Getting into the spirit of Halloween, over the next couple of weeks, I’ll publish items that will hopefully inspire some related conversation (films to watch, existing shorts, surveys, and more)… starting with today’s post…
First, watch the below video (you don’t have to watch the entire thing; I think you’ll get the gist of it within a matter of a few minutes), and then continue reading afterward.
The above took place after a screening of horror film director Lucky McKee’s 2011 film "The Woman," at the Sundance Film Festival that year, where it premiered. Clearly, the man was upset with what he saw of the film, and maybe rightfully so. I wasn’t there, but I did eventually see "The Woman," and while I didn’t storm out in protest the way he did, I can say that it’s definitely disturbing and even disgusting at times. It turned a lot of viewers off (including the fellow in the video above). Some walked out of screenings, some reportedly vomited, and others even passed out.
It wasn’t on my list of films to screen at the festival that year, but all the controversy around it caught my attention, and I had to see what all the fuss was about.
The film centers on a small town family patriarch who discovers a "feral woman" living in the woods, and decides that it’s his family’s duty to "civilize" her, which includes progressively sadistic, extreme, perverse methods. I’ll say no more and let you discover it for yourselves, if you’re curious enough.
It’s on home video (not streaming on Netflix though). I embedded a trailer below.
I’m quite tolerant, and have seen my fair share of what many would call "disgusting" films like "The Woman" (some even more vile than that film actually), so I suppose I’m not as easily rattled. Some would say that’s a bad thing, because it only helps demonstrate how numb many of us have become, after a steady diet of on-screen violence and brutality, consumed from childhood to adulthood.
I will say that I was sufficiently turned off by movies like the "Hostel" franchise of films – "Hostel I" and "Hostel II" (photo above) notably, which were released in USA theaters with "R" ratings (I believe there was a part 3 that went straight to DVD). So-called "torture porn" flicks, as they’ve collectively come to be labeled, they were even banned in a few countries – the second installment being the more vile and disgusting of the first 2 (I haven’t seen the 3rd one, and have no interest).
These near equivalents of what I’d consider *snuff films* actually navigated their way through the ranks of the studio system, ending up on thousands of theater screens nationwide, for audiences, young and old to, shall we say, "enjoy." I can certainly understand the concern many have for what impact a steady dose of films like these has/will have on the impressionable minds of those who have/will see them, and who lack the psychological faculties necessary to process what they’ve consumed – again, starting with that numbness I mentioned.
So, in the spirit of Halloween, typically when these kinds of movies are released in theaters (of note, Universal is releasing "Crimson Peak" this week, and Paramount is releasing "Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension" next week), a question I have for you all is this: Have you watched any films that made you so upset and react like the man in the video above? And if so, what were they? Not necessarily "black films" by the way. Any films at all you’ve seen in your lifetime that inspired that kind of a reaction.
Or feel free to wax philosophic on the issues of onscreen violence and horror as art, and societal effects, which I’ve only broached within this post.
The trailer for "The Woman" follows below, although it doesn’t give you much of an indication of just how sick the film is: