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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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5 Quick Facts About the Hashtag
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The use of the hashtag as a Twitter tool to denote a specific topic in order for the masses to follow along turns 10 years old today, having first been suggested (in a Tweet, naturally) by Silicon Valley regular and early adopter Chris Messina back in 2007. Here’s a little history on its evolution from the humble numerical sign to the social media giant it is today.

1. IT COMES FROM THE LATIN TERM FOR “POUND WEIGHT.”

There’s no definitive origin story for the hash (or pound) symbol, but one belief is that when 14th-century Latin began to abbreviate the term for pound weight—libra pondo—to “lb,” a horizontal slash was added to denote the letters were connected. (The bar was called a tittle.) As people began to write more quickly, the letters and the tittle became amalgamated, eventually morphing into the symbol we see today.

2. IT SHOULD ACTUALLY BE CALLED AN OCTOTHORPETAG.

The symbol portion of the hashtag eventually made its way to dial-button telephones, the result of AT&T looking forward to phones interacting with computers. In order to complete a square keypad with 10 digits (including 0), they added the numerical sign and an asterisk. AT&T employee Don MacPherson thought they sign needed a more official name, so he chose Octothorpe—“octo” because it has eight points, and “thorpe” because he was a fan of football hero Jim Thorpe.

3. TWITTER WASN’T BIG ON THE IDEA AT FIRST.

When web marketer Messina had the notion to add hashtags to keep track of conversations, he stopped by Twitter’s offices to make an informal pitch. He came at a bad time: co-founder Biz Stone was trying to get the software back online after a crash and dismissed the idea with a “Sure, we’ll get right on that” burn. Undeterred, Messina started using them and the habit caught on.

4. IT’S IN THE OXFORD DICTIONARY.

By 2014, respect for the hashtag had grown to the point where the venerable Oxford English Dictionary gave the word its stamp of approval. Their entry: "hashtag n. (on social media web sites and applications) a word or phrase preceded by a hash and used to identify messages relating to a specific topic; (also) the hash symbol itself, when used in this way."

5. THERE ARE SOME HASHTAG ALL-TIMERS.

Hashtags can highlight interest in everything from political movements to breaking news stories, but the frequency of their use is often tied into popular culture. The most popular TV-related tag has been #TheWalkingDead; #StarWars sees a lot of action; and #NFL dominates sports-related Tweets.  

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12 Sharp Facts About Hellraiser
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In 1987, the New World Pictures released Hellraiser, a horror film about a family who opens a puzzle box and invites hell in their lives in the form of pleasure-pain creatures known as Cenobites, who are lead by Pinhead (played by Doug Bradley). Unlike many other horror films at the time, Hellraiser wasn’t a slasher film, and Pinhead wasn’t a boogeyman.

British novelist, playwright, and screenwriter Clive Barker wanted to direct a feature film, so he adapted his 1986 horror novella, The Hellbound Heart, into Hellraiser. Despite the graphic nature of the film, it’s really a love story between Julia Cotton and her demented—and skinless—lover Frank  ... whose relationship just so happens to revolve around sadistic torture.

Hellraiser was produced for around a $1 million and grossed $14 million, making it lucrative enough to spawn nine sequels, including this year’s Hellraiser: Judgment. (Bradley hasn’t starred in a Hellraiser film since 2011’s Hellraiser: Revelations, and Barker didn’t direct or write any of the sequels, most of which were direct-to-DVD releases.) As we near the 30th anniversary of its release, let's take a look back at this horror classic.

1. THE ORIGINS OF PINHEAD CAME FROM A 1973 PLAY.

Before Doug Bradley uttered the catchphrase “We’ll tear your soul apart,” Clive Barker directed him in a 1973 play called Hunters in the Snow, in which Bradley played the Dutchman, a torturer who would become the basis for Pinhead.

“The character I played in Hunters, the Dutchman, I can see echoes of later... Pinhead in Hellraiser," Bradley said. "This strange, strange character whose head was kind of empty but who conveyed all kinds of things.”

Barker’s mid-1980s short story “The Forbidden”—which was adapted into Candyman—from his "Books of Blood" series, featured the first incarnation of Pinhead’s nails. “One image I remember very strongly from 'The Forbidden' was that Clive had built what he called his nail-board, which was basically a block of wood which he’d squared off and then he’d banged six-inch nails in at the intersections of the squares,” Bradley said. “Of course, when I saw the first illustrations for [Pinhead], it rang a bell with me that here was Clive putting the ideas that he’d been playing around with the nail-board in 'The Forbidden,' now 10, 15 years later. He’d now put the image all over a human being’s face.”

2. CLIVE BARKER CAST “REAL ACTORS.”

Unlike many other horror movies of the time, which were more concerned with gore than great acting, Barker insisted that they look for real talent in the casting. “I’m not just taking the 12 most beautiful youths in California and murdering them,” Barker told The Washington Post in 1987. “I’ve got real actors, real performers—and then I’m murdering them.” The “real” refers to British theater actors like Bradley, Clare Higgins, and Andrew Robinson.

3. PINHEAD WASN’T SUPPOSED TO BE ON THE POSTER.

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Bradley said the filmmakers wanted skinned Frank to be on the poster, but the studio said no to the grotesque imagery, so Pinhead was used on the poster instead. “Maybe that came from Clive, because what we get in that image of Pinhead with the box is the heart of the Hellraiser mythology,” Bradley said. “If you put The Engineer or the skinned man on the poster, it’s an amazing image but it’s just an image, and it could come from any movie.” Bradley thought using Pinhead’s face made more sense. “The big success of Pinhead is because the image is so original, so startling. It is just an incredible image to look at, and that made a big difference in terms of the public's perception of the movie.”

