INCLUDE_DATA

10 MOVIES DESIGNED TO OFFEND YOUR RELIGION (Part 2) by COOP

Posted on June 10th, 2009
Posted on June 10th, 2009


Movies don’t try to please everyone. Tailor-made for certain demographics, some filmmakers try to entertain or provoke discussion, knowing full well their movie will offend a particular group. The most inflammatory of these movies attempt to question taboos, rituals and customs of many of the world’s most popular religions.

Some films bolster the beliefs of certain religions either intentionally or unintentionally through offending its audience. For instance, the first “Exorcist” film which took advantage of the big “Satanism” movie genre of the 1970’s literally scared churchgoers back into the pews. Those aren’t the movies I’m talking about here.

The movies in this list fully expected and possibly depended upon offending certain religions in order to succeed. Sometimes the film in question preys upon longstanding fears and prejudices in order to make a point. Here are 10 movies designed to offend your (or someone else’s) religious beliefs (Note: The Small Town Critic does not endorse or defend any of the viewpoints these films present)…

(Continued from Part 1)

5. IN THE NAME OF BUDDHA (2002)
• Whom does it offend? – Buddhists

This award-winner was slammed for its content that portrays Buddhists in Sri Lanka as a genocidal society who engaged in ethnic warfare with the (Muslim/Christian) Tamils. While the winning side of such battles usually draws the ire of the international community for committing war crimes, demonizing a largely peaceful religion can be considered a low blow. While there are no clear villains or heroes to Westerners in this very real and tragic chapter in Sri Lanka history, Buddhists consider this film one-sided and unfairly misrepresentative of their ways.

4. THE DAVINCI CODE/ANGELS AND DEMONS (2006 & 2009)
• Whom does it offend? – Catholicism and some aspects of Christianity

This one-two punch from author Dan Brown prompted the Vatican to declare its sovereign grounds off limits to director Ron Howard while shooting these films. “The DaVinci Code” suggests that the Holy Roman Church has suppressed information about Jesus that would undermine their control and would willingly murder to keep it a secret. “Angels and Demons” further suggests the Church is also politically corrupt, needlessly dogmatic and defunct due to internal power struggles. Add a bit of sci-fi and mysticism and there’s no wonder why the Catholic Church is vexed by this franchise.

3. MARTYRS (2008)
• Whom does it offend? – Christians

This shocking French horror film (review here) starts as a bloody revenge flick then suddenly surprises viewers by turning into a philosophical thriller with a controversial religious message. The change happens halfway through and ventures into similar territory as “Frailty.” It presents the idea that the search for divinity can be paved with justifiable atrocities… that others can be sacrificed in order to obtain proof that not only does God exists, but that he rewards abominable behavior as long as it’s in his name. This very dangerous concept results in a haunting ending that’s both infuriating and thought provoking.

2. THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (2004)
• Whom does it offend? – Judaism

Mel Gibson’s pro-Christian masterpiece of the last days of Jesus Christ did not emerge from the box office unscathed by critics. Allegations that the film portrayed Jews as villainous stereotypes prompted protests from the Jewish community far and wide. Drunken anti-Semitic remarks made by Gibson himself added additional fuel to the media firestorm. The graphic brutality inflicted upon Jesus (Jim Caviezel) at the hand of the Jews and the Roman soldiers, as portrayed in the film, elicited disgust and outrage from Christian audiences. Activists in support of Judaism say the film has ignited a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Christians across the world, a claim that some (but not all) Christians and fans of the film deny.

1. THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (1988)
• Whom does it offend? – Christians

This Martin Scorsese picture (adapted from the famously-banned book by Kikos Kazantzakis) drew fire from Christian activists long before it appeared in the theaters. The story shows Jesus’ last days from his perspective. The crux of the controversy stemmed from the idea that Jesus was subject to human emotions and felt tempted to sin on numerous occasions, but never did despite a dream sequence which depicts him having sex with Mary Magdaline. While critics lavished the film with awards, enraged devotees still universally condemn it despite its otherwise painting the religion in a positive light. Other films have sense eclipsed it in terms of supposed “blasphemous” content, but none have equaled its unprecedented level of public outrage.

