Hollywood loves a good WTF moment – M Night Shyamalan has built a career out of the cheapest form of that audience titivation, by adding twists to his stories, and reducing his entire filmography to that slightly silly feeling you get when you discover a director has pulled the wool over your eyes.
He’s not the only one however, and may directors shoe-horn some pretty extreme WTF moments into their film with the conscious intention of leaving the audience’s jaws in their popcorn, and their brains screaming outrage. Sometimes that leads to their films getting banned outright, or labelled exploitation cinema, as if that definition is somehow a dirty word, but occasionally, those moments slip through the censors’ nets and audiences are left wondering how the hell the director managed to get away with it.
This article is a perverse celebration of some of the most notorious examples of that sensation.
The Skin I Live In
Pedro Almodovar reinvents horror, bathing a rape vengeance flick in humour, and relying on an obscene reimagining of the Frankenstein story that sets out to (and utterly succeeds in) throwing out all genre expectations and landing an unexpected punch with audiences that is both genius and ludicrous at the same time.
It doesn’t quite make the list because Almodovar’s intentions here are obvious, and perfectly acceptable, and though he uses a neo-exploitation model to tell his story, the comedic impact is just breathtakingly effective, and the shocking moments are entirely forgivable as part of the magic trick.
These other examples were a lot harder to explain away, and it all gets a lot more jaw-dropping from here on in…
This article was first posted on June 1, 2013