Top 10 Most Unnerving Movie Scenes

by Eric Melin on January 27, 2009

in Top 10s

WARNING: Please do not read/look any further if you are easily offended. This list is graphic, and NOT for the faint of heart. Scene-Stealers sitegoer and EMU Theater member Sara Langford was inspired to create this list after seeing our review of “The Wrestler.” In it, my co-host Whitney Mathews was disturbed by the violence in the film. Sara’s thought was “Geez, you haven’t seen anything.” So here’s a Top 10 list that Sara says has been sitting in her brain for a while. “I’m not sure the scene descriptions are 100 percent accurate because frankly, I don’t want to re-watch any of it!” she writes. This is similar to something J.D. and I did awhile ago—the Top 10 Great Movies No One Should Have to See More Than Once—except Sara is not commenting on the quality of the movies, but instead merely pointing out what she viewed as extreme brutality. Please chime in and let her know if her memory served her correctly or how these movies affected you. I know there are some sickos out there who have seen this stuff more than once! If you’d like to contribute your own Top 10 to Scene-Stealers, email your idea at eric@scene-stealers.com. Here’s Sara:

I spent a great deal of my teens and twenties seeking out shocking movies like a drug addict looks for a fix. I’ve moved on, but the memory of what I’ve seen stays with me. These aren’t the goriest or bloodiest moments, they are the ones that made me turn away from the screen or squirm in my chair. They are the ones I remember so vividly that I feel like a post-traumatic stress disorder victim. For your non-enjoyment, it’s my Top 10 Most Unnerving Movie Scenes.

a clockwork orange rape scene10. A Clockwork Orange (1971) home invasion scene

This seems tame now compared to some of the other flicks, but it always frightens me seeing Alex (Malcolm McDowell) and his droogs in their freaky masks breaking into the home, tying a woman up, and kicking the man while doing a song and dance to “Singin’ In the Rain.” It usually results in a lot of head-shaking on my part and “I can’t believe there might be sickos like this out in the world.” What’s most disturbing about this particular scene in Stanley Kubrick’s diystopian nightmare is the casualness that the gang displays. They’re not angry or crazy; they’re just getting some kicks. Nothing like a little ultra-violence to brighten your day, right?

fat girl 20019. Fat Girl (2001) car attack

(SPOILER ALERT!) If I had a list for most unexpected endings, this French film by Catherine Breillat would probably top it. Thinking about it now, I’m still not sure if the ending was appropriate or if it was just some last-minute, tacked-on shock tactic. Pretty older sister Elena and her younger chubby sister Anais go on holiday. 12-year old Anais is fascinated by her sister’s affair with a man (who is much too old) and becomes obsessed with her own virginity. I will give props to this movie for accurately capturing the mind of a child who lacks forethought and seems to have confused self-growth with self-destruction. However, the ending in which a psychotic trucker attacks the sisters and their mother at a rest stop left me reeling in a bad way. The attacker climbs onto the car, smashes through the window and brutally murders Elena and her mother. He then rapes Anais who tells the police after the fact that it’s all good. Somewhere in her little half-formed brain, she’s happy about having lost her virginity. The scene of violence is certainly unnerving and the end result makes it even worse—the protagonist experiences a change…in the worst possible way. A statement about society? It’s probably intended to be, but I’d rather get that message through subtlety than through jarring violence.

henry: portrait of a serial killer otis8. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) video scene

Based loosely on the life of Henry Lee Lucas, John McNaughton’s “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” stars Michael Rooker as a man so sick, he killed his own mother. This movie is frightening for its realism and one of the most uneasy scenes involves Henry and his killing companion Otis (Tom Towles) as they view a sweet little home movie they made. They casually sit on their couch and watch themselves on video as they murder a middle-class couple in their home. The viewer sees everything they see and the television framing the video makes it feel as if you’re actually watching a snuff film. At the end, Otis rewinds the video. “What are you doing?” Henry says. Otis: “I wanna watch it again.” Disturbing.

