Archive for the Controversial Films Category

Christmas Horror Movies that Will Scare Your Chestnuts Off!

Posted in Alexander S. Brown, Amazon, Christmas, christmas horror movies, Controversial Films, cult classic, cult classics, cult favorites, Cult horror, entertaining, entertainment, fandom, frightening, holidays, Horror, Horror Fans, Horror Lovers, Horror Movies, Horror Punks, Horror Readers, Independent Horror, movie discussion, movie review, movies, new horror movies on December 22, 2016 by Alexander S. Brown

Near the end of November, I posted on social media for a list of Christmas themed, family friendly horror movies. For the most part, I received adult related titles, which wasn’t what I was looking for.

For those who might feel uncertain as to what movies are classified as family friendly, I would consider nothing worse than a PG-13 rating. In a chestnut shell, movies that don’t exploit nudity/sex, gore, drugs, or explicit language.

Because of the misconception my post received, I’m going to knock out two turtle doves with one stone. Not only will I focus on suggesting horror themed Christmas movies, but I will categorize ‘Family Friendly’ and ‘Adult Only’ titles.

Family Friendly (PG or PG-13):

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For starters, it’s not Christmas without ‘Gremlins’.  The reasons I love ‘Gremlins’ is because the creators (Chris Columbus, Joe Dante, and Steven Spielberg) were not afraid to deliver chills and laughs throughout.

In a tongue and cheek style, they apply suggestive humor to intense scenes, which creates a deeper level of fear.  The most superb example of this tactic is the attic scene when Mrs. Peltzer first realizes something is wrong.  As the house grows silent, a feeling of suspense captivates the audience.  Although expecting a scream to jolt us from our seats, the downstairs record player starts blaring ‘Do You Hear What I Hear’ when it was in an off position.  This scene is the perfect example of timing, humor, irony, and dread all rolled into one.  To this day, I can’t listen to the Johnny Mathis classic without thinking about this iconic movie.

Fun Facts:

  1. At first, ‘Gremlins’ pushed an R rating with its original script. This included Mrs. Peltzer getting beheaded and the gremlins murdering the family dog.  Due to wanting to keep the movie tame, these scenes were rewritten.
  1. At first, Stripe didn’t exist. Gizmo was supposed to become evil and lead the pack, but, Spielberg felt that keeping Gizmo cuddly would be the wiser choice.

 

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‘Krampus’ is a contemporary classic bound to stand the test of time. While staying true to German folklore, it provides enough originality that it becomes a cornucopia of horrors. Similar to Michael Dougherty’s prior movie ‘Trick R’ Treat’, where Dougherty provides almost all holiday subjects screen time.  Villains include: snowmen, gingerbread men, killer toys, and Krampus himself.  While full of intense moments, there is enough comedy to relieve the tension.

With jumps and humor aside, ‘Krampus’ presents a contemporary Dickens morality, and a wholesome conclusion for the family black sheep.  Overall, by the character development, pacing, and plot, ‘Krampus’ is a movie that isn’t afraid to gift a stocking full of humor, horror, and heart with its overall message.

Fun Fact:

The final design of Krampus was inspired by various illustrations and postcards depicting the iconic Christmas devil.

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‘Scrooged’ is a dark comedy with horror elements.  Examples of these elements can be seen in characters such as Lew Hayward and the Ghost of Christmas Future.  Even the Ghost of Christmas Past (David Johansen) has his own devilish persona in this modern day take. To top it off, Bill Murray endures a live cremation.

Despite the horror elements, ‘Scrooged’ has a certain wholesome, yet humorous, charisma that only director Richard Donner can provide.  Overall, it feels like the holiday answer to the original Ghostbusters in regards to its combination of horror and humor, as Carol Kane, Bill Murray, and Bobcat Goldthwait deliver comedic one liners throughout.

Fun Fact:

Bill Murray complained to Roger Ebert about ‘Scrooged’.  Murray insinuated that he and Donner didn’t get along, and Donner dismissed almost all of Murray’s suggestions for the movie.

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I remember when ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ was released and its controversy. Back then, my hometown theater didn’t receive it in their auditorium and quite a few audiences called it ‘sacrilegious’. Although I missed the opportunity to enjoy it in on the big screen, my mom was cool enough to let me rent it on VHS.

From this list, this is perhaps the only title suitable for preteens. However, the love for this holiday mash up, which has sparked arguments between if it’s a Halloween movie, a Christmas movie, or both, is enjoyable for all ages.

In 2006, ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ was re-released in theaters in a 3D format.  For the first time, it was under the Walt Disney banner, instead of the Touchstone Pictures banner, where it lived since 1993.

