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Patrick Walker (Patrick_walker)
Username: Patrick_walker

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 188.28.128.138
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - 10:24 pm:   

Has anybody seen this yet? Does anybody even want to? There seems to be a screener copy on YouTube (I'm not sure how it's managed to stay on there for so long without being removed) though personally I wouldn't watch a film in such a way.
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Tom_alaerts (Tom_alaerts)
Username: Tom_alaerts

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 84.197.166.202
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - 10:57 pm:   

I don't need to see a movie where a [edited for spoiler]. Yes, that happens in it. I can't see any artistic merit.
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Patrick Walker (Patrick_walker)
Username: Patrick_walker

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 188.28.128.138
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - 11:35 pm:   

Oooh. Spoiler alert. Thanks for that.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - 11:35 pm:   

I want to see it. I've gone into my reasons elsewhere, so won't go over it all again here. I won't watch it on Youtube, though.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 11:25 am:   

It will be shown at Grimmfest at Halloween in Manchester, I gather.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 11:37 am:   

I may have to toddle over for that...
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Kate (Kathleen)
Username: Kathleen

Registered: 09-2009
Posted From: 86.142.147.219
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 11:44 am:   

Yeah, I was intrigued too. Spoiler - baaaad!
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 12:18 pm:   

Can you buy tickets for individual films at Grimmfest or do you have to buy full membership?

I'm having real problems with their website (my PC has explorer 6 and flashplayer 7 so there's loads of stuff online I can't look at any more - even googlemap streetview has stopped working for me) and all I'm getting on a lot of pages is a pure white screen.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.237.21
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 02:42 pm:   

According to Andrew Vacchs babies are being raped left and right, practically under our noses, especially in New York. I like some of the man's writing but as to whether he is for real . . .
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Tom_alaerts (Tom_alaerts)
Username: Tom_alaerts

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.78.35.185
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 03:26 pm:   

This was mentioned in various posts about the movie - tired as I was, it didn't occur to me that it could be a spoiler. Sorry about that.
Anyway it gives an idea what kind of movie that it is.
Myself, I do love well-made horror (scarce as it is!) and I am not interested in movies that push the boundaries for the sake of it. I find such movies often empty and boring.
A movie I would love to see however is Splice. It does seem like an interesting exploration of a morally dubious topic. Did anyone see it?
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 03:31 pm:   

Splice was in and out of the local cinemas before I could blink. I fully intended to see it but missed it.
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Kate (Kathleen)
Username: Kathleen

Registered: 09-2009
Posted From: 86.142.147.219
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 03:51 pm:   

Splice is loads of fun. Cronenberg meets Pixar in a way. We enjoyed it immensely.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 05:29 pm:   

I emailed the organisers of Grimmfest with my question from above and also enquired about A Serbian Film. This was my reply

"Films secured for GRIMM, I'm sure you appreciate, is an ongoing thing, and come in waves. If you sign up to the newsletter you'll not missed out on any exclusive announcements. Regarding A SERBIAN FILM we are still investigating whether this will be allowed to be shown in the UK!"


So if it's only this film you'd be popping over to see, wait until it's announced in their newsletter before committing to a trip.
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 10:40 am:   

Do you think that maybe the political satire aspects of this film (which apparently are specifically about the behaviour of previous Serbian governments) might be lost on a British audience; and that the film will therefore just be perverted titillation for horror bods?

Or if not titillation then maybe just a sort of self-indulgent puerile test ("I can watch even the most transgressive films without flinching -- how psychologically tough is that! I can look into the abyss and come away unscathed! I'm hard!")

Just a thought...
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 10:45 am:   

I think you might be right, Rhys - but even moreso regarding US viewers. They seem to have that "I'm so hard for watching this" mentality in spades.

Personally, I find extreme cinema fascinating on many levels - none of which involve pretending to be tough for watching them. I'm drawn to the way that these films are able to make metaphor into actual visual images, and the results are often genuinely disturbing. I also find a strange kind of honesty to these images - an uncompromising desire by the filmmakers to look right into the fire, even if it burns your eyes.

Films like Irreversable, Combat Shock, Last House on the Left, Martyrs, etc, seem to me to contain a sort of truth about the world and how shitty it is.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.152.255.20
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 11:04 am:   

"Films like Irreversable, Combat Shock, Last House on the Left, Martyrs, etc, seem to me to contain a sort of truth about the world and how shitty it is."

That's my problem with them. Too often, they seem like failures of the imagination. Opening wounds with no understanding of how (or even desire) to heal them doesn't require much skill.

For the viewers such films are intellectual and emotional self-harming that may provide temporary relief but are no substitute for good professional counselling.
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 11:06 am:   

Totally agree with you about Irreversible, Gary. I might agree with you about the others on your list, but I haven't seem them yet... In my own opinion Baise Moi for instance is an important film for many reasons... and one of those most important reasons include, as you rightly say, honesty.

I haven't seen A Serbian Film but I do have some Serbian friends who tell me that the political satire in it tends to be specific rather than universal; if this indeed the case I'll be interested to see how many British (or American, etc) viewers try to use the "satire" clause as a patently false justifcation for 'enjoying' the film...
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 11:09 am:   

Thank god for the ability to 'preview' messages before posting them... I nearly wrote Basie Moi instead of Baise Moi... Gives a whole new meaning to 'April in Paris'...
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 11:11 am:   

Er, righto. That's not how I see it, though. Not at all.

A lot of these films - take those of Abel Ferrara, for example - do have an understanding and a desire to heal the wounds they examine. Yes, there's a hell of a lot of utter trash out there, but the very best of these films are incredibly worthwhile. They're like cries for help for those who can't make themselves heard - the aforementioned Combat Shock is a good example of this.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 11:12 am:   

The above was in answer to Proto's comment, btw.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 11:16 am:   

Rhys, I actually thought Baise Moi was rubbish - rape-scenario titilation dressed up as a pseudo message. Very poor. I do take your point, though, and I'm with you on the Serbian thing. For the record, I don't expect to enjoy the film at all. Being honest, I suppose I want to see it out of immature curiosity, fascination, and I suppose to see if it really is as grim as they say.
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Kate (Kathleen)
Username: Kathleen

Registered: 09-2009
Posted From: 86.142.147.219
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 01:33 pm:   

For the viewers such films are intellectual and emotional self-harming that may provide temporary relief but are no substitute for good professional counselling.

I have to confess I find this comment intriguing and I wonder just how much it applies to me? I certainly don't *think* that's why I feel compelled to see certain intense films. Take Martyrs, (for example). It's a gruelling experience and not really *enjoyable*. But it's certainly not just torture porn and I definitely wouldn't say it lacks imagination. I'm not alone in finding it profound and meaningful. Not just a good horror film but a Good Film. As to whether or not it's a *healthy* film to watch... Who knows?

