Tag Archives: Teeth

Fright Club: Bad Date Horror

I can see where you might believe that these are films in which bad dates occur. While that might be a fine, future podcast and list, the fact is that today we explore the worst horror movies to watch while you are on a date.

While horror movies can sometimes make for excellent date night choices, these, we predict, will turn the date sour. They are also highly likely to douse any romantic sparks. (And if they don’t, your date is a sociopath. Be warned.)

5. Audition (1999)

The prolific director Takashi Miike made more than 70 movies in his first 20 or so years in film. Among the best is Audition, a phenomenally creepy May/December romance gone very, very wrong.

Audition tells the story of a widower convinced by his TV producer friend to hold mock television auditions as a way of finding a suitable new mate. He is repaid for his deception.

Nearly unwatchable and yet too compelling to turn away from, Audition is a remarkable piece of genre filmmaking. The slow moving picture builds anticipation, then dread, then full-on horror.

By the time Audition hits its ghastly conclusion, Miike and his exquisitely terrifying antagonist (Eihi

4. Irreversible (2002)

French filmmaker/provocateur Gaspar Noe does not play well with his audience. Every film, no matter how brilliantly put together or gloriously filmed, is a feat in masochism to watch. Later efforts, like Enter the Void and Climax, spread the misery out for its full running time, but for Irreversible, he gave it to us in two horrifying scenes.

Filmed in reverse chronological order and featuring those two famously brutal sequences, Noe succeeds in both punishing his viewers and reminding them of life’s simple beauty. While the head bashing is tough viewing, the film centers on a rape scene that is all but impossible to watch.

Noe’s general MO is to punish you through sheer duration. The scenes last so long you feel like you cannot endure another minute, and this scene certainly does that. Not shot even momentarily for titillation, and boasting a devastatingly excellent performance from Monica Bellucci, it justifies its own horrific presence. There are other films with necessary and difficult rape scenes – Straw Dogs, I Spit on Your Grave, The Last House on the Left, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer – but none is harder to stomach than this.

There’s no denying the intelligence of the script, the aptitude of the director, or the absolute brilliance of Monica Bellucci in an incredibly demanding role.

3. Teeth (2007)

Of all the films built on the hysteria of impending womanhood, few are as specific as Teeth, a film in which a pubescent discovers a sharp set where teeth ought not be. This is a dark comedy and social satire that is uncomfortable to watch no matter your gender, although I imagine it may be a bit rougher on men.

Treading on the dread of coming-of-age and turning male-oriented horror clichés on ear, Teeth uses the metaphor implicit in vagina dentata—a myth originated to bespeak the fear of castration—to craft a parable about the dangers as well as the power of sexual awakening.

Written and directed by artist (and Ohioan!) Roy Lichtenstein’s son Mitchell, Teeth boasts an irreverent if symbol-heavy script with a strong and believable lead performance (Jess Weixler).

Weixler’s evolution from naïveté to shock to guilt to empowerment never ceases to captivate.


2. Antichrist (2009)

Lars von Trier’s foray into horror follows a couple down a deep and dark rabbit hole of grief. Von Trier’s films have often fixated on punishing viewers and female protagonists alike, but in this film the nameless woman (played fearlessly by Charlotte Gainsbourg) wields most of the punishment – whether upon her mate (Willem Dafoe) or herself.

Consumed by grief, a mother allows her husband—also grieving—to become her psychotherapist as they retreat to their isolated cabin deep in the woods where they will try to overcome the horror of losing their only child.

They won’t succeed.

Like dental scenes, gynecological horror draws a particular reaction. Whether it’s the abuse scene at the beginning of Proxy, nearly any scene in the brilliant French film Inside, or the final feast in Trouble Every Day, scenes of this ilk can be tough to watch. But to watch as Gainsbourg – who’s already inflicted some serious pain on Dafoe’s character – takes the scissors to herself is next to impossible.


1. A Serbian Film (2010)

This is not a movie we would recommend to basically anyone. That’s not to say it’s a bad film – it’s well directed, acted, and written. It’s just that the co-writer/director Srdjan Spasojevic is trying to articulate the soul-deadening effects of surviving the depravity of war.

The title is no coincidence – the film is meant to reflect the reality of a nation so recently involved in among the most horrific, unimaginable acts of war. It’s as if Spasojevic is saying, after all that, what could still shock us?

Milos (Srdjan Todorovic) was a porn star before the war. He’s lured back for one lucrative “acting” effort, but there’s a reason it pays so well.

The entire film is an assault, but there is one scene in this one that catapults it to the top of this list, and you probably already know what that is. Milos (Srdjan Todorovic) finally realizes the depths of his new director’s evil when he sees his latest effort: newborn porn. There is no unseeing this.

Fright Club: Sex + Death

I know what you’re thinking. Sex and death—that could be literally any film in the genre. Aaah, yes, but we’re not talking metaphorically or even loosely connected. Sure, the quickest way onto Michael Meyers’s or Jason Voorhees’s kill list is by having sex, but that’s not immediate enough. Let’s disregard the middle man, lose the pause, and go right to the horror films where sex and death are immediately, gorily and irreversibly linked.

