Bath movie scenes almost as ugly as Saltburn’s

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Nightmare on Elm Street it was always a cut above—and below, and on the side, or wherever else Freddie’s fingers came within reach! — the rest of the slasher genre. In part, this is because, unlike the October tantrums of Jason and little Mikey Myers, Freddy Krueger actually has a personality and a voice. Both were given a hell of a life by Robert Englund. However, another major attraction (or repulsion) to the character was also there in Wes Craven’s original film. He came to you in your dream. It can take you anywhere, anytime. All you have to do is dream, dream, dream…

Take the most disturbing image in the ’84 classic: Heather Langenkamp’s Nancy Thompson is so haunted by a prankster in a sweater that she refuses to close her eyes. So maybe taking a nice relaxing bath to wake up is a bad idea. It doesn’t take a Freudian slip to figure out the meaning of Freddy’s four finger blades rising from the soapy bubbles of Nancy’s rinse and moving closer and closer between her legs. Thank God her mother is the type to knock on the door and say hurry up. But even then, the sequence just devolves into something a little more Jungian as Freddy drags Nancy down the drain and into the ocean. – David Crowe

Sliding (2006)

Before James Gunn set up permanent shop in the superhero genre, he was a Troma man: a young and hungry filmmaker eager to make his mark, even if, or especially, that mark was the result of the viewer gasping on the floor. It started by a happy schlock like scenario Tromeo and Juliet (1996), but his tastes didn’t become more classical until his feature directorial debut, Sliding. A sophisticated and slightly lower-budget remake of 80s exploitation sleaze, this horror comedy about alien slugs that impregnate and/or transform anyone they touch is a riff on thousands of other genre pictures. But his infamous bathtub scene is Gunn’s vigorous attempt to fight back Nightmare on Elm Street.

As with Freddy’s sick foam sequence, Sliding was partially advertised around the image of a teenage girl (Tanya Saulnier) taking a quiet evening bath when one of the aforementioned snails joins her for a dive. As the little creature paddles the water, the perverse scenario plays out like an unwanted love child spawned by A nightmare, Chillsand Jaws menage a trois, except Gunn refuses to let Saulnier’s character be rescued by Mom. Instead, the alien parasite slithers (!) into her mouth and down the middle of her throat with all the enthusiasm and determination of the most loaded metaphor in a college thesis. That is until she saved herself by digging her claws in and biting them. – DC

Gummo (1997)

The 1997 experimental film by director Harmony Korine Gummo is filled with disturbing moments: various scenes of animal abuse, a house full of cockroaches, brutal depictions of various types of abuse. Gummo it’s really meant to unsettle viewers, and it regularly manages to do just that. Yet this film, full of unspeakable horrors, is often best remembered for a seemingly simple scene in which a child named Solomon eats a plate of spaghetti in the bathtub.

The scene gets downright disgusting when Solomon drops a chocolate bar in the dirty bath water and eats it anyway, but this sequence manages to cool down long before we get to that bit of unpleasantness. There’s something deeply terrifying about watching someone eat a plate of spaghetti and drink a glass of milk while surrounded by filth (and, for some reason, a piece of bacon stuck to the bathroom wall). Perhaps these are the ways in which the scene reveals the almost beastly nature of eating and bathing in ways that force us to confront the primal nature of these things we have turned into pleasures. Perhaps dirt, milk and spaghetti accidentally form the unholy trinity of on-screen visuals. Either way, there aren’t enough bathrooms in the world to erase that scene from your mind. – Matthew Bird

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