I could bang on all day about the "masochistic gaze" of the audience (as opposed to Haneke's *complicit* one - grrr), but I come back to a point made by Carol Clover in her excellent Men, Women & Chainsaws about males in the audiences of rape/revenge films. If (as criticism suggests) they are only there to be titillated, why do they bother to stay for the revenge half? There's a Haneke-esque assumption made about male audiences - ie, that they instinctively empathise with the perpetrator of violence. That's just bollocks. I always empathise with the sufferers or victims in films, but if that's a form of self-harm, why do *I* stay for the end of I Spit on Your Grave and Last House on the Left?

I've strayed from the point a bit but your comment really made me think, Proto. Even if I ultimately disagree with you.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 01:50 pm:   

It's lazy thinking, IMHO, to assume that people who enjoy extreme cinema have some kind of psychological problem - Daily Mail thinking.

Maybe I'm misunderstading what you're saying Proto, but watching films like I Spit on Your Grave offers no kind of relief whatsoever. You raise some good points, Kate, about the titillation argument - it's one I've never agreed with. No bloke I know who's seen these films has ever been titilated by them. Just disturbed.

I had a discussion with Conrad Williams a few months ago, and it turns out that both he and I admit to rehearsing the worst possible scenarios in our minds, particularly to do with our loved ones. Maybe it's just the way a horror writer's mind works, but when your wife's late back from the office you go through endless rape/kidnap/murder scenes in your head; and when you're at the park with your kids, you create a story in your head where everyone around you is some kind of child killer.

You watch it, you read it, you write it, you imagine it...to make sure that it's never going to happen. Not on your watch. You'll see the signs, you'll catch it before it happens.

But the truth is, you won't.

And that's what's so scary.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 147.252.230.148
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 02:14 pm:   

"Abel Ferrara, for example"

Yes, he's usually considered and thoughtful. I wouldn't apply my comments to his work.

"Maybe I'm misunderstading what you're saying Proto, but watching films like I Spit on Your Grave offers no kind of relief whatsoever."

I haven't seen that one. If it dosn't offer catharsis, does it offer insight? If not, what does it offer?
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 02:16 pm:   

You'd have to watch it and decide for yourself.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 147.252.230.148
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 02:23 pm:   

Kate,

"As to whether or not it's a *healthy* film to watch..."

I suppose that's the way I'm looking at this - we can consider art as a branch of applied medicine. Is it ultimately good for us or bad? And if we don't know, let's be honest about that and admit that its possible that these things may be bad for us. Many people who seem to be open to all of the possibilities presented by extreme cinema seem to be closed to that one.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 147.252.230.148
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 02:23 pm:   

"You'd have to watch it and decide for yourself."

Zed, what does it offer for you?
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 02:28 pm:   

I'll tell you if we ever meet - it's a long and complex discussion, and pretty personal.

Base line, though, and very, very simplified: it offers me the sense that I am not alone in seeing this world as a hallway of horrors. This is the same reason I like the art of Van Gogh, the fiction of Campbell, Ketchum, Bukowski and Straub. It means that others see it, too. The horror.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 147.252.230.148
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 02:42 pm:   

"it's a long and complex discussion, and pretty personal."

Ah, fair enough. It's asking a lot to summarise the complex thoughts and emotions that art evokes in us.

"I am not alone in seeing this world as a hallway of horrors."

I do empathise with this. You can't be a fan of ALIEN 3 or Ligotti for the catchy songs. I did like that line in The Wolfman "the past is a wildernes of horrors". I'm just always aware that if I gave to much energy to wallowing I'd miss an opportunity for healing and trancendance, even refuse them if they came along. And they do.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 02:51 pm:   

Oh, I agree totally - I don't wander around wallowing in the horror, all dressed in black and scowling at kittens. I'm actually a pretty well adjusted guy, very fun and gregarious and keen to see the beauty in the world. I'm just very (overly, my wife would say)aware of the horror, too.
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Kate (Kathleen)
Username: Kathleen

Registered: 09-2009
Posted From: 86.142.147.219
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 02:55 pm:   

Is it ultimately good for us or bad? And if we don't know, let's be honest about that and admit that its possible that these things may be bad for us. Many people who seem to be open to all of the possibilities presented by extreme cinema seem to be closed to that one.

Hmmm... I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say "these things may be bad for us". That's too sweeping. Of course, someone truly on the edge can be triggered by anything, so they're not really who this argument is aimed at. I'm open to the idea that a given extreme film (not "extreme films" in general, mind you) may not be *good* for one, but that's not the same thing as being *bad*.

And since I brought the film up, MY reasons for admiring (and yes, even *liking*) I Spit on Your Grave are personal too and not easily articulated. But I think it's about catharsis for me. It paints a brutal picture of a woman's worst fear and how she "survives". (Although for me the hardest scene to watch is not any of the physical stuff but the cruel bit where they read her prose and mock her.) She doesn't really survive, of course, not emotionally. And no revenge could ever even the score. It doesn't have any kind of "cool" vibe (the way the remake appears to) and it doesn't end on a trite action film note of finality, as though everything's fine now and things can go back to normal. It's stark, harrowing and unapologetic and it reminds me how good it is to be alive. Whenever I see it, I feel disturbed and haunted, but ultimately invigorated.

Sorry if that sounds corny but hey, we all have weird personal responses to things sometimes.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 03:03 pm:   

Let's face it, football incites more violence than any horror film ever has. When was the last time you read about violence in the street by horror film fans after the latest slasher pic hits the screens?
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 03:08 pm:   

It's stark, harrowing and unapologetic and it reminds me how good it is to be alive. Whenever I see it, I feel disturbed and haunted, but ultimately invigorated.

Kate, I envy your eloquence.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 03:10 pm:   

I do think you make a good point, Proto - it's the unseeing thing. we can never unsee this stuff. I never take it lightly when deciding I want to see one of these films - it's taken me months to decide I want to see A Serbain Film, for example.

I think Kate's quote above sums up nicely what good extreme cinema offers me.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 03:10 pm:   

Serbian, even...

(sigh)
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John Forth (John)
Username: John

Registered: 05-2008
Posted From: 82.24.1.217
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 08:39 pm:   

I'm toying with the idea of watching this when I go to Frightfest in a couple of but to be honest I tend to find unrelentingly grim films (as this promises to be) little more than nihilistic posturing. The love for Martyrs continues to baffle me - I found it boring and its late stab for profundity a bit embarassing. But, hey, as a wise man once said: "The world don't move to the beat of just one drum, what might be right for you, might not be right for some..."
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 89.19.89.71
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 09:00 pm:   

Zed,

"it's taken me months to decide I want to see A Serbain Film, for example."

Barring some sort of Clockwork Orange-type cinema going experience, I'll never see that one. A combination of films getting increasingly extreme and me getting increasingly sensitive means that in a couple of years I'll only be able to handle Rentaghost.


Kate,

"I'm open to the idea that a given extreme film (not "extreme films" in general, mind you) may not be *good* for one, but that's not the same thing as being *bad*."

Can you elucidate on this Kate? Do you mean that a film can have no effect on our well-being? Cinematic tofu? I suppose that's the case with most Hollywood fare. But I'd imagine the point of an extreme film is to affect the audience, one way or the other, by any means necessary.

