There are occasional horror stories about a filmmaker’s vision coming to life so strongly on the big screen that it sends moviegoers running for cover – for any number of reasons. Sometimes it’s too intense, or too sad, or maybe, like the recent Robert Zemeckis film The Walk, too barf-inducing. There were reports that the film, which follows wire-walker Philippe Petit’s journey between the Twin Towers in 1974, featured a bit too much perspective for some to take.
Here are 7 other films that had people fleeing their seats.
#7. Reservoir Dogs
I mean, Tarantino is as Tarantino does, am I right? None of his films would necessarily fall into the category of “easy to watch” for anyone with a weak stomach as far as blood and violence are concerned, but the scene in which Michael Madsen’s character gave an unsolicited ear amputation to a hostage caused even the late Wes Craven (creator of The Last House on the Left and A Nightmare on Elm Street) to flee the theater.
#6. The Blair Witch Project
Due to its “found footage” style and small budget, The Blair Witch Project boasts one of the biggest profits of all time. The film about a group of filmmakers pursued in the woods by a deadly, unseen predator launched the genre (later used by other small, successful films like Cloverfield, among others), and caused motion sickness in audiences that led to vomit cleanup duty in aisles, lobbies, and bathrooms.
The Associated Press reported that Atlanta-area theaters spent a good portion of opening weekend cleaning up messes. “Someone threw up in the men’s restroom, the women’s restroom, and in the hallway,” said a theater manager. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, another theater manager made announcements before screenings to please vomit outside of the screening room.
Possibly the inspiration for a similar season of American Horror Story, Tod Browning’s infamous portrayal of a circus sideshow with revenge in mind wasn’t meant to be a horror film. That said, its large cast of “actual” circus performers with a myriad of deformities inspired mass walkouts by viewers; MGM insisted on editing the film after a woman claimed she was so aggrieved during a screening that she suffered a miscarriage.
#4. The Exorcist
William Peter Blatty’s novel about a young woman possessed by a demon sent tons of excited people to the theater to check out the film adaptation. It turned out that seeing the horror brought to life was a bit much for some people, as seen in the video compilation above. Freaked out filmgoers fled screening rooms out of sheer terror; one fainted in the lobby. “I just found it really horrible and had to come out,” one said. “I couldn’t take it anymore.”
By the time the film premiered in London, ambulances were parked outside.
This revenge film from director Gaspar Noé prompted viewers to head for the exits – but not necessarily due to the brutal assault scene that saw the movie panned by critics. Noé admitted to using a 27 hertz frequency of bass, which can’t be picked up by the human ear, during the movie’s first 30 minutes. Known as infrasound, it can induce panic and anxiety in a manner similar to vibrations created by earthquakes.
#2. The Lion King
Anyone who was surprised by a tragic parental death in a Disney film probably needs to take a hard look at themselves (hello, Bambi!). That said, the horrible trampling death of Mufasa proved too much for some children, who had to be relocated to the lobby until they calmed down.
#1. 127 Hours
This might fall under the “duh” category for me. To my own surprise, I really loved this film, but anyone who was shocked at the gruesomeness of a film depicting a true story of a hiker forced to amputate his own arm with a pocketknife needs to check their expectations. Many, many people fainted; some vomited; one person had to be hauled away in an ambulance, only to return to the theater to declare the film “excellent.”
You ever fainted or puked your guts out at the movie theater? Any movies you think are missing from this list?
h/t: Mental Floss