By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist October 23, 2013 at 4:19PM
“Requiem For A Dream” (2000)
Darren Aronofsky is an incredibly gifted filmmaker and maybe one day, if he’s fortunate enough, he’ll be able to boast that he’s the only Academy Award director on earth who was able to shoot an “ass to ass” scene in a movie that wasn’t pornography. But all jokes aside, Aronofsky’s chilling, sometimes twisted cautionary tale of addiction, “Requiem For A Dream,” has some really nasty elements to it. Chief among those, aside from a woman being given excruciating electro-shock therapy after nearly dying from diet pill abuse, and having to look at the festering sore of a needle-wrecked arm that’s gone gangrenous, is the film’s “sex scene.” Jennifer Connelly’s heroin-dependent character is so far gone in the throes of addiction she will stop at nothing to get her fix. This means blowing random strangers at first, but this is nothing compared to how low she will go. Vile and debasing, in the film’s climax (pardon the pun that’s already made us queasy), Connelly’s character agrees to go into a dungeon-like sex club for men, where rich, asshole Wall Street Guys (who are about as sick and vile as you can get onscreen) cheer her on as she goes ass-to-ass, connected to a dildo with another prostitute. Clearly trying to reach a crescendo of full-on depravity, Aronofsky orchestrates the scene to reach its fever pitch just as the other characters are suffering their own sick and vicious fates. Jokes can and will be made about this scene for the rest of cinema’s history—it’s that fucked up—but while we do have a sense of humor too, anyone who is under the belief that this scene is sexy needs their head examined.
“Idioterne”/“The Idiots” (1998)
Two Lars von Trier movies on this list and surely “Nymphomaniac” will be added should we ever do an update. All von Trier films are divisive, but we wonder just how much more polarizing this one would have been, had people actually seen it. This even means cinephiles as “Idioterne” is easily one of Von Trier’s least seen film (at least of the notable ones). Made in compliance with the Dogme '95 Manifesto—stripped down, no artificial lighting, hand-held only, etc.—this 1998 comedy centers on a group of anti-bourgeois nihilists who attempt to annihilate their ego in order to achieve their "inner idiot." The manifesto of the group is essentially to liberate themselves from the falseness of society by embracing humiliation and the destruction of their dignity. How do they do it? Well, the group poses as mentally disabled and they try and “spazz” out to regress to a kind of pure state and to provoke a reaction from the status quo around them. Amusingly enough, they are taken in by some community members who pity the commune of idiots and as you can probably guess it just gets worse and more hilariously wrong. The film’s big sex scene occurs when the group’s opportunistic leader has a birthday and his wish is a gangbang, essentially abusing the group’s manifesto so he can get laid and get fresh with all the females in the group he presumably just wanted to fuck in the first place. The curdling of the manifesto for his selfish means is pitch black funny and the orgy is one NC-17 mess of penises, big bushes and a few brief moments of unsimulated penetrative intercourse. “Idioterne” is very wrong, but it’s also pretty fucking funny: Lars von Trier at his most mischievously provocative.
No … Not that "Crash." David Cronenberg has had fun messing with sexual conventions since his debut feature "Shivers" (where a parasitic life form turned the button-downed inhabitants of an apartment building into sex-craving maniacs), getting a perverse kick out of making people squirm (and uncomfortably cross their legs). This movie is based on J.G. Ballard's novel of the same name, which concerns a group of people who stage famous car accidents and get a strong sexual kick out of them. There are so many bizarre sex sequences in "Crash" that we could probably make a separate top ten list out of them. So take your pick: the sequence where James Spader has sex with a vagina-like scar on Rosanna Arquette's thigh (guh) or the time that Spader deliberately gets involved in an accident with his wife (Deborah Kara Unger), fucking her as she crawls away from the twisted metal that was once her car (double guh). The sex sequences in "Crash" are never actually arousing, instead they are judged on a sliding scale of repulsiveness (the sequence where Spader traces the outline of Unger's nude body is still pretty weird but the most outwardly erotic scene in the entire movie). It's hard to imagine anyone getting turned on by "Crash," but you have to give Cronenberg and his fearless actors credit for unblinkingly investigating the mechanics (pun very much intended) of fetishism, techno-eroticism and body modification. It's hard not to imagine that the car-sex of "The Counselor" was at least partially inspired by Cronenberg's vision of vehicular arousal.
The whole conceit behind writer/director Mitchell Lichtenstein's nifty little horror comedy is that the teeth of the film's title aren't located in our main character's head … they're in her vagina. Jess Weixler plays a young woman dealing with sexual impulses that could potentially kill any sexual partners. There are three different instances in "Teeth" that end with penises being bitten off by Weixler's fanged vagina—the first is an attempted rape, the second is a consensual moment that goes horribly wrong, and the final moment has Weixler's character seeking vengeance against her asshole stepbrother, whose own sexual urges inadvertently led to her mother's death (don't ask). What makes this final seduction-and-castration so satisfying is that, after her vagina chomps off her stepbrother's member, the family dog comes in and eats the penis. That's some "Hostel Part II"-type shit. It would be one thing if "Teeth" set up this great premise and didn't have the guts to go through with it; it's another to have it go through with it several times. At the end of the movie, it's implied that she has become a kind of avenging angel. An old creep gives her a ride thinking that she'll give him a little something in return. Oh, he will get exactly what he deserves.
“Howard the Duck” (1986)
The George Lucas-produced and spectacularly awful "Howard the Duck" is full of all sorts of weird sexuality; in the opening credits Howard (Chip Zien) is looking at a Playduck Magazine (complete with duck breasts) and, when he's sucked through a wormhole, he crashes through the apartment of a female duck in the bathtub and we linger on another set of duck breasts. There's also a moment when Howard, now in the human world, expresses sexual interest in an overweight African American woman's ass. But the most WTF-worthy moment in all of "Howard the Duck" comes when he tries to seduce Lea Thompson, who's wearing a lacy teddy and a pair of sheer underwear. The scene contains actual dialogue like the following exchange: Lea Thompson: "I can't find the right man," to which Howard responds: "Maybe it's not a man you should be looking for." After Thompson starts to show interest back, Howard becomes skittish and shuts her down. At one point Thompson is about to take her top off and Howard stops her, effectively putting an end to what would have been the lone highlight of a generally miserable experience. Also, it should be noted, the scene has a boner gag where Howard's feathers flare up like an erect penis. And people wonder why this is largely considered one of the biggest flops, both commercially and creatively, in the history of Hollywood?