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15 Movies That Were Booed At The Cannes Film Festival

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While it seems rude to heckle or boo a movie at the local cineplex, it’s actually somewhat common at the Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off today. Hey, French moviegoers are pretty passionate about cinema—and they're not afraid to tell filmmakers how they really feel about their movies. Here are a few they've booed.

1. Pulp Fiction

While Quentin Tarantino’s sophomore effort Pulp Fiction didn’t get booed immediately after it premiered at the 47th Cannes Film Festival in 1994, it did receive a tidal wave of jeers when it received the festival’s highest prize, the Palme d’Or. Some audience members felt that Krzysztof Kieślowski’s final film Three Colors: Red should’ve won the prestigious award instead.

2. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

David Lynch’s follow-up to his wildly popular TV series was met with unrelenting boos at Cannes in 1992. There were reportedly plenty of walkouts and much vocal mocking during its premiere screening. 

3. The Tree of Life

While the reaction to Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life was mostly positive, there was a small—and vocal!—minority of dissenting opinions during the film’s screening at Cannes in 2011. A segment of the premiere audience booed the film, but many in attendance felt the negative reaction was merely “counter-applause” for the overwhelming positive response to Malick's meandering feature. The Tree of Life was awarded the Palme d’Or and later received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.

4. Antichrist

Chaos reigned when Lars von Trier’s Antichrist premiered at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. The film—about a couple who emotionally and psychologically break down after the death of their infant child—was met with laughter and jeers during its 108-minute running time. When the film ended, the audience’s boos were louder than positive applause. The festival’s Ecumenical Jury awarded Antichrist an “Anti-Award” for "the most misogynist movie from the self-proclaimed biggest director in the world.”

5. Crash (1996)

David Cronenberg’s Crash was met with jeers for its graphic sex and violence during the 49th Cannes Film Festival in 1996. Despite the negative reaction to the film, Crash received the festival’s Special Jury Prize.

6. Taxi Driver

Believe it or not, Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver received a largely negative reaction when it premiered at Cannes in 1976; audiences didn't like the film’s violence, nihilistic point of view, and unsavory anti-hero. The film was booed when it was given the Palme d’Or, but Scorsese wasn't there to hear it: He was back in New York City with Taxi Driver's lead, Robert De Niro, working on the musical New York, New York.

Taxi Driver would later go on to receive four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Robert De Niro. The film was also selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

7. L’Avventura

Michelangelo Antonioni’s L'Avventura (The Adventure) is now considered the Italian director’s masterpiece—but viewers at its initial screening during the 13th Cannes Film Festival in 1960 didn’t share that sentiment. L'Avventura received so much disdain from the festival audience that Antonioni and the film’s star Monica Vitti had to be rushed out of the theater in fear of the passionate reaction.

8. Marie Antoinette

In 2006, Sofia Coppola’s take on French history received an extremely negative reaction from Cannes audiences. The director was unaware of how audiences vocally react to movies in France. "I didn't know about the boos—it's news to me," she told USA Today. "But it's better than a mediocre response."

9. Southland Tales

Audiences reacted viciously to Richard Kelly’s follow-up to Donnie Darko when it premiered at Cannes in 2006. Many critics and festival attendees walked out or booed the convoluted film while it was screening. Southland Tales was unfinished at the time of its premiere, with a run time more than three hours; Kelly scrambled to cut the film down for its theatrical release in the States, where it flopped.

10. Only God Forgives

In 2013, Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn took his film Only God Forgives to the 66th Cannes Film Festival. Audiences and film critics weren’t so forgiving to Refn’s follow-up to his action drama Drive, and it was received with jeers for its non-narrative plot and unlikable characters.

11. Taking Woodstock

In 2009, Ang Lee released Taking Woodstock, a film that followed a family-run motel in the sleepy town of White Lake—which sits just outside of Woodstock, New York—during the famous music festival. The film received a spattering of boos during the 62nd Cannes Film Festival and is considered a low point in Lee's otherwise impressive career.

12. Wild at Heart

Although the film eventually won the Palme d’Or during the 43rd Cannes Film Festival in 1990, David Lynch’s Wild at Heart received audible jeers when it premiered. The film’s violence and torture scenes put off some audience members—but the film also had its admirers, who wildly cheered it all the way to the festival's top award.

