Whether it’s a top film critic, another filmmaker or just your mate down the pub, it can be hugely entertaining when someone savages a movie. Still, as funny and incisive as a withering review can be, surely the most damning reaction you can offer a film is to leave before it’s even finished?
Of course, you can always let people know which movies had you voting with your feet. For example, novelist Linwood Barclay recently took to Twitter to let the world know that he had walked out on the latest instalment of the Jurassic World franchise. Before long, horror maestro Stephen King had weighed in on the subject.
King said the only film he’d ever walked out on as an adult was Transformers, later clarifying “the first one”. It turns out the mind behind Carrie and The Shawshank Redemption is no fan of Michael Bay’s space-robot blockbuster. But maybe Bay shouldn’t take it to heart. After all, King famously disliked Stanley Kubrick’s otherwise acclaimed adaptation of The Shining, based on the horror writer’s own novel.
All that being said, let’s take another look at some more science fiction movies that couldn’t get audiences to stick around for the ending.
10. A Clockwork Orange
Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange was actually toned down somewhat from the original source material. For example, a scene in which protagonist Alex enjoys a sped-up threesome to a soundtrack of synthesised Beethoven is actually one of the films lighter moments. By contrast, At the same point in Anthony Burgess’ novel, Alex drugs and rapes two ten-year-old girls.
You can see why Kubrick decided not to depict that particular horror on screen but the film didn’t escape controversy. Probably because, despite the changes, there is still quite a lot of sex and violence left in this fairly faithful adaptation.
Any walkouts ended abruptly, in the UK at least, in 1973 when Kubrick himself asked for the film to be withdrawn from release after a spate of presumed copycat killings made the British press. There’s no walking out on a film you can’t walk in on.
Deprived for decades of the film’s iconic visuals and Malcolm McDowell’s brilliant starring performance, film fans in the UK can now access the film quite easily. The film was eventually rereleased after the director’s death, by which point you presume audiences had some idea what they were in for.