A lot of people here have much more experience of these films than I, so I'm really interested to learn what they're getting from them. Go, explore strange new corners of the human mind and body, but please do file a report for the rest of us cowards back home!
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Kate (Kathleen)
Username: Kathleen

Registered: 09-2009
Posted From: 86.142.147.219
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 09:55 pm:   

Presumably at least *part* of the point of an extreme film is to affect the audience, but I wouldn't generalise it by saying that's the whole raison d'etre. And you certainly can't expect to affect everyone, as John Forth demonstrates above. Extreme stories require extreme telling.

Film (and fiction) are very immersive for me. I want to lose myself in the world of the film, so if it's a harrowing film, I expect to be shaken afterwards. But I suppose I can be too sensitive at times and some experiences may be darker or deeper than I really need (or want) to go. But I certainly haven't been *damaged* by Martyrs or Cannibal Holocaust or any of a number of other extreme films I've seen, if that's what you're asking.

I wholly agree with Zed's description above about imagining/dreading the worst scenarios and playing them out in our minds. I see the horror in the everyday too. This genre of ours gives me an outlet for it and like-minded people to share it with. So I suppose that outlet is what I get from extreme films. Sometimes I don't have any other way of purging certain emotions and I need to empathise with someone else's (fictional) suffering. A rehearsal for death? Possibly.
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.142.147.219
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 10:06 pm:   

Kathleen, the Lady Probert (to give her her full title) and I have been discussing this over tea today, and apart from the fact that it has made us realise once again how differently we watch films - she empathically, me with myself very much at a distance, it did set me off wondering why I watch, and often for want of a better word, enjoy extreme films.

I loved Cannibal Holocaust - it's on my top ten list of the greatest horror films of all time. I viewed Martyrs with curiosity and some appreciation. In fact my discomfort while watching it was not because of the movie itself but because I was worried about how it might be affecting Kate. I have every intention of watching A Serbian Film, having seen the trailer, but it's taken a comment from my secret bromance partner *Gary* to spell out why:

Base line, though, and very, very simplified: it offers me the sense that I am not alone in seeing this world as a hallway of horrors.

One of the strongest reasons I have always loved the horror genre is because it constantly reassures me that I am not alone in the often terrible things I can imagine. I already have an idea of what 'A Serbian Film' is going to be like in my head and you know what? I bet it won't be anywhere near as bad as some of the terrible things I've already thought up way before this film came on the scene. But what it will do is reassure me once again that I'm not the only one in the world who has these sorts of ideas.

If I had never watched a horror film. I'd still think the horrible things , I'd still have scary ideas, I'd still imagine ghastly things that hopefully will never happen. The difference is that if I lived in the "normal" world no-one would understand me and my normal wife, my 2.4 kids and probably the dog as well would probably recoil in horror.

More than any other genre / sub-genre, extreme horror films make me realise I'm not the only one. And it may sound weird to say I find Cannibal Holocaust comforting, or Martyrs reassuring, but I do.
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 86.24.209.217
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 10:52 pm:   

I still can't decide whether or not to watch this film. One thing I can say about it, though, good or bad: the discussions it's elicited, on both the threads devoted to it, have been some of the most intelligent and eloquent I've seen on this board.

Just saying.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 11:43 pm:   

My beloved Lord P, I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who feels that way about these films. Actually, somewhere above Kate also mentions the reassurance these films provoke. It is a strange sort of comfort to know that you're not the only person who has this stuff in your head, that other people are thinking about the same weird stuff.

I remember reading a quote from Charles Bukowski, where he said that certain books (and certain authors) make him feel less alone. Good extreme cinema has that affect on me: it makes me feel less alone and oddly (and in what I suppose is a contradictory manner) reconnects me to the world. This is why I like to watch harrowing films. It's why I prefer unhappy endings. It's why I love to listen to what some people call depressing music and to read bleak fiction and look at dark and disturbing pieces of art. It all makes me feel less alone.

For me, nothing makes me feel more bleak inside than the latest Hollywood rom-com. Yet perverseley, something like Cannibal Holocaust or Last House on the Left makes my soul stir - because I get it, I understand what the filmmakers were trying to do - even if they don't quite manage it. I get it and I share that struggle to confront that darkness in the hallway of horrors.

Sorry if that all sounds a bit pretentious, but it isn't. This stuff holds deep meaning for me.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 11:53 pm:   

effect, even...

Sorry, I'm tired.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.5.6.209
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 - 02:05 am:   

To echo Mr. Probert, I think the world's horrors are FAR worse than any film can ever come up with - in fact, the most horrible a horrible film is, only ever gets closer to how horrible the real world is, and yet never reaches it.

Just today, a random day in a random week in a random year, I hear about a man who lives in San Diego I think it was, who was convicted of murdering his 21 year-old daughter: he tied her up, tortured her, shot her (but not to death), then stuffed her in a freezer, where she suffocated, and she lay there for about two years, before being discovered. He claimed he found her dead like that, but thought no one would believe him, so he kept her in there, never telling anyone....

What of the most horrible films I've ever seen comes close to the reality of that?!

Zombies now are not real, but I think that's the other side of the horror coin, real-world horrors being heads, and fantastic horrors being tails. Fantastic horrors take us to realms of our animal, primal, ancient minds, that we'd rather not acknowledge, but are there... the part of the mind that instinctively thinks, at a wake, "What if dead Uncle Fred were suddenly to sit up?" "What if he were to attack us?" (fear of friends and loved-ones turning on us) "What if he were going to eat us?" (the fear of being eaten - what's more primal than that?) And so on....
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Chris_morris (Chris_morris)
Username: Chris_morris

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 98.220.97.79
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 - 07:08 am:   

>> I think the world's horrors are FAR worse than any film can ever come up with - in fact, the most horrible a horrible film is, only ever gets closer to how horrible the real world is, and yet never reaches it.

True. But it's equally true that the world's pleasures and happinesses are more intense and more profound than you'll find in any film. Choosing to depict only horror is as false as depicting only sentimentality. The real world is larger and more interesting than the ones Mary Poppins or Hannibal Lecter inhabit. In fact, generally speaking, it tends to stay comfortably between those two poles.

One study I read about, a study of a group of thirtysomethings, suggested that people with no direct experience of violence in their pasts are more strongly drawn to horror and art with darker themes than people who have faced genuine horror head-on. Perhaps our generation indulges in an increased interest in darker artworks only because we weren't forced to confront the world's darkness directly by being drafted into war. Who can say?

Me, I'm out, though. I've decided against seeing A SERBIAN FILM. The younger me is probably appalled by this decision, but I can't help it. I'm not the person I used to be, for what that's worth. I'm not objecting to the film on grounds of content -- I'm not really troubled by gratuitous gore or even by the false, one-sided depiction of the world as a place of profound horror. I simply feel it wouldn't provide the sorts of effects I'm looking for in horror cinema, or cinema of any sort, really. In fact, much of what passes for cinema these days simply leaves me with an acute acedia. I'd rather read a book. Come to think of it, maybe I'll wait for the book -- A SERBIAN NOVELIZATION.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 - 10:57 am:   

Chris, whilst I appreciate and sort of agree with what you're saying here, you left out one important factor: for some people, the world is a place only of horror.

