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The Criticwire Survey: Movies You're Afraid to Watch

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire October 29, 2012 at 9:57AM

Is there a movie you're too afraid to watch this Halloween? This week in our survey, the critics tell you theirs.
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"Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom."
"Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom."

Melissa HansonCinemit:

"I've never seen any of the 'Friday the 13th' movies. Way too scary!"

Jason GorberTwitch:

"I never saw any of the classic 80s horror films as a kid because 'Jaws' messed me up so badly I avoided all 'scary' movies. As a so-called 'adult,' I can't think of a film I'd avoid seeing. Frankly, the most horrifying film of the year is 'The Act of Killing,' and despite its real life chills should absolutely be considered mandated viewing."

John GholsonMovies.com:

"I'm scared to watch 'Salo: 100 Days of Sodom.' I expect two hours of half-naked children wallowing in poop and forced into sex acts. To say that it doesn't sound like a movie for me would be an understatement. Close runners-up? Pretty much anything from August Underground, a production company who specialize in faked serial killer videos presented as avant garde horror films, full of (simulated) rape and (actual) puke. No thanks."

Kenji FujishimaThe House Next Door:

"I suppose there's a reason I've hesitated to get around to seeing Pier Paolo Pasolini's final film 'Salo, or 120 Days of Sodom,' having heard much about its notoriously graphic and brutal content. That said, I've sat through animal slaughter and coprophagia in other movies, so... I dunno. As ever, so many movies, so little time. I'm sure I'll get around to it eventually (I have the Criterion DVD of it, after all)."

Jessica ElgenstiernaThe Velvet Café:

"I have never watched and I will never watch 'The Human Centipede' unless you tie me up like Alex in 'A Clockwork Orange' and force me to. My teenage daughter came back after watching it with some friends and made a detailed description of what she had seen including a schematic drawing to help us understand the construction. That was too much information already. It took me days to get it out of my system."

Alonso DuraldeTheWrap/What The Flick?!:

"I believe I described myself as a 'big chicken' in last week's response, and I wasn't kidding. I'm a child of the 1970s, but I didn't see 'The Exorcist' until my senior year of high school, and actually managed not to see 'Jaws' until college. As for what I'm currently avoiding, I gotta go with 'Audition;' I don't know what happens in this movie, but the look people get on their faces as they avoid describing it tells me everything I need to know."

Mark DujsikMark Reviews Movies:

"When I was in grade school, we would usually find some horror movie for our all-night get-togethers, and while at the video store, the only movies we would talk about in hushed whispers, accompanied by nervous glances over our shoulders, was any the 'Faces of Death' series. Claiming to have seen any of them was a badge of honor for anyone in the group -- of which I believe there was only one person, who said he had seen a few and would tell us which was the best (i.e., most disgusting) one. At the time, it was certainly fear (mostly of our parents, who would be angry if they came into the room -- and that's only if they didn't get mad at us for wanting to rent it in the first place) that kept us from ever renting them, and I have yet to see any of them. Now, of course, it's because that feeling of breaking a taboo has significantly lessened since I was a kid."

Edward DouglasComing Soon:

"When 'Final Destination 2' opened, I was too scared to see it cause I remember all those horrifying driver's ed videos about people getting ripped to shreds in highway pile-ups and I knew that was the central disaster for the movie. When it opened, I decided to go see 'The Recruit' instead but since then, once I watched it on video, I've watched it many many times. I was probably scared of watching 'Hostel' the first time I heard about it, too."

Billy DonnellyAin't It Cool News:

"I've never actually passed on a movie, because it might be too scary. If anything, a movie's reputation as being 'too scary' has me wanting to see it even more, to see if the film lives up to its build, hype and reputation. But not to poop on the party or anything, I'll confess to never having seen 'Jack and Jill' because... oh, the horror!"

Steve DollarWall Street Journal/GreenCine Daily:

"I wish I could think of one. For me, they can never be scary enough -- certainly not as scary as my own nightmares."

John DeCarliFilmCapsule:

"I'm not sure if it's because it'll be scary, but after seeing 'Enter The Void,' I've never seen 'Irreversible.' I can say that I have been scared to put myself in the hands of a director as brutal and merciless as Gasper Noe again."

Tony DayoubCinema Viewfinder/Press Play:

"I'm ashamed to admit that Hooper's 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and Craven's 'The Hills Have Eyes' both look disturbing enough that I've consciously avoided watching them. But every so often I relent and push myself to view something like that. So I now have 'Videodrome' and Craven's 'The Last House on the Left' under my belt."

Michael DaltonMovie Parliament:

"This isn't a film I'm afraid will be too 'scary' but more too sick and disturbing. The film in question is 'A Serbian Film.' After reading the perhaps too detailed Wikipedia plot synopsis for the film, the activities described did not sound like ones I would want to see onscreen. I love horror films and like to think there is no film I would refuse to watch on the grounds of it being too scary (Is there such a thing?) however the content of 'A Serbian Film' sounds like all too true and graphic 'horror' that I would prefer not to watch."

Daniel CarlsonPajiba:

"'A Serbian Film.' There's horror, there's shock, and then there are things no one should see. I read reviews and breakdowns of 'Serbian Film' when it came out, and I knew I'd never, ever see it. Good luck and godspeed to the brave fools who want to project meaning onto it. I'll be over here, living a happy life."