Honorable Mentions:

• “The Message” (1976) which enraged Muslims by implying the prophet Mohammed would appear in the film (fictional representations of the prophet is considered one of the religion’s highest blasphemies). Black Muslims preemptively took hostages and demanded the film never be shown. The hoopla died down when filmmakers revealed Mohammed was never intended to appear in the film and critics panned the movie.
• “The Pope Must Die(t)!” (1991) was blasted by the Catholic Church when the word “Die!” in the title implied that the Pope should be assassinated, despite the film obvious comedic nature of the film. The controversy cooled, yet remained as the studio added the “t” to the word, which simply suggested the Pope should lose weight.
• “The Life of Brian” (1979) was a box office hit banned by several European nations and was even condemned by rabbis. It depicts a guy who gets misidentified as Jesus and endures misadventures including full-frontal nudity.

It’s a distinct possibility that I missed mentioning a film or have included inaccurate (if not non-biased) information. I welcome any constructive responses to this article.

-Coop

Click here to read Part 1!

Some great articles…

  • I’ve been saying it all along… Romantic Comedies are screwing up our love lives! by COOP
  • A Movie/Film Review Lesson Plan for Teachers! by COOP
  • BLEEDIN’ WICKED GOOGLY… Films about 35 of those “Other” Sports (Parts 1 – 7) by JAY
  • “Bard None: A Cinematic Guide to Really Bad Shakespeare” by JAY
  • Not a Xenu’s chance in hell… Travolta + Cruise does NOT = BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID!!! by JAY
  • Dex Romweber and the TWO HEADED COW… definitely the most bizarre documentary screening/concert I’ve ever seen! by COOP
  • 10 TOUGHEST MOVIE HEROES OF ALL TIME by COOP
  • TOP 10 REASONS TO WATCH THE OSCARS by Coop
  • TOP 10 HOLIDAY SEASON MOVIES by COOP
  • Top 10 Scariest Horror Scenes by COOP
  • Top 10 Greatest Halloween Villains by COOP
  • TOP 10 HALLOWEEN MOVIES by SEBASTIAN
  • DARK SIDE announces the BEST MOVIE VILLAIN of 2008… Who will claim 2009? **UPDATED**
  • DARK SIDE announces the BEST MOVIE VILLAIN of 2007… Who will claim 2009?
  • THE DARK SIDE CRITIC stars in his own horror short!!!
  • Porky’s Revenge: Swine Flu and the Virus in Film… by JAY
  • Top 10 Greatest Movie Titles Ever!
  • Top 11 Baddest Killer Robots!
  • Ten Movies Designed to Offend Your Religion (Part 1)
  • Ten Movies Designed to Offend Your Religion (Part 2)
  • Why Manly-Men Love Action Flick Chicks
  • Action Flick Chick’s Zombie Survival Guide for a Small Town
  • Bookmark and Share
    35 Comments •

    Comments

    1. Eric

      Despite Mel Gibson’s clearly troubled psyche and weird personal life, he’s actually quite a brilliant filmmaker. He may be a deplorable, self-righteous, anti-semitic, religious nut-job, but he sure knows how to handle a camera.

    2. Erica

      Spoiler Alert! To those that haven’t seen Martyrs, you may not want to read this.

      I agree & disagree with you on this one Coop. I think this movie is fascinating. It’s a fine line, but I am not sure what you were referring to is the the message of the film. I think that it is the belief of some characters in the film, but I don’t think it is the message of the film. I know we tend to come at this from different angles, I am an eternal optimist. But I think that is shows their belief to be false. That’s my 2 cents.

      Thanks for the articles!

    3. Trace

      No matter what you think of any religion, I think there’s a lot to be said in general terms about one religion being pummeled with offensive displays on a regular basis and still maintaining some level of civil humility, while another will use violence to supress anything seen as offensive no matter how infrequent the occurrence. I’ll give you one guess as to who’s the easier target for the movie industry!