But, yeah. I dig what you're saying.

Just as a counter to your argument, though, I believe that Tom Savini used his experiences in Vietnam to inform his work, and they drew him to the darker stuff. Everyone's different. I know my background is part of why I'm drawn to this extreme stuff.
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 - 11:28 am:   

Another way to have an extreme experience (or set of extreme experiences) without going to watch transgressive films in arthouse cinemas is to get on a plane to Lagos, Abidjan or Dakar, etc, and walk around the streets on your own for a while. I'm not sure if it'll be a very cathartic thing to do, though!

The point I'm trying to make by saying this is that cinema (or any artform) can't really toughen up your soul. Only proper experiences can do that. So if anyone has embarked on a program (either secret or overt) of using transgressive films to prove how hard they are, the bad news is that it's not going to work... Having said that, I concur that none of you lot are trying to use transgressive cinema in that particular way...

But it kind of reminds me of a horror writer I met once who said to me, "I write horror! The darkest kind! I can look without blinking into the unlighted gulfs of cosmic horror! I am a Master of Terror! Ha ha!"... He wasn't being ironic... Embarrassed by this childish outburst I sought to change the subject and asked him if he was going anywhere on holiday this year. "Oh no!" he said. "I'm scared of flying!"
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.142.147.219
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 - 11:29 am:   

For me, nothing makes me feel more bleak inside than the latest Hollywood rom-com.

Exactly. People at work will say they watch stuff like that and find it 'quite funny' whereas it just doesn't connect with me on any level at all, and while Chris is quite right when he says:

it's equally true that the world's pleasures and happinesses are more intense and more profound than you'll find in any film. Choosing to depict only horror is as false as depicting only sentimentality.

For some reason it's the horror that I'm drawn to, that is inside me, and while there are many movies that are about pleasure and happiness that are well made and perfectly valid creative works I'll never connect with them the way I do with horror. It's odd, really - I'm not in the slightest bit a morbid person, and yet my soul could not be more filled with darkness, if that makes any sense. And it's very very reassuring to know I'm not the only one.

I also remember reading that it tends to be younger people who enjoy horror because when you're young you feel more indestructible and death is but a dust mote on a nearly invisible horizon. As you get older and death gets nearer so your willingness to see it on film decreases as it becomes more real to you.

Interestingly the older I get the less time I have for the 'happy' films and the greater appreciation I have for the extremely nasty pictures.

Oh, and have I mentioned that absolutely the best to happen to me in my entire life is finding Lady P so now I really do have a dark soulmate to share this all with?
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 - 11:37 am:   

@ Rhys, no one here has said they're trying to "Toughen up their soul" by watching extreme cinema.

I can't really put into words why I enjoy films like Martyrs or Inside or even the saw films so much but it's certainly not anything to do with trying to toughten anything up or look hard.
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 - 12:14 pm:   

@ Weber, people don't always say what they mean; but they mean it anyway.

Also, if you read the last line of the second paragraph of my message above, you'll see I've already covered myself. Tsk!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 - 12:17 pm:   

It actually amuses me but some people do have the attitude Rhys mentions. I mean, yeah, it's really hard to sit in your lounge watching a film. Ooohh...I'd better not mess with those guys. They might throw popcorn at me.

And, Ryhs, please, please tell me which horror author said that to you. What a complete tool. That anecdote, of true and not apochryphal, is genuinely hilarious!
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 - 12:20 pm:   

It was you while you were drunk wasn't it?
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 - 12:21 pm:   

If not then I'd say Rhys knows Nicky Peaches Sparkle-Pony Pacione...
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 - 12:25 pm:   

The anecdote is true, Gary, but I can't tell you the name of the writer in public. When I was younger (up until last year in fact) I was happy to whistleblow such things in public, but I've since been persuaded that maybe it's not really the done thing... I can be quite naive about such things...

I'll just say that people who can write horror but who can't live with even a splinter of risk in real life always startle me...
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 - 12:31 pm:   

I'm not mocking people who are scared of flying, by the way...

If I was in the habit of giving advice (which I'm not) then my advice to such people would be -- carry on being scared of flying, but fly anyway, like Gabriel Garcia Marquez does; and while you're at it, try to write 1/10,000th as well as he does!

Helpful, huh?
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 - 01:08 pm:   

"Oh, and have I mentioned that absolutely the best to happen to me in my entire life is finding Lady P so now I really do have a dark soulmate to share this all with?"

Very much like me with Jenny - I knew that as soon as she suggested all those years ago that we should go and watch a double bill of Corman's Poe films. That said, she can't take Suspiria and the likes of the Hostel movies even now...
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 - 01:14 pm:   

"One study I read about, a study of a group of thirtysomethings, suggested that people with no direct experience of violence in their pasts are more strongly drawn to horror and art with darker themes than people who have faced genuine horror head-on."

I'm not sure my childhood and my early (and continuing) love of horror bear that out, but I suppose it depends if you call it "genuine horror".
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.31.8.83
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 - 01:23 pm:   

I've always wondered about this. I think there are certain people who have been sheltered in their lives so much that they are basically incapable of functioning in everyday life, with all its perceived and suspected risks. I think that kind of existence must be terrifying - never having been exposed to any threat in life, and yet living in a world in which there is so much.

Maybe those drawn to horror come from extremes of experience: those who've seen too much of life, and those who've seen but little. Different horrors, perhaps.

It's a well documented psychological fact that overprotective parents can induce as much neurosis/mental duress in their children as abusive ones.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.31.8.83
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 - 01:28 pm:   

I find it amusing when folk approach a horror writer and say, "Oh, you're really quite a timid soul, aren't you? I don't know, I guess I expected you to be huge and frightening and dressed in metal things."

Isn't it the case that good horror writers - people who really understand fear - are those who regularly experience fear? The scared folk, in other words.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 - 05:14 pm:   

I'm with JLP, Zed & co on the whole question of extreme graphic horror in cinema (or art in general). As long as I know it's not real but someone's attempt to portray the unimaginable as accurately as possible, within the constraints of a coherent narrative or with a genuine point to make, then I've no problem with it, and find the process of viewing such things cathartic, stimulating and oddly life-affirming.

I was horrified and repulsed by 'Antichrist' last year, but also innervated and excited by my ability to take what I was seeing compared to the reactions of many in the audience around me - and those Holy Joe idiots protesting outside. It was a moment of pure visceral horror with the subliminal comfort of knowing that no one had been harmed but that the instinctive reaction, for me, had been very real.

