What's the most MORALLY REPREHENSIBLE AND/OR DISTURBING MOVIE you've ever seen?
March 12th 2008 22:32
On one hand horror movies are meant to be confronting and disturbing. There are movies which can skillfully scare the pants off of you with the use of suggestion and implication. And there are movies that mortify you by depicting the most heinous images of physical corruption. So there’s the psychological and there’s the visceral.
Some directors - David Cronenberg is a brilliant example – are very clever at combing both elements in a subtle, but sometimes graphic way, and creating an intense combination of body horror and psychological terror.
Other directors, like Dario Argento, excel (for the most part) in creating very abstract or expressionistic visual and aural narratives where plausibility is thrown out the window and a kind of dream logic determines the mise-en-scene. Argento uses ultra-violence (much of it so extreme it becomes almost risible) to illicit a very calculated response in the viewer; repulsion and abject horror.
And then there are filmmakers who push all this aside and go straight for the groin, kicking the viewer in the balls and spitting in their face. There can be intelligence employed, but it may not be immediately apparent because the viewer is so appalled by what they’ve witnessed.
It takes a lot to shock me … but I can still be shocked.
A movie can genuinely disturb me, but I appreciate what the director has done, and how they’ve done it. Gaspar Noe’s Irreversible (2002) was such a movie. The nightclub murder sequence and the protracted rape scene were palpably repulsive and harrowing to watch, but in the context of the movie they worked brilliantly.
More often than not it is about the context in which actions occur which define how shocking they’ll be.
I Spit on Your Grave (1978) is a movie which I think is morally objectionable. A gang rape scene goes on for an inordinate and totally unnecessary length. Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left (1972) is a movie I find deeply unpleasant with its lo-fi production values and grim visual style depicting the torture-murder of teenage girls. Pasolini’s Salo; or 100 Days of Sodom (1975) is a very difficult film to recommend, unless you’re a hardened cinephile, as it features numerous scenes of juvenile degradation, torture and maiming, but is intelligently constructed, being a dark and subversive allegory for Italian fascism.
You see, it’s all in the context, remember … (he says with a hint of sarcasm)
Is it graphic realism that will cause the biggest upset? Is it unnecessary sexual violence that provokes the most intense outrage? Is it lack of intelligence or hamfisted direction in a filmmaker that makes a movie questionable?
What movie(s) have you seen that have not only turned your stomach, but played utter havoc on your sensibilities? What movie(s) have you seen that have made you angry at how a film of such moral mire could ever have been distributed
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