irreversible 2002 cassel7. Irreversible (2002) fire extinguisher scene

Yes, the rape scene with Monica Belucci was brutal and went on for much too long, but that was well after I had already been traumatized by Gaspar Noé’s backwards-moving shocker. I absolutely refuse to watch “Irreversible” again in order to accurately describe what happens here. I’ll just say that it involves a fire extinguisher, a man’s head, and movie-watchers everywhere throwing their arms up in front of their faces to cover their eyes.

testsuo iron man drill6. Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) drill scene

“Tetsuo: The Iron Man” is a black and white surreal Japanese cyberpunk film about a man that turns into a twisted heap of scrap metal due to an unfortunate run-in with a masochist/metal fetishist. During the scene in question, the man’s, er, private bits turn into a giant drill which he uses to slaughter his girlfriend. Well, it’s more like an accident, because I think he was trying to do something else. I would be lying if I didn’t say the entire movie was a rather uncomfortable experience. It’s definitely ahead of its time and masterfully made by director Shinya Tsukamoto, but rather hard for the average movie buff to stomach.

american history x curb stomp5. American History X (1998) curb stomp

I described this to a friend who covered her mouth and gasped. This is one of those moments you don’t have to see in order to understand how disturbing it is. It’s strangely simple compared to the rest of this list, yet just as awful. A neo-Nazi (Edward Norton) places a man’s open mouth on the edge of a curb and then stomps on his head, breaking his neck. The acting in this scene is stupendous and it drives the action for much of the rest of the film, so I almost can’t fault it for its graphic content. Still, I think I’ll fast-forward through this bit if I ever watch it again.

cannibal holocaust turtle scene4. Cannibal Holocaust (1980) turtle scene

The director of this worthless waste of film, Ruggero Deodato, was arrested in Italy because this movie looked so realistic that authorities believed he had made a snuff film. The violence against people in this movie was certainly disturbing (there’s the infamous impalement scene for one), but the fact that the animals killed in the film were actually real bothers me to no end. As a child, I wept in the theater during “Dances with Wolves” when Two Socks was shot (That’s an embarrassing admission). This disdain for violence against animals has stuck with me since then and “Cannibal Holocaust” is the worst offender. In this scene, a team of documentarians in the jungle yank a turtle out a river and decapitate it. One guy proceeds to jokingly show its brutalized flesh to the camera. Isn’t that just hilarious? To top it off we’re then shown a close-up of the turtle corpse…twitching. (Hey, maybe this film isn’t a waste—it sure would make a nice gift for those annoying vegetarians in my life.)

last house on the left rape3. Last House on the Left (1972) last rape scene

As co-president and founder of my high school’s Horror Movie Club (created solely so we could skip third hour once a week to watch movies), I thought it was important to see every Wes Craven film. Alas, this was nothing like “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” It was far scarier because I became convinced gangs of sociopaths were lurking around every corner of my relatively safe hometown. The whole premise of the movie is difficult to swallow: Two teen girls are kidnapped by a band of thugs, gang-raped, humiliated and tortured. I haven’t seen the director’s cut, which reportedly features disemboweling (damn, that’s too bad), so this scene stands out. The thugs stumble upon one of the girls in the woods and prior to raping her, they throw her friend’s severed arm on the ground for her to see. Yeah, nice touch. After a nasty piece of work named Krug does his business (and I won’t go into detail about that), a folk-style love ballad (WTF?!) starts playing, and the girl walks off into a lake only to be shot in the back. What’s worse than this? The fact that they’re remaking the movie. Unbelievable.

audition piano wire 1999 miike2. Audition (1999) piano-wire scene and Ichi the Killer (2001) torture scene

These scenes tie because they both come from the twisted mind of Takashi Miike, whose catalog falls mostly into the shocking category. He seems to thrive on finding the most disturbing yet hilarious ways to off his characters. Whether it’s a ladle through the bum (“Gozu”) or a sumo wrestler dying of a heart attack mid-coitis and smothering his tiny girlfriend (horror-musical “The Happiness of the Katakuris”), Miike has the market tapped on weird/funny/violent movie moments. In “Audition,” a seemingly innocent Japanese girl places vice grips around a businessman’s ankles and then nonchalantly cuts his feet off with piano wire. “You can’t go anywhere without feet. This wire can cut through bone and meat easily.” I tend to watch movies alone and this scene had me so disturbed, I ran into the other room shouting nonsense to my roommate: “Oh my god…ew…oh my god!” She thought something terrible had happened. Nope, it was just the piano wire scene.“Ichi the Killer” is a film filled with so much outrageous gore you can’t help but giggle. In one scene, a severed face slides down a wall. In another, a man is sliced in half by a shoe rigged with a blade. The execution of these scenes made them somewhat laughable, but the torture scene was plain painful to watch. A man hangs from the ceiling by several small meat hooks in his back while his torturer, Ichi, stabs a long needle through his face and then pours boiling oil over his back. Not cool.

