SITA: 7 Movies I Can’t Watch Anymore

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

SITA: 7 Movies I Can’t Watch Anymore

Over the course of many, many years watching horror and sci-fi I have accumulated a list of movies that I have only been able to watch once.  Tonight I want to share with you some of those movies and why I have only been able to get through them one time only.  In no particular order other than chronologically they are as follows.

Beware! The Blob (1972)

  • Genre: Horror - Sci-Fi
  • Directed: Larry Hagman
  • Produced:
    • Anthony Harris 
    • Jack H. Harris
  • Written:
    • Richard Clair (Story "A Chip Off the Old Blob") 
    • Jack H. Harris (Story "A Chip Off the Old Blob") 
    • Jack Woods (Screenplay)  
    • Anthony Harris (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Robert Walker, Jr., Carol Lynley, Godfrey Cambridge, Gwynne Gilford, Richard Stahl, Richard Webb, Marlene Clark, Gerrit Graham, J. J. Johnston, Danny Goldman
  • Music: Mort Garson
  • Cinematography: Al Hamm
  • Editing: Tony de Zarraga
  • Studio: Jack H. Harris Enterprises
  • Distributed:
    • Jack H. Harris Enterprises  
    • Columbia Broadcasting System  
    • Video Gems  
    • Lowery Enterprises  
    • Image Entertainment  
    • Umbrella Entertainment
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date: 21 June 1972
  • Running Time: 91 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

The Blob returns--more outrageous than ever in this 1972 sequel to the popular sci-fi classic!  Plenty of familiar faces, including Larry Hagman (who also directed), Burgess Meredith, Dick Van Patten, Robert Walker and Shelly Berman, add to the fun.  A geologist (Godfrey Cambridge) unwittingly brings home an unusual frozen piece of debris from the North Pole.  But when it accidentally thaws, the hungrier-than-ever blood-red Blob comes to life again, consuming nearly everyone in its path and terrorizing the town.  No one is safe as it crawls into a bowling alley and oozes its way across an ice rink, becoming grotesquely bloated with the blood of its victims.  Can this bizarre creature ever be stopped?!

Other than the obvious, because it is terrible, and I don’t mean fun to watch terrible either, the kitten.  I am trying to not ruin any of the films I’m talking about tonight but the kitten is a low point and it happens early in the movie.  Do yourself a favor and just pretend this movie doesn’t exist and allow the original Blob to retain it’s dignity.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

  • Genre: Horror
  • Directed: Tobe Hooper
  • Produced:
    • Kim Henkel 
    • Tobe Hooper 
    • Jay Parsley 
    • Richard Saenz
  • Written:
    • Kim Henkel 
    • Tobe Hooper
  • Starring: Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, Gunnar Hansen, Teri McMinn
  • Music:
    • Wayne Bell 
    • Tobe Hooper
  • Cinematography: Daniel Pearl
  • Editing:
    • Larry Carroll 
    • Sallye Richardson
  • Studio: Vortex
  • Distributed:
    • Bryanston Distributing  
    • New Line Cinema  
    • Wizard Video  
    • Media Home Entertainment  
    • Elite Entertainment  
    • Dark Sky Films  
    • Pioneer Entertainment  
    • Astral Video  
    • Raven Pictures International  
    • Rosebud Communications Releasing  
    • Video Treasures
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 1 October 1974
  • Running Time: 84 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

The year is 1974.  A group of five close friends are heading through the back roads of Texas en route to their grandfather's potentially vandalized grave.  Among them are Sally Hardesty, and her invalid brother Franklin.  They encounter an unpleasant hitchhiker (Neal) who slashes both himself & Franklin with a wicked-looking knife.  The others manage to eject the hitchhiker from the vehicle, but shortly afterwards, they are forced to stop and wander over to a small, sinister clapboard house nearby in hopes for gas.  What none of them realize is that this house is the home of the ghoulish Leatherface (Hansen) and his evil, demented family of cannibalistic psychopaths.  One at a time, the teens are murdered by the evil Leatherface in horrifying ways.  Sally soon finds herself an involuntary guest at Leatherface's home, and flees into the night to escape the demented cannibal and his loudly-buzzing chainsaw.  Can she escape the grim fate that befell her friends & brother?  Based on the terrifying true story of Ed Gein.

