Every horror fan has their own threshold when it comes to tolerating how far a movie goes. It comes down to personal taste. Some people can handle extreme amounts of gore, some can handle very little. We all know our own limits. But sometimes a feature gets so outrageous that it induces the gag reflex of just about everyone who watches it.
Many of these moments are iconic for the way they pushed the boundaries. Some make us squeamish because of how far they go and how much they show us. Others, on the other hand, make us squeamish simply because of how well-crafted they are even if they might not wind up showing all that much.
Whatever the case, here are some major horror movie moments that truly made us squirm. But even then, they didn’t stop us from watching.
The custard scene in Braindead
Everything about this scene in Peter Jackson’s Braindead (AKA Dead Alive) is gross. They could not have picked a less pleasant dessert. It gets more and more uncomfortable as it goes, until bits of human flesh begin falling into the custard and being consumed-leaving both the characters and the audience gagging.
To hell with this scene. I know this list promises gross-out scenes we can’t help but watch, but I admit that with this one there is no way I am looking at the screen until this scene is over. Sometimes you have to look away in a movie, sometimes that’s the fun of it. While it’s a strong sequel all around, this is one of the most cringe-worthy moments in horror history.
The hobbling scene in Misery
Here’s one that succeeds almost on pure artistry alone. You never see much in this scene. There’s a flash of a shot of the foot, that’s all you get and it’s more than enough. Everything else about this scene comes strictly from the acting and that’s what makes it incredible in just how effective it is.
The eye gouge in Zombie
AKA Zombi 2, AKA Zombie Flesh Eaters, this is one of the grossest, most unbelievable scenes in horror history. The craziest thing about it is that it lingers for so long that you think it’s going to cut away—but it doesn’t. The splinter comes in extreme close-up, as slow as possible. It’s almost unbearable the first time you see it.
The reverse eye gouge in The Beyond
People tend to forget that Fulci actually tried to follow up his iconic eye gouge scene from Zombie in The Beyond, and he almost did it, too. In this scene, it’s a nail sticking out of a wall. The back of the victim’s head is pressed against the wall so that the nail pushed through their skull and pops out their eyeball.
“They’re Creeping Up On You” in Creepshow
In general, Creepshow is a lot of fun and invites you to have a good time with it, even when it gets gory. The last segment, however, really goes for the gut. It’s extremely uncomfortable and gross. This one’s about a rich old germophobe who’s apartment is taken over by cockroaches to the point that they wind up bursting out from inside of him.
The newborn cleaning scene in The Brood
There are several gross moments in Cronenberg movies, but nothing tops this scene in The Brood. After learning that Samantha Eggar’s character is producing mutant offspring to act out her rage, we see the process of her giving premature birth to one of the creatures, which she then begins to lick to her husband’s horror… as well as ours.