Same goes for literature and art - when I read (or write) I like to give my imagination completely free rein and actively will the author to take me to places I've never been before, to show me a side of life I will never physically experience but that I know exists - whether it be the pain and the joy of childbirth, going cold turkey from heroin withdrawal, receiving a blow job from a rent boy up some dark alley, experiencing the grief of losing a child or rationalising the murder of strangers as a way of deflecting bad luck. Likewise, in the realms of fantasy, I want the author to make me believe in the impossible and show me vistas of experience undreamt of by those who have gone before. I want them to fill in the gaps in the whole vast immensity of existence, whether filled with shambling nightmare monstrosities from beyond or reality warping conspiracies by mischievous multi-dimensional beings. It's all about stimulating the intellect and the emotions and the senses for me - whether it be H.P. Lovecraft, Robert Anton Wilson, Ramsey Campbell, Abel Ferrara, David Cronenberg, Salvador Dali, Robert Crumb, the most extreme video nasty I can get my hands on or hard core porn between consenting adults (my favourite)... the experiencing of it, the facing of the reality it reflects, reaffirms what it is to be alive and is to prepare yourself for everything that life can possibly throw at you. Those who run or hide from what they are not are the real fantasists imo.
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Chris_morris (Chris_morris)
Username: Chris_morris

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 12.165.240.116
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 - 06:54 pm:   

>> Those who run or hide from what they are not are the real fantasists imo.

True, and I sort of like that statement, but I feel obliged to point out that civilization itself isn't possible without a spoonful of that sort of fantasy. In exchange for a few little white lies -- such as suppressing intolerant views on race, religion, etc, or pretending to be okay with people who like Donnie Darko -- we receive the many benefits of community living. Although it's true that contemporary technology allows us to indulge in some of the baser elements of community living -- such as direct contact with human beings -- only at intervals we choose, we still must all lie, to one degree or another, in order to survive. The appeal of films such as IRREVERSIBLE or MARTYRS may come, in part, from the fact that they expose some of the lies civilization is based on, but that doesn't mean those lies are unnecessary.
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Chris_morris (Chris_morris)
Username: Chris_morris

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 12.165.240.116
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 - 07:05 pm:   

Actually, Stevie, I see I've misread your statement -- I thought it said "Those who run or hid from what they are are the real fantasists"; I overlooked your "not". My mistake. Nevermind.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 12:10 am:   

Don't worry, man. The only reason I didn't respond until now is because I've been out on the piss all night - and the pull, with no luck, hence the reply...
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Lincoln Brown (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 121.219.10.215
Posted on Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 12:31 am:   

"I also remember reading that it tends to be younger people who enjoy horror because when you're young you feel more indestructible and death is but a dust mote on a nearly invisible horizon. As you get older and death gets nearer so your willingness to see it on film decreases as it becomes more real to you.
Interestingly the older I get the less time I have for the 'happy' films and the greater appreciation I have for the extremely nasty pictures."

My Dad passed away last month. In his last months (when he knew he only had months left) he read - 'Rough Cut', 'Mindful of Phantoms' and 'We Fade to Grey'. These were books that I had passed onto him after I had read them. I asked him if he wanted something else - more uplifting? humourous? He said 'No, this is what I like'.
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 86.24.209.217
Posted on Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 12:40 am:   

Lincoln- sorry to hear about your Dad. Condolences for your loss. Glad he enjoyed our stuff.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.31.8.83
Posted on Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 08:40 am:   

Really sorry to hear about your dad, Lincoln. I'm moved that he enjoyed my book.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 08:54 am:   

Condolences, Lincoln - I'm actually moved that one of the last things your dad read was something I wrote. I'm glad he connected with my work in some way.

Chris: The appeal of films such as IRREVERSIBLE or MARTYRS may come, in part, from the fact that they expose some of the lies civilization is based on, but that doesn't mean those lies are unnecessary.

You've managed to eloquently summarise something I was trying to communicate eariler - this is the honesty I mention above. Thanks for that.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.104.135.73
Posted on Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 10:24 am:   

Sorry to hear that, Lincoln.
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Mark West (Mark_west)
Username: Mark_west

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.171.253.12
Posted on Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 03:03 pm:   

Sorry to hear that, Lincoln
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 03:24 pm:   

Condolences, Lincoln.
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Gcw (Gcw)
Username: Gcw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.158.238.131
Posted on Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 03:28 pm:   

My condolences Lincoln.

gcw
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 03:35 pm:   

All my sympathies, Lincoln.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 61.216.47.30
Posted on Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 04:00 pm:   

Sorry to hear of your loss, Lincoln.
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.142.147.219
Posted on Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 09:01 pm:   

Kate & I are sorry to hear that Lincoln - we offer our sympathies too.
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Lincoln Brown (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 121.219.10.215
Posted on Sunday, August 22, 2010 - 01:57 am:   

Thanks, everyone. Has been a tough time, but our family and friends are close, and this has helped.
BTW, sorry to hijack the thread!
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Patrick Walker (Patrick_walker)
Username: Patrick_walker

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 188.28.15.237
Posted on Monday, August 23, 2010 - 08:56 pm:   

It may have been said already but it's showing at Frightfest in Leicester Square.
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Lincoln Brown (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 124.180.63.236
Posted on Saturday, August 28, 2010 - 03:20 am:   

I think you'll find that this film has been refused classification. Apparently it has been pulled from Frightfest.
Inside, Martyrs, Cannibal Holocaust, Last House on the Left etc, etc. - I think you are in for a shock if you think these films compare to 'A Serbian Film'.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Saturday, August 28, 2010 - 12:41 pm:   

It has been withdrawn from Frightfestbut not banned by the BBFC - the British release will be cut.

http://www.melonfarmers.co.uk/latest.htm#A_Serbian_Film_Cleansed_3078
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Saturday, August 28, 2010 - 01:06 pm:   

Lincoln - sorry to have missed sending you my condolences, mate. I haven't looked at this thread for nearly a week. Truly sorry. You have my heartfelt condolences, mate.
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Lincoln Brown (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 124.180.63.236
Posted on Saturday, August 28, 2010 - 02:32 pm:   

Thanks Frank, appreciate it.
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John Forth (John)
Username: John

Registered: 05-2008
Posted From: 82.132.139.222
Posted on Sunday, August 29, 2010 - 09:57 pm:   

I'm sitting in the Frightfest audience just now. It has indeed been pulled - mainly because Westminster Council decided, at the last minute, that they wanted a BBFC version shown. Alas, they asked for 4 minutes worth which there was simply not enough time to do. It will still be released in the UK, but cut.

Saves me the dilemma of whether to watch it or not this weekend...
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Patrick Walker (Patrick_walker)
Username: Patrick_walker

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 188.28.8.230
Posted on Sunday, August 29, 2010 - 11:30 pm:   

Today I've been given an uncut dvdr copy of it along with a copy of another controversial Serbian film, Life and Death of a Porno Gang. I'll let you know how I get on...
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 01:13 pm:   

Well, I've now watched A Serbian Film...and it's as extreme as everyone says. The imagery didn't affect me as much as I'd expected, but I would recommend that anyone in doubt should just steer clear.