Not that I need to provide a synopsis for this film, if you don’t know it then you may be on the wrong site.  I have a love/hate relationship with this movie.  On one hand it is a masterpiece of horror and for not having a drop of blood in it this film is truly terrifying.   One the other hand, holy crap are there really people like this?  There is a scene where one of the male characters gets hit on the head with a mallet where the sound effect still makes my stomach turn to this day.  Oh, and Leatherface dancing with his chainsaw at the end.  I know Hooper was trying to make a statement but it just comes across as hokey to me.  Let the hate mail begin.

 

I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

  • Original Title: Day of the Woman
  • Genre: Horror – Thriller
  • Directed: Meir Zarchi
  • Produced:
    • Meir Zarchi 
    • Joseph Zbeda
  • Written: Meir Zarchi
  • Starring: Camille Keaton, Eron Tabor, Richard Pace
  • Music: NONE
  • Cinematography: Nouri Haviv
  • Editing:
    • Meir Zarchi 
    • Spiro Carras
  • Studio: Cinemagic Pictures
  • Distributed:
    • Cinemagic  
    • The Jerry Gross Organization  
    • Wizard Video  
    • Elite Entertainment  
    • Koch Vision  
    • Anchor Bay Entertainment  
    • Image Entertainment  
    • VidAmerica
  • Rated: NR / Originally X
  • Release Date: 22 November 1978
  • Running Time: 101 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

Day of the Woman (better known by its re-release title, I Spit on Your Grave) is a controversial 1978 rape and revenge film.  The film received a limited release, with a wider release in 1980.  Prominent film critics condemned the film for its graphic violence and lengthy depictions of gang rape, and the motion picture remains controversial to this day.  The film was named in 2010 one of Time's Top 10 Ridiculously Violent Movies.

Camille Keaton, grand-niece of Buster and star of the thriller Cosa Avete Fatto a Solange? (What Have You Done to Solange?), appears here as Jenny, an aspiring novelist who rents a cabin in the Connecticut woods.  Three rednecks at a local gas station and a retarded delivery boy seem quite friendly at first, and many viewers wonder just where director Meir Zarchi is going with the story.  Then he drops them 200,000 feet right into the center of Hell for the longest, nastiest, and most brutal gang-rape in motion-picture history.  Zarchi takes his time with this scene, not for the sake of titillation, but to make the audience feel the absolute horror of Jenny's plight.  She is humiliated, sodomized over a rock, and brutally beaten in the middle of the woods.  Then she crawls home, naked and bruised, only to get a repeat performance with her new novel shredded, her stomach kicked, and a bottle rammed violently inside her.  The experience leaves Jenny shell-shocked, a cipher completely detached from reality.  She hangs the delivery boy from a tree, gorily castrates the ringleader in a bathtub, and dispatches the other two rapists with an axe and an outboard motor.

Not every movie on my list is here because I hate it, this film is amazing IF you can get through it.  Not for the timid or easily sickened.  Zarchi does an amazing job but this is not a film you want to watch on a regular basis.  I have psychological scars caused by this movie.  This film is hyper-violent by today’s standards.

