7 films that had audiences running out of the cinema

  • 7 films that had audiences running out of the cinema

Daniel Radcliffe's new film Swiss Army Man (watch the trailer here) saw the high-brow Sundance Film Festival audiences streaming from the screening rooms due to the film's extended farting scenes and other crude elements.

So that got us thinking, we used to hear tons of stories of legendary horror films sending people running from cinemas in terror or because they couldn't hold down the vomit any longer.

So we've compiled a list of the films that had people exiting cinemas in their droves since the legendary 1985 short film Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat saw people running in terror because they thought the train was going to burst through the screen.

1. The Exorcist (1973)

Often labelled "the scariest movie, like, ever", The Exorcist became a cultural landmark for its power to make audiences pass out, vomit and dash out of cinemas like it was going out of fashion.

When the horror made its way to the UK, St John's Ambulance crews were parked outside screenings with stretchers and to provide assistance to audience members who felt a bit "not right".

One man (obviously an American) sued Warner Bros. because he was so overwhelmed by the demonic fun that he passed out, hitting his head on the seat in front and breaking his jaw; Warner Bros. settled the case out of court.

Meanwhile some idiot attacked the screen in San Francisco because they thought there were evil spirits inside the screen.

Here is a video of audiences' reactions to Regan's possessions to show how terrified (and badly-dressed) audiences members reacted to the film.


2. The Blair Witch Project (1997)

The 1997 'true story' captivated the public and was regarded as "the scariest horror movie ever" and was the first film to use the 'found footage' approach, which spawned hundreds of sub-par imitations.

Although, unlike The Exorcist, which had audiences clambering over each other to get out of theatres in fear, it was the shaky camerawork which didn't bode well with the audiences' stomachs.

Some cinemas reportedly that ushers would request that audience members that suffer motion sickness to stick to the aisle seats so their vomiting would disrupt as little people as possible.

When Cloverfield - the next big found footage film - came out cinemas put up posters warning fragile audience members that their motion sickness could make a right mess on the floors.

3. 127 Hours (2010)

James Franco taking on the true story of outdoorsman Aron Ralston who found himself stuck in a canyon with his arm pinned to a boulder wasn't for everyone.

For some, it was really boring watching a man stuck by a rock for a couple of hours, others however, couldn't deal with the scene in which Franco's character uses a dull pocketknife to saw his own arm off.

Film website Movieline published an article charting everyone who had 'an episode' while watching the arm chopping scene

As Franco explained to entertainment website Vulture: "You're spending the entire movie with one guy. You, as the audience, are going through it with Aron.

"When you watch the footage of him talking into that video camera to his family, you feel like he's talking directly to you. And when he cuts off his arm, maybe it feels like it's happening to you."

4. Irreversible (2002)


Gaspar Noé's violent art film starring Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel did the rounds at the film festivals before getting a cinema release, with many viewers failing to sit through the whole thing.

The brutal events (which are told in reverse-chronological order) occur over one night in Paris in which two men seek violent revenge after their girlfriend is brutally raped, which prompted 250 people to walk out of its premiere at Cannes.

The very explicit and savage violence is shown in full detail, and if that wasn't enough to send viewers to an early exit, Noé admitted to using a 28Hz almost-inaudible low-frequency infrasound to increase the film's tension which ended up unsettling the stomachs of many audience members.

The Paranormal Activity films are also guilty of playing a low frequency to fill audience members with dread, so they think they're watching something that's scary, rather than some fuzzy footage of an empty hallway.

5. The Passion of the Christ (2004)

Mel Gibson wanted cinema-goers to experience the full horror of the crucifixion in all of its gory glory when he made The Passion of the Christ, complete with extended whipping scene, blood being splashed everywhere and an incredibly realistic crucifixion scene.

While some audiences took exception to the gory scenes and left the room, it was all too much for one Kansas woman who died while viewing the crucifixion.

The bloody and highly emotional scene caused her to have a heart attack where and was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, the woman reportedly had no pre-existing condition before she went to the theatres.

6. Freaks (1932)

One of the most notorious horror films ever, set in a circus, Freaks used real circus folk to tell the tale of a beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of side-show performs, but things turn sour when his deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his money.

Considered very un-PC in this day and age, 1930s viewers were supposed to see the message that good looks and morality don't go hand-in-hand, but the audiences didn't quite learn the lesson that was intended.

A review at the time stated: It is impossible for the normal man or woman to sympathize with the aspiring midget." while another dubbed it "an outrageous onslaught upon the feelings, the senses, the brains and the stomachs of an audience."

People walked out the film in their dozens and the ever-prudent BBFC banned the film in the UK, it has since become a cult classic as its ability to both scare and touch viewers is highly-regarded by modern viewers.

7. Tree of Life (2011)

You're probably wondering what was so horrifying about Terrance Malik's philosophical experimental drama of a disillusioned man seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life and faith.

In fact, it wasn't terrifying, but rather terrifyingly divisive and saw mass audience walkouts as disgruntled viewers demanded their money back.

Many cinemas refused to offer refunds, or would only give them back if people had watched less than 30 minutes of the film, as some cinemas stuck up signs stating that potential watchers read up on the movie before they decided to see it - not a very good endorsement.  

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