For the record, though, the first hour (before the extreme graphic material starts) is rather brilliant. The themes and ideas in this first hour are far more disturbing than the exploitative visuals later on.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 01:15 pm:   

I'll just add, before leaving this subject well alone, that this film is the single most nihilistic thing I've ever seen.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.194.128
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 01:40 pm:   

Is comic genius Will Farrell going to be in the Hollywood remake?
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Chris_morris (Chris_morris)
Username: Chris_morris

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 12.165.240.116
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 05:09 pm:   

Yo, Zed: You gonna write up a review of this thing? I'd be interested in your thoughts. (If you don't want to include them here, perhaps you could shoot me an email?)
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 05:12 pm:   

Chris, I'm thinking about doing a blog post - I have some notes I've made today, but they're in no real shape to post anywhere yet. Once I've written the piece, I'll let you have a look, mate.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 05:21 pm:   

Same here... I know nothing about this film and was wondering what makes it so shocking? Is it the imagery or the subject matter or the message, or lack of one? You have me intrigued but also somewhat nervous, Gary.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 82.210.188.215
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 05:59 pm:   

Steve - I think the content of the film before even the screening of the trailer caused concern. I haven't seen it, so I can't say. But I hasten to add among other notable sequences, one involving a baby was the biggest upset for people. But like I said, I haven't seen it. I have seen the trailer, but I doubt it goes anyway to showing what the film is really like.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 06:05 pm:   

If you want a blow-by-blow synopsis, check out Wikipedia.
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Tom_alaerts (Tom_alaerts)
Username: Tom_alaerts

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.176.229.250
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 07:38 pm:   

Well - spoiler alert - I explain what happens in the second post of this thread.

I'm not interested at all. Pushing boundaries for the sake of it is an empty, lazy business.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 09:00 pm:   

Tom - your info is incorrect. The "...to death" part of your sentence.

Pushing boundaries for the sake of it is an empty, lazy business.

You're right, but personally I don't believe that's the case with this film - and part of the reason I watched it was to form an informed opinion on the matter.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.194.128
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 09:15 pm:   

Sorry, folks, didn't see the spoiler. I know it's too late for some, but I've edited it out.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 09:27 pm:   

Gary, it wasn't really a spoiler - everyone who's looked into the film knows about that scene. And a full synopsis of the film can be found on wikipedia anyway.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.194.128
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 09:33 pm:   

Well, folk were saying it was above.

Man, it ain't easy bein' the moderator round here. You cain't do reeght f' doing wrong. :-)
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.194.128
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 09:34 pm:   

Anyway, this doesn't sound like the kind of film I'd want to watch. That's no judgement of it. I just wouldn't want to watch it.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.111.132.33
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 09:34 pm:   

I've checked it out on wikipedia and it isn't just that scene. Did I see something about it by Paul Finch? I might be mistaken.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.111.132.33
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 09:36 pm:   

No. I think I have that wrong. I think it was about another film.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 09:50 pm:   

Gary - I fully understand that, and I would actually advise you not to watch it. You can't unring a bell.

I've been thinking about the film all day, and I have to say that I'm glad I watched it. I wouldn't encourage anyone else to do so, though. I'm even going to watch it again, before writing a short essay on the film.

Oh, and in relation to Stephen's other post, this is my film of the year - for all kinds of reasons, both good and bad.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 11:03 pm:   

Chris - I don't have your email addy. Do you have mine? Email me and I'll send you my essay.
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Patrick Walker (Patrick_walker)
Username: Patrick_walker

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 79.79.184.174
Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010 - 12:17 am:   

***POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT!!!***
I saw the film and "enjoyed", and even admired, it.
I have to say that personally it's not by any means the most gruelling film I've ever sat through, though undoubtedly one of the most nihilistic, and one can understand why the censors had a time of it. I even agree with their decision if just for the sequences involving the juxtoposition of images of a child against a scene of sex/sexual violence. The rest of the film, including "the scene" everyone wants to mention, seems to me to be a matter of personal taste and endurance.
All that said and done, no material in this film disturbed, or will leave a lasting mark on me, as did a particular scene in Tim Roth's The War Zone.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010 - 10:46 am:   

no material in this film disturbed, or will leave a lasting mark on me

I actually find that statement disturbing in itself.
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Patrick Walker (Patrick_walker)
Username: Patrick_walker

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 79.79.184.174
Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010 - 01:30 pm:   

You've taken that out of context. I actually said, and I'll rephrase it, no material in this film disturbed me as much as a particular scene in Tim Roth's The War Zone (which similarly involved rape and incest, for the sake of explanation).
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010 - 01:44 pm:   

Good grief! I've just read the Wikipedia synopsis of A Serbian Film and I think it's one I'd want to avoid at all costs!

And to think I was bothered about the rape scene in Blood on Satan's Claw in another thread here ...
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010 - 01:46 pm:   

Ah, okay, Patrick: the way you'd written it confused me. I thought you were saying that none of it disturbed you, period. Fairy nuff.

The War Zone is indeed another devastating film, but in a different way.
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Patrick Walker (Patrick_walker)
Username: Patrick_walker

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 79.79.184.174
Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010 - 02:43 pm:   

No problem. In fact the way I'd written it even confused me when I just looked at the post again.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010 - 02:51 pm:   

I thought you were trying to be one of those pretend tough guys: "Serbian Film? Bollocks. I laughed my cock off. Seen worse down t'pub on a Friday night."
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Patrick Walker (Patrick_walker)
Username: Patrick_walker

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 79.79.184.174
Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010 - 03:29 pm:   

Nah, only in J D Wetherspoon's at Harlow Town Centre.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010 - 03:48 pm:   

All I'd need to know is whether the film is artistic or exploitative, well made or amateurish? I have no problem with extreme content in a movie unless it is either real or done purely to titillate those of extreme tastes. I don't want to read the plot details on Wiki in case I ever get a chance to see this.
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Chris_morris (Chris_morris)
Username: Chris_morris

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 98.220.97.79
Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010 - 04:04 pm:   

Zed: My email is christophermorris&gmx.com. (Just replace the ampersand with an at sign.)
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Saturday, October 23, 2010 - 10:37 am:   

All I'd need to know is whether the film is artistic or exploitative, well made or amateurish?

It's both artistic and exploitative, and incredibly well made.

Chris: ta! Email incoming.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, October 23, 2010 - 10:44 am:   

Then I'll watch it, should the opportunity arise...
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Seanmcd (Seanmcd)
Username: Seanmcd

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.153.163.245
Posted on Sunday, October 24, 2010 - 12:34 am:   

There is always the danger of 'horror' films like this one 'boundary pushing' so far as to blur the line between what is acceptable and what is not. I can certainly imagine individuals with, let's just say, 'specialist' tastes in horrific sexual subject matter chatting online with each other saying, 'see, told you so, it was only a matter of time. It's mainstream now...we can reel in some of the more vulnerable horror fans'. There will also undoubtedly be the next 'controversial' extreme film before long trying it's damnedest to trump this. Where does it all lead? Are we not just handing the moral guardians a nice big stick to beat us genuine horror fans with ? I've read the reviews and this seems to be less horror and more extreme sexual endurance film. An experience and images I know I can live without.
I know Serbia had it rough. I know all about the atrocious horrors committed there by all sides. I've witnessed sectarian hatred and callous murder firsthand at home. But I fail to see how a fictional sex act on a child would help me deal with, or others to understand, those real historical atrocities.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, October 24, 2010 - 12:46 am:   

I understand where Zed is coming from, Sean, and would rather watch the film and make my own mind up. I won't go out of my way to see it but should the opportunity present itself... I'll go in with my eyes open and pass judgement afterward. In the meantime I don't want to read any spoilers, just in case.

