Traumatic media

Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
edited September 17 in Heaven
OK, we have had films that make you cry, laugh, books that you re-read. This is the opposite.

Films, books whatever that produced a traumatic response in you, that you would never wish to see/read again, and nobody else should have to either. Not just really poor - more, really good that actually connect to you in a painful way.

Film - The Deerhunter. Do not watch it.
Book - Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks. Do not read if you have young children. When I finished, I went homs and had to hug my kids.
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  • The book The Lovely Bones. The first chapter affected me so much I just couldn't read on.
  • A friend once lent me a German novel about anthropomorphised cats called Felidae. I thought it would be a bit like Watership Down. Boy was I wrong. I couldn't finish the book for the "cat torture" scenes. Perhaps someone who really hated cats would enjoy it.
  • I find violence unbearable, so we don't watch any. I am talking about graphic stuff.
  • re: The Deerhunter.

    I would advise against watching that because it's so long-winded and implausible.

    I could MAYBE buy the idea that the Vietnamese Communists would force American POWs to play Russian Roulette. But for-profit nightclubs where Americans make a living playing Russian Roulette to entertain the locals? That's the sort of thing a screenwriter comes up during an all-night writing marathon after he's had too much coffee.

    (If someone wants to prove me wrong about the mythical nature of Saigon suicide clubs, I'm open to being schooled. But I'm pretty sure we would have heard more about them, had they been real.)
  • /extreme pedant alert/

    Please could someone correct the speeling in the thred tittle? Tramatic makes me think of those who are allergic to trams...

    Thx. Please carry on.
    I find violence unbearable, so we don't watch any. I am talking about graphic stuff.

    May I be forgiven, but I admit to having been fascinated by violent clips on YouTube from certain Quentin Tarantino films. Disturbingly graphic, yes, but there's a good deal of satisfaction in seeing the baddies (mostly) getting their come-uppance...
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days. Romanian film about getting an illegal abortion. Brilliant. See once.
  • Dafyd wrote: »
    4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days. Romanian film about getting an illegal abortion. Brilliant. See once.

    Seconded. (Though I think I could probably handle seeing it twice.)
  • Dead Man Walking film about execution. It probably won awards.

  • A friend once lent me a German novel about anthropomorphised cats called Felidae. I thought it would be a bit like Watership Down. Boy was I wrong. I couldn't finish the book for the "cat torture" scenes. Perhaps someone who really hated cats would enjoy it.

    My mum and I both had the same reaction to Thérèse Raquin - we didn't care about the people, but what happened to the cat was upsetting.
  • Yes.

    A neatly macabre touch by M. Zola, duly picked up by the BBC (assuming you mean the version starring Kate Nelligan?).

    My father-in-law was rather more upset by the graphic scenes of decaying corpses in the Morgue...
  • jedijudyjedijudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    edited September 17
    The Green Mile disturbed me so much that I had nightmares for weeks after seeing it. Well acted, interesting plot, but the horrible evil at the end was too much to bear. I think I ended up destroying the DVD.

    Also, @Schroedingers Cat , you haven't asked me to correct the spelling of the thread title, but I think a lot of us wouldn't mind if I did that!
  • It was Me wot asked - and, therefore, it is I wot says thank you!

    I can't think offhand of anything in particular - whether book or film - that has disturbed me to such an extent as @jedijudy describes, but obviously others are more receptive to such influences than I am.

  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Does a well-received film that bored me out of my brain count? Death in Venice is that film. I'm sure the novella is likely much more interesting since you might have get a look at what was happening in the characters' minds. But two hours of an old guy looking longingly at a beautiful young man for whatever metaphorical reasons does not float my boat.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Ken Russell's The Devils did much to put me off watching film at all - and that was just extracts in a TV arts documentary.
  • Cold Mountain: A beautiful book, I'm glad I read it... but never again
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Threads - a good film. I watched it once, and won’t again.
  • TubbsTubbs Admin
    edited September 17
    BroJames wrote: »
    Threads - a good film. I watched it once, and won’t again.