Assuming everyone has seen this fairytale about star crossed lovers, I won’t go into plot detail.  But, I will say, if the opportunity presents itself for you to see the 3D version in theaters, do not pass it by.  The experience returns adults to their childhood, and it gives newcomers something to “talk about for years to come”.

Fun Fact:

To complete this movie, it took three years and a group of around 100 people.  Just for a second of footage, up to 12 stop motion movements had to be performed.

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‘Curse of the Cat People’ isn’t a full-on Christmas movie, yet a good portion of it does surround Christmas.  Despite ‘Curse’ being suitable for all ages, it is complex in a psychological sense by symbolism and verbiage. So, although the feature is safe for preteens, they might not understand its subject matter. To give an example of the movie’s depth, it has been noted that in the past, psychology professors have shown ‘Curse’ to their students.

For those unfamiliar with ‘Curse’ it is a sequel to the famous ‘Cat People’, directed by visionary master Val Lewton.  Although ‘Cat People’ isn’t Christmas based, it provides important character development that is somewhat crucial for viewers entering the sequel.

‘Curse of the Cat People’ takes place years later after its predecessor.  Our subject in this installment is Oliver’s young, friendless daughter, Amy.  Over the passing of autumn turning to winter, we get the impression that Amy is teetering on the edge of sanity.  During this time, she befriends a retired actress and a ghost.  By meeting these two characters, Amy receives solace and transforms into a stronger person.  Although ‘Curse’ presents spooky elements, it is technically a fantasy movie that focuses on maturing, forgiving, and acceptance.

Fun Fact:

The poem quoted by Miss Callahan in ‘Curse’ is ‘The Unseen Playmate’ by Robert Louis Stevenson from ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’.  For me, this poem sets the mood for the entire movie.

Adults Only (R Rated):

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As we advance into the ‘Adults Only’ category, I have decided to begin with the star upon the tree, ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’.  This is an infamous cult classic that stirred such controversy by poster art, and prime time advertising, that TriStar Pictures dropped it.  Going a step further, Siskel and Ebert took a moment to list those involved with SNDN’s production, saying, “Shame,” after speaking each name.

For those unaware of this hidden gem, you might be interested to know that it spawned 4 sequels.  Unlike the Halloween franchise, which wanted to expand into an anthology series, the SNDN films achieve the anthology expansion.

The subject of Pt 1 is Billy, who at younger age saw his parents murdered by a criminal dressed as Santa.  Later, he and his younger sibling, Ricky, are thrown into an orphanage.  Here, an abusive Mother Superior warps Billy through a decade of psychological and physical torment.  After snapping, Billy goes on a killing spree, where he uses a variety of weapons, which include: Christmas lights, a boxcutter, an axe, a bow and arrow, and my personal favorite, reindeer antlers.

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Pt 2 continues a decade after the first movie. Ricky has grown into an adult and has picked up the ‘slay’ reins his brother dropped.  For those who missed Pt 1, don’t worry, the sequel recaps its predecessor in flashbacks.  

As a follow up, this installment doesn’t present anything new.  Although, it does make a stronger comment on PTSD, and it comes off feeling like a warning movie for those who have yet to receive the therapeutic help they require.   

When mentioning Pt 2, the psychological aspects of PTSD are never discussed. Yet, the spree killing scene dubbed as “Garbage Day”, has captivated cult audiences for decades. 

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In Pt 3, the series starts to trail away from the killer Santa scenario.  Even though this sequel’s villain is Ricky, he isn’t the primary focus.  Instead, our subject is a blind woman who has undergone a series of testing for her psychic abilities.  Although the acting in Pt 3 is better than Pt 2, Ricky now sports a dome top, which looks cool, but in addition becomes problematic.  My gripe was, other characters acted so nonchalant to his headgear, it felt bizarre and out of place.  Had the dome top not been a part of Ricky’s character, I probably would have enjoyed this installment more.

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From the sequels, Pt 4 is my favorite.  Directed and co-written by Brian Yuzna, who created cult hits such as: Society, Bride of Re-Animator, Necronomicon, The Dentist, and Return of the Living Dead 3, this installment is slimy and grotesque.

With a deeper plot than the prior two sequels, Pt 4 is full of occultism, mutated bugs and worms, and a bizarre sex scene featuring Clint Howard.  Also, here’s a fun side note, Clint Howard’s character name is Ricky.  Perhaps he is the Ricky from the prior films who has now joined a coven?

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Pt 5 is creative, but it was also when the creators realized, the reindeer are dead, let’s stop beating them.  The final chapter, focuses on a Pinocchio themed horror where a toy maker, Joe Petto and his son Pino, create murderous toys.  The only reason why anyone would want to see this installment is due to the blood and gore that is created by the toys.

