An American Werewolf in London: Nazi Mutant Home Invasion
Like finding out the quiet kid you went to elementary school with has become a cannibalistic serial killer, the most shocking turns come from ordinary, unremarkable beginnings. Hence, An American Werewolf in London‘s infamous Nazi Mutant Home Invasion Nightmare scene. It starts off as the very picture of hunky dory American normalcy – a family at home, going about their nightly routine. The Muppets is on the living room TV set, dad is reading the paper, mom is doing the dishes, big brother is doing his homework, and suddenly there’s a knock at the door. That’s when hell itself enters their humble abode: Mutant Nazis show up, their faces twisted in brutal rictuses of screaming hatred, slaughtering the family and setting the house on fire. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie turn from Leave it to Beaver to Dawn of the Dead so quickly. And just when you think the nightmare is over, director John Landis pulls you right back in!
All of Society is insane, so it’s pretty amazing that any individual scene sticks out – it’s like being the heaviest song on a Slayer album. But the ending to the 1989 body horror cult classic is particularly flagrant, egregious, and gratuitous. The film’s entire conceit is that the rich feed on the poor. Literally. Like, they hold huge parties in which they eat poor people as part of a ritualistic orgy called “shunting.” The finale features one of these gooey, grotesque parties, and honestly, it’s not all that different from watching drunk people eat Domino’s. But, even more incredibly, it also has a nutty incestuous scene in which the main character’s mother and sister’s bodies combine to form some kind of double-ended flesh finger trap, while his father’s head emerges from his own anus. It’s my favorite kind of satire, so savage that it forgets subtlety.
Get Him to the Greek: Jeffrey
Get Him to the Greek is not a great movie – it’s certainly a tier below contemporary films from the Apatow crew like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Pineapple Express – but it does have a great scene. The film’s highlight comes when Jonah Hill’s inexperienced character makes the mistake of smoking a harmless-sounding drug called Jeffrey (“weed mostly,” with just a bit of heroin, peyote, angel dust, etc.) with Russell Brand and his surly father. Things quickly head south: Hill may or may not be having a heart attack, Brand snorts an ant, a brutal fight breaks out, and the one and only Diddy becomes obsessed with vigorously stroking a furry wall (“My house is gonna look like a fuckin’ werewolf…”). And it’s all set to “Come on Eileen”! Get Him to the Greek‘s party scene is an all-timer because it so perfectly captures that moment when carefree debauchery deteriorates into a paranoid bad trip: the bizarre fixations, the vivid imagery, the pendulous moods, and the inexplicable fact that anything anyone says to calm you down winds up making you freak out even more. And it’s pretty damn funny when it’s happening to Jonah Hill instead of you.
Total Recall: Kuato Lives
I’m so, so happy that we live in a world where the original Total Recall exists – where Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his box office-dominating prime, chose to star in a film which may or may not be merely a schizophrenic delusion of the main character, and which features outrageous violence, three-breasted hookers, heads exploding on Mars, mutant cab drivers, robot cab drivers, and, in general, just all-around spotty cab service. The pinnacle of trash auteur Paul Verhoeven’s sci-fi action masterpiece is Schwarzenegger’s unforgettable meeting with Kuato, the leader of Mars’s underground rebellion. Kuato’s unveiling is steadily built throughout the first half of the film: his name is graffitied throughout Mars’s enclosed cityscapes, and we hear rumors that he may be a mutant. But when Arnold is finally put in a room with him, he seems to be nothing more than a schlubby dude named George fighting in the Martian resistance. That is, until George pulls up his shirt mid-seizure to reveal that Kuato is actually his conjoined twin, and by conjoined twin I mean he is actually a telepathic deformed fetus growing out of George’s stomach. Kuato is a marvel of creature design, all gooey and hairy and veiny, kind of like Krang from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossed with a bucket of moose placenta. He asks Arnold to hold his tiny, freak-baby hands and starts whispering bizarre mysticisms like, “Open your minddddd, Quaid.” It is, without a doubt, one of the strangest scenes to ever appear in a blockbuster film. And then like 15 minutes later, Kuato gets shot in the head!! I mean, imagine if right after Yoda was revealed in The Empire Strikes Back, George Lucas had let a Stormtrooper pistol-whip him to death or something. It’s incredible. God, I love you Paul Verhoeven. If you want to see the entire scene (and apparently the entire movie!), go here and skip ahead to 1 hour and 38 minutes.
Revenge of the Ninja: Volkswagen Van Fight
I honestly cannot even begin to imagine what prompted me to watch Revenge of the Ninja, an obscure entry in the largely forgotten 80s ninja movie genre – if I had to guess, I was drunk and didn’t want to try watching something that I actually intended on remembering. Whatever the reason, I thank my lucky (ninja) stars that I stumbled across this wonderful, horrible, magical, hideous film. Revenge of the Ninja is some kind of trash masterpiece: yes, it’s objectively awful, but there’s also something inexplicably mesmerizing lurking below the surface of this seemingly haphazard ninja cash-in. Undoubtedly, the coup de grace is when star Sho Kosugi battles the Village People in a glorious fight scene in which every action seems legitimately dangerous to the performers involved. After Sho kicks their asses outside of a warehouse (including the classic “drag your opponent face-first down a long flight of stairs” maneuver), the bad guys attempt to escape in a VW van. Unfortunately for them, but very fortunately for us, Sho chases after them, continuing to assault them from the roof of the van, and then ultimately karate kicking through the windshield of said van. Eventually, some people get hacked with axes, some necks get broken, some shots are fired, and our hero’s body is dragged from behind the moving van for several hundred feet. It’s brutal and hilarious and gratuitous and spectacular. I implore you – watch this scene, watch Revenge of the Ninja.
The Shining: Mysterious Bear Suit Blowjob
Stanley Kubrick’s opus of dread and Big Wheels is, by my measure, the scariest film ever made. So it’s pretty amazing that the film’s most terrifying moment is almost a non sequitur, a throwaway shot with no recognizable connection to the rest of the film. As beleaguered mom Wendy rushes through a suddenly crowded Overlook Hotel, searching for her son and avoiding her axe-wielding husband, she stumbles across an open room. What she finds is as inexplicable as it is unsettling – the camera zooms in on a man in a full-body bear suit performing oral sex on another distinguished looking gentleman, seated on a bed. They stare ominously back at her. Wendy stumbles backwards in horror, her mouth agape. End Scene.
WAIT WHAT? Okay, lots of random shit happens once the Overlook starts populating with ghosts, including this guy. But nothing compares to Bear Suit Guy. Who is he? Who is he fellating? Why is he wearing a bear suit? Is this what the afterlife is like? And what kind of a horror movie features a completely gratuitous furry scene? The best kind. Stephen King’s novel has some expositional storylines that served as the inspiration for the scene, but Kubrick’s decision to excise all of the context and keep an absurd, unsettling shot makes this one of my favorite WTF movie moments.
Observe and Report: Drug Binge
I can understand why more people didn’t like Observe and Report – it’s a pitch black comedy about very unpleasant people. But it’s also hilarious and satirical and kind of brilliant. This scene is a great example: it begins with an exchange between Seth Rogen’s Ronnie (essentially Paul Blart with an undiagnosed mental illness) and Michael Pena’s Dennis (also a deranged maniac). Ronnie confesses some delusions of grandeur in a speech that sounds like it belongs in a superhero movie, and Dennis promises to help him by taking him on a mystic journey. In a montage set to The Yardbirds “Over Under Sideways Down,” that mystic journey turns out to be a combination of increasingly hard drug use, Skee-Ball, and beating the shit out of a bunch of teenage skateboarders.