5 Bizarre Inspirations Behind Famous Movie Scenes
As a creative type, I find myself watching a movie and wondering what inspired the filmmakers to tell this specific story in this specific way. Not just the plot, but characters, props, and the decision to let Sylvester Stallone speak. As you'll see, sometimes those inspirations are weird as shit ...
"Slow-Mo" Scenes in Dredd Were Inspired by a Slowed Down Justin Bieber Song
2012's Dredd was a man-trapped-in-a-building action movie that was equal parts science fiction and footage of a dead whale's stomach exploding. A lot of the movie's goriest, most violent moments happen after characters take a drug called Slo-Mo that slows down the user's perception of time and makes his surroundings glimmer with a diamond-like radiance ... and then Dredd busts into the room and kills everyone and we get to see bullets tear people's faces apart in vivid, stomach-turning detail. All the Slo-Mo hyper-violence was set to a beautiful, majestic musical score. If you were floating to heaven, the music from Dredd's Slo-Mo scenes is what you would expect to hear as chubby naked cherubs escort your dead ass into eternity.
If there's one complaint about Dredd, it's that it didn't have enough angelic baby penis.
It was a brilliant musical choice that offset the ghastly violence, so of course it was inspired by Justin Bieber. Yeah, that bratty Canadian pop star we all try really hard to ignore (news of his shitty escapades is as persistent as an itchy butthole) is indirectly responsible for some of the best shootout scenes in recent memory.
Dredd's composer, Paul Leonard-Morgan, showed an early cut of the movie to his friend and massive Judge Dredd fan Geoff Barrow, an original member of the trip-hop band Portishead. The Slo-Mo scenes reminded Barrow of a cool thing he had seen on the Internet where someone slowed down a Justin Bieber song by 800 percent and the result was an entirely different song that felt ethereal, otherworldly, and much more dramatic. Beautiful, even. Did I mention it was a goddamn Justin Bieber song? Because it was. It was a goddamn Justin Bieber song.
Leonard-Morgan used the track above as the temp track for Slo-Mo scenes on an early cut of the film, then made his own version of it for the final score by recording a track and slowing it down.
Finally, and without being too libelous, I can say that Justin Bieber can be linked to a slew of brutal murders. Speaking of brutal murders ...
Christian Bale Used Tom Cruise's Vapid Eyes as Inspiration for Patrick Bateman in American Psycho
If you ever want to genuinely question your sanity, watch the entirety of American Psycho at 2 a.m. while standing in front of your TV, naked. No sitting or even putting on socks -- just stand there like a somewhat disturbing Michelangelo statue for an hour and 46 minutes. That's what I did sometime last year. I walked by the TV after a shower, glanced over at the movie, and before I knew it, credits were rolling.
Which in hindsight makes this scene a little weird for anyone looking in my windows.
During that worrisome viewing session in which I assure you no murder-boners were popped, I noticed how creepy Christian Bale's eyes were. I will neither confirm nor deny creepy eye-related boners. Bale plays a 1980s Wall Street yuppie who, in his off time, is a brutal serial killer who works very hard on crafting a human-like persona to mask his insanity. It's basically an adaptation of his off-screen persona during the filming of the Dark Knight trilogy.
For Bale, finding the Patrick Bateman within him meant venturing into the darkest, vilest pits of human pain and suffering: Tom Cruise's eyes. Bale and the director of American Psycho, Mary Harron, discussed "how Martian-like Patrick Bateman was," and how he was always "watching what people did and trying to work out the right way to behave." Eventually, Bale found exactly that while watching David Letterman when Tom Cruise happened to be the guest. A strange thing Bale noticed about Tom Cruise was his "intense friendliness" that had "nothing behind the eyes." Which is the nice way of saying, "Look at that creepy motherfucker. That guy is a goddamn corpse factory, I just know it. A perfect model for my serial killer character."
The hollow-eyed gaze of a perpetually deadening husk.
With that fortuitous viewing of a Letterman interview, Christian Bale had a real example he could use to create one of the craziest characters in film. That means Christian Bale had the same experience watching Tom Cruise pretend to be human as I did watching Christian Bale pretend he was pretending to be human. Was Christian Bale also naked at the time? Goddamn it, for the sake of my sanity, I really hope so.
