Ultra Violent Movies (2000)
By: Markus Zussner on May 3, 2006  |  Comments ()  |  Share 
Credits
Author: Laurent Bouzereau
Publisher: Citadel Press
Pages: 249
"The issue of violence in film is not about Hollywood; it s about the human race and the world we live in. For a preview of coming attractions, just turn on the six o clock news". Laurent Bouzereau.

I just redecorated the lounge and bought a new coffee table to finish it all off, you know, to get the right classical effect. I had to get rid of all the red splatter marks and other bits of matter coagulating on my walls (for me to know and you never to find out). The Lounge now looked as good as any cover-up and the coffee table is aesthetically pleasing to the eye but something was missing. I had invited around a lovely lady I had just recently met. She was finishing off her Masters Degree for English Literature and I really needed to impress. What I needed were reputable coffee table books. I pulled out all my old ones that I used to put strategically around the place. I positioned the David Hamilton Book precariously to one side of the table corner. As I quickly thumbed through the book and noticed the soft focused pictures of er, um, ah, ok how did I ever get possession of this book anyhow? Oh that s right. That was when I was wooing a professional photographer who took pictures of the fine human form. I thought the book would help cement my relationship, but it backfired. She took Autopsy photos. The amount of pictures in this David Hamilton book far out way the amount of text. The Book needed to be replaced, but by what? Chaucer? Shakespeare? Blake? Just then I heard a little voice whisper into my ear, a tiny little devil of my better nature told me to just, be myself. Wow what a revelation. Don t know why I didn t think of that before. So I went out shopping to find a good book to dress that coffee table with, something that reflected my personality. I came back with the ideal book that did just that, a book to suit all occasions and all company and it has more words than it does pictures. Ultra Violent Movies written By Laurent Bouzereau who incidentally works for DreamWorks and is also the Author of The Cutting Room Floor. Perfecto! A work of art completed. Ultra Violent Movies sits comfortably on my coffee table and it represents the real me. I can t see how this evening can fail. All I have to do now is go and pick her up from evening church mass.

Each chapter of Ultra Violent Movies focuses on different types of violent film and the social climates in which they were created.

They wrote the Book - This opening chapter looks in general at four modern cinema classics that have historically pushed the envelope for extreme on-screen violence and influenced the way future movies depict and portray violence. Bonnie and Clyde, A Clockwork Orange, The Wild Bunch and Taxi Driver. In the case of Bonnie and Clyde, many critics from reputable publications such as Time, Variety and Newsweek gave the film negative and damning reviews. Newsweek critic Joseph Morgenstern said of the movie "a squalid shoot-em for the moron trade". A week later Morgenstern took back what he said about the film. Time magazine took a similar turn around by first describing the film as a "glorification of violence" then a week later they reversed their comments and said "...not only the sleeper of the decade but also the best movie of the year." Bonnie and Clyde was the first Movie ever to grace the cover of Time magazine. A lot of the film critics did an about face on their opinions about these films because initially they did not know what to make of or what to do with the excessive violence presented within. At the time of their release these new ultra violent movies certainly double whammied most critics and had them wandering around punch drunk in a daze of opinions, not giving themselves time to reflect upon what they had just experienced. Quite often the film critic would need to re-establish and re-define what was happening socially in the current world before applying an honest and accurate critique.

The other chapters look at killer couples, mafia and gangs, revenge films, cops and vigilantes, and new filmmakers. Incidentally in this book Quentin Tarantino and John Woo are considered new blood. The book was first published in 1996, so I guess they were new Blood back then, although Woo has been making movies in Honk Kong since the 1970's. The last two chapters, Psychos and Flesh and Blood would be of particular interest to Horror fans as it covers some of our most favorite screwed up individuals from Norman Bates to Michael Myers and looks into such horror classics like Night of the Living Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The highlights for me were the in-depth interviews with Oliver Stone, Clive Barker and also with Greg Nicotero from KNB EFX. There is excellent insight into John McNaughton s Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer and how the film influenced the MPAA to create the NC-17 rating so the film could avoid being Rated X. The preface is as captivating as it is disturbing as the Author retells a violent event that he had once witnessed. Don t skip the afterword either; it s 7 pages of interesting facts and opinions from Filmmakers, in particular Wes Craven.

Ultra Violent Movies is a great coffee table book. It's not a definitive look at every ultra violent film ever made, but rather an insight into specific films that have defined or redefined screen violence. The author Laurent Bouzereau looks at certain landmark films that have pushed the boundaries of excessive violence on the screen, the effect and reaction it had on the filmmakers, moviegoers, critics, and film sensors of the day and also the social climate in which the movie was released. No Coffee table should be without, Ultra Violent Movies. Know your Art!
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