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Trauma-Shots :: The Day of the Locust

August 12th, 2009 by unkle lancifer · 11 Comments

Get ready for the ultimate SPOILER…the last ten minutes of JOHN SCHLESINGER‘s THE DAY OF THE LOCUST (1975) is all kinds of mind-screw crazy. I know it’s hard to believe but I ain’t joshin’ kids! It may be based on a NATHANIEL WEST novella and it may concern 1930s Hollywood, but this epic drama has a real scorpion sting to its tail. I don’t relish ruining the movie for ya, but I’m worried maybe you wouldn’t watch it otherwise, even though it does have a horror lovers dream cast; KAREN BLACK (TRILOGY OF TERROR), DONALD SUTHERLAND (DON’T LOOK NOW), BURGESS MEREDITH (BURNT OFFERINGS) and a very young JACKIE EARLE HALEY (our future FREDDY KRUEGER!)

JACKIE‘s character Adore, just might suffer one of the most disturbing fates of any child in the history of film and he’s such an incredible brat that you may not care. Things then go from bad to holy sh*t as mob brutality mixes with JACOB’S LADDER-type hallucinations and soon you’re left understanding what it might be like to have HUBERT SELBY JR. rape your eye socket while singing select tunes from PINK FLOYD‘s THE WALL in your ear. Put this on a double bill with DAVID LYNCH‘s MULHOLLAND DRIVE and throw all your dreams of making it big in Tinsel Town right into the dumpster…

NOTE: The below (like I said, disturbing) clip is from the ending of the movie… so STAND WARNED before you watch!

Tags: Trauma-Shots

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 RATSAWGODNo Gravatar // Aug 12, 2009 at 11:44 am

    I own this movie. Damn, it’s a mindfuck. I literally could not believe what I was seeing!

  • 2 NiNiNo Gravatar // Aug 12, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Wow, that is disturbing – I have to admit that the kid thing struck me as slightly absurd, maybe because of the obvious use of a dummy (or maybe because the kid was obnoxious), but the ensuing riot is sheer horror.  We’ve all seen this sort of thing happen on the news, or in real life. Something sets off a crowd, some primitive mechanism ticks over in people’s minds, and mindless violence, destruction and even rape ensue. Brrrr.

  • 3 senskiNo Gravatar // Aug 12, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Kudos, unk, for travelling off the Horror reservation to get this one. I hope everyone checks Locust out in its entirety, not just for the climax, but for the bizarre, incongruous imagery that’s sprinkled throughout the movie. Sutherland and Meredith were at the the top of their game on this one, with Burgess getting nominated for just about every acting award there was.  Schlesinger showed he had a way with a nightmare, and it payed off later in Marathon Man, The Believers and Pacific Heights

  • 4 lottie_of_millhavenNo Gravatar // Aug 12, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Wow,thanks for posting that.  I would have never given this movie a second thought if it wasn’t for you.  Now I think I have to watch it.  Surrealism,violence and insanity, the three things I look for most  in a movie!

  • 5 BlackwingroseNo Gravatar // Aug 12, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    This is the kind of stuff that scares me in a way more than gore ever can. The announcer who immediately took advantage of the riot and used it to plug the movie was one of the most horrific parts of that. Like Chicago (which first came out in 1926), this story was ahead of it’s time.   I’m going to have to watch this whole movie soon.
    And having actually been in a riot, I can testify how realistic the one in the film is. By the time the mayhem is over, the outcome  really has nothing to do with whatever triggered the first act of violence. It’s very, very ugly and scary.

  • 6 FatherOfTearsNo Gravatar // Aug 12, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    I just put it on my Netflix list.  This clip just kicked my ass!  That whole riot that starts when Donald jumps on the brat reminded me of those gate crashes seen at various rock concerts over the years where people in front are crushed by a surging crowd from behind!  Oh, the one guy gets a compound fracture of the leg…….Compound fractures are a weakness for me! 

  • 7 Pax RomanoNo Gravatar // Aug 12, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    Thanks for posting this.  I saw Day of the Locust when it first came out (Christ, am I old or what?) and it just too much for me to comprehend at the time.  Later on I read the book ( a great read btw), and then re-watched the film and truly appreciated its message about Hollywood, fascism, mob mentality, and antisemitism.
    If memory serves, and it’s been some time, isn’t Donald Sutherland’s character named Homer Simpson?

  • 8 FatherOfTearsNo Gravatar // Aug 12, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Yep, he’s called Homer Simpson!  Say, speaking of movies that have bone jarring endings:

    I haven’t seen this in it’s entirety but I once saw this ending sequence on cable in the mid 90’s and I was like “HOLY CRAP!!!!”.

  • 9 lottie_of_millhavenNo Gravatar // Aug 12, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    FatherofTears(Great name by the way), you should really watch Heavenly Creatures, Its a great off-kilter movie with some stunning direction. 

    Yeah,the ending is VERY shocking and even though I was familiar with the case the film is based on, it still staggered me.

  • 10 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Aug 12, 2009 at 8:47 pm


    I’m going to back up Lottie here, HEAVENLY CREATURES is just amazing…a must see for sure.

  • 11 Blue SevenNo Gravatar // Aug 17, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    That scene is very true to the novel, if memory serves.  An awesome book!  The end of Heavenly Creatures was truly shocking for me, as well.

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