    I watched the entire thing behind a cushion. And the end!!! Still creeps me out.

    I offer up a section of one of the Jon Pertwee Doctor Who Auton stories. When one of the autons - in the form of a doll - came to live and strangled someone. I was tiny and learning to read. There are a lot of books aimed at that audience with toys as their main character. Terrified me then and had a similar effect when I saw it years later.
  • I have never read a book through to the end if I didn't enjoy it.
  • Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
    jedijudy wrote: »
    The Green Mile disturbed me so much that I had nightmares for weeks after seeing it. Well acted, interesting plot, but the horrible evil at the end was too much to bear. I think I ended up destroying the DVD.

    Also, @Schroedingers Cat , you haven't asked me to correct the spelling of the thread title, but I think a lot of us wouldn't mind if I did that!

    Thank you @jedijudy for fixing the title - I am on holiday, and so is my brain.

    The Green Mile came to mind for me as well, reading other contributions. It is a very good film, but utterly dispicable in terms of the story.

    @Lyda strictly speaking films that don't live up to their hype have been done. This is more films that well satisfy their hype and some. Most noted are really good films/books. Which is why they are intensely disturbing to finish.

    Threads is disturbing, but I also found it properly informative and challenging.
  • I remember Threads...at the time it was filmed, my in-laws lived in Sheffield, which sort of brought it home IYSWIM.

    Scary and disturbing, indeed.
    Telford wrote: »
    I have never read a book through to the end if I didn't enjoy it.

    Then you have missed a great deal of properly informative and challenging material. Your loss.

  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Okay. :neutral:
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.
    The Bridge Over the Drina by Ivo Andric.

    They are both great novels, but I did find them traumatizing.
  • Umberto Eco's "Foucault's Pendulum". For me, extremely bleak and disturbing. And it took time to clear it out of my brain. It's well written, but...

    SPOILERS for general story arc:
    It's about fake and real conspiracies, and telling the difference--which gets harder and harder. And you wind up wayyy down a deep rabbit hole.

    Do NOT read it if you are depressed, feeling lost, etc. Seriously.
  • I remember Threads...at the time it was filmed, my in-laws lived in Sheffield, which sort of brought it home IYSWIM.

    Scary and disturbing, indeed.
    Telford wrote: »
    I have never read a book through to the end if I didn't enjoy it.

    Then you have missed a great deal of properly informative and challenging material. Your loss.

    I fail to see how you can say that when you have no idea as to what books I was refering to.
  • You said 'I have never read a book through to the end if I didn't enjoy it.'

    Therefore, if you failed to finish a book because you weren't enjoying it, you may have missed a great deal of informative and challenging material later in that book.

    Simples. The exact book is irrelevant - I merely propound a principle.
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    edited September 17
    .
  • Leaf wrote: »
    A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

    I think that was the most depressing novel I've ever read.

    And Martin Scorseses's Silence is a film I couldn't watch any further after seeing a Japanese Christian family burned to death for their faith.

  • You said 'I have never read a book through to the end if I didn't enjoy it.'

    Therefore, if you failed to finish a book because you weren't enjoying it, you may have missed a great deal of informative and challenging material later in that book.

    Simples. The exact book is irrelevant - I merely propound a principle.

    True, as far as it goes. But if we assume that @Telford has a fixed amount of time that he devotes to reading, then by declining to finish a book that he's not enjoying, he creates the opportunity to read an additional book, which might also contain informative and challenging material.

    Whether or not this is to his net benefit depends on whether material that would be beneficial for Telford to read is more often found in books he enjoys, or books he doesn't.
  • Yes, quite so.
    :wink:

    It's true that some people have only a limited time to devote to perusing the printed page, and there's certainly nothing wrong with putting a book aside if one feels it appropriate to do so...
  • Bambi I couldn't watch past the bit where Bambi's mother is shot.
    Also Dumbo - the scene where the mother is separated from Dumbo.