salo 120 days of sodom1. Salò or 120 Days of Sodom (1975) dookie banquet

Pier Paolo Pasonlini’s last film is a nihilistic torturefest where young naked people run around a fancy villa being raped and humiliated by power-hungry fascists. “Salò” loosely parallels Dante’s “Inferno,” but it also transposes the setting of the Marquis de Sade’s infamous book “120 Days of Sodom” from 18th century France to the last days of Benito Mussolini’s regime in the Republic of Salò. Murder and rape are certainly difficult to watch, but do either of those things make the number one spot on this list? No. Poo-eating makes the top spot. It was gross in John Waters’ “Pink Flamingos,” but watching a 300-pound drag queen named Divine do it willingly in that film was a little different than seeing young slaves being forced do it against their will in this one. Totally unnecessary and unwatchable.

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers and regular critic for KCTV5. He’s a member of the BFCA, VP of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also the current 2013 Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 94 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Hai January 27, 2009 at 1:24 am

I got one… Britney Spears rendition of I Love RockNRoll in the movie Crossroads.

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2 Rachelle January 27, 2009 at 2:53 am

This is not a scene but an entire film- “Aftermath” by Nacho Cerdà. Everything about this film is wrong. I feel like I’m going to Hell every time I watch it, and I don’t even believe in Hell.

I watched the ending for Requiem for a Dream once, and always stop it before the end. But I can watch Takashi Miike films all day long.

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3 Gooch January 27, 2009 at 3:02 am

Such a fantastic list. A few additions (none of which are as bad as poo-eating): The pull-over scene from “Bad Lieutenant,” the dead baby in the crib from “Trainspotting,” the realization of what exactly Dae-su Oh has done in “Oldboy,” the very, very long gang-rape scene from “I Spit on Your Grave,” the rape scene that just about brings “Showgirls” to a dead stand still and Keanu Reeves doing anything in “Dracula.”

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4 Clark January 27, 2009 at 5:30 am

Great list!
I really hated Saló. So unnecessary!
You should add Requiem for a Dream to your list, as someone suggested here.

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5 Sara January 27, 2009 at 8:51 am

“Requiem for a Dream” definitely deserves some kind of honorable mention. The dead baby scene in “Trainspotting” didn’t bother me that much- mostly because it bothered a friend so much she described it in detail so I didn’t get that initial shock seeing it happen on screen. I read somewhere that Spielberg is remaking “Old Boy” (which had a fantastic disturbing ending, true). Can’t imagine him keeping that intact since he’s known for family friendly flicks (insert bad joke here).

“I Spit on Your Grave” has similar elements to LHOTL. For the sake of not repeating myself, I didn’t want to have ten rape scenes, though I’ve never seen one that wasn’t unnerving. I’ve also never seen one that was necessary, the implication of it is bad enough.

Was “Showgirls” supposed to be a comedy? That one never fails to make me laugh. Thankfully they edit out the yucky stuff for cable broadcasts.

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6 Dana January 27, 2009 at 9:07 am

I think this is a great list!

A few scenes that always make me squirm:

Robert Downey down on both knees at the end of “Less Than Zero”

Jennifer Connelly doing A** to A** at the end of “Requiem for a Dream” in front of a group of guys so she can get her drugs.

The group sex scene in “Blindness” where all the women have to f*ck for their food just to survive.

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7 Jon Crawford January 27, 2009 at 10:14 am

I think that the final scene from Descent with Rosario Dawson deserves to be in the top 5.

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8 Eric Melin January 27, 2009 at 11:10 am

Believe it or not, “Showgirls” was originally marketed as a groundbreakingly explicit drama. In all seriousness.

