Today's choice may take some by surprise. It can be argued that it isn't a horror film, by the classic definition. But I include it because I find its contents to be truly horrific. So let's delve into the sordid world of...
It's long been a curiosity how director Joel Schumacher helmed two of the worst Batman feature films ever made. Coming off the two dark and successful Tim Burton outings, Schumacher decided on making something so camp that it likely made Adam West blush. I call this a curiosity because Schumacher has made some pretty dark and creepy films during his long career. Our movie today is certainly one of those.
8MM stars Nicolas Cage as Tom Welles, a private investigator hired by an elderly widow because she found an 8mm recording in her late husband's belongs that would appear to show a young woman being murdered. She asks Welles to find out what happened. This leads our protagonist into the exceedingly dark underworld of snuff films. This where the true horror of the film resides.
Welles sits through a barrage of stark and disgusting images as he watches the snuff. A burly masked man known as Machine seems to star in a number of them. Welles decides to look for him, and the others involved in the making of the features. The scene where Cage (as Welles) watches the snuff films is one of the most unsettling moments in cinema, much of it provided by Cage's reactions, not necessarily from the content of what he's watching (which is disturbing enough).
I finished watching 8MM with a queasiness not usually found after watching even the most brutal of typical horror movies. Perhaps this is because the world of snuff films that the movie dwells upon is real? We are thrust into a seedy, nasty world that, unfortunately, is also a reality. That is what makes 8MM so ugly and horrific. I felt like taking a shower afterwards.