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Ten Must-See Films From the Experimental Cinema Genre

The Ten Most Disturbing Films I Have Ever Seen

5 Best Scenes David Lynch Ever Directed

David Lynch is a weird, wacky and inspired director, and almost all of his films have his own deft touch, often demonstrated within scenes or moments that are perfectly ‘him.’ Here are five scenes from his films that, had someone else directed them, they would be nowhere near as good as Lynch made them.

1: The Pencil-Top Eraser Scene, Eraserhead (1976)

From the beginning, when The Lady in the Radiator sings her song, to Henry’s head popping off and getting taken away by a boy to a pencil factory, the scene is coated in weirdness. It is the one scene that remains most difficult to decode, but it is in some strange way a piece of pure genius.

2: “Don’t You Fuckin’ Look At Me!”, Blue Velvet (1986)

For obvious reasons, I can’t include a video here but this strangely rhythmic, horrifically violent “rape” sequence is directed with an eerie comic flair by Lynch, and acted stunningly by Dennis Hopper.

3: The Monster Behind Winkie’s, Mulholland Dr. (2001)

The most difficult and out of place scene in Lynch’s masterpiece is a scene that has developed a steady cult following. It’s one you can enjoy on its own, even without the rest of the movie, and prompts serious thought into the meaning of the film.

4: Susan’s Monologue, Inland Empire (2006)

In what I’m seriously starting to consider my favourite Lynch movie, there are a huge number of scenes that rival for this list, but one of the obvious picks would be Laura Dern deep in character as she plunges into a spiteful monologue about her life. This isn’t the whole thing, but it’s some of it.

5: Susan Running, Inland Empire (2006)

Okay, so this is only thirty seconds, and to some it won’t count, but there is so much meaning in this shot, about Nikki/Susan’s lust for the spotlight, how she yearns for it and runs at it; it’s also a huge shock and really jolts you back into the movie.

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Anyway, so that’s my list. Anything I’ve forgotten, or something you’d like to add? What did you think of these creepy Lynchian scenes? Leave a comment below. Thanks.

5 Creepy Children in Movies…

Horror movie directors were sometimes good (and often bad) at creating reasonably scary children in horror movies. And the trick, if it was done well, could result in a very creepy scene indeed…

1: The kids in The White Ribbon (2009)

Were they the victims of the strange crimes that occured in this Haneke masterpiece? Or the perpetrators? Who knows, but they certainly have a creepy aura…

Creepy Kid Scale:

2/5

2: Sick Boy’s Dead Child, Trainspotting (1996)

In one of the most haunting, darker scenes in Danny Boyle’s breakthrough cult classic, protagonist Renton (Ewen McGregor) is haunted by the image of his friend Sick Boy’s infant, who died of neglect while he and his friends were partying on hard drugs. The image is twisted, and percepted as some sort of disgusting monster, during Renton’s horrific detox session.

Creepy Kid Scale:

4.5/5

3: Rosemary’s Baby, Rosemary’s Baby

Creepy Roman Polanski thrills in the late 60s with this decent horror movie (though I’m not a huge fan of the horror genre in general). Spawn of Satan, this baby’s gonna grow up to break some hearts… and bag some souls!

Creepy Kid Scale:

 2.5/5

4: Zombie Kid, Pet Sematary

Based on the excellent book by Stephen King, the story of a man who resurrects his dead son in a special cemetary (or ‘sematary’ as it is called) is quite chilling, but not scary. Still, you wouldn’t want this to be your son…

Creepy Kid Scale:

3.5/5

5: Alien Baby, Eraserhead

Timid, quirky Henry is shocked to discover he is a father… but his child is not human. Lynch’s first film is as enigmatic and enchanting is it was the first time, and the ugly, oozing alien baby is one of many reasons. Congratulations, you’re adopted.

Creepy Kid Scale:

 5/5

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Any more you can think of? What do you think of the above choices? Leave a comment below. Thanks.

Preaching to the Lynch Choir

Anyone who’s read a considerable amount of my posts or taken a schmooze at my Favourite Directors page might notice I have a slight obsession with the film catalogue of David Lynch. I’d like to talk to you– and hopefully not bore you –with a little explanation about why he is one of the greatest minds in the art of film at the moment and what makes him special to me.

David Lynch was always interested in art, and in the mid-sixties he spent $200 to finance a short artistic ‘picture,’ entitled Six Men Getting Sick. He won an award, and was approached to create another feature. His next was called The Alphabet, and is among my Top 10 Horror Movies even though strictly speaking, it’s not a horror. It’s a short film based on a nightmare that his wife’s niece had. Watch it for yourself and tell me you’re not creeped out:

This is a perfect example of the madness in David Lynch’s head. Many of his shorts were like this, including two that followed it: The Grandmother and The Amputee.

After those two came Eraserhead, his first feature length film and his weirdest.

But I’m not here to catalogue his whole career (that you can see on the banner at the top of this post). I’m just here to help some people to come to grips with this man and perhaps make peace with the weirdness he produces.

Many have had problems with his films, and if you’re not into big, confusing, think-about-it narratives, then I suggest to stay away from Eraserhead, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, and INLAND EMPIRE. Thankfully, he has made some more accessible films, such as The Elephant Man, Dune, Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, and The Straight Story.

But I think the real talent lies in those tricky mythological mazes of deception and disturbance. It is within those labyrinths of destruction and terror that true entertainment and artistic value lies. The first time I saw INLAND EMPIRE only a few months ago, I was utterly bamboozled and kind of annoyed that it made almost no sense to me at all. Yet… I strangely enjoyed it. Even the completely frustrating and annoying parts had artistic value and entertainment within them. Sometimes it comes from the writing, and sometimes it comes from the acting.

The point I’m trying to make is that no-one can really be 100% satisfied when they reach the end of a Lynch film, because often, they don’t get what they’ve just seen. But it’s not about getting it… its about enjoying it. And you might find, as I did, that if you mull over what you’ve just seen and think about it for a few days, a light bulb might go off and you might finally get it. Lynch himself has said that he doesn’t like to explain his films because he believes each movie should have its own interpretation to the viewer.

Of course, there’s no reason you should have to listen to me, I’m no expert, I haven’t even seen all of Lynch’s movies (The Straight Story still eludes me and I’m trying to finish Season 2 of “Twin Peaks” before I watch the movie). It’s just… I’ve heard too many people say they’re fed up with Lynch that haven’t really given him a proper chance. A person I like to refer to in this case is Roger Ebert. He gave Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart and Lost Highway all bad reviews, but then he gave Mulholland Drive and INLAND EMPIRE the most positive reviews you could have hoped for. Here was a man who had given up on Lynch (well… almost) but who radically changed his mind when finally something clicked.

Oh… listen to me. I’m full of crap. I’m rambling, and I’m sorry, but hey! Hopefully you’ve learned something. Now go watch INLAND EMPIRE.

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.”

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