 

Scanners (1981)

  • Genre: Horror - Sci-Fi
  • Directed: David Cronenberg
  • Produced:
    • Pierre David 
    • Claude Héroux 
    • Victor Solnicki
  • Written: David Cronenberg
  • Starring: Jennifer O'Neill, Stephen Lack, Patrick McGoohan, Lawrence Dane, Michael Ironside
  • Music: Howard Shore
  • Cinematography: Mark Irwin
  • Editing: Ronald Sanders
  • Studio:
    • Canadian Film Development Corporation  
    • Filmplan  
    • Victor Solnicki Productions
  • Distributed:
    • AVCO Embassy Pictures  
    • 20th Century Fox Video  
    • Embassy Home Entertainment  
    • MGM Home Entertainment  
    • MGM/UA Home Entertainment  
    • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer  
    • Nelson Entertainment
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 14 January 1981
  • Running Time: 103 minutes
  • Country: Canada
  • Language: English

Scanners is a 1981 Canadian science-fiction horror action film written and directed by David Cronenberg and starring Jennifer O'Neill, Stephen Lack, and Patrick McGoohan.  In the film, "scanners" are people with unusual telepathic and telekinetic powers.  ConSec corporation searches out scanners to use them for its own purposes. The film's plot concerns the attempt by Darryl Revok, a renegade scanner, to wage a war against ConSec.  Another scanner, Cameron Vale, is dispatched by ConSec to stop Revok.

The title of this David Cronenberg sci-fi horror film refers to a group of people who have telekinetic powers that allow them to read minds and give them the ability to make other people's heads explode.  The children of a group of women who took an experimental tranquilizer during their pregnancies, the scanners are now adults and have become outcasts from society.  But Darryl (Michael Ironside) decides to create an army of scanners to take over the world.  The only person who can stop him is his brother Cameron (Stephen Lack), who wants to forget that he was ever a scanner.  Winner of the International Fantasy Film Award at the 1983 Fantasporto Film Festival, Scanners was followed by a pair of sequels, neither of which involved Cronenberg.

I am a huge Michael Ironside fan but let’s be honest here, has he ever been in anything that was actually a decent movie?  Once you see five pounds of ground beef explode out of a plastic head is there any reason to watch it again?

 

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

  • Genre: Horror – Thriller
  • Directed: Charles Sellier
  • Produced:
    • Ira Richard Barmak 
    • Scott J. Schneid 
    • Dennis Whitehead
  • Written:
    • Paul Caimi (Story) 
    • Michael Hickey (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Robert Brian Wilson, Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Linnea Quigley, Toni Nero
  • Music: Perry Botkin
  • Cinematography: Henning Schellerup
  • Editing: Michael Spence
  • Studio:
    • TriStar Pictures  
    • Slayride
  • Distributed:
    • TriStar Pictures  
    • Aquarius Releasing  
    • Anchor Bay Entertainment  
    • Avid Home Entertainment  
    • Image Entertainment  
    • International Video Entertainment  
    • USA Home Video
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 9 November 1984
  • Running Time: 79 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

The film focuses on a young boy who, after witnessing his parents' brutal murder at the hands of a man clad in a Santa suit on Christmas, grows up tumultuously in a Catholic orphanage and slowly emerges into a spree killer himself.  The film caused an uproar when released in 1984 during the holiday season, and has developed a cult following.

After his parents are murdered by a scalpel-wielding Santa, a young boy is sent to an orphanage. He ends up spying on two people having sex, and learns sex is a very naughty thing. A few years later, in a lil' ole department store, the kid is given the ultimate screw-up: SANTA CLAUS. After seeing two people having sex in the storage room, he has flashbacks of his parents' murder, and ends up killing them both. He then sets off on a massive killing spree. Can he be stopped? Or will Santa deliver new presents to all the little kids?

My wife hates the very idea of this movie and that Santa should be off limits for a horror film but I have a different reason for hating this film, actually two reasons.  I am freaked out by throat slitting to the point I have to brace myself to shave.  I have no idea where it came from or why it disturbs me so.  There is a realistic scene of a throat slitting early in this film but the one thing that keeps me from ever watching this movie again is this.  There is a scene of a man in a Santa suit running down the street chasing victims with a fire axe yelling “REPENT!” repeatedly and I can’t stop laughing at it.  Something has gone horribly wrong in your movie if twenty minutes in I’m trying to avoid a scene that bothers me and half an hour later I’m laughing my butt off at how stupid your movie became.