Fun Facts:

  1. Lilyan Chauvin, who played Mother Superior in Pt 1, admitted it was a mistake for the film’s publicity campaign to center around Santa. She further explained, the advertising should have focused on Billy’s mental stability.
  1. Robert Brian Wilson, who played Billy at 18, said he felt so ashamed by the controversy he told friends and family not to see the film.
  1. Mickey Rooney, who had protested the release of SNDN 1, starred in SNDN 5 as the toymaker. Originally, the movie was called ‘The Toy Maker’, and it wasn’t associated with the franchise until its release.

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Although ‘Black Christmas’ never franchised out, it is perhaps the most well-known movie on the ‘Adults Only’ list.  Despite the reimagining’s negativity from audiences and critics, I liked the remake and the original, but for different reasons.

The original is creepy because the killer is never seen, we have no backstory on him, and the plot is simplistic and realistic.  I think one of the many reasons why ‘Black Christmas’ is so effective is because there is no reason why these murders are happening.  The movie is nothing more than a maniac living in the girl’s sorority house attic.  He harasses them by phone, then kills them one by one.

The reimaging, follows the same scenario, but it develops a background on the killer and why he is hiding in the sorority house.  Also, this version is more grotesque and explicit than its original, but, its comedic charm isn’t as strong.

Fun Facts:

Bob Clark, who directed the 1974 original, and later brought us ‘A Christmas Story’ and ‘Porkey’s’, provided what horror fans consider to be the pioneering slasher film.  ‘Black Christmas’ predates all similar movies like: Halloween, Friday the 13th, My Bloody Valentine, When a Stranger Calls, etc.

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‘P2’ is a guilty pleasure of mine that is nothing more than an hour and a half’s worth of cat and mouse.  Written by Alexandre Aja, Gregory Levasseur, and Franck Khalfoun, ‘P2’ stars Wes Bently and Rachel Nichols.  The concept is a business woman gets trapped inside of a parking garage on Christmas Eve and is held captive by an obsessive security guard.

This is the kind of movie where the viewer can leave their brain at the door.  Not much thought is needed for the movie to progress, as it lacks any deep subplot or twist.  Still, the acting is fairly solid, there aren’t any plot holes, and the fast pacing kept my eyes glued to the screen.

Fun Fact:

‘P2’ was shot in two months, at night, at a working Toronto parking garage.

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‘Christmas Evil’ centers around a boy named Harry, who becomes disenchanted upon seeing his mom and dad kissing.  Although, this doesn’t seem like a big deal, his dad is dressed like Santa.  By seeing this, Harry’s childlike wonder completely shatters.

Decades later, Harry is still unable to overcome his childhood shock, and has developed an unhealthy infatuation with Christmas and Santa.  During the day, he works in a toy factory, which is suitable due to his holiday obsession.  During his free time, his hobbies include spying on the neighborhood children, and categorizing them into a personal list of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.  Even though red flags indicate he is a few goodies short of a full stocking, nothing physically harmful has happened… yet.

At a Christmas Eve party, he learns of a children’s home that might not have enough presents for everyone.  When no one else will provide toys to the unwanted children, he runs home, and suits up as Santa.  All seems harmless, until he takes on the persona of Saint Nicholas.

As simple as what the concept sounds, ‘Christmas Evil’ is intriguing from a psychological aspect.  Such as Angela Bettis in ‘May’, Harry descends a similar Milky Way of madness as we witness his sanity deteriorate.  While not overusing the slasher aspect, ‘Christmas Evil’ has only two murder scenes.  But I assure you, the lack of blood doesn’t make this any less of a horror movie.

Fun Facts: (SPOILER)

At the end, Harry doesn’t fly away.  Actually, the conclusion is nothing more than Harry imagining a more pleasant scenario as he commits suicide.

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‘Silent Night, Bloody Night’ is perhaps the most underrated movie on this list.  Even though it is full of mystery, horror, and suspense, I believe its style of underground filmmaking is what sucked me in.  Because of its old-school fashion, SNBN feels like a Grindhouse movie, and it provides a gritty piece of holiday horror that causes the skin to crawl.

The movie opens when a homeowner returns to his property, and finds his house has been transformed into an insane asylum.  Without explanation, he is murdered.  Decades later, a lawyer and his secretary take refuge at the same property for an affair.  For a good portion of their onscreen time, their backgrounds allow us to identify with them as the lead characters.  While danger and isolation closes in on the unsuspecting couple, we have a good idea of what is instore.  But, things take a quick Hitchcockian turn.

