Heads Up, Ears Down

This blog accurately identifies depictions of violence and cruelty toward animals in films. The purpose is to provide viewers with a reliable guide so that such depictions do not come as unwelcome surprises. Films will be accurately notated, providing a time cue for each incident along with a concise description of the scene and perhaps relevant context surrounding the incident. In order to serve as a useful reference tool, films having no depictions of violence to animals will be included, with an indication that there are no such scenes. This is confirmation that the films have been watched with the stated purpose in mind.


Note that the word depictions figures prominently in the objective. It is a travesty that discussions about cruelty in film usually are derailed by the largely unrelated assertion that no animals really were hurt (true only in some films, dependent upon many factors), and that all this concern is just over a simulation. Not the point, whether true or false. We do not smugly dismiss depictions of five-year-olds being raped because those scenes are only simulations. No, we are appalled that such images are even staged, and we are appropriately horrified that the notion now has been planted into the minds of the weak and cruel.


Depictions of violence or harm to animals are assessed in keeping with our dominant culture, with physical abuse, harmful neglect, and similar mistreatment serving as a base line. This blog does not address extended issues of animal welfare, and as such does not identify scenes of people eating meat or mules pulling plows. The goal is to itemize images that might cause a disturbance in a compassionate household.


These notes provide a heads-up but do not necessarily discourage watching a film because of depicted cruelty. Consuming a piece of art does not make you a supporter of the ideas presented. Your ethical self is created by your public rhetoric and your private actions, not by your willingness to sit through a filmed act of violence.

Dans le vent

Dans le vent. Jacques Rozier & William Rozier, 1962.
๐Ÿ˜ธ
Edition screened: On line. French language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 8 minutes.

Summary: No particular depictions of violence or harm to animals.


Delicatessen

Delicatessen. Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, 1991.
๐Ÿ˜ธ
Edition screened: Lions Gate StudioCanal Blu-ray, released 2010. French language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 99 minutes.

Summary: No particular depictions of violence or harm to animals.


I received bad information about this film decades ago and disregarded it, thinking I would not like it. Glad to be corrected.

Double Face

Double Face (A doppia faccia). Riccardo Freda (as Robert Hampton), 1969.
๐Ÿ˜ธ
Edition screened: Arrow Blu-ray, released 2019. Italian language with English subtitles, or original English dub. Runtime approximately 81 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.

Double Face routinely is slammed for clumsy miniatures in the opening and closing scenes and terrible effects processing in the snow scene right after the opening. Yes, they are terrible. They also are very brief and aren’t going anywhere. Everything else about this movie is quite good, a well-written and suspenseful plot, pretty girls, cool cars, and Klaus Kinski’s exceptional acting seems to have motivated the entire cast into good performances. A nightclub near the end of the film has a line of late 60’s pinball machines.

Daguerre-Beach

Daguerre-Beach. Agnรจs Varda, 2008.
๐Ÿ˜ธ
Edition screened: Included on Cinema Guild DVD The Beaches of Agnรจs, released 2010. French language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 10 minutes.

Summary: No particular depictions of violence or harm to animals.


Daniel

Daniel. Ingmar Bergman, 1967.
๐Ÿ˜ธ
Edition screened: Included in Criterion Blu-ray set Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema, released 2018. Swedish language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 11 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.

Daniel was Bergman’s contribution to the omnibus film Stimulantia, and is included on disc #11 of 30 in Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema.

The Dante Quartet (Brakhage)

The Dante Quartet. Stan Brakhage, 1987.
๐Ÿ˜ธ
Edition screened: Included in Criterion Blu-ray box set #518 By Brakhage: An Anthology, Volumes One and Two, released 2010. Silent. Runtime 6 minutes, 3 seconds.


Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.

Dark August

Dark August. Martin Goldman, 1976.
๐Ÿ˜ฟ๐Ÿ˜ฟ๐Ÿ˜ฟ
Edition screened: Included in Arrow box set American Horror Project Vol. 2, released 2019. English language. Runtime approximately 87 minutes.

Summary: Depicted murder of a German Shepherd

Details: The movie concludes with a demon apparently occupying a man’s body, causing his dog to attack him. The man arguably is forced to shoot his dog in self defense at 1:24:57, and we see the dying bloody dog through the final few seconds of the film. 