    4. Rosie

      I’m surprised that you didn’t include 1999’s “DOGMA”. In it, Matt Damon had this to say about the Vodoun religion:

      “Do you know much about voodoo? Fascinating practice, very close to Satanism, but not really much of a religion – no doctrine of faith. Just an arrangements of superstitions, the most well-known of which is the voodoo doll.”

      The practice of the so-called “voodoo doll” originated in Europe. And it was called a poppet.

    5. Raghav

      Nice review but what about Bill Maher’s Religulous? I thought that was a great movie and it offended pretty much every religion there is 🙂 It offends the very basis of religion itself.

      • Horace

        I think the reason that they did not include religulous is that it failed to generate any real controversy. It wasn’t banned anywhere that I know of, no real religious leaders came out to condemn it because I don’t think anyone took it seriously. Great list though, I love film makers who make movies just to anger religious groups, as if these thousand year old groups don’t have bigger fish to fry.

    Leave a Comment...

    Search
    Search Form
    Trailer for the award-winning short PRISMA…


    A corporate promotional VHS tape from 1984 conceals a brain-altering signal which is said to grant increased health, longevity and psychic powers to those who watch it. View at your own risk...

    WINNER: SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, 2017 Oxford Film Festival

    WINNER: BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

    SEMI-FINALIST: 2017 NanoCon International Science-Fiction Film Festival

    NOMINEE: BEST ANIMATION, 2017 End of Days Film Festival

    NOMINEE: BEST GRAPHICS, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

    OFFICIAL SELECTION:
    2017 Crossroads Film Festival
    2017 Clarksdale Film Festival
    2017 Twisted Dreams Film Festival
    2017 Tupelo Film Festival
    2017 NanoCon International Sci-Fi Film Festival
    2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival
    2017 End of Days Film Festival

    Trailer for the lost short GOD MAKER…


    Northern Mississippi 1932:
    In a cabin in the woods, a blind blues guitarist will discover his destiny from a lovesick goddess who seeks to corrupt his soul.

    GOD MAKER remains unfinished and in limbo for now, but the trailer expresses the mood and imagery intended for the project...

    Coop’s award-winning 48 hour short film trailer for REGRESS…


    Told in reverse, this experimental made-in-48-hours film begins with a shocking murder then backtracks (like a viewer rewinding a VHS tape) to reveal the chilling origins of this tragedy.

    WINNER: BEST SHORT FILM at the 2013 Clarksdale Film Festival...
    NOMINATED: BEST DIRECTING by the 2012 48hr. Guerrilla Film Challenge (international contest)...
    OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Crossroads Film Festival

    Watch Coop’s award-winning short film THE BEST DAY…


    WINNER: 2012 MAGNOLIA FILM FESTIVAL "Best Homegrown Film"
    WINNER: 2012 SEATTLE TRUE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL "Best Scream"

    OFFICIAL SELECTION:
    2012 OXFORD FILM FESTIVAL
    2012 CLARKSDALE FILM FESTIVAL
    2012 CROSSROADS FILM FESTIVAL
    2012 NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI FILM FESTIVAL
    2012 ATLANTA INDIE HORROR FILM FESTIVAL
    2012 OTHERFEST
    2012 MISSISSIPPI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
    2012 SUN AND SAND FILM FESTIVAL

    Morgan Freeman asks Coop a question at THE BEST DAY premiere! Video below…


    My short film THE BEST DAY premiered in October 2011 at the Delta Cinema in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

    Little did I know I had a special guest in the audience who was about to ask me a question during the Q&A. Yep, I got a little flustered when I saw who it was.

    The Small Town Critic’s SCREENWRITING SERVICES
    Follow Coop on Twitter...
      follow me on twitter
      Follow smalltowncritic on Twitter
      Archives
      Subscribe via Email!

      Enter your email address:

      Delivered by FeedBurner

      Subscribe via RSS feed!