Due to multiple spoilers, I can’t go into further detail.  All I can say is SNBN is filmed in the style of a good, old fashioned, whodunit with a plethora red herrings.  Near the end, the puzzle pieces fall into place through sepia toned flashbacks of incest, incarceration, and a vengeful grudge that can only be satisfied by bloodshed.
Fun Facts:

SNBN fell into public domain after it left the drive-in circuit. Until it appeared on Elvira’s Movie Macabre, it had been obscure. But, it slowly gained a cult following, which increased upon video rental.

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As I close on what is perhaps the lengthiest blog I have ever written, I hope everyone has enjoyed the read and now has a better understanding between adult and young adult related material. There were quite a few additional hidden gems that I wanted to include on this “Naughy or Nice” list, but I will save those for 2017.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Alexander S. Brown

Alexander S. Brown Amazon Author Page

Controversial Movies 2

Posted in Alexander S. Brown, Controversial Films, cult classic, cult classics, cult favorites, Cult horror, discussion, entertaining, entertainment, foreign films, foreign horror films, foreign movies, frightening, Halloween, Horror, Horror Fans, Horror Lovers, Horror Movies, Horror Punks, Independent Horror, movie discussion, movie review, movies, october, scary, scary movies, Splatterpunk, Uncategorized on October 11, 2016 by Alexander S. Brown

As Halloween approaches, I have been asked again for a list of controversial horror movies.  If you have not seen the first list, click HERE to be redirected.  Below is another Top 10, that I consider to be movies that will repulse you and test the friendship of anyone who you dare share them with.

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Nekromantik 1 & 2 are German art house films, directed by the infamous Jorg Buttgereit.  For those who are wondering where these movies stand in underground cinema, John Waters quoted part 1 as, “Ground breakingly gruesome!  The first erotic film for necrophiles.” Although neither are as shocking as what their reputation proceeds, they are still worth the watch for gorehounds.

Nekromantik opens with a cleanup crew bagging the corpses from a car crash. The attention zooms in on a street sweeper named Rob, who seems smitten by the mangled bodies.  Shortly thereafter, we gain insight into his life, and learn that he and his girlfriend, Betty, have an unhealthy obsession with death.  Living in a world where only their thoughts have subdued their taboo urges, Rob takes the next step to make their dream a reality.

Presented as causal as a person bringing home a third party for a ménage a trois, Rob smuggles into his apartment a full bodied decomposing corpse, which is used sexually by himself and Betty. When Betty falls in love with the corpse, she runs off and takes it with her.  By Betty leaving, Rob spirals out into a descent of madness, until the epic conclusion, which is one of the most bizarre masturbation scenes I have ever witnessed. Perhaps the director is trying to say that open relationships can kill an already established relationship?

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Nekromantik 2 picks up where its predecessor left off. However, as the first movie focused on a male necrophile, its sequel focuses on Monika, a female necrophile. The opening scene shows our lead female digging up Rob’s grave. Such as in the first movie, she brings Rob’s decomposing corpse back to her home, where she attempts to make love to it.

Not long after, Monika meets Mark, and a love interest sparks.  While pursuing a relationship with a living person, she keeps her necrophilic lifestyle a secret. After Rob’s corpse deteriorates further, she saws off his head and genitals, and keeps them preserved in her refrigerator.  Next, Monika lures Mark into her apartment for sex, and the result will make you lose your head. Perhaps the director is commenting on how some people move from one stagnate relationship to the next?

Regardless of how puke worthy these movies are, they both have a beautifully instrumental soundtrack. Also, the art house fashion they are filmed in leaves room for interpretation.

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Megan is Missing is an awareness film about Internet predators.  Although it doesn’t play on a gore factor, the subject matter hits hard.  The movie focuses on two fourteen-year-old girls, Megan and Amy. Although these two have polar opposite personalities, they carry a best friend status.  Megan plays the party hard, smoking, drinking, drug using character, who has already lost her virginity.  Amy is the shy, unpopular virgin who has good grades and refuses to indulge in substances.  Despite their personalities clashing, they find a deep understanding of one another that is documented through web cams, cell phones, and other found footage devices.

One day, Megan stumbles upon a seventeen-year-old boy in a chat room by the name of Josh.  When she suggests that they webcam together, he insists that his cam is broken and will only provide his voice.  As Megan develops a quick relationship with Josh, even though she has no clue what he looks like, the viewer gets a sense in the pit of their stomach that she is being manipulated.

While their online relationship grows, Megan introduces Amy to Josh via webcam.  Although Amy seems apprehensive, Megan continues to revel in her blossoming online relationship.  Days later, Megan decides to meet Josh, and upon their meeting, she is never heard from again.

From here, Amy dedicates herself to finding Megan. In the end, she does find Megan, and the grown man who identified himself as the teenage Josh.  However, the outcome will literally make your flesh crawl.

