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.

Kagerô-Za

Kagerô-Za (Heat-Haze Theatre). Seijun Suzuki, 1981.
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Edition screened: Included in Arrow Blu-ray set The Taishō Roman Trilogy, released 2017. Japanese language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 139 minutes.

Summary: Depictions of dead birds.

Details:
1) Depiction of a dead bird in a cage (unrealistic prop), after discussion of another bird killing it, 29:19-29:22.
2) Bird taxidermy specimens hang from a tree theatrically, 44:41-44:44.

The Karski Report

The Karski Report. (Le rapport Karski). Claude Lanzmann, 2010.
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Edition screened: Eureka! Masters of Cinema Blu-ray #103, included in the box set Shoah and 4 Films After Shoah, released 2015. English language. Runtime approximately 48 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.

An extended interview with a Polish Resistance fighter who was sent to tell FDR what he had witnessed.

Katzelmacher

Katzelmacher. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1969.
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Edition screened: Included on Arrow Blu-Ray The Early Works: The Rainer Werner Fassbinder Collection, released 2016. German language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 88 minutes.


Summary: No depictions of violence toward animals.

KH-4

KH-4. John Schorstein, 1969.
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Edition screened: Included on BFI ‘Flipside’ Blu-ray #29 That Sinking Feeling, released 2014. Environmental sound but no dialogue in the audio portion. Runtime approximately 13 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.


Kill! (Ozawa)

Kill! (Outlaw: Kill! / Burai barase!). Keiichi Ozawa, 1968.
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Edition screened: Included in Arrow Blu-ray box set Outlaw Gangster VIP: The Complete Collection released 2016. Japanese language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 86 minutes.


Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.

King of the Hill (Soderbergh)

King of the Hill. Steven Soderbergh, 1993.
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Edition screened: Criterion Blu-ray #698, released 2014. English language. Runtime approximately 103 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.

The Criterion release also includes Soderbergh’s 1995 follow-up, The Underneath.

Kiss of the Vampire

Kiss of the Vampire. Don Sharp, 1962.
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Edition screened: Included in Universal Blu-ray set Hammer Horror: 8-Film Collection, released 2016. English language. Runtime approximately 89 minutes.


Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.

Ladies Night/Her Wicked Ways

Ladies Night/Her Wicked Ways. Harry and Louis Lewis, 1980-1983.
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Edition screened: Vinegar Syndrome DVD Peekarama: Ladies Night/Her Wicked Ways, released 2017. English language. Cumulative runtime approximately 154 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals in either feature.

Ladies Night. Harry Lewis and Ken Gibb (as Louis Lewis), 1980, 75 minutes. 1/5ª
Her Wicked Ways. Harry Lewis and Ken Gibb (as Louis Lewis), 1983, 79 minutes. 1/5ª

Two bad movies   like this are made.

Lady Cocoa

Lady Cocoa (Pop Goes the Weasel). Matt Cimber, 1975.
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Edition screened: Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray The Candy Tangerine Man/Lady Cocoa, released 2016. English language. Runtime approximately 93 minutes.


Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.

The Last House on Dead End Street

The Last House on Dead End Street. Roger Michael Watkins (as Victor Janos), 1977.
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Edition screened: Included on Vinegar Syndrome Corruption Blu-ray, released 2015. English language. Runtime approximately 78 minutes.

Summary: Explicit slaughter house footage. The blood drains from the head of a just-killed cow, 9:59-10:35.

This bloody scene is real “found footage” cut into The Last House when a character mentions that he formerly worked in a slaughter house. It has nothing to do with the film and probably was included simply for shock value or to set a horrific tone early in the viewing experience.

The Last House on Dead End Street is Watkins’ first film and some aspects are substandard or amateurish, notably the impulse to include the unrelated cow killing. But many of the story ideas, visual compositions, and the creative use of props are among the finest examples found in this type of horror film. Through costuming, blocking, and minimal dialogue Watkins creates and sustains moods that are truly horrifying, perfectly nightmarish in a way we rarely see portrayed.

Note that The Last House on Dead End Street is included as a secret bonus on Vinegar Syndrome’s Corruption Blu-ray. Access the film by scrolling down to the bottom item on the main menu, then push ‘down’ six more times. The /t/in the title Corruption at the top of the screen will gain a shadow. Select and play.

The Last of the Unjust

The Last of the Unjust. (Le dernier des injustes). Claude Lanzmann, 2013.
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Edition screened: Eureka! Masters of Cinema Blu-ray #104, included in the box set Shoah and 4 Films After Shoah, released 2015. Various languages subtitles. Runtime approximately 218 minutes.

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

A conclusive and definitive assessment of the Nazi “Final Solution” told through interview with the last president of the Theresienstadt Jewish Council.

Letter from Siberia

Letter from Siberia (Lettre de Sibérie). Chris Marker, 1957.
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Edition screened: Included in Soda Blu-ray/DVD set Chris Marker Collection, released 2014. English and French language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 60 minutes.

Summary: Trapping and hunting.

Details:
1) A man carries a dead goose by its neck, 22:25-22:33.
2) An arctic fox cub sits with its paw in a steel trap, 29:21-29:24.
3) Pans of a trapping camp with pelts and dead animals, 31:01-31:10.
4) Quick images of hunters shooting a squirrel and a deer, finishing with the deer rolling down a snowy bank, 33:24-33:30.

Ley Lines

Ley Lines (Nihon kuroshakai). Takashi Miike, 1999.
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Edition screened: Included in Arrow Blu-ray set The Black Society Trilogy, released 2017. Japanese and other languages with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 105 minutes.

Summary: Implication of shooting a cat.


Details: We see a man sitting at a table and hear a cat outside. The second time we hear the cat, he shoots out the window with a pistol, 28:03.

Lifeforce

Lifeforce. Tobe Hooper, 1985.
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Edition screened: Arrow Blu-ray, released 2013. English language. Runtime of International Version, approximately 116 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.

The Arrow release includes both the 116 International Version (also called the Director’s Cut) and the 14-minute-shorter Theatrical Release (also called the US Version). One might expect the shorter version to include substantially less nudity, but in fact the cuts largely are about pacing and remove many of the references to vampires.

Light Test

Light Test. Joshua Oppenheimer, 1995.
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Edition screened: Included on Second Run DVD #102 Joshua Oppenheimer: Early Works, released 2016. No audio track. Runtime approximately 1 minute.


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