  • NEQ--

    Also avoid "Bambi vs. Godzilla". Said in all seriousness.
  • Also the film of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire The day after I took my kids to see it I told them over breakfast that I had slept badly because I'd had nightmares.

    "You were dreaming about the bit where Cedric Diggory dies, weren't you?" asked my son.
    "How did you know that?" I asked.

    He rolled up his sleeve to reveal quite nasty bruising on his forearm. "That was the bit where you grabbed my arm."

    It took a couple of days for the bruising to fade :anguished:



  • The book The Lovely Bones. The first chapter affected me so much I just couldn't read on.

    I found the book a tad cold but still read engrossed. Lucky, I think it was called, is the author’s autobiographical account of her rape & trial. That was a tough read. Again cold, distant & flippant almost in the epilogue with references to impacts of the experience.

    Film: Dancer in the Dark - good writing, weird, beautiful soundtrack, Bjork was captivating. But I wanted to stream so much at how “it’s not fair!” & there was one scene that just devastated me. Did, as US films, tv etc. with medical themes, make me appreciate our, somewhat shambolic but generally kindly so, NHS.

    Book: 1984 - read summer after I’d turned 18 in spring & sat A-Levels in June, on a family holiday in North Wales. In full angst & anguish but jaded with turmoil & with freedom but still tied to bloody family!
    Orwell created a system that there was no means to rally against. Since then I’ve read a lot of dystopian fiction from kid to YA to adult to classic, Clockwork Orange, Handmaid’s Tale, Alan Moore, etc.. but I just felt a definite absence of hope at the ending of 1984. Most dystopian fiction at least clings to Pandora’s box.

    I’m not entirely sure of the title but there’s a book, possibly “Roll of a Thunder, Hear My Cry,” or “Let The Circle Be Unbroken,” with a lynching of a potentially/probably innocent black man for a dubious rape accusation. As a 15 yr old I was so irked at the injustice & awfulness of the situation I unintentionally tore the bound library book about a quarter of the way up the spine as a reaction.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    edited September 17
    @not entirely me

    There is an argument I've seen that the appendix to 1984, outlining the structures of Newspeak, is actually intended as a final chapter to the story, subtly implying that the party was eventually defeated. For example, "...the final adoption of Newspeak had been fixed for so late a date as 2050" makes it sound as if that goal never came about.

  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    HarryCH wrote: »
    The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

    Oh, I know something you might enjoy.
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    I have read a great many factual accounts of World War 2 events. I was a student in Germany in the 1950s, and I heard a lot of very bad first hand accounts of what it was like.

    I thought I could handle any account of events, until I started reading a book calle The Night Hamburg Died.. I have read accounts of Hiroshima, but this sounded worse.

    There were fire-storms with 100 mph winds. The winds pushed the people into the flames. The bodies of people in underground shelters were so badly burned they could not be identified.

    That cured me of reading graphic descriptions of war.
  • Not just really poor - more, really good that actually connect to you in a painful way.
    If it wasn't for this provision, I would have listed this year's Republican National Convention...

  • Golden Key wrote: »
    NEQ--

    Also avoid "Bambi vs. Godzilla". Said in all seriousness.

    Dang, I loved this! What that says about me, well...

    I'll nominate any film that shows a rape scene. I just.can't.handle it.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    edited September 18
    You said 'I have never read a book through to the end if I didn't enjoy it.'

    Therefore, if you failed to finish a book because you weren't enjoying it, you may have missed a great deal of informative and challenging material later in that book.

    Simples. The exact book is irrelevant - I merely propound a principle.

    That would only apply to non fiction. I read plenty of non fiction but I would not open any book on a subject I was not interested in. I was refering to fiction and the times I have failed to finish are in fact quite few. The last time was " Sons and Lovers " by D>H> Lawrence. It became rather tedius.

  • Oh on a "miniature trauma" note the scene in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" with the little squeaking shoe... you know the bit I mean if you have seen the film...
  • Martyrs (France/Canada, 2008). I saw this at TIFF as part of their Midnight Madness programme. In that programme you're dealing with a crowd that is there for all manner of bizarre genres film. In all my years of attendance at that programme I've never seen a film so evenly polarising. The last 30+ minutes is an extended torture sequence.

