I was like you once. Whenever I heard murmurs about some entertainment being so disgusting that audiences had extreme physical reactions, I chalked it up to machinations from the media hype cycle, in which I am now a cog. Then, in 2005, came word that people were fainting during Chuck Palahniuk’s live readings of his latest collection, Haunted. Scoffing at these stories as too-perfect publicity fabrications, I read the short story “Guts” on a subway ride from Queens to Manhattan that summer, and emerged in Penn Station a changed man, thoroughly rattled. I hadn’t fainted or thrown up, but only because once the urge to do both simultaneously enveloped me like a fog, I quit reading and tried to think about not being stuck on a tin caterpillar trying not to puke.
This preamble is all to say that when I hear the kind of hype that the movie Bite is currently generating, I’ve learned to respect and fear it as a real thing that might harm me.
Apparently, when novelty barf bags were distributed during the film’s premiere at Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival, nobody expected to actually use them. Reports from the festival claim that at least one person did need it, and two others passed out, prompting an ambulance dispatch.
What movie could possibly generate such a response? How about one by a filmmaker who seems to have seen The Fly and decided that Cronenberg didn’t go hard enough. In the movie, Bite, a young woman gets bit by a mysterious bug and experiences a certain transformation. According to reviews, the attention to detail director Chad Archibald lavishes on the various … fluids involved in this metamorphosis is enough to jack up even the most durable stomachs.
Watch the trailer below, if you feel confident that you’re up to it.