Heads Up, Ears Down

This blog accurately identifies depictions of violence and cruelty toward animals in films. The purpose is to provide viewers with a reliable guide so that such depictions do not come as unwelcome surprises. Films will be accurately notated, providing a time cue for each incident along with a concise description of the scene and perhaps relevant context surrounding the incident. In order to serve as a useful reference tool, films having no depictions of violence to animals will be included, with an indication that there are no such scenes. This is confirmation that the films have been watched with the stated purpose in mind.


Note that the word depictions figures prominently in the objective. It is a travesty that discussions about cruelty in film usually are derailed by the largely unrelated assertion that no animals really were hurt (true only in some films, dependent upon many factors), and that all this concern is just over a simulation. Not the point, whether true or false. We do not smugly dismiss depictions of five-year-olds being raped because those scenes are only simulations. No, we are appalled that such images are even staged, and we are appropriately horrified that the notion now has been planted into the minds of the weak and cruel.


Depictions of violence or harm to animals are assessed in keeping with our dominant culture, with physical abuse, harmful neglect, and similar mistreatment serving as a base line. This blog does not address extended issues of animal welfare, and as such does not identify scenes of people eating meat or mules pulling plows. The goal is to itemize images that might cause a disturbance in a compassionate household.


These notes provide a heads-up but do not necessarily discourage watching a film because of depicted cruelty. Consuming a piece of art does not make you a supporter of the ideas presented. Your ethical self is created by your public rhetoric and your private actions, not by your willingness to sit through a filmed act of violence.

Napoléon (Gance)

Napoléon. Abel Gance, 1927.
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Edition screened: BFI Blu-ray of Kevin Brownlow’s restoration, released 2016. Scored by Carl Davis and with English intertitles, no dialogue track. Runtime approximately 332 minutes.

Summary: Dead cavalry horse.

Details: Wounded General Dugommier sits on his fallen horse, 38:35-38:57.


Narc

Narc. Joe Carnahan, 2002.
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Edition screened: Paramount DVD, released 2003. English language. Runtime approximately 105 minutes.


Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.

Nekromantic

Nekromantic. Jörg Buttgereit, 1987.
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Edition screened: Included in the Cult Epic 4-Blu-ray set Sex Murder Art: The Films of Jörg Buttgereit, released 2016. German language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 71 minutes.

Summary: Real killing of a rabbit; depicted killing of a cat.

Details:
1) A domestic rabbit is murdered, skinned, and gutted, 15:30-18:57. This real process is intercut with scenes of an obviously staged human autopsy.
2) Depiction of a cat being violently murdered then mutilated 42:16-45:30.
3) The rabbit killing and skinning are shown in reverse, 1:06:46-1:08:35, looking as thought the animal is brought back to life.

The Nekromantic disc in the Cult Epic box set also includes the film Hot Love (1985), and various featurettes about these two films.

Nekromantic 2

Nekromantic 2. Jörg Buttgereit, 1991.
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Edition screened: Included in the Cult Epic 4-Blu-ray set Sex Murder Art: The Films of Jörg Buttgereit, released 2016. German language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 103 minutes.

Summary: Seal dissection.

Details: Explicit scenes of a seal dissection are intercut with the movie narrative, 1:20:33-1:28:38.

You can easily skip the seal dissection sequence, as follows:

We first see seals swimming happily in a zoo-like environment. Turn it off any time in this sequence and skip ahead to 1:28:38.  Here is what happens in the plot during your skip, intercut with the dissection scenes: Monika and some female friends are watching the seal video at Monika’s apartment. We see Mark preparing to go out, then arriving unexpected at Monika’s apartment with a pizza. The girls quickly turn their video off, hide other evidence of their perverse interests, and leave as soon as Mark sits down. Mark pressures Monika to show him what they were watching. Upon seeing part of the video Mark is angry and disgusted and leaves . . .  Now resume watching around 1:28:38, as Monika calls Mark the next day to make up and invite him over.

The Nekromantic 2 disc in the Cult Epic box set also includes the short film A Moment of Silence at the Grave of Ed Gein (2012).

Never Sleep Alone

Never Sleep Alone. Kemal Horulu, 1983.
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Edition screened: Vinegar Syndrome DVD, released 2017. English language. Runtime approximately 98 minutes.


