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.

Hole in the Soul

Hole in the Soul (Rupa u dusi). Dušan Makavejev, 1994.
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Edition screened: Included on Criterion DVD #389 WR: Mysteries of the Organism, released 2007. English and Serbo-Croatian language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 50 minutes.

Summary: Piglet carcasses being sold at public market (32:06-32:27) is brief and unsensationalistic, but a turn-off in this engaging, enjoyable film.

Hole in the Soul is the sort of film typically made by Chris Marker or Agnès Varda, a witty romp through a regional pocket of politics and culture structured as reminiscing autobiography. 

Horns

Horns. Alexandre Aja, 2013.
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Edition screened: Anchor Bay Blu-ray, released 2015. English language. Runtime approximately 120 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.


Horror Heaven

Horror Heaven (JB’s Horror Heaven). Jörg Buttgereit, 1984.
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Edition screened: Included on the Schramm Blu-ray in the Cult Epic box set Sex Murder Art: The Films of Jörg Buttgereit, released 2016. German language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 23 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.

Horror Heaven is one of the best “comedy horror” films I’ve seen. Films down-graded to Comedy Horror category usually are a mediation of failure between filmmaker and audience. A genuine horror film of quality is a difficult thing to make and a complicated thing to watch. Most directors address their inability to do so by instead making a film where things jump out from around corners and startle the audience; or a film with copious blood spurting to make the audience say ewwww; or most commonly, a film combining some of both of those tacts and also filled with stupid gags and jokes, thus allowing director and audience to conspire, relax, in the embarrassed apologetic lie of “comic relief.”

Horror Heaven is quietly clever, inevitably a better goal than “funny.” It summarizes a handful of classic horror films with a creative and unembarrassed attitude appropriate to a gifted beginning director. It is not a stellar film but is set far apart from most marriages of comedy and horror in not being completely atrocious.

Horror House on Highway 5

Horror House on Highway 5. Richard Casey, 1985.
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Edition screened: Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray, released 2016. English language. Runtime approximately 88 minutes.

Summary: Murdered cat.

Details: The formulaic cheap move: a dead cat is discovered as some vague warning of some sort. This time, a bloody white cat found in a van at 33:40, then taken to a trash can through 34:08.

Low-budget Horror House on Highway 5 was director Casey’s first film and is surprisingly good and creative. The predictable, unfortunate inclusion of the formulaic murdered cat is the low point and brings the whole production down a level in creativity and respectability. 

One very noticeable success of the film is Casey’s use of humor. Horror House was made around the time that pop horror movies become infested with stupid pushy jokes that make them almost unwatchable. The Mutilator, for example. Casey’s quick silly bits of humor are well acted and actually made me smile, as opposed to the endless barrage of overly-written juvenile jokes that make me want to turn off many similar films.

Hospitals Don’t Burn Down

Hospitals Don’t Burn Down. Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1978.
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Edition screened: Included on Arrow Blu-ray Dead End Drive-In, released 2016. English language. Runtime approximately 24 minutes.


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

Hostel

Hostel. Eli Roth, 2005.
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Edition screened: Included on Mill Creek Hostel/Hostel II Double Feature Blu-ray, released 2012. English language. Runtime approximately 94 minutes.


Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.

Hostel Part II

Hostel Part II. Eli Roth, 2007.
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Edition screened: Included on Mill Creek Hostel/Hostel Part II Double Feature Blu-ray, released 2012. English language. Runtime approximately 95 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.


Hot & Saucy Pizza Girls

Hot & Saucy Pizza Girls. Bob Chinn, 1978.
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Edition screened: Vinegar Syndrome DVD, released 2014. English language. Runtime approximately 68 minutes.


Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals. 4/5ª

Hot Flashes

Hot Flashes. Leonard Kirtman (as Leon Gucci), 1984.
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Edition screened: Vinegar Syndrome DVD, released 2017. English language. Runtime approximately 76 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals. 0/5ª


Ugh. Erotic comedy must be the result of a contest to develop a type of film less appealing that horror comedy.

Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz. Edgar Wright, 2007.
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Edition screened: Included in The World’s End/Hot Fuzz/Shaun of the Dead 3-Pack, released 2013. English language. Runtime approximately 121 minutes.


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

Hot Love

Hot Love. Jörg Buttgereit, 1985.
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Edition screened: Included on the Necromantic Blu-ray in the Cult Epic box set Sex Murder Art: The Films of Jörg Buttgereit, released 2016. German language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 29 minutes.


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

Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie

Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie. Marcel Ophüls, 1988.
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Edition screened: Icarus DVD, released 2010. French, German, and English languages with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 267 minutes.


Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.

The Hound of the Baskervilles (Lanfield)

The Hound of the Baskervilles. Sidney Lanfield, 1939.
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Edition screened: Included in MPI The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection Blu-ray set, released 2011. English language. Runtime approximately 80 minutes.

Summary: Murder of a dog.

Details:
1) Holmes and Watson shoot at a dog and we see it limp away, 1:10:10-1:10:23. Holmes then examines the body of the dog he just shot, 1:11:25-1:11:40.
2) Twice in the film we see the small, dank, windowless burial crypt in which the poor dog is kept.

House (Borowczyk and Lenica)

House (Dom). Walerian Borowczyk and Jan Lenica, 1958.
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Edition screened: Included on Arrow Blu-ray Story of Sin, released 2017. Scored, no dialogue track. Runtime approximately 12 minutes.

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


House (Miner)

House. Steve Miner, 1986.
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Edition screened: Included in Arrow’s House: Two Stories Blu-ray set, released 2017. English language. Runtime approximately 93 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.

I do not like it when adults talk to children in a ridiculous mush-mouthed lisping voice, as though children were mentally deficient. Similarly, I do not appreciate children’s movies that are intentionally plodding and redundant in the mistaken assumption that young people can understand stupid things better than interesting things. Children’s movies should be stimulating and wonderful, not insultingly retarded.

House is a horror film of sorts, targeted at mentally deficient children of all ages.

Warning: Arrow’s House: Two Stories set also includes the second film in the House franchise, which is so stupefyingly dumb that it makes this first film seem as though it were made with good intentions. And Rumer Godden has it that installments III and IV are “not as good.”