You know how something you’ve seen can be so nasty, disturbing, whacked out, or just plain icky that it’s inexorably burned into your brain? And you think, “Oh well, give it some time and the memory will fade.” But of course, it doesn’t.
On any given day, I can’t remember where I left my car keys or who I promised to call. But these images are still unshakably lodged in my cranium.
8. The Woman in Room 237 (The Shining)
You’re in a hotel that has been vacant all winter. You’re told someone lurking in Room 237 tried to strangle your child. So you go up to investigate. Next thing you know, a very hot naked lady walks out of the bathroom, and — lo and behold — she seems to fancy you. What do you do?
Apparently, you just throw caution to the wind and start gleefully making out with her. Of course, in his defense, it had already been well established that Jack Torrence is a few crayons short of a full box. And far more prudent men than he have been known to have lapses in judgment when faced with wet, naked breasts.
Suffice it to say this movie did more to put people off hotel bathrooms that Psycho ever did.
7. The “Ass to Ass” Scene (Requiem for a Dream)
How far might a young woman in an advanced stage of addiction to heroin go to scrape together money for drugs?
‘Nuff said. If you’ve seen the movie, you remember the scene. If you haven’t, you may not thank me for describing it. And if you feel compelled by lurid curiosity, I have no doubt somebody’s posted it on YouTube.
This is probably Jennifer Connelly’s most memorable role. Just looking at her, in this scene, is agony.
6. The Death of the Children (Jude)
In case you haven’t seen this film, or read Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, I won’t spoil it, except to say you catch a glimpse of dead children. I can handle all kind of gratuitous cinematic misery as long as it doesn’t involve children or animals. Then all bets are off.
This is definitely a worthwhile movie, and one that deserves a wider viewing. But Thomas Hardy didn’t carve out his literary niche reflecting the joyful side of human existence. It’s a tough film.
5. The Worst Toilet in Scotland (Trainspotting)
The scene is strange, disgusting, surreal, and powerful. And as a young man dives into a filthy toilet to retrieve his precious cache of heroin, it makes an indelible statement about where addiction will take you. Of course that’s not the worst part of the journey. Not by a long shot.
In case you need any persuading, this film will definitely put you off heroin abuse. And public toilets.
4. The Curb Stomp (American History X)
The thing I love most about this movie is that it takes a thoroughly repulsive, unredeemable character and has you pity him, then root for him.
I won’t describe this scene — everyone who’s ever seen this film needed therapy to purge it from their minds. Suffice it to say, I don’t know which is more disturbing, the heinous act of violence to which we bear witness or the perpetrator’s smugly gleeful reaction.
3. The Scalping and Flaying (Red, White & Blue)
The scene description speaks for itself. This movie exceeded my fuckedupness threshold, and I’m in no hurry to sit through it again. However, it’s a worthwhile film, especially for Noah Taylor’s engrossing performance as a calculating sociopath.
2. The Baby (Trainspotting)
Probably the most devastating aspect of addiction is the guilt and regret carried by parents whose substance abuse has caused them to harm or neglect their children. This scene will stick with me until the day I die.
1. The Dog Killings (Tyrannosaur)
There are many things I admire about this film. Not the least of them is its ability to take an emotionally unstable, destructive man, who most of us would be inclined to loathe or dismiss, and have us connect to his human side. What can I say? I really dig social realism.
But I will Never. Sit. Through. This. Movie. Again. I can take everything in it but the brutal dog killings. Don’t kill children and dogs … that’s all I’m sayin’ Is that too much to ask?