Violent Movies
It seems nowadays that people have to use bigger and deadlier guns to get their point made. Thanks to John Woo it now takes two big .45 were when one worked just as fine. Screen violence has hit new levels, and audiences seem to cry for more. It makes you wonder who the real villains are, the on-screen thug or the audience cheering it on.

Crash- (1996)

Dir- David Cronenberg
James and Catherine Ballard are a young married couple who have been suffering from a rather lackluster sex life. Their latest tactic of illicit mutual infidelity has become old hat rather quickly, and the Ballard's are looking for some real excitement. While on his way home from work James causes a head-on collision with another car and ends up killing the husband of Dr. Helen Remington while the two were engaged in a rather compromising position. This tragic event has awakened the Ballard's to the thrill of crashing automobiles to attain new heights of sexual pleasure. Ballard soon finds the company of a group of fetishists who find the ultimate sensual pleasure comes from the sudden thrill of near death that arrives in a violent car crash. The leader of the group Vaughn is obsessed with re-enacting infamous car crashes for live audiences as a new form of performance art. This endeavor soon engulfs everyone involved as they seek out the thrill of near death in the wild sexual fantasy that will ultimately claim their lives. In what may be the strangest and unique form of eroticism, David Cronenberg has crafted a film that pushes the boundaries even further than any of his previous films. The raw intensity and wild nature are showcased in a movie that transforms automobiles into sexual instruments and the participants as active players looking for the ultimate in erotic desire. The film was banned in many European countries before it reached the US almost a full year after it was released in Canada. Although its controversial nature may turn off many viewers, the film itself is wildly original and has style never before seen in any other movie. Cronenberg has directed what may yet be his most controversial film and proven yet again he is one of the great thrill makers.

Der Todesking- (1989)

Dir- Jörg Buttgereit
Seven days in a week, seven separate groups of people and seven suicides are what you get in this film by the director of Nekromantik and Nekromantik 2 Jörg Buttgereit. What we witness are seven separate tales of people who ultimately end up committing the final act. On Monday, a man arrives home from work and takes a bath as he overdoses on pills. Tuesday has a man watching TV and shooting his wife; the irony is that he was looking at a person on TV hanging from a noose. This progression continues but is topped off by the final act. The most violent and most memorable, the Saturday girl decides to go out with a bang and to leave a record of it. She straps a camera to herself and proceeds to kill many strangers during a concert performance before she ultimately gets it herself. Jörg Buttgereit compares the last scene with that of Austin tower sniper Charles Whitman as they are both people who realize their shooting spree will be their death and enter into them knowing their fate and inevitable legacy. As always Buttgereit does not fail in telling a tale that stands out even among other ultra-violent films, the day to day lives of each character; doomed and it is this final act that brings all together. Another film from the director who never seems to disappoint or settle for the mundane.

Doom Generation- (1995)

Dir- Greg Araki
You would think a simple date with your girlfriend would be a simple affair but for Amy Blue and Jordan White fate has decided to put their real love in harm's way. As Amy and Jordan having sex they encounter the strange Xavier Red, who is getting the shit beat out of him on Amy's car. Her verbal abuse does little to deter X, and with Jordan's consent, he joins the couple on their ride back home. The trio journeys on through the night and soon encounters trouble when Xavier murders a store clerk during a misguided robbery attempt. This is only the beginning of the trio continue and face more trouble, and it seems everywhere they go Amy is mistaken for some guys ex-girlfriend and trouble soon erupts. Jordans shy naïveté soothes Amy's foul temper and caustic tongue; the two are truly in love, but Amy will soon betray him. The final confrontation has the trio encountering a group of murderous skinheads who commit a brutal crime (OUCH!); these events are masked by strobe lights that blur the actual events. This disturbing black comedy is made even more strange with its unusual setting ('shot on location in hell'), an odd assortment of cameos (Heidi Fleiss, Margaret Cho, and Peter Brady) and the weird cost of every item totaling out to $6.66. The film at times seems like an allegory for Christ as Jordan is the Messiah and Amy his Judas, who would soon betray him and regret the betrayal when it is too late. Often compared to Natural Born Killers the film bears more of a similarity to Kalifornia in that the innocent couple meets a character that brings Hell with him. With plenty of graphic violence and erotic sexual imagery the film is not for everyone. One final note is for fans of Scream, take note that Rose McGowan, who portrays Amy has some nude shots.

Kalifornia- (1994)

Dir- Dominic Sena
Brian Kessler (David Duchovny) is a journalist who is writing a book about serial killers, his girlfriend Carrie (Michelle Forbes) is a photographer taking photos for the book. The two decide to go on a cross-country trip to California yet encounter difficulty in that Brians car (a Lincoln Convertible similar to the one JFK died in) only gets 8 miles a gallon. He posts a notice at a local college for traveling companions to share the expense, and they receive only one reply from a young couple named Early (Brad Pitt) and Adele (Juliet Lewis). Carrie is somewhat cautious because Early and Adele look flat broke, but Brian is a calm, cool guy and accepts their offer. As they travel cross country Early begins to show his true colors as dead bodies pile up, and when he becomes even more unstable Carrie and Brian suspect they may have made a huge mistake. Kalifornia arrived with little fan fair and featured a cast that was still somewhat unknown, yet the intensity was very much evident. Although not as violent or over the top as Natural Born Killers, the film is still pretty shocking compared to most movies and Brad Pitt has yet to play anyone scarier.

