Thursday, 31 October 2013

10 Scenes that Genuinely Disturbed Me...

Terror is like music or food, we all have different taste.

Yes, different kinds of things scare different kinds of people. Some people are scared of clowns, others of commitment, its probably one of these things that go back as far as childhood.

So, in honor of this Halloween, I have compiled a nice little list....of terror. Here are ten gloriously twisted, genuinely creepy movie moments that scared the living 'bejesus out of me....

....and they aren't all from horror films...

Hanging around- The Omen (1976)

I have always thought that the first real scare of a horror movie leaves a distinct impression. As such, in a movie chalked full of creepy moments, this blissful suicide definitely ranks among the most intense and certainly left a lasting impression on me. I think it is the nanny's look of glee and joyful demeanor as she willingly leaps to her death in Damien's name that truly sells the moment.

The Black Stereotypes- The Birth of a Nation

Just look at this crap!

What makes DW Griffith's "timeless" film The Birth of a Nation creepy is that, not only is it not supposed to be creepy, it is actually supposed to be a family-friendly adventure romp. Nonetheless, the maker's of this film were very, very racist and had embued their film with embarassingly dated notions of black subservience and the Great White Master ruling America. The scenes that take place in the "negro colonies" are particularly skin-crawl inducing.

The Face in the Painting- Ghostbusters 2

Okay, okay, so this entry is pretty specific to me. You see, I was about 6 years old when I first saw the Ivan Reitman and co's sequel to their smash hit Ghostbusters (I saw it before I saw the original). I was deeply disturbed by the visually striking image of badguyVigo's face emerging from his own painting, having a peek around, and then receeding into the portrait again.

The golden days of 1980s practical effects, eh?

Everything in the Climax of Requiem for a Dream (2000)

It's almost impossible to articulate the sheer, mind-numbing despair of the final half hour of Requiem for a Dream. Where to start, with the lonely old woman being rendered a vegetable by shock therapy? The severed, gangrenous arm? The horrifying addition of "ass-to-ass" to popular lexicon? Only Holocaust documentaries get this repulsive.

 Castration- Hard Candy (2005)

It doesnt take Sigmund Freud to determine why men squel at the though of their genitals undergoing mutilation. What makes this drawn out castration scene interesting is that it results from a pedophile getting whats coming to him from a potential victim turned vigiilante (Ellen Page). The mixture of satisfaction and horror is an intriguing blend.

She's getting into the Tub! - About Schmidt (2002)

So, Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) settles down for a long soak in the hot tub of his daughter's future mother-in-law Roberta (Kathy Bates). Things are upbeat and neighbourly...and then Roberta strips naked and attempts to make advances on Warren. It's a comic scene, but I have always found the moment when you realise that Kathy Bates and a hot tub are about to conspire always gives me a chill...

A routine stop- Bad Lieutenant (1992)

Abel Ferrara's 1992 masterpiece is full of complex imagery and themes...oh, and there's also the bit where Harvey Keitel masterbates on screen for about three straight minutes while forcing two young girls to perform for him. Evidently, the censor only allowed the scene to remain in the final cut because it was "too grotesque for anybody to find erotic."

Yup, I think "Let me see your ass" and "show me how you'd suck it" is pretty much a 10.0 on my weird shit-o-meter.

Seriously, just watch...

The Lady in the Bathtub-The Shining (1980)

Do you really need more explanation than the image?

Little Red Riding...What? Don't Look Now (1973)

If you have yet to see Dont Look Now, I will not say anything that might spoil the surprise. All that needs to be said is that, in the film, John Baxter (Donald Sutherland) is persued/haunted around Venice by a mysterious figure wearing the same bright red coat as his daughter, who tragically drowned. The revelation as to what lies behind the red coat is as chilling a reveal as I can think of within the horror genre.

Marvelously creepy.

And, the award for most chilling movie scene of my life goes to....

Shhhh! Saving Private Ryan (1998)

You may not have expected this scene to win; but, honestly, this is the only scene in a film I find genuinely hard to watch.

The scenario is this: out of bullets in the middle of a Nazi siege, Private Mellish (played by the amazing Adam Goldberg) is forced to engage in hand to hand combat with a German soldier. Mellish draws a knife but, in time, the German is too strong for him. With his cowardly friend unwilling to come to his aid, Mellish gets death...really slowly...and it plays out in one agonisng long take.
You can watch the scene here:

I don't know what it is that disturbs me so about this scene. The emasculated helplessness of Mellish? That it breaks the age-old trope that the good guy always wins the fight? That Mellish begs for his life, only to have the German coo and "shh" at him? Either way, I have actually stopped watching Saving Private Ryan as a result of the scene. Go figure.

On the plus side, Adam Goldberg was also Chandler Bing's crazy roomate...


Do you like to hear me blather on prophetically?? Then be sure to keep tuned in for more Kino Shout!

For now my fellow Shout-kateers, Happy Halloween!

Talk soon,

Friday, 11 October 2013

The 8 Greatest Sex Scenes..that Actually Advance the Plot


Now that I have your attention...let's talk about sex..