Despite how this movie does nothing more than indicate the abuse that the girls suffered, it is presented in a way that we might as well have bared witness to the horrors.  Even though I am not a parent, this movie haunted me for days to come.  It opened up my eyes to the possibilities of how well predators can manipulate children, even more so if the parents of these children are neglectful.

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Cannibal is a German art house film based on the true case of Armin Meiwes. For those unfamiliar with this case, Meiwes had spent his time in online chatrooms regarding taboos and fetishes. One night, he comes across Bernd Brandes who expresses his desire to submit to a cannibal. From there, the rest is history.

In the movie adaptation of this bizarre cannibal relationship, Meiwes’s character is known as The Man, and Brandes’s character is known as The Flesh.  Much like an actual online relationship, The Man and The Flesh, chat for some time.  When their fantasy can no longer be tamed, they meet and build a deeper relationship, with the understanding that this is building up to the moment where The Man consumes The Flesh.

Once they establish a trustworthy partnership, they begin discussing when and how their fantasy will unfold.  However, a small hiccup occurs and The Flesh leaves.  Determined not to let this moment pass him by, The Man confronts The Flesh at a train station and convinces The Flesh to return home with him.  Next, The Flesh guzzles down dangerous amounts of alcohol and pills, then he instructs The Man to castrate him, which he does.  Together, they eat the severed penis.  Afterwards, The Man takes The Flesh to the bathroom and bathes him before mutilating him further.

 
The conclusion of this movie is full of vomit, scat, and uncut scenes of gore.  The “in your face” fashion this is filmed in makes no apologies for the subject matter, and it finished on a note that is just as crude as the prior scenes.  Another noteworthy movie that tackles the Meiwes case is a movie called, Grimm Love staring Keri Russell. If you have a weak stomach, you might want to settle for the Grimm Love version.

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The Poughkeepsie Tapes is a movie that haunted me long after viewing it, and it is perhaps my favorite movie on this list. Since it never received a DVD/Blu Ray release, it can occasionally be seen floating around the Internet, like a snuff film that has accidentally leaked.

Shot in a found footage style, from the point of view of the serial killer, we receive insight into his home movies, which detail his methods of stalking, torturing, and killing.  Throughout his mayhem, one scene depicting a severed head sewn up in a dead woman’s stomach, the tapes focus on a victim, Cheryl Dempsey, who he kidnapped during her teenage years.  In the time that he has her as his prisoner, he dehumanizes her sexually and emotionally over what could easily be a decade.  The end result of what she has undergone, shows in her personality, as she becomes completely submissive.

The final segments of this movie focus on Cheryl’s rescue and her mentality.  Without gore, the movie ends on such a disturbing note, that her psychological state shook me more than the torture scenes.  If you do get a chance to view this movie, watch past the credits, there is a hidden scene at the end.  For me, since the only way this can be viewed is by finding it online, the experience creeped me out more than similar movies that one might have easy access to.

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Guinea Pig: Flower of Flesh and Blood is the infamous torture porn movie that caused Charlie Sheen to call the FBI and report it as a snuff film.  Obviously, this wasn’t the first complaint the FBI had received, as they were already investigating the filmmakers.  To everyone’s relief, the footage was deemed to be fake.

For those unfamiliar with the Guinea Pig movies, they are a series that gained notoriety during the 1980s -1990s. The original concept was to have the movies reflect Hideshi Hino’s manga.  Most of these movies are filmed in one location and lack any real plot. Their main purpose is to repulse and show off special effect skills.

Guinea Pig: Flower of Flesh and Blood is the most famous of the series.  For America, this is possibly because of Charlie Sheen calling the FBI, yet, it could be because this installment provides nerve cringing scenes that look so realistic, the viewer starts doubting if they are fake or not.

Since this movie lacks plot and provides gore for no other reason but to repulse, it doesn’t build a fear factor until the end, as we learn the maniac remains at large, looking for his next victim. Although some would say the idea isn’t frightening, I have always been compelled to make sure my doors are locked, and blinds are pulled, when a movie ends with the killer running amuck.

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The Girl Next Door is based off of the book by the same title and is inspired by the true story of Sylvia Likens and Gertrude Baniszewski. If you are looking for a movie that not only will repulse, but make your blood boil with rage, this one is for you.

The movie follows two sisters, Meg and Susan, who have lost their parents in a car crash.  With nowhere to go, they are sent to live with Aunt Ruth and her three sons.  Although this caregiver comes off as a loving parent, she encourages smoking and alcoholism among her sons and their friends.   As Aunt Ruth teeters on the edge of sanity from her own alcoholism and jealousy, she utilizes Meg as a scapegoat.

