Audiences are always tricky to please. Complaints about the moral character of actors, about their artistic merit, and about how down right dull they can be go back ages. But sometimes, the audience doesn’t just complain, they up and leave. These are six cases of the audience deciding the film wasn’t worth it.
Even film critics and seasoned aficionados were a bit dizzy watching French Phillipe Petit walked between the Twin Towers across a tight rope. The 3-D biopic brings the 1974 stunt in ways previously impossible. And that resulted in people leaving the theater to vomit. CBS reported that at least 10% of all audience members were getting up to run to the restroom.
This 1932 film about a group of circus performers was so disturbing for it’s time that the originals copies were destroyed, along with the career of the director. In the movie, a gorgeous trapeez artist plans to marry and murder the leader of the side show in order to gain his inheritance. The plot pits the normal but malicous members against the wholesome sideshow members. The director, Browning, made the bold choice to actually cast real life circus performers for the film. The obvious message of looks not being everything was lost on audiences, however.
“It is impossible for the normal man or woman to sympathize with the aspiring midgit.” one reporter said.
“An outrageous onslaught upon the feelings, the senses, the brains, and the stomachs of the audiences.” the Hollywood Reporter said.
Mass walk outs ensued. One woman even threatened to sue MGM, claiming the movie made her miscarry.
4. 127 Hours
The story of Aron Ralston, who we mentioned on an earlier list, was famously publicized in this movie. Most audiences didn’t find watching a man sawing off his hand with a dull pocket knife entertaining(for some reason). At that scene, reports came in of fainting, seizures, and vomiting. Franco spun this in a positive, wondering if the scene’s intensity and personal nature made people feel as if they were losing their arm. Despite the audiences inability to hack it, 127 Hours was nominated for 6 Academy awards, including Best Picture.
This controversial 2002 French film might make you curl up in the fetal position in the corner. That’s fine, that’s normal. Critic Roger Ebert commented that the movie was so violent and cruel, your average viewer would find it unwatchable. And he was right.
But it wasn’t just the violence that hurt the movie, there was a bit of science. Director Gaspar Noé added low frequency sounds to the soundtrack of the revenge thriller. Though inaudible, the sounds can induce extreme sorrow, heart palpations, and shivering according to the BBC.
“Naturally-occurring infrasound hasn’t been associated with areas of supernatural activity, as well as being produced prior to natural disasters such as storms and earthquakes. Our response to certain kinds of noise is something so profound in us that we can’t switch it off.” Science writer Phillip Ball told the BBC.
So, next time you get frightened at a movie’s sound track, don’t worry. It’s probably just digging right into the emotional part of your brain with noises you can’t hear.
2. Tree of Life
While critics have called it a master piece, the average movie goer asked for his money back. The experimental drama, full of questions about the bond between family, science and religion, the creation of the world and life, and the meaning of life. With so many themes running through it, things eventually end up confusing or convoluted. Or maybe it was too boring for a date night. Either way, people left the movie in droves. Several theaters had to make their refun policies clear, and one theater in Connecticut posted a sign recommending viewers read up on the movies, since it wasn’t for everyone. No gross out, no seizures, just boredom.
If this 2008 found footage movie makes you a bit queezy, don’t worry. That’s normal. So normal that some cinemas started posting warnings outside theaters. The movie’s plot, a personal video journal about a monster attack on New York, wasn’t too bad. But like The Walk the camera work did it in. The found footage style was so jerky, that buckets of popcorn came spilling out of the audience, lining seats, bathrooms, and the space between bathrooms and seats. According to Web M.D.
“While watching Cloverfield, viewers were sitting still in their seats, so their inner ear was telling their body they were sitting motionless. But the bumpy camera movements -and their eyes- misled them into thinking they were moving erratically.”
Many symptoms were also found in the other found footage film, The Blair Witch Project. So terrible stomach turning results seem to be the normal of shaking the camera about. The sequel (of sorts) avoids this by moving all the shaky-cam into shaky-John Good(Bad)man