Christopher CampbellDocBlog

"I don't really avoid films for scariness, but my reason for avoiding 'Salo' on account of how disturbing I hear it is probably counts. I've also been scared away from the documentary 'The Bridge.'"

Sean M. BurnsPhiladelphia Weekly/The Improper Bostonian:

"'Patch Adams.'"

Ian BuckwalterNPR/The Atlantic:

"I'll confess to putting off seeing the French horror film 'Martyrs' for quite some time, but that was more due to its reputation for shocking intensity than actually being scary. The reputation is well-earned, and watching it is a pretty powerful experience, but I wouldn't necessarily call it frightening. Similiarly, I've avoided 'The Human Centipede,' but I have no reason to expect that's going to be scary at all, just disgusting. My benchmark for being legitimately terrified while watching a movie was seeing David Lynch's 'Lost Highway' late one night while completely alone at home. The first half of that movie is a masterpiece of psychological terror, and I'll admit that I felt deeply uncomfortable being alone that night. That said, it's a feeling I enjoy; if someone pointed me in the direction of a film twice as scary as that experience, I'd watch it in a heartbeat; while there are plenty of things in life that are too scary for me, the phrase doesn't really register when it comes to the movies."

Patrick BromleyF This Movie:

"There aren't many movies I'm afraid of in theory, but there's a (fairly) recent wave of 'extreme' horror that I'm avoiding (movies like 'Martyrs' and 'Inside' and 'A Serbian Film') because there are certain images I don't want in my brain. It's the same reason I wish I'd never seen 'Boat Trip.'"

Danny BowesTor.com/Movies By Bowes:

"This is, admittedly, a bit of a dodge (and it's not just tough-guy 'movies don't scare me' bluster) but one movie I'm a little afraid to watch is 'Heaven's Gate,' because I didn't even particularly like Michael Cimino's 'good' movie ('The Deer Hunter'), though 'Thunderbolt and Lightfoot' is okay. People say it's actually greatly underappreciated and has moments of sublime brilliance and all that stuff, but the idea of sitting through it and discovering that those people are actually wrong does scare me a bit."

William BibbianiCrave Online:

"Alright, I'll admit it. I've never seen 'Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom.' The really macho part of me, comprised of my small toes and about 2% of my spleen, wants to say that it's not because I'm 'afraid' of seeing Pier Paolo Pasolini's coprophagic sadism brouhaha, but what else can I call it? It doesn't sound like a pleasant thing to watch. I've never sat around my house thinking, 'I feel like watching Italian fascists forcing people to eat poo today.' But I'm sure I'll get around to it eventually, possibly on a dare, and I'm sure it won't be nearly as unpleasant as the back of my head makes it seem, not unlike my experience with 'The Human Centipede.'"

Nicholas BellIONCINEMA:

"I enjoy the possibility of being scared, so I'll see anything that's touted as being so. However, there are a few titles I definitely don't wish to revisit, and these include the likes of 'Man Bites Dog' and 'Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.'"

Adam BattyHope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second:

"I've really struggled to come up with something for this, but as a real animal lover I've long avoided Ruggero Deodato's 'Cannibal Holocaust.' I'd happily watch 101 hapless teens fall to their demise, but throw out there the premise of a squirrel monkey losing it's head and you've lost me."

Edwin ArnaudinAshvegas:

"'The Oogieloves in The Big Balloon Adventure.'"

Ali ArikanDipnot TV:

"I actually seek out films that will scare the crap out of me. Having said that, I've never seen E. Elias Merhige's 'Begotten' and I hear that's pretty disturbing."

Cole AbaiusFilm School Rejects:

"My movie-watching career was born in earnest at Butt-Numb-a-Thon 5 (scrambled eggs after seeing the live birth in 'Teenage Mother' anyone?), so there really isn't a movie I'm too afraid to see. The stuff that made lesser viewers lose there lunch (literally, they couldn't find their lunchbox anywhere), cover their eyes, or start making religious signs was the exact thing I wanted to see. The joke answer here is 'Norbit' because, come on, but the closest I've come to fearing a movie was when my friends in Austin kept talking about 'Dear Zachary.' The mythos that was built up around that film and the titanic emotional power it was capable of legitimately made me nervous to see it. When everyone said not to read anything about it beforehand, it was another fear brick built into the wall. The thing is, when I did watch it (and I've seen it twice now), it exceeds the mythos that was built up around it. It's scary in its own way -- nothing to do with shadows or zombies or anything; just the raw, terrifying evil that lives in some people's hearts and the devastation that that can yield. It also sucks every last teardrop out of your body, but other than that, I also have to promote not knowing anything about it before pressing play. Seeing it might make you nervous, but it will be the best kind of crushing experience. "

The Best Movie Currently In Theaters on October 29, 2012:
 

The Most Popular Response: "Cloud Atlas," "Argo" (tie)
Other Movies Receiving Multiple Votes: "The Master,"Looper, "Holy Motors," "Seven Psychopaths," "Wuthering Heights." "The Loneliest Planet," "Skyfall."

This article is related to: Criticwire Survey


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