I felt the same way about 'Antichrist' and it was easily the most important horror film I've seen of the last 10 years.
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Seanmcd (Seanmcd)
Username: Seanmcd

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.153.163.245
Posted on Sunday, October 24, 2010 - 01:02 am:   

I've not yet seen 'Antichrist' Stevie and I do want to. I won't give away any plot spoilers from 'Serbian Film' but based on the wiki entry it bears absolutely no comparison in the 'endurance' stakes.

Here's a question for Zed. Does the film show actual male erections ?

I REALLY don't think this will be shown here in Belfast (the irony).
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, October 24, 2010 - 01:06 am:   

'Antichrist' did, and worse besides, and I had to fight my way through DUP protestors to see it in the QFT.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Sunday, October 24, 2010 - 04:27 pm:   

Here's a question for Zed. Does the film show actual male erections ?

I suspect they're prosthetic erections (especially consideign what they're being used for in one or two scenes).
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Seanmcd (Seanmcd)
Username: Seanmcd

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.130.182.139
Posted on Sunday, October 24, 2010 - 08:00 pm:   

Zed, fake or real, those scenes must have been hard to watch (no pun intended).
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.194.128
Posted on Sunday, October 24, 2010 - 08:18 pm:   

Male erections? As opposed to what? :-)
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Monday, October 25, 2010 - 12:28 pm:   

Alas, the Grimmfest organisers told me yesterday that the local council brought up the issue of the film (to say they couldn't show it uncut).
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, October 25, 2010 - 03:37 pm:   

I take it you're up for watching the movie, Ramsey?

Like I've said, as long as nothing shown is real, and all done by special effects, I'll have no problem watching it and passing judgement after.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010 - 10:34 am:   

If anyone's interested, my esssay on A Serbian Film can be read on cuddly SF writer Andy Remic's blog here:

http://www.andyremic.com/
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010 - 11:16 am:   

I am indeed, Stevie (though I've been unable to bother seeing Grotesque). Forgive me if I don't read your piece until I've seen it, Z!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010 - 11:32 am:   

No spoilers in the essay, Ramsey (I was very careful about that).
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Kate (Kathleen)
Username: Kathleen

Registered: 09-2009
Posted From: 81.152.74.159
Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010 - 02:10 pm:   

Excellent essay, Zed! Your experience of watching it sounds a lot like my own experience of watching Martyrs - specifically your point about not being able to unsee things after the fact. I'm expecting to be scarred by it too.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010 - 02:14 pm:   

Thank ye kindly. I'm particularly fond of the final line.
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Seanmcd (Seanmcd)
Username: Seanmcd

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.171.240.32
Posted on Sunday, October 31, 2010 - 02:26 am:   

Read your essay Zed. Really well written and to the point. I also believe wholeheartedly in the right of this film to exist and be seen by whomever wants to. However, all the signs are that it is only getting a name for itself based on its exploitative scenes rather than story or acting thus only pure schoolboy curiosity would make me want to see it. I might someday or I might not. What puts me off is that this is a film I could not watch with the wife. of being caught watching this by the wife. Or worse, catching my 17 year old watching it. Now THAT'S horror !
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Sunday, November 21, 2010 - 10:52 am:   

That's a useful essay, Z! I saw the uncut film yesterday and am rather in the same two minds as you. One point that does occur to me about the scenes the BBFC has cut is that all of them are seen from Milos's appalled viewpoint - I never had the sense that they could be viewed as simple exploitation. It's significant, I think, that in the opening minute a cut to a viewpoint shot (the boy's) complicates however we may be watching the first porn scene. At this stage I'm not sure how much the explicitness of some of the imagery in the second half of the film contributes to the considerable discomfort of watching it, but I do think the discomfort may be a kind of justification.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Sunday, November 21, 2010 - 11:49 am:   

Another interesting piece, but be warned that it describes several scenes:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/a-serbian-film-is -this-the-nastiest-film-ever-made-2137781.html
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Kate (Kathleen)
Username: Kathleen

Registered: 09-2009
Posted From: 86.142.147.0
Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010 - 01:36 pm:   

Zed's link above only goes to the blog's main page, so here's a direct link to his (excellent) review:

http://andyremic.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/guest-blog-the-horror-the-horror-gary- mcmahon/
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Kate (Kathleen)
Username: Kathleen

Registered: 09-2009
Posted From: 86.142.147.0
Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010 - 01:44 pm:   

Well, we watched it yesterday Ė uncut Ė and really enjoyed it. Yes, *enjoyed*. Parts of it are so OTT itís operatic and at times itís blackly comic. I certainly found it intense, but I was nowhere near as disturbed by it as I was by Martyrs, but that's perhaps because it wasn't as personal or realistic. Its outrageousness and excess reminded me of The Baby of Macon. Itís a shame that itís overshadowed by its controversy, but thatís unavoidable given the subject matter. Extreme stories require extreme telling.

As Rhys says upthread, a lot of the Serbian-specific satire is lost on a Western viewer. For that reason I would never presume to say what's "too much" or "inappropriate" in the context of a film like this. I simply don't have the right.

The rape scenes and violence are intense and ugly, but wholly appropriate to the film. Like Ramsey, I didnít find those scenes exploitative, especially since theyíre all from Milosí POV. I suspect the all-knowing and wise BBFC will have indeed MADE them exploitative by their cuts. Likewise the scenes juxtaposing children with sex acts. The episode with Milosí first day on the shoot is about psychological conditioning and itís very cleverly done. If you take the preteen girl out of it, it doesnít make sense.

I love the setup of the open-minded family with a healthy attitude towards sex. Even porn. Milosís wife Marija knows about his past and seems to find it charming and even exciting. When their son asks what the films are they say itís just Daddy playing with a friend. Europeans are so much less hung up about sex than Brits and Americans; youíd never have this kind of setup in an American film! It makes everything that happens that much worse, especially when seen as a metaphor for Serbia and its people before the horrors of war.

I thought Iíd post these quotes from the Wikipedia article:

--------------------------------------------

Screenwriter Srdjan Spasojevic has responded to the controversy with "This is a diary of our own molestation by the Serbian government... It's about the monolithic power of leaders who hypnotize you to do things you donít want to do. You have to feel the violence to know what itís about."

