10 genuinely unsettling screen kisses
Be they creepy, sinister or just unconvincing, here are ten examples of big screen lip-locking that remain rather uncomfortable to watch…
Every year, cinema relies on a heavy dose of romance to get bums on seats. We apparently love seeing big star one falling in love with big star two, no doubt after a second act twist has pulled them apart. And the big kiss sequence is generally the icing on the romantic cake.
But a kiss can be deadly, unpleasant, wince-inducing or just plain wrong. So in the spirit of love, harmony and stuff like that, here’s a look at ten movie lip-locks that you definitely won’t find in a Hugh Grant movie…
This one still makes me shudder. I remember going to watch Disclosure when it came out, and revisiting it more recently, concluded that it’s comfortably the most dated film of the 1990s. But the bit that stands out as easily the oddest moment is the dream sequence, where Michael Douglas finds himself in a lift with Donald Sutherland. Ah, you sit there and think. Two acting giants sharing the screen. There’s going to be some good shit happening here.
Then, er, Sutherland turns towards Douglas, and moves in for a bit of tongue action. More to the point, Sutherland’s tongue comes towards the camera in a moment that makes you grateful that any form of 3D wasn’t deployed for the sequence. We’ve thoughtfully freeze-framed just before Sutherland’s mouth opens fully, so you can see the sheer lust in the man’s eyes. Yikes. And that beard's got to tickle, too...
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Poor Robert Picardo. Just when he thinks he’s survived the affections of Greta, the first female Gremlin, the movie packs a sting, just for him. Because even though every Gremlin, with the exception of Gizmo, has met their demise by this time, Greta survives. And after chasing Picardo’s character for much of the film, she pops up at the end in her wedding dress, with Picardo finally seeming to warm to the idea.
That wasn’t the case earlier on though, as a lipstick-covered Greta finally finds her man, and makes her move…
I’m not sure I’m supposed to, but I always quite liked Ghost. Whoopi Goldberg is terrific in it, and Swayze and Moore made for a strong couple worth rooting for. And root for them I did, only for the eventual supernatural kiss to look really quite dodgy, and almost eery.
Appreciating we’re thankfully in an era prior to the dominance of badly-used CG, the problem here is that it just doesn’t work. The glowing Swayze and the weepy Moore seem to be doing more of an Eskimo nose rub, and you can’t help but feel a bit awkward for them. The moral: try not to kiss people who have a glowing halo effect around them. It’s a law we try and adhere to.
The Karate Kid (1984)
There's no easy way to get around this, and it's something they perhaps wisely decided not to entirely replicate in the recent remake. But the moment in the original Karate Kid when Ralph Macchio and Elisabeth Shue locked lips, it's as if the movie switches genre. Gone is the teen film for a moment, as instead, Ralph seems to be attempting to eat Elisabeth's head.
Fortunately, we are pleased to report that she survived the incident. No teen romances were sparked by this particular scene.
Oddly, the kissing scene in Species, between Natasha Henstridge and Anthony Guidera, won an MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss. It’s also an award that’s been won by films such as American Pie 2, Talladega Nights and assorted Twilight movies, just to put that in some kind of context.
Even so, the Species kiss is a notoriously weird one to choose for such a prize. Basically because she kills him. That's not an end result we aim for when we go in for a good snog. Her alien bits shoot out of the back of his neck, which, after all, is generally a bit of a dampener on any steamy bedroom scene. Safe to conclude, then, that for a first date movie, Species is not bereft of problems…
Forget the 2002 version of Red Dragon, the Thomas Harris serial killer novel – it’s Michael Mann’s earlier treatment that packs the more disturbing punch. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the unforgettably nasty scene where crazed killer Francis Dollarhyde (Tom Noonan) terrorises the snivelling journalist Freddy Lounds (a young Stephen Lang).
With Lounds tied to a chair begging for his life, Dollarhyde fits himself with a gigantic set of false teeth, and with the line, “We'll seal your promise… with a kiss”, swoops down on his victim like a vampire.
The devastation wrought on Lounds’ face isn’t shown, but the bloodcurdling scream tells us all we need to know. Even as we think about it now, that concluding shriek sends shivers down our spines.
Dumb And Dumber (1994)
Face chewing is very much in evidence once more in this scene from the Farrelly Brothers' Dumb And Dumber. Here we have Carrey and Lauren Holly sharing a bit of romance. Clearly it's played for comedy, but we do wonder if they'd both swallowed a bit of glue before they got started...
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The first time many of us saw this one, it all looked nice and ordinary. As it turned out, the ingredients for a particularly bizarre episode of The Jeremy Kyle Show were being stirred up. So: you have Luke kissing Leia. That's brother and sister. They're being watched by three characters, one of whom is big and hairy, one is made of metal, and one is the future husband of one of the aforementioned kissers. A lifetime of therapy ensues...
The Shining (1980)
Here's a kiss to send the shivers down your spine. Stanley Kubrick's The Shining hardly has trouble getting under your skin at the best of times, but the bathroom scene, where Jack Nicholson ends up kissing a naked Billie Gibson, is incredibly disturbing. The music is a giveaway, of course, but after they come together for some tonsil tennis, not only does Nicholson's technique first of all look just a little dodgy, but then there's the moment where he looks in the mirror – and then things take a really nasty turn. It's enough to put you off kissing for life. And bathrooms. And mirrors.
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)
"A kiss... for your dear old Granny, Bill". The lighting. The sound. The tongue. The cutting in of the Easter bunny. Then the cutting back to a kiss-craving grandmother with teeth to spark a dental convention. Is it the hair? Is it the moisture? Is it the determination in her eyes to get her kissing action? Either way, we’ve seen many horror movies with less scarier moments than this…
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