Once seeing what she can get away with, Ruth begins encouraging her children to also bully Meg.  Soon, the bullying and verbal abuse becomes physical with beatings and cigarette burns.  Shortly thereafter, Ruth ties Meg up in the basement where she is starved, deprived of sleep, gang raped, cut, beaten, and circumcised with a blow torch.

When seeing this movie, I had no clue what I had bargained for until after I watched it. If you are looking for that one film that will make you want to bathe in Clorox, this is it. However, if you are interested in the story vs. the torture porn aspects of it, the movie starring Ellen Page, Evan Peters, Catherine Kenner, and James Franco called An American Crime, could be more your speed.  Also, An American Crime is more of an accurate telling.

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Begotten is a movie that just can’t be categorized. Instead of it being a flat out horror movie, I could easily see it falling into the fantasy genre. Begotten is truly a one of a kind experience, as there is no dialogue, or music, for its entire length. Instead of conversing persons, sound effects, or theme songs, we have 72 minutes worth of chirping crickets.

Filmed in harsh black and white, without utilizing any of the gray scale, we watch as God disembowels himself. After he dies, a female known as Mother Earth emerges from him and impregnates herself with his seed. As she wanders off into a barren wasteland, she gives birth to a full grown man, who she leaves to the elements. In the credits, this character is known as Son of Earth.

Just when I didn’t think the movie could become any more bizarre, a group of nomads encounter Son of Earth and drag him away by what appears to be an umbilical cord.  After these nomads torture and burn Son of Earth, Mother Earth returns to him, attempting to bring him comfort.

During her coddling, the nomads rape and dismember her, as Son of Earth is forced to watch.  Next, they dismember Son of Earth, then they bury him with Mother Earth.  Once both have been buried, flowers bloom across the once barren land.

Although Begotten’s graphic scenes are few and in between. It is an intense movie that sucks the viewer into its hypnotic imagery and story.  For those who are curious to what this movie represents, it is supposed to be the writer/director’s take on Genesis.

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Martyrs is a movie that left me feeling stunned. The movie opens with a young girl named Lucie escaping what appears to be an abandoned warehouse.  By her appearance, we assume she has undergone a tremendous degree of torture.  After Lucie is rescued, she is taken in by an orphanage where she befriends Anna, a girl who is near her own age.  The childhood sequence wraps itself up with Lucie catching a glimpse of something unworldly.

A decade later, Lucie and Anna hunt down the family responsible for her child abuse.  Once her vengeance has been exacted, the movie takes a hard turn for the worse.  Although filled with scenes of intense gore, violence, and torture, this movie is packed with twists and turns, and still delivers a psychological plot.

The first time I saw Martyrs, I went into it blindly, and I’m glad I did. First, I thought it was a revenge movie.  Then I thought it was a creature movie.  Finally, I saw it was a speculative film commenting on those who witness the afterlife.  Out of all of the movies listed here, this is the most unique, creative, and thought provoking of the bunch.

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I Spit on Your Grave (original). By now, everyone has either seen, or heard of I Spit on Your Grave. In case you are one of the few left in the dark, here’s the concept. A young author, Jennifer Hills, takes refuge in the wilderness and is gang raped by a group of locals. After being left for dead, she recuperates and exacts her revenge.

My first experience watching this was when I was a teenager, and it was like having a bucket of ice water dumped on me.  Never before, or since, have I seen a rape sequence this descriptive, as the brutality spans for the better part of 30 minutes. Although some of the acting could be considered B rated, the effects and rape sequence is realistic enough to make one question if the scenes are acted or not.

In my opinion, the one scene that could prevent someone from continuing forward in this movie, if they aren’t already used to extreme cinema, is the boulder rape scene. If you make it past that, the bottle rape and castration scenes will be a walk in the park.  For anyone looking for the ultimate revenge flick, it doesn’t get any better than the original I Spit on Your Grave.

I hope you enjoyed this list.  I look forward to everyone’s comments.  And if you do decide to venture into any of these movies, proceed with caution.

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Happy Halloween!

Controversial Movies that Cross the Line

Posted in Controversial Films, Fiction, Horror, Horror Movies, Independent Horror, Mississippi Horror Author, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2014 by Alexander S. Brown

 What Are Your Limits?

I have been asked, “What are some of the scariest or most graphic movies you have ever seen?”

The movies I consider scary are ones that have existed as classics and have stood the test of time – movies that everyone have seen.

Graphic movies aren’t as well known as their scary cousins. Graphic movies are those hidden gems that have been banned, caused controversy, and has resulted in younger audiences becoming grounded upon parents discovering their younglings went against their better judgment.

If you are looking for gore this Halloween, I do have a list for you, but I urge you to watch at your own risk. These movies are not for the faint of heart.

