Saturday, March 20, 2010

What's Your Poison?

As you may have guessed from earlier posts, I've had "Telephone" by Lady Gaga stuck in my head for over a week and though I don't like the video short film as much as her last -- I think it's trying a tiny smidgeon too hard whereas "Bad Romance" is just so controlled and escalating in its impact -- I do find it amusing how much Gaga loves to poison people, for laughs (and provocation) in her music videos. What is it about poison exactly that is so cinematic?

Cary Grant in Suspicion

It's as if its malevolence is both scarier, sicker and sexier than regular kinds of violence. [If violence could ever be called sexy that is ... and given the ample evidence, most filmmakers find it a major turn on.] Perhaps the terror / eroticism of poison comes from it being something that happens internally, something that's connected to inescapable human needs (eating, drinking) and something that capitalizes on our fear of the unknown. You can see a fist or an arrow or a rampaging beast hurtling towards you, but you can never see poison coming.

Michelle Pfeiffer in White Oleander

What's your favorite poisonous scene in the movies? My mind lept immediately to Ingrid Magnussen's complete toxicity (literal and figurative) in the underrated White Oleander and to Elle Driver's educational lecture on the Black Mamba in Kill Bill, Vol. 2 and to that classic pair Romeo + Juliet who guzzle faux poison but are poisoned instead by their rash youth and noxious environment. Where did your mind go?

21 comments:

Deus Ex Machina said...

Mmm. Heathers comes to mind instantly, Corn NUTTS!!

Catherine said...

"It's one thing to want someone out of your life, but it's another thing to serve them a wake-up cup full of liquid drainer"

OR

Old school: Wicked Queen and a shiny red apples

OR

"YOU'RE POISON, RUNNING THROUGH MY VEINS!
I DON'T WANA BREAK THESE CHAINS!" (not cinematic. ahem)

NATHANIEL R said...

Deus Ex Machina... oh my god. how did my mind not go there. That's like one of the best movie scenes ever, any category.

Catherine... old school. loove it.

Julian Stark said...

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (drugged apple) and The Wizard of Oz (poppy flowers) - can't mess with the classics :)

ClaudeMedwenitsch said...

Silicone,
Saline,
Poison,
Inject me.

cal roth said...

It's not really poison, but it works the same way: Bette Davis in LIttle Foxes, seeing the death of her husband...

Rose said...

Hmmmmm, my favorite (that hasn't already been mentioned) is the old ladies in Arsenic and Old Lace.

Robert Hamer said...

How about the TV movie Rasputin with the fabulous Alan Rickman? I mean, the man was poisoned, beaten, and shot, and he just...wouldn't...die.

Jude said...

Question: Do you think Lady GaGa will move onto filn acting one day? I don't mean ditch music, but rather do a Madonna thing and balance the two.

Chrstine said...

Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane. Chamomile tea. That will teach you to rough up hamsters Martin Sheen.

Marsha Mason said...

9 to 5.

Luigi De Angelis S. said...

An interesting post about poison and its different meanings in movies...

I like all the poisoning scenes that you mentioned in your post, specially the Kill Bill one.

However, my favorite: Snow white and the seven dwarfs.

Cory Rivard said...

My mind went straight to "The Princess Bride". One of the greatest scenes of all time. I miss Cary Elwes.

What a great idea for a post. I like your brain.

pomme said...

in WhiteSnow, the poison apple!

Anonymous said...

My favorite Gaga video is Just Dance. It's not a big budget extravaganza like Bad Romance or Telephone. It's just fun.


Poison - Heathers!

Paul Outlaw said...

Leave Her to Heaven...and I will say no more for the sake of those who haven't seen the movie. It is a classic!

Danny King said...

The Maltese Falcon!

mrripley said...

Oh yes anything that drams me to la pfeiffer's fabulousness in that 02 drama is always good.

still pissed at queen latifah for her theaving.

Deborah said...

No one mentions Notorious? What's WRONG with you people?

Notorious. Greatest.

Simon said...

Heathers, Kill Bill Vol 2 (plus the almost-poisoning of Vol 1).

Hayden said...

"When you get bit by a snake, you're supposed to suck the poison out. That's what I had to do. Suck all the poison out of my life."

Mean Girls