On some level, everyone is scared of something. Horror movies appeal to different primal fears in each of us. Not everyone is afraid of the dark, or heights, or spiders, or snakes. But there are some things that are universally terrifying to just about everyone.
There are movies that push the boundaries of good taste to the breaking point and then gleefully move beyond that. They’re meant to be as disturbing as possible. Those are precisely the kind of films we’ll be looking at today. Below are ten truly disturbing movies that no matter how hard you try, you will never be able to unsee.
A Serbian Film
Let’s get this one out of the way right off the bat. A Serbian Film is too much for most people. Its only saving grace is that it goes so far that whether accidentally or on purpose, it does become funny again. This is the kind of flick where the audience can barely even form a reaction and register what they’re seeing. So, the only possible response is to laugh. Still, most people just feel sick after seeing this one, especially when the baby comes into it.
Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist is bleak as hell. It’s the unforgiving tone that really makes the movie that much more disturbing, on top of all the horrific things that happen in it. It’s an incredibly uncomfortable, almost numbing film, but one that is extremely well made at the same time.
Pascal Laughier’s Martyrs also marries shocking, horrific images with a bleak and depressing tone. It works because it’s scary and disturbing on multiple levels. It’s disturbing to see what this girl who survived a horrific trauma has become, it’s disturbing in terms of the violence and gore, and it’s disturbing to see what the endgame is behind the plot and how many people are invested in the torture and murder of young women.
The Guinea Pig Series
These Japanese movies are made for no other purpose than to be as shocking, gross, humilitating and horrific as possible and at that, they succeed. This is one of a couple features on the list where the director had to be taken to court to prove that no one on the production had actually been murdered. It became especially notorious when Charlie Sheen discovered a copy of one of the entries and reported it to the FBI, mistaking it for an actual snuff film.
Based on the book by sexual revolutionary, rapist, madman and source of the word ‘sadist,’ the Marquis de Sade, Salo naturally lacks anything in the way of good taste, despite being labeled as a French art film. It’s pretty schlocky, gross, and full of every kind of violent perversion you can think of. And poop. It’s also full of poop.
Cannibal Ferox (aka Make Them Die Slowly)
Ferox might actually be the most disturbing cannibal flick in terms of outright gore and shocking imagery, but it doesn’t match the horrific tone of a certain other movie with similar themes. Still, it’s a lot to digest and is incredibly uncomfortable, but worth a watch for the most daring viewers. The music is excellent too.
The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence
The Human Centipede was a shocking and disturbing movie that had everyone talking in the years after its release. The concept alone was so gross that it sent people reeling. But it’s nothing when compared to its successor. Human Centipede 2 is even more mortifying than the first, and that’s saying a lot.
I Spit On Your Grave
One of the most violent of the rape/revenge genre, I Spit On Your Grave is also one of the most important. It’s an incredibly hard film to watch. But the violence of the revenge has to equal the violence of the rape or it just doesn’t work as any kind of serious revenge story. The most important scene, to me, will always be when Jennifer drags herself home and stares at the wall, planning everything that she is about to do.
Inside is a film that is just insanely hard to watch. It is incredibly, incredibly disturbing which is somewhat frustrating because it’s also the debut of genius filmmakers Alexandre Bustillo & Julian Maury. After this, they were attached to several franchise reboots including Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street. They finally settled on Texas Chainsaw Massacre with the upcoming Leatherface, which is good, as that series is well-suited to their extreme nature.
Cannibal Holocaust, to me, is the most disturbing movie ever made. It’s disturbing because it has a point to make, but also because of the lengths it goes to in order to prove that point. It’s disturbing because of the extreme gore, the bleak tone, the real animal deaths, the bright and almost romantic music juxtaposed over these images, and for so many other reasons. Director Ruggero Deodato was accused of making a snuff film and taken to court, where he then had to bring in the actors to prove that they had not been killed.