Amelie’s strange games with random people in the film of the same name.

77: Go round mums, deal with Phillip, grab Liz, go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint and wait for all this to blow over.

78: Shelley Winters in The Poseidon Adventure: “In the water, I’m a very skinny lady.”

79: Sidney Lumet. Rest in Peace.

80: The final shocking moments of Planet of the Apes.

81: The meaning of Roger O. Thornhill’s middle initial.

82: Martin Scorsese’s cameo in Taxi Driver.

83: Gregory Peck’s powerful courtroom monologue in To Kill A Mockingbird…

84: …and the uniquely different but still subtly similar version presented by a suprisingly good Matthew McConaughey in A Time to Kill.

85: Dustin Hoffman’s moving turn as Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy…

86: …and the eerie subtle similarities between Jon Voight’s character in the same movie and Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights.

87: Mr. Jingles.

88: I just wanted to hold the little baby.

89: You mean the man who inserted rubber fist in my anus was a homosexual?

90: The stunning revelation at the end of Spoorloos (The Vanishing).

91: How quickly a director can take my interest, and how stunningly tight their grip remains on me within the shortest of times, and how it can last seemingly forever, as evidenced by my recent delve into the films of Ingmar Bergman.

92: Hit Girl.

93: Bill Murray waking up to the same nauseatingly repetitive jingle every morning in Groundhog Day.

94: Reese Witherspoon humiliating a disfigured Kiefer Sutherland in Freeway.

95: The little bit of low-budget masterpiece that was Sex, Lies and Videotape.

96: Dogme 95.

97: The Criterion Collection.

98: The little things in movies that so few directors really think to care about.

99: How movies affect my everyday life, the way I do things, the little idiosyncrasies that people rarely notice, and how I think and perceive things.

100: “I’m finished.”