Earthlings (2005) The most graphic movie I’ve ever seen

0

>>>>Trigger Warning: Graphic Violence To Animals <<<<<

Consider this your last warning before I jump into my review. Don’t be a hero. If you’re disturbed by graphic, non-fictionalized torture, do not read on or click the trailers. Okay?

Call it a propaganda film if you like, but the real brutality depicted in Earthlings (2005) is gripping, intense, and undeniable.

Earthlings (2005)

Writer and director: Shaun Monson

Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix with music by Moby

This is an animal rights documentary. You’re wondering how a vegan propaganda film justifies space on this indie horror blog, but I’ll assure you the horrors revealed here are worse than any pulptastic, splatterfest film out there. Because the violence is all true. The images are real. And while this documentary is not perfect and teeters cartoonishly on the edge on self-righteous fervor, there is an undeniable truth in its message. The goal of this film is to disturb you. Watch the trailer and I assure you it will.

Shaun Monson’s unflinching “found-footage” style combined with Joaquin Phoenix’s pleasant, unnerving narration creates a potent reaction. After debating whether or not to include the trailer, I decided to post it for you. But DO NOT WATCH if you don’t think you can handle the sight of a helpless fox, tortured and skinned alive or the boasts of an “animal trainer” who clubs a screaming circus elephant for fun.

“This is horrible but it doesn’t affect me–I don’t do this to animals” is what you’re thinking. But you do. You’re complicit in ways you probably aren’t even aware of. We all are. And that’s what’s so fucking terrifying about this documentary.

The end message wants you to be vegan. And I say, fuck that. Don’t be vegan unless you really, truly want to. Omnivorism isn’t evil. How humans strip other living creatures of dignity and respect by torturing and brutalizing them is. Veganism is just one solution, not THE SOLUTION to lessen animal suffering. You don’t have to be a vegan to boycott Sea World, zoos, and circuses, or not buy products tested on animals. You don’t have to be vegan to take the extra two minutes to grab the certified humane eggs at the grocery store. You don’t have to be vegan to not wear fur. You don’t have to be vegan to support your local farm and butcher, and reject factory farming. You don’t have to be vegan to choose sustainable fisheries over cheaper, mercury-laden seafood from Asia. You don’t have to be vegan to not support fishing that fuels the Thai fishing slave industry. For fuck’s sake activism isn’t an all or nothing exercise!

Where this documentary falls short (as all/most vegan propaganda films do) is providing practical steps for omnivores after delivering its message. Because of that, I can’t give this movie an A. The highest I can rate it is a B. That said, I still encourage you to watch it. Especially if you aren’t aware of any of the issues I previously discussed.

Full disclosure: I had been a vegetarian for ten years prior to watching Earthlings. But after watching it, I became a vegan. So there you go, Mr. Director, Mr. Shaun Monson. Add another “convert” to your roster. As a new vegan, I won’t tell anyone else to follow my path as I became a vegan because I was already attracted to it and had been warming up to the idea for many, many years. Like I said before, you do not have to be a vegan to be a credible ally for animal welfare.

Earthlings isn’t for everyone, although I do think everyone should watch it.

Advertisements

Sleep Paralysis in “The Nightmare” (2015)

0

The Nightmare (2015)

Director: Rodney Ascher

Starring: Yatoya Toy, Siegfried Peters, Steven Yvette, Age Wilson, Elise Robson, Nicole Bosworth

Guys. I  have a lot of thoughts about this documentary, but I’ll keep this review short. As someone who battled sleep paralysis daily for 19 years, I had high hopes and expected The Nightmare (2015) to shed new information about the misunderstood sleep condition. Instead, I got weak re-enactments of the documentary subjects’ hallucinations and zero scientific clarification about sleep paralysis. There’s literally one sentence in the opening credits explaining what sleep paralysis is, and then discordant montages of “alien abductions,” “demonic possessions,” “Shadowman,” and other paranoid conspiracy theories linking sleep paralysis with the paranormal.

To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. So let me break it down for you without scare tactics.

What is sleep paralysis? In a nutshell, it’s a physiological disorder that happens during the REM sleep cycle when the sufferer awakens while the body is still immobilized from sleep. The dream continues to play outside their mind while they are paralyzed and aware. This can be a very frightening experience and can sometimes leads to panic attacks, hallucinations, and anxiety. Every person with sleep paralysis experiences their own unique cocktail of symptoms, but ones most people share are:

1. Full-body paralysis–unable to open or close eyes, sit up, or open mouth to call for help

2. Buzzing, banging, and other auditory hallucinations (some people hear screams or disembodied voices)

3. Heavy feeling weighing down the chest (can feel like being smothered or forcibly restrained)

4. Sensing an outside “presence” hovering above or near the body

If you’re like me, you also get crazy, intense hallucinations and temporary amnesia. I used to wake up each morning not even remembering what my name was. Panic attacks and night terrors haunted me almost every night, and as a child I slept in bathtubs at sleepovers, hid inside kitchen sink cabinets, and laid awake for hours, to the point of exhaustion, just to avoid falling asleep. I found no relief until starting relaxation therapy with a professional therapist.

It is tempting to link sleep paralysis with demons, alien abductions, and other paranormal phenomena, but I assure you, sleep paralysis is a medical condition and can and SHOULD be treated. I only wish the filmmakers had taken a scientific approach instead of misleading people.

If I were to judge this documentary for its entertainment value, it’d still get a lackluster grade. I’m afraid I can’t recommend The Nightmare (2015) to anyone who actually has sleep paralysis. It is triggering. Make time to “cool down” after watching the film (if you choose to watch it at all!) For everyone else, meh, if you like cheesy re-enactments with unconvincing graphics, this documentary is chocked full of them. Giving this one a “D.”

Fast Zombies VS Slow Zombies Debate

0

Recently I watched a fun documentary about Zombies and Pop Culture and one of the topics discussed is the Slow Zombies vs Fast Zombies debate.

 

Let’s talk about the Slow Zombies for a minute. They are these reanimated corpses that shuffle around and if they catch you, they eat you. I think what makes these zombies scary is that they were the first type of zombie to enter pop culture. Imagine seeing your loved one as this decaying thing shuffling toward you. You know that you should run but there’s something stopping you. Something that wants to believe that you can snap them out of whatever murderous spell they’re under.

Now with the Fast Zombies we have these decaying humanoid things that can outrun you and tear you pieces in minutes. Imagine that you’re out and about when you see five of these creatures. They see you and the chase begins. You know that if you can’t outrun them, your new name is going to be Dinner. You don’t have time to see who it is that’s chasing you, all you care about is staying alive.

For me, I think that Fast Zombies are scarier. Just for the simple fact that I’m out of shape, I know that I’d probably be the first to go. What also makes them terrifying is that they won’t stop at nothing to get you. For example, the World War Z zombies didn’t stop for anything. They smashed through windows and doors to get to their victims. Also they made a giant zombie pyramid just to get over a giant wall to get their next meal. Slow zombies would probably shuffle around in circles.

Hell, even The Walking Dead zombies move faster than the slow zombies. I think the Walking Dead Zombies are the best combination of slow and fast zombie. When they’re inactive they just shuffle around, but when they find something to eat they pick up speed.

Which Zombies do you prefer? Fast or Slow?