    The torture is in service of getting a glimpse of an afterlife, or confirming that there is one. The speech that sets out this metaphysical justification is such idiotic, non-sensical bilge. After sitting through the entire screening (there was a steady stream of audience members leaving - I can't blame them), that speech was the final stomach turning insult. Salò, at least, for all its onscreen outrages, has a definite socio-political argument that it pursues relentlessly.

    The post-screening Q&A was the most vociferous, even amongst audience members, that I have ever witnessed. People were shouting and cursing at the director, others defending him. It was not your typically polite Toronto audience. Martyrs was really just a misogynistic torture porn wank. Great make-up department, though.

    I got home at 2.45am and drank a bottle of wine. It didn't work.
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    I have watched The English Patient more than once, but only because I fast forward through the bit where Willem Dafoe gets his thumbs cut off <shudder>.

    The Help hits my personal triggers. Had I known about the bit where Celia has a miscarriage, I wouldn't have read it. OTOH I'm a bit ambivalent because I enjoyed the rest of the book. No way I'm watching the film though.
  • Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
    @Golden Key - I am a huge fan of Eco and this is a masterpiece of a book. But yes, if you are disturbed by conspiricy theories then it is not one to read.

    The Lovely Bones is a superb book. Hence proving that I do like really disturbing and twisted stuff really.
    Margaret wrote: »
    Leaf wrote: »
    A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.
    I think that was the most depressing novel I've ever read.

    Is it wrong that this makes me want to read it?

    1984 - interesting (and yes, it does end up incredibly dystopian as the system crushed Smith. The system wins). I have just finished reading "We" which was an inspiration for this, but it does end in a positive way that 1984 doesn't. I think Orwell had come to realise that happy outcomes are very rare - and take generations to dismantle state machinery.

    Telford - S.T.F.U.
  • EigonEigon Shipmate
    Anything with cruelty to animals - I wept buckets at the end of Tarka the Otter, and ever since then I've attempted to avoid anything where the animal dies in the end.
    I was also traumatized by a serialisation of a Joyce Stranger book about a collie dog, which was on the radio just before I went to junior school one week. Normally, we left for school before the end of the episode, but for the last installment we couldn't tear ourselves away (me, little sister and gran who took us to school), so we arrived at school late and weeping because the dog died.
    That's why I've never seen War Horse, too - I know the horse doesn't die, but the barbed wire scene.

    I've read Felidae, too, with the cat torture - my mother-in-law passed her copy on to me. She was fond of cuddly mysteries, often involving a detective with pets, and thought that it would be something similar. She was quite shocked when she actually read it.
  • I think I said earlier that I couldn't recall reading anything that I found really traumatic, but I've now remembered that in the Days Of My Misspent Yoof (O! so long ago!) I had a number of the old paperback anthologies of Horror Stories, published by Pan.

    One or two of these stories were IIRC particularly gruesome physically - as opposed to, say, psychologically horrid - and I doubt if I would care to read them again now.
    :grimace:
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I really shouldn't have read the Pan Book of Horror Stories as an 11 year old (or indeed any age). It produced such an effect that I actually spent a night physically shuddering, and for years afterwards would push my bedtime as late as I could.
  • Yes, that's the one I meant - there was a whole series of them. For some reason, I bought several for a few shillings in a second-hand bookshop in Hastings, whilst on a day trip to that pleasant resort.

    I can't say I suffered quite as nasty an effect as @Firenze, but I can see how at least some of the tales might result in sleepless nights and Unpleasant Dreams...
    :grimace:
  • RockyRogerRockyRoger Shipmate Posts: 43
    I remember watching 'The Wicker Man' with mounting fascination and horror. So drained was I at the end I had to go back to the bit where Britt Ekland dances to steady my nerves. It helped. A bit. Never again!

  • Telford - S.T.F.U.
    Care to explain yourself ?

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