13. Inglourious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino was lightly booed at the Cannes Film Festival for Pulp Fiction in 1994, and the director later received contempt for his World War II-era film Inglourious Basterds. Some audience members and critics took issue with Tarantino’s revisionist approach to World War II, while other felt that the film was too silly and self-indulgent for the festival.

14. The Brown Bunny

Director Vincent Gallo’s The Brown Bunny was notoriously booed and jeered for its monotonous tone and explicit sex scene during the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. Film critic Roger Ebert said the experience was “one of the most disastrous screenings I had ever attended.” The response out of Cannes was so destructive that Gallow vowed never to make a movie again. He added, “It was never my intention to make a pretentious film, a self-indulgent film, a useless film, an unengaging film."

15. The Voice of the Moon

Legendary Italian director Federico Fellini’s final film The Voice of the Moon (La voce della luna) was met with a large number of boos during the 43rd Cannes Film Festival in 1990. Critics panned the film, which they found boring and lifeless. Fellini died three years later in 1993.

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Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
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15 Must-See Holiday Horror Movies
Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Echo Bridge Home Entertainment

Families often use the holidays as an excuse to indulge in repeat viewings of Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Elf. But for a certain section of the population, the yuletide is all about horror. Although it didn’t truly emerge until the mid-1970s, “holiday horror” is a thriving subgenre that often combines comedy to tell stories of demented Saint Nicks and lethal gingerbread men. If you’ve never seen Santa slash someone, here are 15 movies to get you started.

1. THANKSKILLING (2009)

Most holiday horror movies concern Christmas, so ThanksKilling is a bit of an anomaly. Another reason it’s an anomaly? It opens in 1621, with an axe-wielding turkey murdering a topless pilgrim woman. The movie continues on to the present-day, where a group of college friends are terrorized by that same demon bird during Thanksgiving break. It’s pretty schlocky, but if Turkey Day-themed terror is your bag, make sure to check out the sequel: ThanksKilling 3. (No one really knows what happened to ThanksKilling 2.)

2. BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)

Fittingly, the same man who brought us A Christmas Story also brought us its twisted cousin. Before Bob Clark co-wrote and directed the 1983 saga of Ralphie Parker, he helmed Black Christmas. It concerns a group of sorority sisters who are systematically picked off by a man who keeps making threatening phone calls to their house. Oh, and it all happens during the holidays. Black Christmas is often considered the godfather of holiday horror, but it was also pretty early on the slasher scene, too. It opened the same year as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and beat Halloween by a full four years.

3. SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (1984)

This movie isn’t about Santa Claus himself going berserk and slaughtering a bunch of people. But it is about a troubled teen who does just that in a Santa suit. Billy Chapman starts Silent Night, Deadly Night as a happy little kid, only to witness a man dressed as St. Nick murder his parents in cold blood. Years later, after he has grown up and gotten a job at a toy store, he conducts a killing spree in his own red-and-white suit. The PTA and plenty of critics condemned the film for demonizing a kiddie icon, but it turned into a bona fide franchise with four sequels and a 2012 remake.

4. RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE (2010)

This Finnish flick dismantles Santa lore in truly bizarre fashion, and it’s not easy to explain in a quick plot summary. But Rare Exports involves a small community living at the base of Korvatunturi mountain, a major excavation project, a bunch of dead reindeer, and a creepy old naked dude who may or may not be Santa Claus. Thanks to its snowy backdrop, the movie scored some comparisons to The Thing, but the hero here isn’t some Kurt Russell clone with equally feathered hair. It’s a bunch of earnest kids and their skeptical dads, who all want to survive the holidays in one piece.

5. TO ALL A GOODNIGHT (1980)

To All a Goodnight follows a by-now familiar recipe: Add a bunch of young women to one psycho dressed as Santa Claus and you get a healthy dose of murder and this 1980 slasher flick. Only this one takes place at a finishing school. So it’s fancier.

6. KRAMPUS (2015)

Although many Americans are blissfully unaware of him, Krampus has terrorized German-speaking kids for centuries. According to folklore, he’s a yuletide demon who punishes naughty children. (He’s also part-goat.) That’s some solid horror movie material, so naturally Krampus earned his own feature film. In the movie, he’s summoned because a large suburban family loses its Christmas cheer. That family has an Austrian grandma who had encounters with Krampus as a kid, so he returns to punish her descendants. He also animates one truly awful Jack-in-the-Box.