Happy Valentine’s Day, by the way!

5. Killer Condom (1996)

A Troma-distributed splatter/horror/comedy, Killer Condom is an enormous amount of fun. This is a German film—German actors delivering lines in German—but it’s set in NYC. You can tell because of the frequent shots of someone opening a New York Times newspaper machine.

Luigi Mackeroni (Udo Samel) is the grizzled NYC detective who longs for the good old days in Sicily. In German. He’s assigned to a crime scene in a seedy Time Square motel he knows too well, where it appears that women just keep biting off men’s penises.

Or do they?

This film is refreshingly gay, to start with, as nearly every major character in the film is a homosexual. The run-of-the-mill way this is handled is admirable, even when it is used for cheap laughs. (Babette, I’m looking at you).

It’s fun. It’s funny. It’s gory and wrong-headed and entertaining from start to finish. Who’d have guessed?

4. Teeth (2007)

Of all the films built on the hysteria of impending womanhood, few are as specific as Teeth, a film in which a pubescent discovers a sharp set where teeth ought not be. This is a dark comedy and social satire that is uncomfortable to watch no matter your gender, although I imagine it may be a bit rougher on men.

Treading on the dread of coming-of-age and turning male-oriented horror clichés on ear, Teeth uses the metaphor implicit in vagina dentata—a myth originated to bespeak the fear of castration—to craft a parable about the dangers as well as the power of sexual awakening.

Written and directed by artist (and Ohioan!) Roy Lichtenstein’s son Mitchell, Teeth boasts an irreverent if symbol-heavy script with a strong and believable lead performance (Jess Weixler).

Weixler’s evolution from naïveté to shock to guilt to empowerment never ceases to captivate, but the story itself settles for something more conventional and predictable than what the shockingly original first two acts suggest.

3. Trouble Every Day (2001)

Backed by a plaintive, spooky soundtrack by Tindersticks, Clair Denis’s metaphorical erotic horror examines gender roles, sex and hunger. Denis is one of France’s more awarded and appreciated auteurs, so a one-time voyage into horror should not be dismissed.

A newlywed American couple head to Paris, ostensibly to honeymoon, but Shane (Vincent Gallo) is really there to re-establish connection with old colleagues Coré (Béatrice Dalle) and her husband, Léo (Alex Descas). The three scientists once participated in an experiment, and Shane needs to find them.

The film is a startling work of biologic-horror, but its existential riffs on intimacy, dominance and violence—common fare in the genre—are clearer-headed and more disturbing here than in anything else that swims the same murky waters.


2. Raw (2016)

What you’ll find in first-time filmmaker Julia Ducournau’s Raw is a thoughtful coming-of-age tale. And meat.

A college freshman and vegetarian from a meat-free family, Justine (Garance Marillier) objects to the hazing ritual of eating a piece of raw meat. But once she submits to peer pressure and tastes that taboo, her appetite is awakened and it will take more and more dangerous, self-destructive acts to indulge her blood lust.

The film often feels like a cross between Trouble Every Day and Anatomy. The latter, a German film from 2000, follows a prudish med student dealing with carnage and peer pressure. In the former, France’s Claire Denis directs a troubling parable combining sexual desire and cannibalism.

Ducournau has her cagey way with the same themes that populate any coming-of-age story – pressure to conform, peer pressure generally, societal order and sexual hysteria. Here all take on a sly, macabre humor that’s both refreshing and unsettling.

1. It Follows (2014)

It Follows is yet another coming-of-age tale, one that mines a primal terror. Moments after a sexual encounter with a new boyfriend, Jay (Maika Monroe) discovers that she is cursed. He has passed on some kind of entity – a demonic menace that will follow her until it either kills her or she passes it on to someone else the same way she got it.

Yes, it’s the STD or horror movies, but don’t let that dissuade you. Mitchell understands the anxiety of adolescence and he has not simply crafted yet another cautionary tale about premarital sex.

Mitchell has captured that fleeting yet dragging moment between childhood and adulthood and given the lurking dread of that time of life a powerful image. There is something that lies just beyond the innocence of youth. You feel it in every frame and begin to look out for it, walking toward you at a consistent pace, long before the characters have begun to check the periphery themselves.

Mitchell’s provocatively murky subtext is rich with symbolism but never overwhelmed by it. His capacity to draw an audience into this environment, this horror, is impeccable, and the result is a lingering sense of unease that will have you checking the perimeter for a while to come.

So that happened…

Hypnosis Happens

by Hope Madden

Desperation encourages odd, sometimes uncharacteristic behavior. I, for example, once saw a hypnotist.

I clench my teeth, a habit that creates gigantic head pain. It’s the kind of debilitating headache that might send a person to bed. But if you clench your teeth when you sleep, relief is hard to come by.

Let’s just say I spend more money on Advil than many do on rent.

This is what has driven me to the heathen sciences. I did exhaust the regular sciences first, rest assured. No help. Hypnosis it is.