Scott Weinberg wrote "I think the film is tragic, sickening, disturbing, twisted, absurd, infuriated, and actually quite intelligent. There are those who will be unable (or unwilling) to decipher even the most basic of 'messages' buried within A Serbian Film, but I believe it's one of the most legitimately fascinating films I've ever seen. I admire and detest it at the same time. And I will never watch it again. Ever."

A more critical review came from Alison Willmore: "Movies can use transgressive topics and imagery toward great artistic resonance. They can also just use them for pure shock/novelty/boundary-pushing, which is where I'd group Serbian Film. That it comes from a country that's spent decades deep in violent conflict, civil unrest, corruption and ethnic tensions makes it tempting to read more into the film than I think it actually offersóultimately, it has as much to say about its country of origin as Hostel does about America, which is a little, but nothing on the scale its title suggests."

Tim Anderson of the horror review site "Bloody Disgusting" likened the movie to "having [his] soul raped" and dissuaded anyone reading his review from ever seeing it, writing: "If what I have written here is enough to turn your feelings of wonder into a burning desire to watch this monstrosity, then perhaps I haven't been clear enough. You don't want to see Serbian Film. You just think you do."

--------------------------------------------

I do bristle at those latter two and especially the insinuation that thereís something wrong with anyone who finds value in the film. No, itís not ďartĒ in the conventional sense and it's definitely not for everyone. Itís a primal scream, a big ďfuck youĒ to the Serbian government. It's nasty, cynical, bitter, brutal and exploitative, but it's also extremely well made and powerful. I think itís brilliant.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010 - 01:48 pm:   

Hear-hear, Kate. I still can't stop thinking about this film - and I think it's brilliant, too. It disturbed the hell out of me, but I also enjoyed a lot of it. Maybe it's the first genuine "extreme cinema" masterpiece? Who knows?
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 08:47 am:   

Here's a detailed list of all the BBFC cuts.

http://www.melonfarmers.co.uk/latest.htm#A_Serbian_Cuts_List_3160
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.106.220.19
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 12:13 pm:   

I wasn't too sure I wanted to see this film but the scene descriptions in that list of cuts has convinced me I really don't.
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Kate (Kathleen)
Username: Kathleen

Registered: 09-2009
Posted From: 86.142.147.0
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 12:48 pm:   

In typical "for our own good" Big Brother style, their description of certain scenes makes them far worse and more lurid than they actually are.
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 95.131.110.102
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 12:52 pm:   

I can quite believe that, Kate - just that once my imagination gets going, there's no stopping it!
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.21.232.214
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 01:07 pm:   

Judging from these cuts it must be a singularly boring film. This isn't horror. I worked in a slaughterhouse cum butcher shop in my student days and find nothing shocking about blood and guts anymore, especially if it's all fake. And I'm not saying I wish it weren't, in this case.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 01:13 pm:   

Far from it, Hubert - it's very powerful, in my view. One of its central themes is the effect of watching and being watched, and these cuts obscure that rather a lot, I fear.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 01:51 pm:   

I agree, Ramsey. As I've said before, the most disturbing (or indeed, shocking) thing about this film isn't the imagery, it's the ideas. It's far from boring - in fact, the cuts might even make it a stronger film. There's more to this project than blood and guts, but the media have understandably decided to focus on that aspect.

Hubert - I find your strong reaction to the film's existence very interesting. And, believe me, this is a horror film...on every level.
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Kate (Kathleen)
Username: Kathleen

Registered: 09-2009
Posted From: 86.142.147.0
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 02:23 pm:   

I agree that certain of the film's ideas could potentially be stronger with less overt imagery, but I can tell from the list of cuts that the censors have ruined the point of several powerful scenes.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 04:19 pm:   

Did those here who saw it see the cut, or uncut, versions?

I'm avoiding reading any details as much as possible, so that when I DO see it finally, I can see it hopefully as untainted as possible... though I'm more on the leery side, like Mick....
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 04:34 pm:   

All of us who've seen it saw it uncut, I believe. If it turns up locally I do mean to see the cut version with an audience.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.21.232.214
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 04:55 pm:   

@ Zed - I find your strong reaction to the film's existence very interesting.

In what way, Zed? And believe me, I very much intend to see it after your and Ramsey's recommendations.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 05:24 pm:   

In the way that you say it sounds boring, and stating that it isn't horror...interesting. I'm keen to hear what you think of the film when you've seen it.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 05:42 pm:   

Oh. Well thank god there's even an uncut version out there! No more of the late 70's/early 80's censorship shenanigans going on ruining ALL existing prints of a film, at least....
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Johnny_mains (Johnny_mains)
Username: Johnny_mains

Registered: 04-2010
Posted From: 86.31.118.252
Posted on Saturday, December 18, 2010 - 08:51 pm:   

Finally got to see A SERBIAN FILM uncut and it is very challenging and by far the most disturbing film I've ever seen in my life. It reminds me very much of and I think influenced in parts by PEEPING TOM, HENRY:PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER (its nearest kin) and SALO.

There are parts in the film which are beyond ludicrous and it's a shame that it's those bits the film will forever be remembered for. The director was clearly out to outrage - its a film about people who want to see sick things committed to film, directed by someone who wants to see sick things committed to film and it's quite hard to argue with the logic that brings someone to greenlight a project such as A S F - even if they do argue for sociological and historical contexts that are the films supposed messages.

Saying all of this though - it was an ably and cleverly made film and with it being so unrestrained gave it the freedom to push the boundaries without the film or its makers having to apologise for what the viewer was seeing.

It does make me slightly wary though to see what film will come out next to try and top it - obviously someone will want to grab some of the notoriety.

It's now weird that I look upon ANTICHRIST and to some extent MARTYRS with fondness - nowhere as grim as ASF! ASF is not a film I'll watch again - but I don't regret watching it.
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.253.174.81
Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010 - 01:16 pm:   

I certainly think it's a very angry film, quite possibly the angriest I've ever seen. However, I don't in any way think it was 'directed by someone who wants to see sick things committed to film' as I don't see that as being the point of the piece. If you really want to watch something with a truly reprehensible agenda Johnny try sitting through the uncut Murder-Set-Pieces, which has to be the only movie of its type that I would probably have walked out of if I wasn't watching it at a packed film festival!

The more I think about A Serbian Film the more I find to appreciate about it. It absolutely isn't a film for everyone. In fact it's a film for almost no-one. In a way it's a film that doesn't really need people to see it - they just need to know it exists.

I agree with Kate that it's very much a celluloid primal scream - well made, carefully thought out with sympathetic characterisation and a genuinely frightening philosophical agenda, and boiling over with emotion, frustration and anger. I was more worried that it would be 'sick for the sake of sick' but it isn't, it really isn't, and I'm very glad indeed that I've seen it.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Thursday, March 10, 2011 - 09:49 am:   

Angel Sala, the director of the excellent Sitges Festival, is threatened with prosecution for showing child pornography (that's to say, A Serbian Film, which is nothing of the kind). If you want to support him, here's a petition:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/contralacensurasitges/

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