Why does Hollywood have to cheapen sex scenes? It seems nowadays that, when you go to a movie, a love interest is as obligatory to the storytelling process conflict and resolution. And, yes, the steamy sex scene between two big stars comes as readily as the mandatory action sequence and exposition of the protagonist. It's all very routine...

But some movies use sex a character device, to explore what characters need and what makes them tick, and even to further establish the themes of the movie.

Here are meaningful 8 sex scenes that add more to their movies then just scandal...

Ghost- Pottery Class

Love it, hate it, choose to ignore it; whatever your feelings are on the weepy 1990 hit Ghost, you must admit that it has its fair share of effective moments. Not least this tantilizing sex scene which (I'm not kidding) arises from a late night pottery session between lovers Sam Wheat and Molly Jensen.
What makes this a meaningful sex scene is that, due to Swayze's character spending most of the film as an aloof spirit, the audience needs a really intimate scene to establish the couple's physical connection unequivocally, and very early on in the film. This pot-boiling romp certainly achieves that and more.

Casino- "New Sponsor"

Perhaps the least-Hollywood sex scene ever in a glossy A Picture. Here is a scene in which Joe Pesci's Nicky Santoro reminds Sharon Stone's Ginger Rothstein that, regardless of far she has climbed the social ladder, she will always be a hooker to him. What is even more disturbing is- that's exactly how she wants to be treated...

Having flirted for some time, the connection between these two charatcers finally ignites as a result of their shared irritation at Ginger's husband Sam Rothstein (Robert De Niro). However, the sex itself is almost painfully real....
....basically, Joe Pesci just forces Sharon Stone to give him oral sex. A Perfect illustration of the selfish conceit of the Nicky character and the disturbed vulnerability of Ginger.

Y Tu Mama Tambien- Mommy Issues...

In a film brimming with sexual energy (and just plain sex), it is almost impossible to pick just one moment in which sex defines the Y Tu Mama Tambien, but Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity, Children of Men) finds it with this remarkable sequence in which a desperate and alienated Tenoch bursts into the room of his ideal woman Luisa, and frantically makes love to her.
The incendiary moment in which he lies, cradled, in her lap says it all. Though Tenoch and Julio appear to be carefree hell-raisers on a teen road trip, what they really seek in Luisa is a mother rather than a sexual partner.

Shame-Just Plain Awkward...

Is there anything sadder than a sex addict who can't perform sexually?

Here is a rare example of a scene in a which we literally see a relationship built, flourish, and destroyed, all within the confines of one sex scene. Sex addict Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is frustrated by his life's monotony and a sister that he perceives to feed off him. In desperation, he steals a kiss from Marianne, the one girl with whom he has a real affection for. Tragically, when it comes time to make real love, Brandon cannot perform; he cannot make a real connection. As Marianne leaves the romance is over, and we feel the anti-climax as much as the charatcers.

Monster's Ball- "Make me feel good..."

Another sex scene that falls somewhere between erotic and horrifying, this is amongst the most graphic sex scenes in mainstream film, and is what most people remember if they have only seen Monster's Ball once.

A conservative, empty man in his forties and a grieving mother that has just lost her son- add whiskey and a mutual attraction and you have an epic encounter, one with romantic connection and violent desperation in abundance. The characters, however, are always in development.

Deliverance- you know the scene...

I had promised myself not to include any rape scene in this list, as rape deserves no esteem. However, it must be admitted, rape has served as an effective dramatic tool and, in this case, epitomizes the whole message of the film Deliverance- dont mess with that which you do not understand.

The tale of four blue collar schlubs that fall way out of their depth into a hick-sploitation world of fear, rape, murder, and lies has become film legend; and Ned Beatty being made to "squeal like a pig "plays no small role in the telling of said tale.


Raging Bull- Boo Boo's and Kisses

Not every sex scene has to result in actual sex; and, here is one scene that finds brilliant charatcer development in curtailing any and all chances of intercourse.

Jake LaMotta, as portrayed by the brilliant Robert De Niro, is an animal at heart. He is a man constantly at war with his basest and most terrifying emotions. Here, the night before a bug fight, he is strictly forbidden from sex with his beautiful wife Vicky.

Here, Vicky comes to him like a loving Madonna, kissing his "boo boos" lovingly. Jake asks her to undress, but knows that he has to hold back his urges. However, when Vicky insists on intimacy, Jake has to resort to pouring ice water on his crotch to fend off his wife..and his own animal urges.

This is a terrific scene and a powerful portrayal of a marriage onscreen.

and, my personal favourite...

Don't Look Now- Bet you didn't see this coming

This is not a sex scene, this is the sex scene...

Here, in the middle of a horror film in which two parents come to grips with the drowning of their, comes one of the most devastatingly intimate reconciliations in film history. Laura and John, once happily married, have had their union tested by the death of their daughter. Now having not so much as looked at each other in months, they reconnect physically in what can only be described as an epic sex session...

It is the one sweet moment in a distinctly morbid film and, thus, stands out every bit as much as the infamous red hood of the film's narrative.

If you have not seen it, see it. It can be scarcely believed...and it's totally meaningful.

Though Donald Sutherland is way too ugly for Julie Christie...just saying....


Thanks for reading!

More sex to come at a later date here on Kino Shout! Well, probably, there usually is....