Film Scenes I Wish I’d Never Seen

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by Hazel Anna Rogers for the Carl Kruse Blog

Perhaps one of my greatest pleasures in life is watching great works of the screen. I am equally partial to a television series, one which draws me in so far as to commit to watching some four hours of it in one sitting, as I am to visiting that tiny little movie theatre in London’s Leicester Square, The Prince Charles Cinema, to see some cultish, outlandish film of old. For the screen is a canvas, a platform for all, from the beauty of the mundane to the depravity of the unseen. Anything is permitted on the screen, for we know that it will always return to blackness, and we will have returned, somewhat wiser, back into the world which perhaps might seem a little bluer, a tad more terrifying, or a little more intriguing than before. I would not believe you if you told me that, as a child, you did not emerge from the popcorn-infiltrated red carpets of a Cineworld, or something akin, and feel as though you had somehow morphed into one of the characters from the movie you had just seen. I distinctly recall walking down the path by the highway towards home and seeing in my shadow the recognisable form of 007 swaggering along.

Ah. But there is more to it than that.

I have spent many nights of my life tossing and turning in the thickness of terror, the backs of my eyes imprinted with the images of movie and tv scenes that have managed to weave themselves into my sleep. For, as we said before, anything is permitted on screen, from the most sickening, traumatising spectacles to the most heart-breaking and soul-crushing losses.

There are, of course, the scenes that most of us would have a hard time stomaching. But, as with all art, there are the pieces, the tableaus, that find themselves stuck, like a bug under the skin, in some viewers, while others are left unscathed.

I speak now as I, the viewer, of scenes that have struck me like a bullet, right there, right in the centre of my heart, so much that I find myself pondering on them in the most frustrating of moments – for what use is there thinking on one of the odious crime scenes from Se7en when one is simply trying to drift off to sleep?


  1. Those crime scenes from Se7en

Now, of course, all of the murder scenes from David Fincher’s 1995 classic are quite unbelievably dreadful, and I applaud the man for having to gall to commit to such atrocity, for, considering the box-office success it went on to be, the film is quite astonishingly dark. But the thought of one of the crimes in particular makes me want to gouge my own eyes out rather than see it again; the ‘lust’ killing, whereby the detectives discover a prostitute who has been raped by a man held at gunpoint. The thing is, the prostitute is dead because she was raped with a sharp bladed strap-on. Now you tell me if there is any worse way to go. I’ll wait.

Carl Kruse Tech Blog - image from film seven


  1. That Midsommar Opening Scene

So, I was rather surprised at Midsommar. I was late to the party, watching it some three years after its release and expecting – from the numerous shuddering accounts of friends and family – a relatively nasty little horror film. But Midsommar is, in my opinion, most primarily a film about grief and how one eventually manages to overcome trauma, albeit within the framework of an incestuous and murderous Swedish cult, but that’s by the by.

There is only one scene in this film which made me lie awake for a few hours after I had finished it, and it isn’t the smashing of the old man’s legs as he jumps from a clifftop (a scene which my sister recounted to me in such a manner that I thought she might faint). It is that moment, right at the start of the movie, when the camera pans through the protagonist Dani’s parent’s house, past her mother and father who have been asphyxiated in their sleep by the carbon monoxide seeping through their home, and to her sister’s room, where we find the sister with her face strapped into a gas mask, thick greenish-brown vomit on her chest, her eyes wide open – dead. Nope. I would pay to not have seen that.


  1. Love Actually – The ‘Necklace’ Scene

Now here’s a rogue one, but one I think might resonate with many of you. I think I must have been about ten years old when I first watched Love Actually (and, yes, my parents hastily skipped through all of the porn-actor scenes), and so mostly unversed in love (though I would argue, at the time, that I knew much of love, as I was in love with David Tennant and would sob myself to sleep most nights in sadness that we might never meet). But when Emma Thompson opens ‘that’ present on the night before Christmas, the one she thinks is a golden heart pendant, and discovers is in fact a Joni Mitchell album (thus the pendant has been given to some other of Alan Rickman’s – her husband’s – lovers), I remember feeling as though my stomach had decided to evacuate somewhere deep down in the floor. Seeing Thompson go up to her room and weep in her frumpy brown outfit, then smooth herself down ready to greet her children with smiling face and selfless courage…I couldn’t sleep for days after that. I would begin to drift off, then feel a sort of squirming, churning feeling, something like a mix of anxiety and sadness and terror all blended up into a sleepless smoothie. Even now, when I watch that movie, I sort of look away a little when Thompson begins to rip the wrapping paper off of her CD.


  1. ‘The Circle of Shit’ in Salò, or the 120 days of Sodom

Alright, okay. So, all of this is pretty nasty. But like you all (probably), I’ve seen my fair share of rape scenes and nudity and all the rest on screen before, and I’m not saying it doesn’t bother me, but I’m saying it is small fish to fry compared with some of the other most base occurrences in this movie.

Though I can’t say I especially enjoyed this movie, I will say that I admired it, and that it was quite evident that the gratuity of the sexual violence depicted in the film by Pasolini was to serve the purpose of questioning what happens when fascism and authoritarianism reach such heights that its perpetrators are so powerful that they can do anything they very well please. What does one do when one has everything, all the beauty and power and money in the world? Well, it seems, in the case of Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, that one would seek to find pleasure in the most extreme, the most taboo of places. It is as though once one gets to the top, one has to bring the top to the bottom so as to have power over that, too – over the whole of humanity and all of its workings; namely, in this instance – shit.

‘The Circle of Shit’ is one of the four parts to the film, and by far the most nauseating. A teenager is picked by one of the fascist leaders to eat a mound of his shit, which she does so while crying and gagging. A few minutes later, we are greeted with the sight of a dinner scene, whereby all the guests are served plates of steaming hot shit which they must devour. If it sounds bad, times that by fifty, and you’ll maybe understand how bad it is.