Instead of listing movies that are gory for no other reason but to be gory, I have listed movies that have an actual meaning to them – despite their subject matter.

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The first on my extreme list is A Serbian Film. Out of all other movies, I would consider this one to be the most gory, graphic, and explicit. Even the cut version of this movie goes too far. A Serbian Film begins with a Quintin Tarantino feel. A retired porn star is in need of money and receives an offer he can’t refuse. With a script that has been kept secret from him, until the day of performing, he discovers that he has been tossed into the world of snuff films.

A Serbian Film graphically shows scenes of bestiality, necrophilia, and yes, even a scene that is dubbed “new born porn”. Although the scenes are fake, thank God – they are repulsive enough to make the viewer realize, you cannot unsee what you have seen.

With gore aside, this movie makes a strong point in which I feel society has turned its head to. The point is, if there is someone sick enough to buy it, there is someone sick enough to produce it. This also shines light, not only on the all mighty dollar, but the dangers of pornography and human trafficking.

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Cannibal Holocaust is another infamous movie that resulted in a lawsuit for the director.  With graphic scenes of REAL animal slaughter, the viewer is taken a step further as the director casted actual cannibals. How he was able to get actual cannibals to work with him and his crew is beyond mind blowing to me.

One of the most gruesome scenes regards a native impaled on a stick. This is also the scene that gained attention from the courts. During trial, the director was forced to bring the native actress into court so she could reenact the stunt.  Rumors surfaced that the woman who performed before the court appeared similar to the impaled victim in the film.  Also, she was unable to reenact the impalement stunt.

With all said and done, this movie focuses on Yellow Journalism, something that is still alive and thriving in today’s society.

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Men Behind the Sun ties with Cannibal Holocaust in my opinion. Men Behind the Sun is a fictitious historical horror movie regarding the tortures within Unit 731. This wartime movie doesn’t shy away from scenes featuring actual animal abuse: a cat being thrown into a room filled with rats, and rats being burned alive. If you can stomach these scenes, you can probably endure the movie, despite it shows the real autopsy of a young child.

Men Behind the Sun has been heavily banned and was deemed as being a movie that negates any educational value. Although this movie is what it is, I believe it holds truth to the suffering that camp sufferers may have experienced. Men Behind the Sun could have easily been a drama, had it not been for the scenes which made it so controversial.

Excluding the moments that were real, the viewer is introduced to ice water torture, the stomping of a baby, people being skinned alive, etc. Although filled with gore and torture from beginning to end, I feel the storyline is equivalent to any other war related film, except this is the one that doesn’t hold back.

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If you can tolerate the previous titles, you can likely tolerate Faces of Death. Despite what people say, only a small percentage of this movie is actually real. The rest simply shows what can be done with a good camera and an awesome effects team.

Faces of Death is that one infamous movie that I had heard about all through school and watched it for curiosity sakes, of course during the time I was in school, it was rumored that all footage was 100% real.

For those who have no idea what Faces of Death is about, the viewer is taken through the many ways to die by narrator, Francis B. Gross. We are introduced to other cultures and tangible horrors that we might not be aware of existing.

The parts of the movie which I found most interesting are the scenes presenting a professional medical insight. Also, the scene at the end about the man who was haunted by his dead wife and daughter was interesting – although it was fake. If you’re a gore author, like myself, some of the scenes in the move can help your descriptive nature.

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Salo: The 120 Days of Sodom inspired by the Marquis De Sade novel should raise a few eyebrows. Critics and historians alike have praised this art house movie and have debated if it can be considered horror or not. The genre of this film is in the eye of the beholder.

Beautifully shot with stunning angles, costumes, and scenes, the viewer is introduced to four wealthy libertines who kidnap a group of teenagers. These teenagers are introduced to four prostitutes, who tell stories of their depravity. During and after storytelling, the libertines force the teenagers to preform acts that are sexual and torturous.

Visuals include victims eating bread filled with needles, a fine dining scene where everyone is forced to eat their own excrement, and finally scenes regarding castration, rape, and the burning of genitals.

There are a few philosophies regarding this movie which make the subject more interesting. Some viewers hail it as being a film that urges people to consider their own limits in the world of sex. Others claim Salo is metaphoric to the German holocaust. This is the only movie I have listed where the director was murdered by one of his actors after filming was complete.

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In a Glass Cage begins with an ex-Nazi living in Mexico with a wife and child. The first scene introduces us to his failed suicide attempt, causing him to be hospitalized in a glass tank to stay alive. Not long after, a young man is appointed to become the caregiver of this ex-war criminal.

