Disturbing Horror Cinema

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Adoring the horror genre as much as I do, people ask me, “What is the goriest movie you have ever seen?” Most of the time, people expect me to name a mainstream movie like “Saw,” or “Hostel.” Yet, they seem surprised when I name movies that they, and most audiences, have never heard of.

In this blog, I won’t just focus on movies that are gory for the sake of shock. The titles in this installment will provide gore and artistic substance. For one who is looking for intellect while enduring nausea, look no further. Below are three movies that are art in its highest form.

WARNING: The following movies are extreme and offensive. Although story wise I have enjoyed these movies, I do not condone their abuse. If you are easily offended, please turn away now.

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Banned in over 45 countries, “A Serbian Film” is a movie where no matter how it is censored, it remains extreme. In an interview, writers, Aleksandear Radivojevic and Srdjan Spasojevic, stated “A Serbian Film” parodies Serbia’s political correctness. Content wise, this nihilistic work is a huge middle finger towards the film industry, bureaucracy, and censorship. If those facts influence one to view this cult classic, WARNING, some things can never be unseen.

The movie opens, introducing Milos, a retired porn star who is in need of money. Having been out of the business for a few years, he has become a husband to Marija, and a father to their son, Petar. Excluding Milos’s brother, the character bond between Milos and his family depicts emotional strength. Also, it seeds the viewer with dread, as they know this family won’t be happy for long.

One day, Milos meets with an old friend, Lejla, a co-porn star that he used to work with. After small talk, she explains she has met a man named, Vukmir, who she feels is the next great porn director. From her perspective, he offers great pay and has an artistic vision. No matter how this sounds too good to be true, Milos speaks with his wife about coming out of retirement. Without much debate, she supports his decision. After all, she sees this profession no different than any other acting job.

In need of money, Milos meets with Vukmir and the two engage in a brief conversation. Although Vukmir and his men seem welcoming, they project a predatorial vibe. Nonetheless, while conversing, Milos asks what kind of porno Vukmir is attempting to make. Keeping his answer vague, Vukmir explains it’s a form of artistic porn. He also notes that if Milos accepts this job, he and his family will be wealthy for life. Following this promise, Milos comes out of retirement.

Next, starts his first day of work. Milos arrives on set and sees the porno takes place at an abandoned orphanage. Upon entering the facility, an ear peace directs him of what to say and do. While exploring, he approaches a room where a woman gives him oral sex. During their act, he notices a girl of questionable age is watching nearby.

Once finished, Milos meets with Vukmir and explains that he is quitting the film. In his opinion, the underage girl was too much. Despite his determination to walk away, Vukmir finally reveals the nature of this porno. To prove his vision will redefine pornography, Vukmir shows Milos his previous work. The footage which plays is too graphic to detail here. For those who are curious, Vukmir describes the horrendous act as, “New Born Porn.” And yes, what occurs in that scene is just as disturbing as it sounds.

Milos flees the room but later becomes sedated by Vukmir’s doctor. The next morning, Milos wakes up with no memory. After becoming of sound mind, he finds a few mysterious VHS tapes. Curious to their contents, he watches the footage that accounts for his incoherent time. In these recordings, there are scenes of necrophilia and insinuated bestiality and pedophilia. From here on, the material becomes more graphic while utilizing all aspects of exploitation.

Although one might not consider this movie scary, I would urge otherwise. In my opinion, the concept is frightening. Yet, during its playtime, one is too busy feeling violated to focus on the fear. Until the credits roll, one can only focus on the repulsion. While trying to recover, one realizes the invoked fear doesn’t strike during the movie. Instead, it hits with emotional scars once its final line of dialogue receives delivery.

Gore aside, “A Serbian Film” is a stylized allegorical work with strong social comments. One concept is, if someone is sick enough to buy it, there is someone sick enough to produce it. However, its strongest messages regard the evil of money, pornographic dangers, and human trafficking. It also causes viewers to ponder their voyeuristic instincts.

From a satirical viewpoint, Vukmir represents the film industry. Metaphorically, the “New Born Porn” scene suggests how the government rapes people from birth. Among this chaos is the main subject, Milos. His character represents a demographic of Serbians who try to provide for their family. Previously, Spasojevic explained that “A Serbian Film” reflects a postwar society where a man is exploited for his family’s survival.

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Banned in 50 countries, “Cannibal Holocaust” ups the ante from the previous movie. Its contemptible footage was so disturbing that director, Ruggero Deodato, endured a lawsuit for obscenity. Also, due to graphic realism, Deodato faced prison time as courts believed he made a snuff film. However, charges were dropped when his actors/actresses appeared in court to testify their wellbeing. Effects aside, this movie does depict graphic scenes of REAL animal death. If that isn’t intense enough, Deodato casted actual cannibals to work on set.

This taboo film opens introducing anthropologist, Harold Monroe. In discussion with the University of New York, he learns of a film crew that has gone missing in the Amazon. The leader of this film crew, Alan Yates, has a degenerate reputation. In the past, he has created brutal documentaries, one of which called, “The Last Road to Hell.” Footage within this feature shows actual executions from Nigeria and South East Asia.

Without much persuasion, Dr. Monroe travels to the Amazon for a rescue mission. His goal is to retrieve Alan’s crew, and if possible, their film, “The Green Inferno.” When he arrives, he joins with an expedition team who knows the rules and languages of the inhabiting tribes. Together, the men brave the rainforest and its dangers.