When I called the downtown office, I half-expected to let the idea die. But the therapist – he answered his own phone, which should have been a warning sign – was very lulling and informative. He spoke slowly and reassuringly, with rolling l’s. I think he may have hypnotized me over the phone into making an appointment, but I’m not sure. Still, it suggests a level of skill, doesn’t it?

Dr. Bob, a skinny older man with a flesh colored Abe Lincoln beard, believed he would solve my problem. He claimed to have helped a woman just that week heal herself of cancer.

Surely if he could do for this woman what medical doctors, hospitals and years of cancer research could not, he could do for me what a bite plate couldn’t.

My first concern was that Dr. Bob kept asking me if there was anything else I wanted him to fix while he was “in there.”

This whole idea put me ill-at-ease. He even asked my husband if there were any other things he should fix while I was “out.”

Wisely, George could find no faults needing attention. But still, how was I to know that they wouldn’t program me to do his bidding while I was under? God forbid I woke up an attentive wife who remembers to write down debit card uses.

So I was uncomfortable before we even began, but I was supposed to relax. Really relax, as I could tell by the number of times he sing-songed the word “re-lax-aaaaaaaaaaa-tion.”

But I couldn’t relax. For one thing, I had an issue with the fluffy clouds. I was meant to visualize myself bouncing safely through a series of ten fluffy clouds, relaxing more with each cloud. How do you visualize yourself in a cloud? They’re made of water vapor. No way that could support me. I’d fall to my death. This was not relaxing.

Alarmed that I was failing already, I alerted Dr. Bob to my issue. He switched to a different technique, but it may have worked too well.

I fall asleep easily and at one point, when I was mentally descending my set of ten safe, hypnotic stairs, I realized as I hit the bottom step that I was surrounded by zombies. Oops. Sleeping. Who knows how much hypnotherapy is missed while you’re battling zombies?

I explained about the zombie situation to Dr. Bob and he honestly seemed concerned that the zombies themselves were causing the teeth clenching. I know this because he said, “These buggers might be the cause of the whole problem.”

I’m open to a lot of ideas but I feel safe in saying that the living dead do not control my mandibles.

I was pretty sure they were just cartoon villains that had popped into a dream – they didn’t have to be zombies at all. It could have just as easily been Thundercats. It was a dream.

The doctor disagreed. He looked at me as one passing down wisdom to a Padawan and asked, “Have you noticed their eyes are only red if you look directly at them?”


Unfazed by my skepticism – indeed, oblivious to it – Dr. Bob told me to relax and just say the first thing that came to mind as he asked me questions.

“What’s the first number that comes to your mind?”


“OK, of the 8 of you inside Hope, how many of you have heads.”

“Um, what?”

“No, no, just relax and let me know the first thing that comes to mind. How many of you have heads.”

“I don’t know, 4?”

“OK, you four who have bodies, look into the light. You’ve never been punished in the light, have you?”

What the hell? Was this an exorcism? Because I’m Catholic and we don’t take exorcism lightly. You’ve seen the film.

He continued in this vein for the balance of our time together, but eventually I stopped paying any attention – an important part of hypnotism, truth be told, so it wasn’t like I was cheating. And anyway, my head really fucking hurt and trying to puzzle through this whole exorcism thing was more than my brain could process at the moment. One thought did keep recurring to me, though.

I just spent $300 on this shit.

Think of how much Advil that would buy.

Truly Biting Commentary: Our Luis Suarez Countdown

It looks like poor Luis Suarez will have to keep up on FIFA action like the rest of us, what with his 9 match, 4 month ban from the sport after biting yet another opponent. If he misses the game, he can always catch it on the tube, but what if he misses biting people? What then?

Well, he and his predilections inspired this week’s countdown. Maybe it will help.

Jaws (1975)

An obvious inspiration to the man-hungry forward, Jaws is one of those films we’ve seen dozens and dozens of times, and yet, we cannot flip past it. If it’s on, it stays on. Although now, that face Quint makes as he’s straddling those monstrous mandibles makes us think of soccer.



Teeth (2007)

A film about being bitten when you are really not expecting it, Teeth may actually make Suarez’s victims feel a little better. There are worse times to feel chompers than during soccer action.



Cape Fear (1991)

In 1991, Martin Scorsese dusted off a chilling old Robert Mitchum movie and put a simmer under a modern version of the tale. And while every moment leading up to this scene brings chills to the viewer, the  moment Scorsese turns thriller to horror and unleashes Robert DeNiro’s unholiness occurs when Max Cady’s date suddenly recognizes the unfathomable danger she’s in as he takes a bite out of her face.

Top Gun (1986)

If there’s one moment in Top Gun that shines brighter and weirder than all the rest, it’s not the volleyball scene, not the “need for speed” chant, not even the barroom sing-a-long. Tony Scott’s ode to male bonding unfurls its freak flag the moment Ice Man bites the air at Mav.

Tyson (2008)

Documentarian James Toback gets Tyson to speak candidly about the little piece of cannibalism that managed to shock the hell out of all of us, Evander Holyfield in particular. The fact that he had any ability to surprise or horrify us after his rape conviction – another topic covered, although maybe not as honestly – is impressive, in its own tragic way.