We later discover that this young caregiver was a victim of the ex-Nazi and instead of seeking revenge, he plans to continue life, following in the footsteps of his abuser. In a Glass Cage is an art house film that is beautifully shot, well-acted, and well written. This movie is not the goriest out of the list but scenes of insinuated child abuse is nerve cringing, especially a scene featuring a five year old taking a shot of gasoline directly to his heart.

This movie is a literal spiral into Hell and shows firsthand the actions of a deranged mind. Again, we question if this movie is horror or if it is an extreme drama.

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Found. is a movie that I stumbled across at a comic con. The seller (Alternative Exchange) told me this was an extreme movie that was underrated and the she didn’t lie whatsoever. Found. is a strong movie that feels like a drama until the last fifteen minutes.

The lead character discovers his older brother is a serial killer. Not telling anyone, the boy allows nature to take its course. I felt this movie was solid for its many abilities, especially since it had a strong social message which focuses on racism and bullying.

It’s not until the end when our toes begin to curl and our fingers grip the couch. In the bloodbath, which is the end of Found., there is incest/rape, beheadings, and tons on other nasty elements which balance on the fine line of leaving nothing to your imagination.

Found. is based off of the novel by the same name and is bound to become a cult classic alongside other infamous movies such as Audition.

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Speaking of Audition, this list would not be complete without mentioning Takashi Miike. Audition is a slow burner based on a widower and his son. What could have easily been a romantic drama eventually takes a hard left turn. The widower holds a fake audition where he become smitten with a sweet, shy girl. They begin dating and the character development between the two is bittersweet. Audition really focuses on how some people can be so desperately lonely.

Throughout Audition, the viewer is presented elements that make them think something isn’t right. It isn’t until we see a burlap sack thrash around in the girl’s apartment that we realize she is insane.

The last fifteen minutes of Audition has been hailed as some of the most intense torture sequences in horror movie history. If acupuncture torture gets under your skin then this movie might not be for you. One of the most infamous scenes shows the lead actress vomit into a dog bowl and forces her last lover to eat her regurgitation… Here’s a side note, she actually gagged herself and puked for this scene to look more realistic.

The basis for this shocker isn’t love hurts, but the warning to be careful of who you love.

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Moving away from realistic horrors, we now have Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist. A couple in mourning from the death of their newborn take retreat in a cabin, where insanity begins to ravish them. There are four chapters to this movie, not including a prologue and epilogue. This is a supernatural, erotic, psychological thriller shot in an art house style.

Such as popular movies during the satanic panic wave, this too moves as a slow burner with elements that suggest “The forest is the devil’s playground.” Shot in a grimy, depressing tone, it isn’t until the end of Antichrist that the viewer is repulsed, as the majority of the movie is told through shadow.

It isn’t until the sexual torture begins between man and wife that we leave our comfort zones. The torture sequences include having a hole drilled in the man’s leg so that a weight be attached to his body, a clitoral castration, and a literal scene of bloody masturbation.

The highly graphic sex scenes, which weren’t torture related, required body doubles to act out the intercourse. With all aside, this movie shows what I believe is not only a mental but a spiritual downward spiral for someone who has suffered loss.

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Finally, we have The Human Centipede movies. In my opinion, the first sequence is not a visual shocker, however, psychological wise – it’s like having a bucket of ice water dumped on you. At this point, I don’t have to go into details about the subject matter of the first movie. In a nutshell, a surgeon sews three people anus to mouth, each person in this modification are forced to eat the excrement of the person before them.

Now, after we survive that system shock, we are introduced to The Human Centipede 2. Shot in a grimy black and white, which managed to make even the nongory scenes appear grotesque, we are introduced to a slew of characters who are all insane in some way or the other.

The only sane people in the movie are those who become the centipede, which is twelve people long instead of three people long, like in the first sequence. We are force fed scenes depicting physical torture, fecal matter consumption, sandpaper masturbation, barbed wire anal rape, and the stomping of a new born baby.

What fascinates me about The Human Centipede 2 is that it touches on a subject rarely seen in the entertainment industry. The Human Centipede 2 is frightening in a sense that it shows what would happen when an insane fan takes his fandom one step too far.

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I hope you have enjoyed reading about these movies. Love them or hate them, here they are with their political messages, artistic nerve, and their infamousness. I have to admit more than a few of these movies crossed my line and pushed my boundaries.

Yes, it is true that we have the freedom of speech and expression but when is too much too much? As an entertainment consumer, I can tell you that some of these titles offered up too much to be considered movies I would boast about.

Being a horror author, I can understand the lengths to what some characters will go before a point is made. Thus poses the question: When working with an important subject, is it necessary for the creator to shock audiences into recognizing the brutality of our own existence? If yes is the answer, then these movies have succeeded.

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Best Wishes,

Alexander S. Brown