 

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

  • Genre: Horror – Mystery
  • Directed:
    • Eduardo Sánchez  
    • Daniel Myrick
  • Produced:
    • Robin Cowie  
    • Bob Eick  
    • Kevin J. Foxe  
    • Gregg Hale  
    • Michael Monello
  • Written:
    • Daniel Myrick  
    • Eduardo Sánchez
  • Starring: Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, Joshua Leonard
  • Music: Tony Cora
  • Cinematography: Neal Fredericks
  • Editing:
    • Daniel Myrick  
    • Eduardo Sánchez
  • Studio: Haxan Films
  • Distributed:
    • Artisan Entertainment  
    • Artisan Home Entertainment  
    • Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 30 July 1999
  • Running Time: 81 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

Combining Hi-8 video with black-and-white 16 mm film, this film presents a raw look at what can happen when college students forego common sense and enter the world of voodoo and witchcraft.  Presented as a straightforward documentary, the film opens with a title card explaining that in 1994, three students went into the Maryland back woods to do a film project on the Blair Witch incidents.  These kids were never seen again, and the film you are about to see is from their recovered equipment, found in the woods a year later.  The entire movie documents their adventures leading up to their final minutes.  The Blair Witch incident, as we initially learn from the local town elders, is an old legend about a group of witches who tortured and killed several children many years ago.  Everyone in town knows the story and they're all sketchy on the details.  Out in the woods and away from their parked car (and civilization), what starts as a school exercise turns into a nightmare when the three kids lose their map.  Forced to spend extra days finding their way out, the kids then start to hear horrific sounds outside their tents in the pitch-black middle of night.  They also find strange artifacts from (what can only be) the Blair Witch, still living in the woods.  Frightened, they desperately try to find their way out of the woods, with no luck. Slowly these students start to unravel, knowing they have no way of getting out, no food, and it's getting cold.  Each night they are confronted with shrieking and sounds so haunting that they are convinced someone is following them, and they quickly begin to fear for their lives.  The film premiered in the midnight movie section at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival.

I saw this film when it was still being marketed as real and got emotionally involved in the plight of the characters.  I know this will sound stupid but the final scene in this movie freaked me out so much I never want to have to see it again.  I’m talking about yelling obscenities at the screen in a crowded theater and climbing over people to get the hell out of there because of the last fifteen seconds of a movie.  I wish Sánchez and Myrick could have avoided the curse of Hollywood because for as low budget as this movie is it is one of the best horror movies I have ever seen, proving that a great story is better than multi-million dollar effects and stars.  That is awful high praise for a movie I can not, will not ever watch again.

 

Open Water (2003)

  • Genre: Biography – Drama – Thriller
  • Directed: Chris Kentis
  • Produced:
    • Laura Lau 
    • Estelle Lau
  • Written: Chris Kentis
  • Starring: Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis
  • Music: Graeme Revell
  • Cinematography:
    • Chris Kentis  
    • Laura Lau
  • Editing: Chris Kentis
  • Studio: Plunge Pictures LLC
  • Distributed: Lions Gate Films
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 20 August 2004
  • Running Time: 79 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

Susan (Blanchard Ryan) and Daniel (Daniel Travis) are a busy married couple on an island vacation.  They board a vessel called the Reef Explorer with a group of other scuba divers, traveling 15 miles out to sea.  Since they are certified to dive in open waters, the couple breaks off from the group to go exploring.  The Reef Explorer accidentally leaves without a proper head count, leaving them stranded in shark-infested waters.  Kentis and producer wife Laura Lau did all the filming themselves in the actual ocean without extraneous special effects, while the actors wore special steel-mesh under their wetsuits in the scenes where actual sharks were involved.  Open Water was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004 as part of the American Spectrum competition.

There is a soul crushing bleakness to this movie I have never seen in any other film.  From start to finish it is heavy and dark and depressing.  There comes a point when all hope vanishes and I can not experience that again.  Don’t mistake this as criticism it is an amazing film, just have liquor and something to cheer you up ready to go afterward.


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