You Can Thank an Inflamed Bowel for the Chest-Burster Scene in Alien
Alien screenwriter Dan O'Bannon had been working on two scripts: The first was about a space crew investigating a signal from a nearby planetoid, and the second was about gremlins being a pain in the ass on a World War II-era B-17 bomber. Since each of those sounds stupid enough to star Corey Feldman and a talking dog, he combined them into one, but now he needed a way to get the alien on the ship to bridge the ideas. This is where real life intervened.
O'Bannon had spent decades struggling with Crohn's disease, a painful inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract that made it feel like an alien was about to rip out of his stomach. So he wrote a scene where a baby alien ripped through someone's stomach. When you see John Hurt flopping and flailing as an alien tears out of him, that's really a reflection of a guy screaming while taking a painful dump. Gap filled. Iconic movie scene created. Worth it? Well, Crohn's killed O'Bannon in 2009, so probably not.
On the bright side, we can be thankful O'Bannon wasn't suffering from some terrible penis ailment. Who knows how phallic that movie could have been?
A World-Famous Drag Queen Inspired Ursula from The Little Mermaid
Soon after Harris Glenn Milstead became a fixture of the 1960s Maryland counterculture scene thanks to the massive parties he hosted while dressed in drag, he met film director John Waters. Waters nicknamed Milstead "Divine" and gave Divine starring roles in a bunch of his movies -- all of which were part of Waters' mission to make "the trashiest motion pictures in cinema history."
How trashy? Well, in Pink Flamingos -- a movie about two trashy families trying to out-trash each other -- Divine sells babies on the black market (not for real), sells heroin in an elementary school (not for real), has incestuous sex with her brother (the sex was real, but the incest wasn't) while crushing a live chicken (very real), and eats a chunk of dog shit just before the end credits rolled (totally 100 percent real; that link is a bit NSFW, by the way). It was a gross-out avant-garde comedic porno that turned Divine into an icon of the underground.
Divine singing a song, probably about how gross dog poop is.
When Disney animators were in the character design phase of The Little Mermaid, they took one look at the chicken-crushing, dog shit-munching drag queen that was Divine and said, "Let's put her in a Disney movie. You know, for kids." And, BAM! She was born:
I think that's where she sings the "I Just Licked a Whale Turd" song, right?
The Millennium Falcon Was a Half-Eaten Burger
The Millennium Falcon: You know what it is, you know what it looks like, and you know it wipes its ass with parsecs. Here's something you might not know about Han Solo's iconic space hooptie: It almost looked like the ship we find Princess Leia in at the start of the original Star Wars movie.
When legendary Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie was first designing the Millennium Falcon, all the different sketches were variations on the same theme -- a long, Freudian tube with stuff jutting out of it.
"We're going to need a LOT more docking scenes."
One of those sketches could have been the Millennium Falcon of today if not for a '70s sci-fi TV show called Space: 1999, which featured a similar-looking ship called the Eagle Transporter. George Lucas told McQuarrie to redesign the whole thing, presumably under the threat that if he didn't like it, he would replace it with a silly cartoon rabbit once technology caught up to his insanity.
They used the Falcon sketches as the basis for Leia's transporter at the start of the movie, but they still didn't have a Millennium Falcon. That all changed when Lucas ate the most important hamburger in the history of science fiction. According to the book Famous Spaceships of Fact and Fantasy, McQuarrie saw Lucas going to town on that burger like it was a dark harbinger of the neck flab to come, and he saw an olive skewered by a toothpick sticking out of the bun. Boom -- add some spacy, sci-fi shit jutting out of it, and you've got the Millennium Falcon we love today.
"Vrrooooom! Whoosh! PEW, PEW, PEW, PEW! Vroooom!"
Had Lucas been a vegetarian, the Millennium Falcon would have looked like kale with a side of quinoa.
Luis Prada was inspired to write this after watching a cat lick itself. You can find him on Twitter and Tumblr.
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