They’re the films that caused moral outrage and protests across the world. Starting tonight at 9.30pm, World Movies will be bringing you movies that others have told you that you can’t or shouldn’t see with Films That Shocked The World.
But why the outrage?
Before this provocative week of TV begins here’s an up-close look at why these films were considered so controversial and shocking.
The Human Centipede (Netherlands, 2009)
9.30pm Monday 19 August
This horror film tells the story of a German doctor who kidnaps three tourists and joins them surgically, forming a “human centipede‚Äù and has been described as ‚Äúthe most horrific film ever made‚Äù by critics.
The disturbing plot was inspired by a joke the filmmaker – Tom Six – used to make with friends that child sexual abusers should be punished by having their mouths sewn to the anus of obese truck drivers. Due to the controversial nature of the film, Six chose not to disclose the way that the actors would be ‚Äúsewn together‚Äù when seeking out investors for the film. The financiers never learned about that aspect of the film until the movie was complete.
Before production began, Six consulted with a Dutch surgeon who designed and developed a surgical method which he has stated would function in real life. The film claimed to be ‚Äú100% medically accurate‚Äù upon its release which resulted in much sensation and furore. Six had revealed that a ‚Äúhuman centipede‚Äù would be able to survive for years if the middle and back parts of it had access to an IV drip.
Kids (US, 1995)
9.30pm Tuesday 20 August
Written by Harmony Korine (Spring Breakers), this was controversial photographer-turned-director Larry Clark‘s first film. Depicting adolescent sex, illicit drug use, date rape, physical violence and extreme themes, Kids was called both a ‚Äúwake-up call to the modern world‚Äù and ‚Äúmorally bankrupt‚Äù. The story centres around the Telly, who has taken to only de-flowering virgins, which is more than unfortunate once it’s revealed that he must be infected with HIV.
The majority of those cast in the film were New York City street kids who had little or no previous acting experience. This was key focus for Clark, who felt that most teenage films “never used kids the right age, always actors playing younger. They always make it a happy ending. There’s always something that doesn’t ring true.”
The tender-age of the actors along with the explicit nature of the film prompted accusations of child porn and an NC-17 rating in the United States. This forced Miramax to buy back the movie from its parent company – Disney – before eventually releasing it without classification in the US.
Cannibal Holocaust (Italy, 1980)
9.30pm Wednesday 21 August
This film is not for the faint hearted – filled to the brim with blood, violence, gore and cannibalism. Upon its release in 1981 this graphic violence proved a little too convincing for some, who labelled it a ‚Äúsnuff film‚Äù. After its premiere in Italy, it was seized by a local magistrate and the film maker Ruggero Deodato was arrested and charged with obscenity and murder.
The courts believed that the actors portraying the missing film crew were actually killed in front of the camera and the actress in the impalement scene was actually skewered. Unfortunately for Deadato the actors had all signed contracts ensuring that they would not appear in any type of media for one year after the film’s release in order to promote that the film was using real recovered footage. Eventually they were tracked down and the impalement scene was explained, resulting in the murder charges being dropped.
Although Deadato was acquitted, the film had already achieved notoriety and continued to shock audiences with its graphic brutality, sexual assault and distressing animal violence. The film was banned in many countries around the world, including Australia until it was reclassified in 2005.
Deep Throat (US, 1972)
9.30pm Thursday 22 August
The infamous Linda Lovelace shot to notoriety for her role in this classic, which is the most popular X rated movie of all time. Before Deep Throat, hardcore films existed only as short, usually silent clips typically shown at stag parties and peep shows. This was the film that aimed to shift porn films into a couples date-night friendly experience, and it seems to have done just that for many.
Upon its release, a judge ruled the film to be oscene, labelling it “a Sodom and Gomorrah gone wild before the fire‚Äù and fining production company Mature Enterprises $100,000. In 1976 a series of federal cases brought criminal charges against practically everyone associated with the film – excluding the director Gerard Damiano and Linda Lovelace who had both earned immunity by giving evidence.
Lovelace initially claimed she found making the film a liberating experience, however in the late 70s she renounced her past involvement in the porn industry and claimed she has was forced to make Deep Throat under the threat of violence at gunpoint from her then-husband Chuck Traynor. Viewers who watch Deep Throat, she testified before the Meese Commission in 1986, are “watching me being raped.” Traynor and others involved with the making of the film denied these accusations, however he did acknowledge having been a controlling husband.
Baise-moi (France, 2000)
9.30pm Friday 23 August
Receiving intense media coverage for its graphic depiction of sex and violence, this film tells the story of two women’s road trip of revenge through France – which one critic referred to as a “kind of Thelma & Louise on crack”. The film divided audiences, some hailing it as a violent art movie in the realm of Reservoir Dogs and others claiming it threw “sex in your face to sell blood and gore”. During its screening at Cannes Film Festival in 2000, several audience members walked out of the cinema in disgust.
The film was co-directed by a former pornographic actress and the two lead roles were also played by pornographic actresses. Partly due to this, many within the media began dismiss the film as thinly veiled pornography. Whilst it was initially cleared for those over 16 in its native France, this classification was removed after intense lobbying from a religious group, effectively banning the film. This was the first outright ban on a film in 28 years and caused an international media uproar before the film was eventually re-released under the newly reinstated over 18s classification.
The film’s subsequent banning in Australia was met with outspoken protests against censorship, while it continued to be cut-down or banned completely in many other countries. World Movies presents an R18+ cut of this controversial film.