Summary: No animals or references to animals in the film. 2.5/5ª

The New Tale of Zatoichi

The New Tale of Zatoichi (Shin Zatōichi monogatari). Tokuzo Tanaka, 1963.
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Edition screened: In Criterion Blu-ray box set #679 Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman, released 2013. Japanese language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 91 minutes.

Summary: No particular depictions of violence toward animals.

The third film in the Zatoichi series, and the first in color.

The Night Bird

The Night Bird. Felix Daniels, 1977.
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Edition screened: Included on Vinegar Syndrome DVD Peekarama: The Night Bird/Night of the Spanish Fly, released 2017. English language. Runtime approximately 75 minutes.


Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals. 3.5/5ª

Night Creatures

Night Creatures (Captain Clegg). Peter Graham Scott, 1962.
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Edition screened: Included in Universal Blu-ray set Hammer Horror: 8-Film Collection, released 2016. English language. Runtime approximately 83 minutes.

Summary: No particular depictions of violence or harm to animals.

Not a horror film of any sort, Night Creatures is an enjoyable crime drama set in the late 18th-century, and revives the story of Doctor Syn (Captain Clegg in this film) from the novels of Russell Thorndike. Another well-know variation of the tale is The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, aired on The Wonderful World of Disney in 1964.

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba). Emilio P. Miraglia, 1971.
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Edition screened: Included in Arrow Blu-ray box set, Killer Dames: Two Gothic Chillers by Emilio P. Miraglia released 2016. English language with optional original Italian dub. Runtime approximately 103 minutes.


Summary: No particular depictions of violence or harm to animals.

Night of the Comet

Night of the Comet. Thom Eberhardt, 1984.
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Edition screened: Arrow Blu-ray, released 2014. English language. Runtime approximately 95 minutes.


Summary: No particular depictions of violence or harm to animals.

Night of the Spanish Fly

Night of the Spanish Fly. Bob Mason, 1976.
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Edition screened: Included on Vinegar Syndrome DVD Peekarama: The Night Bird/Night of the Spanish Fly, released 2017. English language. Runtime approximately 73 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals. 1.5/5ª


More like Night of Walking Spanish. Get out of here.

Nightmare Sisters

Nightmare Sisters. David DeCoteau, 1987.
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Edition screened: Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray, released 2016. English language. Runtime approximately 82 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals. 3/5ª


Too bad about the lame humor and tedious frat boy characters. Nightmare Sisters is a victim of its era in those ways, and would be so much better if all that crap were deleted. The two-thirds of the film not saddled with stupid humor are quite enjoyable.

Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Vol. 1

Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Vol. 1. Various directors, 1958-1959.
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Edition screened: Arrow Blu-ray set, released 2016. Japanese language with  English subtitles. Cumulative runtime of feature titles approximately 269 minutes.

Summary: Only Red Pier is free of violence to animals. See individual titles for details.

This first installment of Arrow’s Nikkatsu Diamond Guys includes:

Voice Without a Shadow (1958 Seijun Suzuki)
Red Pier (1958 Toshio Masuda)
The Rambling Guitarist (1959 Buichi Saito)

Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Vol. 2

Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Vol. 2. Various directors, 1960-1965.
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Edition screened: Arrow Blu-ray set, released 2016. Japanese language with  English subtitles. Cumulative runtime of feature titles approximately 250 minutes.

Summary: Tokyo Mighty Guy has one quick bit of animal violence. See individual titles for details.

The films in the first installment of Nikkatsu Diamond Guys were surprisingly good action dramas, all quite watchable. Volume 2 unfortunately gives us three comedies with much lower aspirations. Tokyo Mighty Guy is the best of the three. It and Danger Pays emulate Elvis Presley comedies, with plenty of quick international references, swingin club scenes, and cool chicks. TMG even has a few musical numbers and a beach party. The first two films in the set aren’t that good but shine in comparison to Murder Unincorporated, a Jerry Lewis style comedy that is difficult to tolerate.

Tokyo Mighty Guy (1960 Buichi Saitô)
Danger Pays (1962 Kô Nakahira)
Murder Unincorporated (1965 Haryasu Noguchi)

No End

No End (Bez konca). Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1985.
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Edition screened: Included in the Kino DVD box set The Krzysztof Kieślowski Collection, released 2005. Polish language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 103 minutes.

Summary: No particular depictions of violence or harm to animals.

The Kino DVD also includes the short film The Office (1966).