I’m sure you’ve had this experience: you’re snuggled into your couch, watching a movie – maybe cuddled up with someone special, maybe with a spoonful of ice cream halfway to your mouth – and something truly horrifying fills the screen. The sort of thing that makes the touch of your beloved’s arm feel like the death-grip of a cobra. The sort of thing that transforms your ice cream into a pile of mlty sludge. The sort of thing that makes you wonder what sort of twisted mind decided it was appropriate to subject you to this. Here are a few sort of scenes that make me want to curl up in the fetal position and whimper.
1. The Blood-Draw
Here’s what I want to know. Why would screenwriters and directors, knowing how much we all hate getting our blood drawn, want to put us through this when we’re seeking some good old entertainment? Now, I’m all for verisimilitude, but I find it highly unnecessary to cinematize a needle slipping into that soft, vulnerable spot on the inside of our elbow – that spot that we don’t want strangers to even touch, much less stab. And there is no need to show us the tube full of oddly dark fluid siphoning from the insides of someone’s body. No, thank you.
2. Needles in Eyes
As if showing needles entering someone’s arm wasn’t bad enough, some films subject us to sharp objects entering the eye. Perhaps it’s because I feel particularly protective of the organ that allows me to experience the visual universe, but watching the eyes violated in any way makes me want to gently cup my hands over my face and cry softly until it’s over. That scene in Minority Report? I need to go to the whole other side of the house. Experiencing that on a movie theater screen may have left my inner eye scarred for life.
3. Watching People Snort Things
This may make me sound a little silly, but I find the sound of someone sucking powder up his nose extraordinarily unpleasant. It’s akin to the skin-crawling sensation I get from hearing nails on a chalkboard or listening to particularly obscene snoring. The snuffle required to get cocaine, for instance, into the nostrils is pretty nerve-bending. And have you noticed that directors love to give us a really intense close-up of this occurring, so that you can almost count the nose hairs? Yergh.
4. Testicle Shaving Accidents
Because the thought of this is so horrifying to me, I feel as if it doesn’t warrant much description. I will say that any filmmaker who inserts such a scene for comedy is a sick, sick person. No one wants to see this. No one.
5. Giant Spiders
With the rise of fantasy films such as Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and The Hobbit, the silver screen has been filling with enormous, hairy, fast-moving arachnids. I think what may be the worst is the noise they make when they secrete their webs – that liquidy, squelchy noise. Or perhaps it’s how quickly they can scuttle. Or maybe it’s the pincers that snap when they speak, or their heavy segmented bodies that end in venomous stingers. Or maybe it’s all of these things. Thanks for the nightmares, Peter Jackson.