7. THE GINGERDEAD MAN (2005)

“Eat me, you punk b*tch!” That’s one of the many corny catchphrases spouted by the Gingerdead Man, an evil cookie possessed by the spirit of a convicted killer (played by Gary Busey). The lesson here, obviously, is to never bake.

8. JACK FROST (1997)

No, this isn’t the Michael Keaton snowman movie. It’s actually a holiday horror movie that beat that family film by a year. In this version, Jack Frost is a serial killer on death row who escapes prison and then, through a freak accident, becomes a snowman. He embarks on a murder spree that’s often played for laughs—for instance, the cops threaten him with hairdryers. But the comedy is pretty questionable in the infamous, and quite controversial, Shannon Elizabeth shower scene.

9. ELVES (1989)

Based on the tagline—“They’re not working for Santa anymore”—you’d assume this is your standard evil elves movie. But Elves weaves Nazis, bathtub electrocutions, and a solitary, super grotesque elf into its utterly absurd plot. Watch at your own risk.

10. SINT (2010)

The Dutch have their own take on Santa, and his name is Sinterklaas. Sinterklaas travels to the Netherlands via steamship each year with his racist sidekick Zwarte Piet. But otherwise, he’s pretty similar to Santa. And if Santa can be evil, so can Sinterklaas. According to the backstory in Sint (or Saint), the townspeople burned their malevolent bishop alive on December 5, 1492. But Sinterklaas returns from the grave on that date whenever there’s a full moon to continue dropping bodies. In keeping with his olden origins, he rides around on a white horse wielding a golden staff … that he can use to murder you.

11. SANTA’S SLAY (2005)

Ever wonder where Santa came from? This horror-comedy claims he comes from the worst possible person: Satan. The devil’s kid lost a bet many years ago and had to pretend to be a jolly gift-giver. But now the terms of the bet are up and he’s out to act like a true demon. That includes killing Fran Drescher and James Caan, obviously.

12. ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE (2015)

Another Santa slasher is on the loose in All Through the House, but the big mystery here is who it is. This villain dons a mask during his/her streak through suburbia—and, as the genre dictates, offs a bunch of promiscuous young couples along the way. The riddle is all tied up in the disappearance of a little girl, who vanished several years earlier.

13. CHRISTMAS EVIL (1980)

Several years before Silent Night, Deadly Night garnered protests for its anti-Kringle stance, Christmas Evil put a radicalized Santa at the center of its story. The movie’s protagonist, Harry Stadling, first starts to get weird thoughts in his head as a kid when he sees “Santa” (really his dad in the costume) groping his mom. Then, he becomes unhealthily obsessed with the holiday season, deludes himself into thinking he’s Santa, and goes on a rampage. The movie is mostly notable for its superfan John Waters, who lent commentary to the DVD and gave Christmas Evil some serious cult cred.

14. SANTA CLAWS (1996)

If you thought this was the holiday version of Pet Sematary, guess again. The culprit here isn’t a demon cat in a Santa hat, but a creepy next-door neighbor. Santa Claws stars B-movie icon Debbie Rochon as Raven Quinn, an actress going through a divorce right in the middle of the holidays. She needs some help caring for her two girls, so she seeks out Wayne, her neighbor who has an obsessive crush on her. He eventually snaps and dresses up as Santa Claus in a ski mask. Mayhem ensues.

15. NEW YEAR’S EVIL (1980)

Because the holidays aren’t over until everyone’s sung “Auld Lang Syne,” we can’t count out New Year’s Eve horror. In New Year’s Evil, lady rocker Blaze is hosting a live NYE show. Everything is going well, until a man calls in promising to kill at midnight. The cops write it off as a prank call, but soon, Blaze’s friends start dropping like flies. Just to tie it all together, the mysterious murderer refers to himself as … “EVIL.”

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10 Surprising Ways Senses Shape Perception
The American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History

Every bit of information we know about the world we gathered with one of our five senses. But even with perfect pitch or 20/20 vision, our perceptions don’t always reflect an accurate picture of our surroundings. Our brain is constantly filling in gaps and taking shortcuts, which can result in some pretty wild illusions.