Dark Places

Dark Places. Gilles Paquet-Brenner, 2014.
๐Ÿ˜ฟ๐Ÿ˜ฟ
Edition screened: Lionsgate Blu-ray, released 2015. English language. Runtime approximately 113 minutes.

Summary: Murderous attack on cows.

Details:
1) Mid-way through the movie there is a montage of media reports about satanism, including a quick image of a black-and-white photo of a dead cat, as though from a police file. It is quick, small on the screen, and not graphic or memorable.
2) Three young people who think they are satanists take drugs and attack corralled cows with pick axes and knives, 1:03:55-1:04:32. It happens at night and we don’t see impacts or injured animals, but there is a lot of weapon flailing, grunts and screams, and splattering blood.

I had forgotten how terrible made-for-TV movies were. 


The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower. Stan Brakhage, 1999.
๐Ÿ˜ธ
Edition screened: Included in Criterion Blu-ray box set #518 By Brakhage: An Anthology, Volumes One and Two, released 2010. Silent. Runtime 2 minutes, 19 seconds.


Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.

Darkroom

Darkroom. Terrence O’Hara and Nico Mastorakis, 1989.
๐Ÿ˜ธ
Edition screened: Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray #272, released 2019. English language. Runtime approximately 85 minutes.

Summary: No particular depictions of violence or harm to animals.


Days of the Arcane Light

Day of the Arcane Light. Jeff Keen, 1969.
๐Ÿ˜ธ
Edition screened: Included in BFI Gazwrx: The Films of Jeff Keen Blu-ray/DVD set, released 2009. Scored and/or with sound effects track. Runtime approximately 14 minutes.

Summary: No particular depictions of violence or harm to animals.


De Niro & De Palma: The Early Years

De Niro & De Palma: The Early Years. Brian De Palma, 1968-1970.
๐Ÿ˜ธ
Edition screened: Arrow Blu-ray box set, released 2018. English language. Cumulative runtime of three feature films approximately 267 minutes.

Summary: No particular depictions of violence or harm to animals.

The Arrow box set includes many interviews and documentary featurettes to supplement the three films:

Greetings (1968)
The Wedding Party (1969)
Hi, Mom! (1970)



The Dead (Brakhage)

The Dead. Stan Brakhage, 1960.
๐Ÿ˜ธ
Edition screened: Included in Criterion Blu-ray box set #518 By Brakhage: An Anthology, Volumes One and Two, released 2010. Silent. Runtime 10 minutes, 21 seconds.


Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.

Deadbeat at Dawn

Deadbeat at Dawn. Jim VanBebber, 1988.
๐Ÿ˜ธ
Edition screened: Arrow Blu-ray, released 2018. English language. Runtime approximately 80 minutes.

Summary: Depiction of a drug-addled man attacking a rat with a baseball bat, but no we see no impact shots, blood, dead rat or similar; just a crazy 50-year-old man slamming a baseball bat into the drywall of his disgusting apartment.

“Shocking” is the best word to describe this movie. It is shockingly violent, shockingly well-conceived and entertaining to watch, shockingly impressive for a young director’s first film, and shockingly free of animal violence.

The Arrow release includes four additional short films by VanBebber, the second and third of which contain unpleasant violence to animals. Click on titles for details:

Gator Green (2013)

Deadly Daphne’s Revenge

Deadly Daphne’s Revenge (The Hunting Season). Richard Gardner, 1981.
๐Ÿ˜ฟ๐Ÿ˜ฟ๐Ÿ˜ฟ
Edition screened: Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray #229, released 2018. English language. Runtime approximately 90 minutes.

Summary: A small dog is shot.

Details:
1) A cockapoo-type dog who is just walking calmly, is kicked and yelps at 1:17:06.
2) The dog, just sitting doing nothing, is shot at 1:23:50. His owner holds the bloody body through 1:25:42.

This movie is completely unlikable and offensive in every way. The main drama is a rape-and-revenge tale. The rapist and the victim both are excruciatingly repugnant, although he is more vile. The film is riddled with crude, mean-spirited racist and misogynistic dialogue. Social content aside, Deadly Daphne’s Revenge also is a badly written, disorganized movie mostly about a hunting trip that turns into a rape party, with a framing mechanism (the irrelevant story of Daphne’s history with one of the hunters) tenuously tacked-on and barely justified with a few lines of dialogue. Scenes of lawyers quibbling in their bathroom-sized offices pad the middle fifty-percent of the movie between the brutal rape and the shoulder-shrugging resolution.