4. NO ONE KNEW THAT DOUG BRADLEY WAS PINHEAD.

Bradley’s Pinhead mug was everywhere—on the cover of magazines and on the movie’s poster—but no one mentioned his name. “It was great to be so heavily featured, but there was no way to prove to anyone that it was actually me,” Bradley said. “Those who were following Hellraiser at the time were wondering where the guy with the pins was! Well I can tell you where I was—I was sitting at home in England, watching it all happen from the sidelines.”

5. THE CENOBITES' DESIGN WAS INSPIRED BY S&M CLUBS.

In the box set’s liner notes, Barker wrote that the Cenobites's “design was influenced amongst other things by punk, by Catholicism, and by the visits I would take to S&M clubs in New York and Amsterdam.” Costume designer Jane Wildgoose created the costumes, based on Barker’s instruction of “repulsive glamour.”

“The other notes that I made about what he wanted was that they should be ‘magnificent super-butchers,’” Wildgoose said.

As for Pinhead, Barker said he “had seen a book containing photographs of African fetishes: sculptures of human heads crudely carved from wood and then pierced with dozens, sometimes hundreds, of nails and spikes. They were images of rage, the text instructed.”

6. IT'S REALLY A LOVE STORY.

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Julia is forced to bring men back to her house and murder them for Frank so that he can replenish his flesh. Barker looked at Hellraiser as more of a love story, with Julia committing these heinous acts in the name of love, not just to be brutal for no reason.

“She’s not committing murder in the way that Jason in the Friday the 13th films commits murder—just for the sake of blood-letting —she’s doing it for love,” Barker told Samhain. “So there is a sympathetic quality about her, enhanced hugely in my estimation by the fact that Clare Higgins does it so well.”

7. BARKER’S GRANDFATHER INSPIRED THE PUZZLE BOX.

When a person twists the box, known as the Lament Configuration, it summons the Cenobites from the gates of hell into the individual's world. “I wanted to have access to hell in the book and in the first movie, explored by something rather different than drawing a circle on the floor with magical symbols around it,” Barker told WIRED. “That seemed rather stale and rather old.”

Barker explained his grandfather was a cook on ship and brought back a puzzle box from the Far East. “So when I went back to the problem of how to open the doors of hell, the idea of [using] a puzzle box seemed interesting to me. You know, the image of a cube is everywhere in world culture, whether it’s the Rubik’s Cube or the idea of the [Tesseract] in The Avengers movies. There’s a lot of places where the image of a cube as a thing of power is pertinent. I don’t know why that is, I don’t have any mythic explanation for it, but it seems to work for people.”

8. ROGER EBERT WASN'T A FAN OF THE FILM.

Roger Ebert gave Hellraiser just a half star when he reviewed it in 1987. “Who goes to see movies like this? This is a movie without wit, style, or reason,” he wrote, adding that, “I have seen the future of implausible plotting, and his name is Clive Barker.”

9. SOMEONE HAD THE JOB OF MAGGOT AND COCKROACH WRANGLER.

In England, there was a law in which cockroaches of both sexes weren’t allowed on set, because they could have mated and caused an infestation. So Barker had to hire someone to oversee the situation. “The wrangler, this is the honest truth, had to sex the roaches,” Barker told an audience at a Hellraiser screening. “They were all male. And we had a fridge. They move very fast, so the only way to slow them down was to chill them. We chilled the maggots and the roaches. We'd open it up and it was all reassuring. It was fun.”

10. BARKER PREFERS "HELL PRIEST" TO "PINHEAD."

In The Hellbound Heart, the Cenobite with pins sticking out of his head is called The Hell Priest. One of the special effects guys who worked on the movie gave the character his nickname. “I thought it was a rather undignified thing to call the monster, but once it stuck, it stuck,” Barker told Grantland.

In 2015, Barker published a sequel to The Hellbound Heart, The Scarlet Gospels, which features Pinhead getting annoyed when people call him that—as well as Pinhead’s demise. “He will not be coming back, by the way," Barker said. "That I promise you."

11. A HELLRAISER VS. HALLOWEEN MOVIE ALMOST HAPPENED.

In an interview with Game Radar, Bradley said the success of Freddy vs. Jason led Hellraiser distributor Dimension Films to flirt with a Hellraiser vs. Halloween film. “I was actually getting excited by the prospect of this because Clive said he would write it and John Carpenter said he would direct it,” Bradley said. “I actually spoke to Clive about it a couple of times and he was interested in finding the places where the Halloween and Hellraiser worlds intermeshed.” But Moustapha Akkad, who owned the rights to Halloween, extinguished the idea.

12. THE BRITISH BOARD OF FILM CLASSIFICATION HAD TO CHECK THAT NO RATS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THE MOVIE.

While the MPAA requested that a spanking scene be cut for its American release, England's BBFC agreed to release the movie as it was, if they were assured that the rats used in the film weren’t hurt. “I had to bring three remote-control rats into the censor’s office and make them wriggle about on the floor,” producer Christopher Figg told The Telegraph. “They wanted to be sure we hadn’t been cruel to them.”

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