That’s the subject of “Our Senses: An Immersive Experience,” a new exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Mental Floss recently took a tour of the sensory funhouse to learn more about how the brain and the senses interact.

1. LIGHTING REVEALS HIDDEN IMAGES.

Woman and child looking at pictures on a wall

Under normal lighting, the walls of the first room of “Our Senses” look like abstract art. But when the lights change color, hidden illustrations are revealed. The three lights—blue, red, and green—used in the room activate the three cone cells in our eyes, and each color highlights a different set of animal illustrations, giving the viewers the impression of switching between three separate rooms while standing still.

2. CERTAIN SOUNDS TAKE PRIORITY ...

We can “hear” many different sounds at once, but we can only listen to a couple at a time. The AMNH exhibit demonstrates this with an audio collage of competing recordings. Our ears automatically pick out noises we’re conditioned to react to, like an ambulance siren or a baby’s cry. Other sounds, like individual voices and musical instruments, require more effort to detect.

3. ... AS DO CERTAIN IMAGES.

When looking at a painting, most people’s eyes are drawn to the same spots. The first things we look for in an image are human faces. So after staring at an artwork for five seconds, you may be able to say how many people are in it and what they look like, but would likely come up short when asked to list the inanimate object in the scene.

4. PAST IMAGES AFFECT PRESENT PERCEPTION.

Our senses often are more suggestible than we would like. Check out the video above. After seeing the first sequence of animal drawings, do you see a rat or a man’s face in the last image? The answer is likely a rat. Now watch the next round—after being shown pictures of faces, you might see a man’s face instead even though the final image hasn’t changed.

5. COLOR INFLUENCES TASTE ...

Every cooking show you’ve watched is right—presentation really is important. One look at something can dictate your expectations for how it should taste. Researchers have found that we perceive red food and drinks to taste sweeter and green food and drinks to taste less sweet regardless of chemical composition. Even the color of the cup we drink from can influence our perception of taste.

6. ... AND SO DOES SOUND

Sight isn’t the only sense that plays a part in how we taste. According to one study, listening to crunching noises while snacking on chips makes them taste fresher. Remember that trick before tossing out a bag of stale junk food.

7. BEING HYPER-FOCUSED HAS DRAWBACKS.

Have you ever been so focused on something that the world around you seemed to disappear? If you can’t recall the feeling, watch the video above. The instructions say to keep track of every time a ball is passed. If you’re totally absorbed, you may not notice anything peculiar, but watch it a second time without paying attention to anything in particular and you’ll see a person in a gorilla suit walk into the middle of the screen. The phenomenon that allows us to tune out big details like this is called selective attention. If you devote all your mental energy to one task, your brain puts up blinders that block out irrelevant information without you realizing it.

8. THINGS GET WEIRD WHEN SENSES CONTRADICT EACH OTHER.

Girl standing in optical illusion room.

The most mind-bending room in the "Our Senses" exhibit is practically empty. The illusion comes from the black grid pattern painted onto the white wall in such a way that straight planes appear to curve. The shapes tell our eyes we’re walking on uneven ground while our inner ear tells us the floor is stable. It’s like getting seasick in reverse: This conflicting sensory information can make us feel dizzy and even nauseous.

9. WE SEE SHADOWS THAT AREN’T THERE.

If our brains didn’t know how to adjust for lighting, we’d see every shadow as part of the object it falls on. But we can recognize that the half of a street that’s covered in shade isn’t actually darker in color than the half that sits in the sun. It’s a pretty useful adaptation—except when it’s hijacked for optical illusions. Look at the image above: The squares marked A and B are actually the same shade of gray. Because the pillar appears to cast a shadow over square B, our brain assumes it’s really lighter in color than what we’re shown.

10. WE SEE FACES EVERYWHERE.

The human brain is really good at recognizing human faces—so good it can make us see things that aren’t there. This is apparent in the Einstein hollow head illusion. When looking at the mold of Albert Einstein’s face straight on, the features appear to pop out rather than sink in. Our brain knows we’re looking at something similar to a human face, and it knows what human faces are shaped like, so it automatically corrects the image that it’s given.

All images courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History unless otherwise noted.

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