Movies should come with health warnings - GulfToday

Movies should come with health warnings

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

Movies should come with health warnings

The Star Wars was not the only movie to come with a warning. ‘The Joker’ movie was released with a serious warning to authorities.

Did you know that the latest Star Wars flick came with a warning from Disney? If you suffer from epilepsy or have sensitive eyes then it’s best to steer clear from it. No Star Wars movie in the past has ever had a health warning attached to it. I guess that’s the product of new technology that has enabled film producers to create all sorts of on-screen effects, even those that might interfere with someone’s enjoyment. Just to warn you again, the latest Star Wars movie is riddled with flashing lights that could bring on a seizure in people with epilepsy.

This latest movie, however, isn’t the only one that has caused its viewers to suffer seizures. I used to be a huge fan of shows about vampires. And, to be honest, those shows might still stand the test of time. Films in that genre were rare and so were disturbing and very frightening. However, the recent spate of vampire related movies and shows has actually put me off the genre simply because they are far too frequent and the characters have become either not frightening or, in many cases, just too disgusting to watch.  

One series and its subsequent movies that really got on my nerves was the Twilight Saga. That’s why it baffles me that the series and show became so popular. I was also very surprised that, apparently, one of the movies caused one fan to suffer a seizure. He claimed it happened during a birthing scene that involved a strobe light. The movie ‘Incredibles 2’ also caused a seizure. It is odd though that Star Wars came with a warning but the other two did not, at least none that I’m aware of.

That being said, Star Wars wasn’t the only film that was released with a warning by responsible producers and authorities. Just a few months ago ‘The Joker’ was released with a serious warning to authorities. It wasn’t about causing some kind of physical illness, like a seizure, but it did warn authorities to have the police force on standby just in case it caused an outbreak of violence by people who had seen it. It came as a pre-emptive warning when violence erupted after the release of ‘The Dark Knight’.

I do believe that some movies should come with a warning label. A label not just about it causing violence or epilepsy but other adverse reactions too.

On-screen smoking by household names, for example, certainly sends the wrong message to young people. It’s true that in movies and shows from the 50s, 60s, and 70s smoking was a key component of a protagonist. Look at James Bond, Columbo, Humphrey Bogart, for example. Even women were smokers in those days. They almost made it look cool. But in later years smoking became a disgusting habit and a stigma. Nevertheless, historical dramas still depict certain protagonists as smokers, regardless of their gender. Surely those movies should come with a health warning much like cigarettes do these days.

Moreover, some movies should come with a ‘Disturbing’ or ‘May cause nausea’ warning. The one that immediately springs to mind, in both categories, is the Hannibal Lecter movies. I don’t think it’s appropriate to be graphic about what I mean here but suffice it to say that Anthony Hopkins chomping into a face or slicing into Ray Liotta’s brain while he is still alive is appalling to watch and both types of movies should come with a dire warning.

Programmes in general do not come with any type of warning and they should. I remember being very disturbed for days after watching one particular episode of the ‘X-Files’ series in which a very scary looking ‘Eugene Toombs’ was able to move through narrow pipes to get to his prey. Another one, and for which Mel Gibson, the producer, was heavily criticised for what many thought was gratuitous violence was ‘The Passion of the Christ’ in which the crucifixion was especially gory. The effects were so realistic that they literally caused people to turn away or flinch.

Another interesting but disturbing movie was ‘Buried’ starring Ryan Reynolds. Anyone with a hint of claustrophobia will definitely find it difficult to watch this movie without feeling like they too are suffocating. The movie centres around a contractor (played by Ryan Reynolds) who is mistakenly kidnapped in Iraq and buried somewhere in the desert with just his mobile phone. There is no other cast except for voices on his phone and the first scene opens with Reynolds waking up inside a box and ends with him inside the box. This movie should have come with a claustrophobia warning.

I was particularly surprised by how many people felt after watching ‘Avatar’. Throughout the film, and even shortly afterwards, many people were elated and amazed at how the movie made them feel they were inside it. But many critics claim that the movie should have come with a warning because those same people who felt elated during and after the movie also claim they lapsed into a kind of depression which can happen after a massive high.

One thing I will say about ‘The Joker’ though. I have a friend who went to see the movie and told me that many people walked out of it halfway through because the level of violence was just unacceptable.

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