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.

The Eleventh Commandment

The Eleventh Commandment. Paul Leder, 1987.
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Edition screened: Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray #325, released 2020. English language. Runtime approximately 94 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.


The Films of Don Davis

The Films of Don Davis. Don Davis, 1968-1970.
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Edition screened: Vinegar Syndrome DVD #068, released 2015. English language. Cumulative runtime approximately 209 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.

The compilation includes three calmly entertaining documents from another world:

Marsha: The Erotic Housewife (1970, approximately 66 minutes) 1/5
For Single Swingers Only (1968, approximately 71 minutes) 2.5/5
Her Odd Tastes (1969, approximately 75 minutes) 1/5


The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1947.
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Edition screened: Fox Blu-ray, released 2013. English language. Runtime approximately 104 minutes.

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

I was looking forward to this because I like Gene Tierney and think Mankiewicz films are dependably good. I was disappointed, having forgotten how terrible Rex Harrison always is. And the oppressive Britishness of the film sucked the life out of every aspect except pervasive cutesyness, even making Gene Tierney unsexy.

Girls, Guns and G-Strings: The Andy Sidaris Collection

Girls, Guns and G-Strings: The Andy Sidaris Collection. Andy Sidaris and Christian Drew Sidaris, 1985-1996.
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Edition screened: Mill Creek 3-DVD set, released 2011. English language. Cumulative runtime of 12 feature films approximately 1105 minutes.

Summary: Some films contain images of violence to animals. Click on individual titles for details.

The Mill Creek set includes the following titles. Since the listing on the box has no apparent order, I have arranged them in rough groupings from least terrible to most terrible. As such, the ones near the top of the list are mildly entertaining if you are in just the right mood, while the ones near the bottom of the list are stupendously bad. 

The Dallas Connection (1994 Christian Drew Sidaris)
Malibu Express (1985) 
Guns (1990)
Enemy Gold (1993 Christian Drew Sidaris)
Fit to Kill (1993) 
Hard Hunted (1992)
Do or Die (1991)
Savage Beach (1989)

Hugo Pool

Hugo Pool. Robert Downey Sr., 1997
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Edition screened: Fox Lorber DVD, released 2006. English language. Runtime approximately 92 minutes.

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



In a Lonely Place

In a Lonely Place. Nicholas Ray, 1950.
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Edition screened: Criterion Blu-ray #810, released 2016. English language. Runtime approximately 93 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.


In a Year with 13 Moons

In a Year with 13 Moons (In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden). Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1978.
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German language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 124 minutes.


Our friend Edward reports a long and especially graphic slaughterhouse scene, 18:33-23:52. This difficult-to-sit-through scene is most unfortunate in an otherwise favorite film from the Fassbinder catalogue.

Kings of the Road

Kings of the Road (Im Lauf der Zeit). Wim Wenders, 1976.
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Edition screened: Criterion Blu-ray #816, included in The Road Trilogy box set #813 released 2016. German language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 176 minutes.

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

L.E.T.H.A.L. Ladies: Return to Savage Beach

L.E.T.H.A.L. Ladies: Return to Savage Beach. Andy Sidaris, 1998.
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Edition screened: Included on Mill Creek 3-DVD set Girls, Guns and G-Strings: The Andy Sidaris Collection, released 2011. English language. Runtime approximately 98 minutes.


Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.

You see how terrible the Blu-ray cover is? The whole film is exactly like that.

The Layout

The Layout. Joseph W. Sarno, 1969.
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Edition screened: Included on Something Weird DVD The Love Merchant/The Layout, released 2005. English language. Runtime approximately 79 minutes.

Summary: No animals or references to animals in the film. 3.5/5

The Something Weird release also includes two uncredited nudie shorts, Private Secretary and Two Reel Cuties, each about 12 minutes long and free of animal cruelty. 

The Lonely Sex

The Lonely Sex. Richard Hilliard, 1959.
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Edition screened: Included on Vinegar Syndrome “Drive-In Collection” DVD #005, released 2013, along with Anatomy of a Psycho. English language. Runtime approximately 57 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.


The Love Merchant

The Love Merchant. Joseph W. Sarno, 1966.
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Edition screened: Included on Something Weird DVD The Love Merchant/The Layout, released 2005. English language. Runtime approximately 79 minutes.

Summary: No animals or references to animals in the film. 2.5/5

The Something Weird release also includes two uncredited nudie shorts, Private Secretary and Two Reel Cuties, each about 12 minutes long and free of animal cruelty. 


Old Dracula

Old Dracula (Vampira). Clive Donner, 1974.
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Edition screened: Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray #322, released 2020. English language. Runtime approximately 88 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.


Old Joy

Old Joy. Kelly Reichardt, 2006.
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Edition screened: Criterion Blu-ray #1008, released 2019. English language. Runtime approximately 73 minutes.

Summary: No depictions of violence or harm to animals.

Very nice.


Perfect Strangers (Cohen)

Perfect Strangers (Blind Alley). Larry Cohen, 1984.
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Edition screened: Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray #326, released 2020. English language. Runtime approximately 91 minutes.

Summary: Insect smashing.

Details: A child intentionally steps on an insect and says “Kill bug” at 38:40.

Ann Magnuson has a western-themed pinball table operating in her thrift shop. It’s in the background and hard to see, but I think it is an El Dorado