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How I choked on "Hard Candy"

 
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Luke Pyzik
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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 8:43 am    Post subject: How I choked on "Hard Candy" Reply with quote

I have to preface this by saying that I am the most desensitized moviegoer that I know. I’ve sat through the most heinous acts ever committed to film without batting an eye. I love gory horror flicks and intense thrillers. I’ve never walked out of a movie for any reason my entire life. Bring out the laundry list of what are considered to be the most disturbing, stomach churning films ever made, and I’ve checked almost all of them off.

During “Hard Candy,” I literally had an anxiety attack and had to leave the theater.

There are a couple reasons why I think this happened. I recently saw “Hostel,” and having loved it, have been reading a bunch of interviews with Eli Roth where he talks about people passing out during test screenings of the film. I’ve been in an audience on two different occasions where people have passed out. An old man sitting behind me at “The Princess and the Warrior” bit the dust hard during the grueling tracheotomy scene, and his family had to carry him out. But the most insane thing I ever saw was during the Chicago Book Fair at a Chuck Palahniuk reading of his short story “Guts.” The story is about a guy who likes to masturbate in very creative and disturbing ways. One of these ways is by grinding his ass on the filter at the bottom of his parent’s pool while rubbing one out. The story is called “Guts.” You can imagine where it goes. Anyway, during the very graphic reading, no less than 8 people passed out. Palahniuk was the only person in the audience not worried, as he reassured everyone that this happens every time he reads this story. That’s why he reads it. Palahniuk rules.

So during an extended scene in “Hard Candy” involving a pair of scissors and a large bag of ice, I understandably, began to get a little uncomfortable. No big deal. But then, tragically, my mind started drifting to these thoughts of people passing out in theaters. On both of the occasions when I witnessed it happening, I thought it was the coolest thing in the world, and recounted the events like movie war stories to all my friends many times over. But now I began to think about how embarrassing it must be for those people whose weak stomachs got the better of them. I was alone in the theater, as my girlfriend had no interest in tagging along after reading “Hard Candy’s” plot synopsis. What would happen if I passed out? Would this creepy guy down the isle help me, or would he do something else to me? Would an ambulance have to come? Would they stop the movie? Oh, shit, people are going to be telling their friends a story about ME for the rest of their lives. Great.

My mind totally got away from me. I freaked, began to get dizzy, and was hyperventilating. But I was determined not to walk out. I stood my ground through the entire scene, relaxed a little, and laughed too loudly at a joke delivered by Ellen Page that was more tongue-in-cheek funny, not laugh-out-loud funny. I was trying to make myself feel better, but it wasn’t working. Next, there was a scene involving a tazer. Fuck this. I had to go splash some water on my face. I told myself I would come back in 2 minutes.

The bathroom sink was one of those sensor deals and it was only spitting out warm water. I splashed some on my face, but it wasn’t helping. I kind of felt like puking, and I kind of felt like sobbing.

See, that’s the other thing about “Hard Candy.” It’s just non-stop nastiness and discomfort from the first second. It never lets up. Even the comic relief is so pitch dark that it hits pokes you uncomfortably. It is just so unrelenting and so bleak that it made my mind go places I didn’t want it to go – it depressed me almost to the point of tears.

I decided I wasn’t going to go back in. I needed fresh air. I still felt like I might pass out. After sitting outside for about ten minutes, I got in my car and drove home, still breathing too heavily, my heart still beating a little too quickly. After getting home, hugging my girlfriend and my dog, I laid down on the couch and finally began to relax. Then I got pissed at myself. I wanted to know how the goddamn movie ended.

That this happened to me is a testament to how fucking well made the movie is. The performances by Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page are so good that, for a second, I believed this sick shit was actually happening. Page, particularly, really freaked me out with her unrelenting, diabolical hatred. The fact that I am also a minor claustrophobic probably also contributed to my anxiety attack. David Slade shoots the movie in tight close ups all the way through to give it this insane claustrophobic feel. He really directs the hell out of this movie.

So there’s my confession. – a hardened movie fanatic gone soft. Thanks for letting me get all this off my chest. Oh, and if anyone wants to PM me how the movie ends, I’d really appreciate it. I don’t think I’ll be going back.
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FrankG
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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You jerk! You're just trying to spread your disease. I, like you, have no problem with these type of things... but now I KNOW that when I see Hard Candy I'm going to think of this post and feel sick. Yay for hypochondria.

I call you a jerk, but I also applaud you for trying to hurt people. Well played.

BTW, talk to the proper autorities (I guess I'm one of them, I dunno), and get feature writing rights and put this up as a feature (IMHO).

- FrankG
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TheAngryJew
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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the best reviews I've read of the movie so far.
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Oz
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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Totally. Review or feature, whatever you choose, this is a good one either way.

Oh, and the film goes in some very unexpected directions after that scene. So much so that I really think you should see it again. Or at least sneak in after an hour.
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Luke Pyzik
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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would post it as a review, but I seriously have no idea how many stars I should give it - 1 or 5 or somewhere in between. I gotta mull it over, or yeah, maybe sack up and and sneak in after the first hour.
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Oz
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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems to me, you'd have to rate it based on what you saw. Me, I think it's phenomonal filmmaking, but I didn't enjoy it just because it was so brutal - yet I'd still rate it a 4 star rating (nearly 5) because, damn, that's some serious drama.

But I'm tellin' ya, that's a seriously good feature article up there.
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petersob
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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankly, the piece was far more interesting than the actual film
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Collin Souter
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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just curious, Luke, if you saw the movie at 9:20 at Evanston on Sunday night. I was there in the back row and saw a guy leave the theater at around the same time you described in your article. It's only playing at 2 theaters here in the city.

Just curious...and I know exactly how you feel. I remember feeling the exact same way during Irreversible and almost leaving after 20 minutes. Glad I stayed, though, as the movie slowly lets you back down and actually ends on a strangely euphoric note. Can't say the same for Hard Candy, but it's worth checking out. I dug it.

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Last edited by Collin Souter on Tue May 02, 2006 8:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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Luke Pyzik
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did see it in Evanston and sat in the back row, but it was at 2 in the afternoon on Saturday. Yeah, "Irreversable" was a tough go for me too, but luckily I watched that one at home. BTW - my post is now a feature.
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