Tuesday, November 5, 2013

You Don't Have to be NC-17 to Be Bought By Criterion

Thank you von Trier, we all so desperately need to see this, in the longest take ever known to man kind, and if it's not definitely feels that way.
So my friend sent me this interesting link up on the Criterion website about the grossest films in its roster of otherwise respectable and timeless cinematic triumphs. So like right next to The Rules of the Game (Jean Renoir) you can buy a copy of Antichrist (Lars von Trier) where the cover is Willem Defoe doing Charlotte Gainsburg up against a tree of protruding limbs. So hot. Here's the list if you're interested and haven't eaten anything this morning yet. Criterions Greatest Gross Outs.
Now, why should Criterion be so high and mighty? I mean they bought films like Armageddon (1999) and The Rock (1996) for eff's sake, but I will say this, they do own a few in their catalog that would make even the person with the strongest stomach squirm in their seat. Antichrist (2009) is a perfect example of this. Now, if I was to eat an egg salad sandwich that had been siting in a hot car that I purchased and the worst deli in New York City and then did 18 jumping jacks, I'm still not exactly prone to vomit. It's rather difficult for me? TMI? Deal with it. But not even at the end, in the MIDDLE of this film, I had to excuse myself out of the theater to blow chunks. And I will never trust Von Trier again. I mean, I had to take a klonopin just so I could watch Melancholia (2011) because I was so nervous. And I honestly have no idea why Criterion would invest in such crap. Even by pretentious euro-standards Antichrist is terrible. And yet that's not why I lost my lunch that day. I just couldn't deal with the fact that von Trier saw the need to assault every one of my senses until I felt like I couldn't breath. It's like 'how far can I go with this? I don't want people just to walk out in anger, I want them to be heaving and dialing the emergency room. Get Willem Dafoe on the phone.' 
Just one of the NSFW scenes from Caligula (1979), though seemingly alright on the surface, you should know that the girl in this scene is playing Caligula's (Malcolm McDowell's) SISTER Drusilla.
The other films all totally deserve to be up there, but I've seen way worse that Criterion refuses to touch. Dino De Laurentis' Caligula (1979) is a perfect example, also any work by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Watch The Holy Mountain (1973), I dare you. I double dog dare you. People think you need to be within a horror genre and sub-genre of blood and guts to be seriously offensive to all the senses, but it's not true. You just have to put people into very uncomfortable situations. Also, you have to be pretty innovative and an ancient Roman contraption that slices off peoples heads because of a shredding like locomotive on it's bottom layer can do so when you bury people with just their heads sticking out is pretty innovative. It's just one out of many beyond disgusting and yet fascinating films in Caligula (1979) so don't fret I didn't give too much away.
Eyes Without a Face (1960) is actually pretty terrifying in that French solipsistic type way, and that's not to mention the amount of gore that is involved in the surgery scenes, even in black and white it's more visceral than your average slasher film.
I guess what I'm saying is that the disgusting is also innovative, and doesn't have to be 'horrific'. If you look at another film on the list; George Fanju's Eyes Without a Face (1960) it's absolutely captivating. Probably because it's based on actual events and it's directed brilliantly. What is it about? Exactly that. This girl is born without a face, just a pair of beautiful big blue eyes, and her father, the ever present surgeon experimentation extraordinaire keeps kidnapping young girls so that he can take off their faces and try sewing them unto his daughters, and womp womp, none ever really work. And this was decades before 'it rubs the lotion on it's skin' so it was pretty innovative. Also, it's French, so, points there. Anyway, I would say if you're have a thick skin watch some of these films, they are in the Criterion roster for a reason, most of them (I said MOST) are not gross because of a sexual content that is displeasing....of course that's MOST again, people. But yeah, throw on some Cronenberg and have a barf bag ready just in case. Maybe you'll be richer for the experience mentally even if your stomach will empty.

Some trailers below: 

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