Man Bites Dog- (1992)

Dir- Remy Belvaux & Andre Bonzel

MS 45- (1981)

Dir- Abel Ferrara
Abel Ferrara's first film effort was the notorious Driller Killer; little did we know that he would have the talent to direct a powerful and disturbing revenge film. Thana is a mute woman who works in the New York garment district as a seamstress. She lives with three of her co-workers and endures the daily sexist taunts of men and her bosses. One night she is brutally raped not once but twice in the same evening. She gets a hold of a .45 pistol and becomes a one-woman death squad killing all men good and bad. The powerful revenge message is plainly clear in this shocking film that moves beyond the Death Wish movies. Zoe Tamerlis portrays Thana with sexy yet deadly demeanor. Look for Ferrara as the 1st rapist.

Natural Born Killers- (1994)

Dir- Oliver Stone
Oliver Stone has embellished such controversial topics as JFK, Vietnam, Wallstreet and the life of Jim Morrison. His play on the media is one of his unique and twisted of the bunch. Natural Born Killers is, on the one hand, a satire on the media and how it turns sick killers into heroes and on another a disgustingly feeble attempt to find humor in a senseless murder. Woody Harrelson plays the murderous Mickey, who is in love with the equally vicious Malory played by Juliette Lewis. At times, the movie uses sitcom metaphors to poke fun at sick issues like child molesting and spousal abuse. Later we see a whirlwind chase of these criminals as the media shows their carnage and the attempt to apprehend these vile killers. The violence is at times cartoonish while too often enough brutally graphic. We see little guilt or redemption from the deadly duo and are subjected to their love story. Some find this movie to be quite funny and satirical in nature; I found it to be immoral and a bad attempt at satire. Not once do we see any motivation towards redemption and we find that people who grew up in dysfunctional families will be dysfunctional. The only relief I found was the death of the tabloid reporter who deserved what he got. Being a more mainstream movie than the rest, Natural Born Killers is still just as depraved in its moral tone than any film in this list, except maybe for Salo. Let us hope the media does not fall into the trap of making a vile killer into a hero, oops too late!

Passion of the Christ- (2004)

Dir- Mel Gibson

Schramm- (1993)

Dir- Jörg Buttgereit
Lothar Schramm is a simple man with complex problems, yet he seems like such a nice guy. He works as a taxi driver (no comment!) and lives by himself where he is happy to answer his door to strangers and kill them outright. As with many shy loner types he has a problem dealing with the woman, so he drugs them and photographs their nude bodies for sexual stimulation. He then murders his victims and so goes the life of a deranged serial killer. As Lothar fantasies about his victims, he experiences wild hallucinations and vicious fantasies which help paint a picture of the world in which Lothar lives. His neighbor is a prostitute, and he fantasizes about being with her, he is happy to offer her a ride while she is on the job. He enjoys her company and invites her to his place for a nightcap. He then offers her a drink that he has drugged to photograph her nude body, as is his usual technique only this time he doesn't murder her. Its is this strange fixation which makes Lothar even more bizarre. As with many of the films of Jörg Buttgereit this movie is filled with wild and shocking images that would sicken all but the most diehard viewer. His technique and style tend to focus on the perverse side of human nature and the intense violence we are capable of committing. What is best about Buttgereit is that his films are almost without any inhibitions and are as graphic as anything short of an autopsy. The real challenge is determining if Buttgereit is just merely an artist or a deranged lunatic.

Seven- (1995)

Dir- David Fincher
Have you ever wished that a movie could use the very elements that once made Horror possible? This crime drama opens up to a retiring detective who has signed on for one more case. His partner is a rookie detective who is still green. The city is held at bay by a killer who uses the Bible and the seven deadly sins to create horrifying scenes of death and suffering. In the course of the ongoing investigation the two clash at what it takes to find the killer. Using different techniques, the two come closer to the killer while at the same time discovering they are far from catching him. Suddenly the criminal turns himself in and in a shocking conclusion we learn an even more terrifying fate that personally affects one the cops directly. Seven is the rare movie that does not bow to the conventions of mediocrity. Instead, it pulls upon the classic technique of withholding the shocking scene and letting the viewer's imagination take it from there. The result is an ending that is very disturbing and hits the audience where it usually doesn't. A damn fine movie and a great vehicle for Brad Pitt and the outstanding Morgan Freeman.

Taxi Driver- (1976)

Dir- Martin Scorsese
Are you talking to me? NO, are you talking to me? The most famous quote in recent history only sets the dark tone for this deeply disturbing film by Martin Scorsese. Robert DeNiro stars in this compelling tale of one man's fight for his form of justice and personal redemption. Every night is a struggle for sanity as Travis Bickle travels the mean streets of New York City. Working his hack Bickle is sickened by the scum he ferries night tonight, whether it is the prostitutes and their fares or the drunken slobs. He then meets a lovely political worker who takes a liking to him but is disgusted by his choice of a first date film. Bickle then takes it upon himself to help a teen hooker get out of the business, and it is this quest that leads him on a pathway to self-destruction. Whether Taxi Driver is meant to be one man's honest crusade or a flight of a crazed lunatic is debatable, his actions are well justified, but his mental state is equally dubious. Martin Scorsese's gritty dialogue and realistic setting add significantly to this terrifying film that boasts one of the most bloody gunfight climaxes in cinema history.