Years ago I worked in a movie theater, and I still remember the bizarre effect that the Woody Allen movie Husbands and Wives had on audience members. The film's shaky hand-held style sent TONS of people stumbling out into the lobby, green-faced and sweaty and demanding their money back.
Handheld cams are very popular these days, and I'm sure there are still folks who can't handle the effect, but what really surprises me is how many people have physical reactions to certain scenes.
Prometheus, for one, has a particular scene that recently caused a man to suffer a seizure -- but it's hardly the only recent flick that has made people ill. Check out this list of barfy, fainty, seizure-y, or otherwise potentially unpleasant movies:
Prometheus. I won't dish out any spoilers by describing the scene in detail (although I just spoilered myself by reading about it), but there's a moment involving … uh, let's call it self-surgery that may have caused a boy in Australia to suffer a seizure. Now, my initial thought on this story is that there was no real reason to think the seizure and the scene were connected, but based on similar events, it seems like extreme scenes really CAN trigger such reactions.
Breaking Dawn, Part 1. Remember the creepy, cracking, gory birth scene? Well, a number of audience members may STILL be haunted by it, based on their dramatic reaction in the theater when Renesmee was aggressively making her way into the world. A number of people reportedly suffered seizures during that scene, although some theorize that it wasn't so much the gruesomeness of what was happening onscreen, it had more to do with director Bill Condon’s filmmaking technique that employed flashes of white, black, and red.
The Passion of the Christ. What's worse than barfing, seizing, or passing out during a movie? DYING during a movie. A Kansas woman had a heart attack and died during the crucifixion scene in this movie.
Antichrist. Lars Von Trier isn't exactly known for playing it safe, and this film's a challenge to watch from the start. But it was the scene involving genital mutilation (I've seen this movie, and believe me, you don't want me to describe it), that triggered fainting, gasps, and trembling walk-outs at the Cannes Film Festival.
Van Dieman's Land. Apparently people can't stomach cannibalism, because this movie made at least two people puke, and a couple more pass out.
127 Hours. This movie -- which involves the infamous self-amputation scene -- just may be the blue-ribbon winner in terms of making people sick. During movie screenings between September and November of 2010, 13-16 people fainted, 2 reported feeling lightheaded, 3 people suffered seizures, and one woman had a panic attack. That doesn't even include the barfing incidents reported during the London Film Festival! As one woman said, after being treated by paramedics, "I have never had, even remotely, an experience like this. I'm a television producer. I know this stuff is not real." (Wimps, all of them. That movie was AMAZING.)
Avatar. The 3D visuals made some nauseous while watching this blockbuster, but it was the aftereffects that really bothered people -- because they felt the alien world the film depicted was so idyllic they were depressed it wasn't real. Apparently one fan forum received more than 1,000 posts from people feeling sad that Avatar was fictional, with one person posting, "Ever since I went to see Avatar, I have been depressed. Watching the wonderful world of Pandora and all the Na'vi made me want to be one of them. I can't stop thinking about all the things that happened in the film and all of the tears and shivers I got from it. I even contemplate suicide thinking that if I do it I will be rebirthed in a world similar to Pandora and then everything is the same as in Avatar."
Um, wow. I hope …. man, I really hope that guy's feeling better these days.
Have you ever had an extreme physical reaction to a movie?
Image via Flickr/jbergeson