It’s funny, because I read a little about the film beforehand, and discovered that the actors in the film actually had a lot of fun on set, often playing football and other such games together in between filming. I also discovered that the ‘shit’ they had to eat was made from chocolate and marmalade, but which was so sickly that it was still rather disgusting. So how is it that, knowing all of this, my mind could still not compute that the characters in the film were NOT eating shit? God knows.


  1. Stranger Things – The Vecna Killings

Oooh. Here we go…

Once again, as was the case with Midsommar, I was late to the party of Stranger Things, and I’m quite glad of it – I was greeted with the pleasure of being able to steamroll my way through all three seasons in a couple of weeks, though, upon finishing it all, I found myself in a television fatigue, where nothing could satisfy my craving for just a little more of David Harbour being Jim Hopper.

Most of Stranger Things wasn’t too scary to me. Of course, there were jump scares, and the shadow thing going into poor little Will’s mouth and ears and eyes, but nothing that I couldn’t handle. But the first ‘Vecna’ killing? Jesus Christ. If there’s anything more excruciating than watching someone’s jaw crack out of joint, their arms and legs break sideways, and their eyes plunge deep into their skulls and bleed out over their cheeks, then do let me know. For a kid’s series of sorts, I’d say the creators of Stranger Things had balls to put that stuff in there.

On that note; the scene where Max – bless her soul – almost gets taken by Vecna for the first time, and her friends put ‘Running up that hill’ by Kate Bush in her ears…if you didn’t cry at that scene (and don’t cry every time you rewatch it), then I’m not sure we’d get along.


  1. The donkey transformation in Pinochio

Alright, okay. So, I mean…a pretty terrifying film in the first place, let’s be honest. The Coachman laughing about the ‘disobedient boys’ not coming back as ‘boys’ from Pleasure Island? Enough to make you leave your light on at night. But that scene when Lampwick, the boy that Pinocchio has been hanging around with, transforms into a donkey while screaming ‘mama’? A big no no. Nightmares for years.


  1. Watership Down

Who knew a film about rabbits could be so goddamn nasty.

Rabbits mauling each other, dogs mauling rabbits, cats mauling rabbits, rabbits being burned alive, rabbit wars…it’s just a gore-fest, and if I’d had my way, I wouldn’t have seen this film aged eight. I could talk about many disturbing moments in this animated feature, least of all rabbit Fiver’s vision of the field turning ‘red with blood’, while Hazel tells him ‘don’t be silly’, or maybe Holly’s memory of the warrens destruction from men filling in the holes with mud and rabbits trapped amongst the dead bodies of their kin. Freaking terrifying, and the book ain’t much better.


  1. Doctor Who

Let’s end on a classic. I’m a long-time Doctor Who fan, in particular the seasons of Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant, the latter of whom is basically the reason I chose to become an actor.

But let’s go back in time, to a family holiday at a friend’s home in Wales. Earlier that evening, my sister had discovered the body of an enormous translucent lilac-coloured jellyfish stranded on the beach. She prodded it with a stick, and the thing fell apart beneath her touch. We returned home, and after some hearty meal which I don’t remember, my sister and I got into the bath, over which was hung a television, on which we watched an episode of Doctor WhoThe Empty Child, first screened in 2005, when I was seven.

There is a scene where the Doctor is speaking with a Dr Constantine, who is caring for a room full of patients who have their faces obscured by gas masks, and who should be dead, if one accounts for their collapsed chests and ‘no signs of life’. After a short discussion, Dr Constantine begins coughing, and his breathing becomes laboured. Suddenly, he starts saying the words: “Mummy? Are…you…my…mummy?” And, then, the horror begins.

A gas marks emerges slowly out of his mouth as though he were vomiting it out, and his eyes become like saucers, black with silver rims, the leather mask expanding over his face until he has fully transformed. The original sounds of Dr Constantine’s skull cracking and the grim sounds of his breathing becoming increasingly strained were removed by the producers due to them being ‘too horrific’ for the pre-watershed of UK television, which I suppose I should have been grateful for as I lay staring at the door to the bedroom, waiting for a gas-mask-laden face to appear around the corner. Terrifying, to say the least.


I’ve got a hell of a lot more scenes up my sleeve which I could put on this list, but I’ll leave it at that, for now, lest I be scared to go to bed later this evening. As you may have realised, most of these scenes are not from abject horror films, perse, and I think that to be quite telling in itself. For the greatest horror is that which seems not far removed from the truth…the gas-mask monsters in Doctor Who began to appear after a bomb was dropped on London, harkening to the use of poison during the war and its effects on civilians; Midsommar uses the suicide murder of a mentally-challenged young woman who saw no other way out; Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom speaks of the terrifying power of extreme fascism; Pinocchio talks of horrible men kidnapping children and abusing them; Watership Down is a tale of the destruction of the natural world; Se7en reminds us of the power of religious beliefs in the wrong hands, and of the terrible things that man can, and does, do; Love Actually shows to us the trauma of being cheated on by one’s spouse; and Stranger Things reveals to us the effects of trauma on the lives of young people. Now, it is unlikely that, as a result of experiencing something awful in one’s childhood, one will find oneself drifting up into the sky and being maimed by some underling from another world, as is the case in Stranger Things. But we all keep secrets, we all keep our pain firmly strapped to our chest and God knows what will happen if we don’t let it out, if we don’t seek help – even if it isn’t Vecna coming to kill us.
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Contact: carl AT carlkruse DOT com
Other articles by Hazel include When I Was A Yogi, Paper books – Ebooks, and Anticipation Anxiety.
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Author: Carl Kruse

Human. Being.

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