August 20, 2016
Is it an achievement to mess with the audience, to play with their sensibilities? Well, it could be, if there’s a psychology behind it, or if it’s tied to something that’s significant. Now, is that entertainment? I believe Martin Scorsese said it best when he was referring to the films of Cronenberg-“He goes to the soft spot in our brain”. So, with these intriguing thoughts, I give you “The Twenty Greatest Disturbing Films”.
In no particular order…
1.”Dead Ringers” (1988) David Cronenberg. It’s hard to describe the feeling that Cronenberg evokes in this most disquieting of films-something like majestic fatalism.
2.”Lord of the Flies” (1963) Peter Brooks. This film so terrified me when I was young that it’s still hard for me to talk about it. I will say just say this: Creepy murdering English boys, yikes!
3.”The Possession of Joel Delaney” (1972) Waris Hussein. Seldom seen shocker goes deep into some weird stuff.
4.”Funny Games” (1997) Michael Haneke. Sadistic, grim, and not particularly cheerful, it’s undeniably well done, though.
5.”A Clockwork Orange” (1971) Stanley Kubrick. This still controversial film polarized many in its day, and probably always will.
6.”Freaks” (1932) Tod Browning. Critics may now regard this notorious film with favor, but it outraged audiences in its day for Browning’s use of real freaks as figures of horror.
7.”Straw Dogs” (1971) Sam Peckinpah. Peckinpah probes the male psyche in a way few filmmakers would ever dare.
8.”The Devils” (1971) Ken Russell. Nymphomaniac nuns, a lustful priest, and people burned to death for being witches set the stage for this madhouse of a film.
9.”Bully” (2001) Larry Clark. The pathology spills over to a group homicide in this hard-hitting tale.
10.”The King of Ants” (2002) Stuart Gordon. This seldom seen film is quite a discovery-a horrifying look at one’s man descent into murder.
11.”Kissed” (1996) Lynne Stopkewich. This film is hard to describe. Let’s just say this gal is a little too fond of the dead.
12.”Looking for Mr. Goodbar” (1977) Richard Brooks. The swinging singles lifestyle of the 1970’s is given a nightmarish treatment in this heavy-handed, but effective piece of horror.
13.”1900″ (1977) Bernardo Bertolucci. This Marxist epic is definitely more shocking than “Last Tango in Paris”.
14.”Blue Velvet” (1986) David Lynch. I find the film strangely charming, but many were put off by the highly charged sexuality and violence that surrounds Lynch’s surreal masterpiece.
15.”M” (1933) Fritz Lang. The ironies are fierce in this groundbreaking work.
16.”Out of the Blue” (1982) Dennis Hopper. Uncompromising look at one family literally imploding after their father returns from prison.
17.”Heavenly Creatures” (1994) Peter Jackson. By delving into the twisted imaginings of two teenage girls, Jackson intensifies the notion of their brutal act.
18.”Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” (1990) John McNaughton. What makes this film so terrifying is that it feels like your watching a documentary.
19.”Casualties of War” (1989) Brian De Palma. Haunting and heartbreaking retelling of a truly terrible incident committed during the Vietnam War.
20.”Seven Beauties” (1976) Lina Wertmuller. Corrosive black comedy about the cost of survival.