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

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>>>>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.

Horror Film Banned By BBFC

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Living in America, I’m always confused and baffled whenever I hear that another country bans movies, books, music and whatever else. For example, I actually heard that the church scene from Kingsman: Secret Service was cut in some countries because of the violence. Weird. The general solution we have here is it you don’t like the content then don’t watch. If anything, banning this movie is just going to makes the general populace want to watch it more. But the BBFC has special guidelines for what is appropriate for the general public.

Anyway, a film directed by James Cullen Bressack titled “Hate Crime” has been banned for it’s content. The film is about a Jewish family moving into a new neighborhood. Everything seems great until they film their son’s birthday celebration and a group of meth-head neo-nazi maniacs invade their home. You can take a guess what happens afterward.

The BBFC’s official statement:

“HATE CRIME focuses on the terrorisation, mutilation, physical and sexual abuse and murder of the members of a Jewish family by the Neo Nazi thugs who invade their home. The physical and sexual abuse and violence are accompanied by constant strong verbal racist abuse. Little context is provided for the violence beyond an on screen statement at the end of the film that the two attackers who escaped were subsequently apprehended and that the one surviving family member was released from captivity. We have considered the attempt at the end to position the film as against hate-crime, but find it so unconvincing that it only makes matters worse.  
 
“The BBFC’s Guidelines on violence state that ‘Any depiction of sadistic or sexual violence which is likely to pose a harm risk will be subject to intervention through classification, cuts or even, as a last resort, refusal to classify. We may refuse to classify content which makes sexual or sadistic violence look appealing or acceptable […] or invites viewer complicity in sexual violence or other harmful violent activities. We are also unlikely to classify content which is so demeaning or degrading to human dignity (for example, it consists of strong abuse, torture or death without any significant mitigating factors) that it may pose a harm risk.’
 
“It is the Board’s carefully considered conclusion that the unremitting manner in which HATE CRIME focuses on physical and sexual abuse, aggravated by racist invective, means that to issue a classification to this work, even if confined to adults, would be inconsistent with the Board’s Guidelines, would risk potential harm, and would be unacceptable to broad public opinion.”
“Of course, the Board will always seek to deal with such concerns by means of cuts or other modifications when this is a feasible option.  However, under the heading of ‘Refusal to classify’ our Guidelines state that ‘As a last resort, the BBFC may refuse to classify a work, in line with the objective of preventing non-trivial harm risks to potential viewers and, through their behaviour, to society. We may do so, for example, where a central concept of the work is unacceptable, such as a sustained focus on sexual or sadistic violence. Before refusing classification we will consider whether the problems could be adequately addressed through intervention such as cuts.’ The Board considered whether its concerns could be dealt with through cuts. However, given that the fact that unacceptable content runs throughout the work, cuts are not a viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification.”

Do you guys agree with this? I may not want to pay money so see this so the solution is simple to me…I won’t watch. But if other want to watch then by all means go ahead. I’ve heard some people say that it really puts the fear in you that this kind of shit still goes on in the world. I guess I’m not comfortable watching it, but for those of you who did then you’re braver than I. If it was any good let me know and Damsel Cannibal and I might check it out.

Check out this article from the Huntington Post UK(here) that argues that BBFC was correct in banning this film. Do you agree?

Here’s the trailer:

Human Centipede 1, 2, & 3…overkill, much?

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Human Centipede (2009) and Human Centipede 2 (2011)

Director: Tom Six 

Everyone has heard of the Human Centipede franchise by now, right? The third and final Human Centipede movie is expected to come out this year in 2015 and I don’t know WHY. What more story can there possibly be after the first two movies? If you haven’t watched any of the Human Centipede films (which you totally should if you’re in the UK or Australia where it was banned) I hope you’ve at least seen the South Park sketch, right? Right? 

I’m not gonna bore you with a long synopsis. There isn’t much to these movies that can’t be gleaned in the first 15 seconds of viewing the trailers. Madman kidnaps victims, sews victims together ass-to-mouth, something about centipedes, yadda yadda, everybody dies. Should you watch it? Maybe. If only because it was banned internationally for its “obscenity.”

The ass-to-mouth chain gang concept is kind of hilarious on its own, and if the movies didn’t try too hard to be scary and just rolled with its obvious pulp appeal, this franchise could’ve been saved. However both movies fail to impress, which is hella awkward because too many of us are laughing at childish poop jokes to take what little horror there is seriously.

I think I’ll pass on Human Centipede 3, thank you. 5/10 stars for both films.