This week's Friday Five is from Sarah Lotz, author of The Three and part of many wonderful writing tandems with many different names (see: Lily Herne, S.L. Grey, Helena Paige). Sarah's been a guest here before and we're delighted to have her back. So with no further ado...
I’m old. Old enough to have seen Star Wars at the cinema when it first came out. Yet I still feel awkward whenever I watch a movie with my parents and a graphic sex scene flashes onto the screen. It’s ridiculous. I wasn’t brought up to think of sex as shameful, I’ve co-written and published a series of porn books (albeit under a pseudonym) and I also have a daughter, so everyone knows I’ve had sex at least once. But still. I can’t help it. And I know I’m not the only one.
There are thousands of potentially parental squeam-inducing movies out there, but the top culprits for me are The English Patient (although that said, I once saw it with a bunch of nuns who were less fazed by the shagging than I was), Y Tu Mamá También (self-explanatory), and Don’t Look Now (the sex scene in this one goes on for days – you can leave the room to make tea, defrost the freezer and change the oil in your car and it’ll still be going on when you return).
So I’m taking it as a given that movie sex scenes + parents = awkwardness, and will concentrate on the top five movies that have traumatised me and my family for other reasons.
Requiem for a Dream
I was visiting my folks in the UK at the time. All was going great. We were gathered in the lounge, the fire was crackling, no one was sulking, no one was pissed, the take-out curry was en route. We were like a family out of a John Lewis commercial. Time to watch a movie.
‘How about Requiem for a Dream?’ I suggested, stupidly. ‘I’ve been dying to see it for years and it’s got Jennifer Connelly in it.’
It wasn’t just the graphic grossness that made Requiem for a Dream such top-notch cringe-worthy family viewing. I’d just published a semi-autobiographical novel based on my experiences living on the streets when I was a teenager (I’d run away from home for various nefarious reasons and my folks didn’t know where I was for months), and during that time I’d taken a truck-load of Class A drugs. As we all sat there, frozen with horror at the sight of Jared Leto’s gangreney bits, it was obvious my parents were thinking: so this is what she REALLY got up to when she was a drug addict. The thieving. The squalor. The lying. The amputation. That horrible dildo thing at the end.
I will never be able to watch it again without dying a little inside.