Controversy breeds public interest so why aren't more movies made about graphic murders, heinous crimes, and other sordid subjects? Well, they are for the most part. But it takes a brave filmmaker to go the extra distance to where truth and controversy live together. Those are the movies that stick with people and cause real ruckus. And sex... the powers that be hate sex.
Here are five more controversial movies on Netflix for you to chew on. Hopefully, the below selections will open some eyes. Just like in the first article, these aren't recommendations, but more a glance at the kind of diverse movies Netflix has available. Seasoned film buffs know how shocking this stuff can be. Fair warning.
[Selections are based off the American Netflix menu, apologies if any aren't available in your area.]
1. 'Apocalypse Now' (1979)
Starring: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Hopper
The classic Francis Ford Coppola war epic had one of the most infamous productions in history. It was full of controversies. The American Humane Association gave the film an "unacceptable" rating when they discovered the water buffalo sacrifice was carried out for real by a local Ifugao tribe. Coppola also approved the purchase of real human cadavers from a local grave-robber. And, perhaps most infamously, stars Marlon Brando and Dennis Hopper hated each other, basically for no reason. Brando, who was notoriously hard to work with, eventually refused to be on set with Hopper.
2. 'Django Unchained' (2012)
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, Dennis Christopher, James Remar, Michael Parks, Don Johnson
Quentin Tarantino's movies are always targets for controversies. And Django Unchained was no exception. The film, about an escaped slave who seeks revenge and his lost love, is set in the antebellum South and the language reflects the time. The "N-word" is used throughout, which turned off some critics and fellow filmmakers. Spike Lee said at the time: "All I'm going to say is that it's disrespectful to my ancestors. That's just me ... I'm not speaking on behalf of anybody else." Other people complained it was too violent, and it didn't help the film premiered at the same time as the Sandy Hook school shooting (not that they were related in any way). Django also was skewered for historical inaccuracies (it's a movie!), and faced a copyright infringement lawsuit, which was dismissed.
3. Gerald's Game (2017)
Starring: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood
Stephen King's 1992 suspense novel is a claustrophobic nightmare of small scope. Set inside a bedroom where a husband and wife's night of bondage sex goes wrong, Gerald's Game focuses on Jessie (Gugino) as she lies handcuffed and stranded after her husband suffers a sudden heart attack. What ensues is a psychological thriller as a stray dog arrives and starts eating the corpse, and Jessie hallucinates a deformed ghost, or does she? What makes the Netflix Original Film so talked-about, however, is how Jessie escapes the handcuffs.
4. 'Christine' (2016)
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Maria Dizzia, J. Smith-Cameron, John Cullum, Timothy Simons
The true story of local Sarasota television personality Christine Chubbock, who committed suicide live on the air in 1974, was initially dismissed by her relatives as "exploitative" and too focused on the negative aspects of Christine's life. However, watching the movie, it's clear the focus is trying to understand why Christine, a lovelorn workaholic who was frustrated on the job, would go to such lengths to prove a point. Before she pulled out a gun and shot herself, she told the camera, "In keeping with Channel 40's policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts, and in living color, you are going to see another first — attempted suicide."
5. 'White Girl' (2016)
Starring: Morgan Saylor, Brian Marc, India Menuez, Adrian Martinez, Anthony Ramos, Chris Noth, Justin Bartha
Compared in some circles upon its release to Larry Clark and Harmony Korine's seminal 1995 film Kids, White Girl is certainly one of the most explicit films about teen sex in the last 10 years. However, it was the star of the movie who made people sit up and take notice.
Set in New York City, the movie follows Leah (Morgan Saylor, looking to destroy her squeaky-clean Homeland image) and her best friend as they start college in their first apartment. The girls quickly become enamored with a few of the neighborhood tough guys and are soon having wild sex and blowing coke every night with them. Leah, meanwhile, performs fellatio on her boss during her first week at a new job and carries on sexual relationships with multiple partners throughout the film. There were rumors some of the sex acts depicted were real, but that is unverified. Director Elizabeth Wood spoke to Vogue about the authentic scenes:
"...When we were filming these scenes, I felt sick to my stomach. People would tap me on the shoulder and say, Okay, that’s enough, say cut. I’d say, You know what? I feel so uncomfortable. But the fact that everyone is starting to squirm, I think that means we’re onto something. Those takes would be two, three, four minutes long. But it was the end we would use, when it would start feeling really real."