While exploring, Dr. Monroe becomes infatuated by the tribes, and he bonds with one that is more peaceful. Nearby, he discovers a shrine crafted from film canisters, a camera, and human bones. Without a doubt, he has found the missing documentary crew and their footage. But he is unable to simply take his finds and depart.

To transport the footage, he must swoon the tribe, The Tree People, who constructed the shrine. To accomplish this, he shares modern technology with them. Once pleased, the tribe shares their meal with him, which is human organs. Such as an initiation, he eats. Now that he shares common ground with the tribe and he has impressed them, they gift him the film canisters.

Until this point, the movie progresses like an exploitative action/adventure flick. Yet, once Dr. Monroe returns with the footage, the movie becomes exploitative horror. In the University’s auditorium, he and his collogues sit and watch the found footage. Viewed in a flashback “Blair Witch” style, the gory truth unfolds.

Alan and his team, Faye, Jack, Mark, and their expedition guide, opens the film with a playful demeanor. One that’s business determined, yet comical. In the depths of the jungle, their conduct changes and their rouge personalities emerge. During their exploration, they kill a turtle and a pig. But the slaughter of both is quick, and the cast and crew eat the animals. Although the upfront horror of this is unnerving, everyone has to eat.

Animal slaughter aside, the B roll footage turns into a ghastly montage. Images depict barbaric customs, rape, mutilation, and the infamous scene of human impalement. By the time their movie ends, one feels just as assaulted as the characters.

Despite what occurs in this movie, it feeds the viewer crucial subjects. Its most important topic focuses on Yellow Journalism. This is something that is alive and thriving in today’s society. Supporting this message is the archival footage that belonged to Alan and his crew. Bottom line, television crews will sometimes agitate their subject, or improvise, to achieve successful material.

The strongest point “Cannibal Holocaust” makes is to leave indigenous persons alone. Yet, if one does explore indigenous territory, do so with respect. This fact receives support by how Alan treats the tribes compared to Dr. Monroe. Due to Alan and his renegade crew, death was the outcome. Opposing Alan’s savagery, Dr. Monroe respects the tribes. Because of his humility, he gains respect and leaves unharmed.

From a metaphoric stance, indigenous tribes are no different than our civilized life. To hint these tribes are equivalent to us, the viewer receives visuals of New York and the Amazon. In my opinion, what better comparison is there to the actual jungle than the concrete jungle?

In this compilation, I feel “Cannibal Holocaust” is the most important and professional. Regardless of educate, its social messages are more vital to a worldwide mentality. After digesting everything, Dr. Monroe’s final thoughts asks who the real cannibals are. In my opinion, the answer is all cultures are savage in one way or another.

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Although “Men Behind the Sun” has received the least number of bans, it isn’t any less extreme. To increase tension, Director Tun Fei Mou, filmed at the real headquarters of Unit 731. If that isn’t ghastly enough, China lacked a special effects industry during this time. One may ask, “If China didn’t have an effects industry, how did everything look so real?” That’s because excluding a few scenes, all props were real. Due to low resources, Mou admitted to using actual body parts to achieve his vision.

The quote at the beginning sets the stage for all upcoming horrors. “Friendship is friendship; history is history.” The opening scene shows a group of Japanese boys who are to serve Unit 731 during World War II. After arrival, they witness experiments intended to find a strain of the bubonic plague. The reasoning for finding this is to cause a germ warfare against the Chinese.

The boys become solders for Unit 731, the war continues, and the experiments intensify. These experiments include live autopsies, human decompression, frostbite endurance, and explosion survival. While depicting repulsive experiments performed by the unit, the most nauseating scenes exclude humans.

Despite the imagery of a real child autopsy, the animal scenes caused greater controversy. In particular, these segments regard throwing a cat into a pit of rats and setting rats on fire. Between these moments, Mou admits the cat scene was fake, but the rat inferno was real.

After Unit 731 runs out of time, they destroy all of their research and evidence. As Unit 731 breaks apart, each soldier can live out the remainder of their life. But, they are to commit suicide if anyone inquires about their time at Unit 731.

The movie ends with an epilogue, which explains that Unit 731’s doctor surrendered his information to the Americans. In time, he moved to Korea where biological weapons began to appear. The young Japanese boys who served Unit 731 never revealed what they witnessed.

“Men Behind the Sun” progresses like a war drama. Yet, when one sees a war drama, they don’t expect the majority of the film to focus on torture techniques. They expect to see political discussions, militant delegations, or time on the battlefield. Instead, “Men Behind the Sun” avoids these expectations. Without shame, it caters to those curious about wartime torture methods.

Although critics say this movie lacks any educational value, I argue otherwise. Movies like this do have their place in cinema, which I think everyone needs exposure to. Watching this should bring awareness to the horrors that man is capable of. Furthermore, it should bring awareness to what people have suffered. I doubt anything within this feature will make the world a better place. However, its footage can pull one’s head out of the sand.

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If you have made it this far in my blog, thank you for sticking around. Compared to my other movie blogs, this one is much more forbidden in content. Again, I don’t condone actual abuse of any kind. Nor can I appreciate the usage of actual dead persons as special effects. Still, these movies exist as artistic visions that document the turmoil within our world.
This blog is dedicated to three people: Antoinette, Connie, and Zac. Thanks for remaining my friends while I have introduced each of you to extreme cinema. Antoinette, I’m sorry that “Nekromantik” almost made you vomit. Also, I will include that movie in a future list. Connie, until I introduced you to “A Serbian Film,” I thought the phrase “turning green” was a figure of speech. Zac, I hope this list provides more options to quench your thirst for gore.

 

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