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9 Trey January 27, 2009 at 11:39 am

What about the end of Kids or even a movie like Closer? I think the theme that runs through each of these moments or films is a sense of hopelessness. Not so much with Miike, but many of the other films just leave their viewers without any sense of hope. Films like these often make me angry, once I have recovered from being disturbed. The directors, though masterful, don’t offer or even gesture toward something better outside of the constraints of the core story. I think that by not holding some responsibility to your viewer, beyond sheer catharsis, really makes for a confusing, hurtful watch at best. Your comments actually reinforce this. Though most of these moments are memorable, many you have stated you don’t want to watch ever again.

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10 Gooch January 27, 2009 at 11:52 am

And because “Showgirls” was so explicit and serious, it BECAME the funniest movie ever. Except for the rape scene.

Spielberg isn’t remaking THAT Oldboy. I had the same reaction when I read it. He’s remaking a comic-book of the same name.

Good point about the rape scenes, I think LHOTL is pretty freaking disturbing on its own.

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11 Aaron January 27, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Irreversible STILL gives me nightmares. That whole movie disturbed me.

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12 alphamonkey January 27, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Gooch,

‘Oldboy’ is the manga upon which the film was based, and that is indeed what Dreamworks is remaking. There are enough plot differences between the original manga and the film to make it a little more palatable to American audiences (ie, no incest).

And to Sara,

Phenomenal list…made worse by the fact that I’ve seen all those films so I can look forward to a day of those scenes popping into my skull. Fun!

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13 Sara January 27, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Phew, glad to hear about “Oldboy.” I was a bit worried! This is unfortunate though: http://tinyurl.com/8yfbzr

“the final scene from Descent with Rosario Dawson”
If I had a straight to video list, that might be up there. The whole movie was godawful, I’m surprised I even made it to the end…which is probably more uncomfortable for men to watch.

“Believe it or not, “Showgirls” was originally marketed as a groundbreakingly explicit drama.”
Awful. I think casting had something to do with the ridiculousness:
http://tinyurl.com/ff2rn

“What about the end of Kids or even a movie like Closer?”
Those two are more depressing than shocking (for me anyway) even though “Kids” was supposed to be super edgy. “Gummo” was much worse.

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14 Charles T. Samuels January 27, 2009 at 2:10 pm

There was a french movie that came out in the 90′s called Man bites Dog, it has rape scene involving a pregnant lady which after seeing it was probably the only time I’ve ever almost walked out of a movie. I’ve seen it on video too and that scene was taken out.

Actually there was a 2nd time I almost walked out of a movie. It was the scene in City of God when they are trying to force the little kid to shoot his friend.

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15 RCM January 27, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Great list, though I very much disagree that “Cannibal Holocaust” is a waste of a movie. Even more to the point, I still can’t fathom how Wes Craven built a career from “Last House on the Left”

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16 Kenny January 27, 2009 at 3:17 pm

This is a very good list. Yesterday, I was ironically reading the ten most ultra-violent films and it correlates very well with your list. Glad to see the ever-disturbing Irreversible on here, plus Old Boy is one of my favorites. I have not seen Audition yet, but very much want to.

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17 Dan January 27, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Awesome list, as always. Totally agree about the infamous Cannibal Holocaust, too.

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18 Sara January 27, 2009 at 6:46 pm

“though I very much disagree that “Cannibal Holocaust” is a waste of a movie”

In some ways, I do respect “Cannibal Holocaust.” I’m amazed it came to fruition (shooting in a jungle can’t be easy) and was in awe of the cheaply done special effects. However, it’s not the kind of movie I would ever watch again…nor would I suggest it to other people.

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19 Mr.Mister January 27, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Kakihara is the torturer in Ichi, not Ichi.

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20 Shaun January 29, 2009 at 10:42 am

Such a fine list. Hits every shocking moment that I would have mentioned. Kudos!

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21 The Dude January 29, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Wow. Any list with a reference to Cannibal Holocaust is OK in my book. Who cares about the animals though? There is a reason why the food chain exists. Survival and entertainment. When animals get a chance, they retaliate.

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22 Lionel Blair December 22, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Was the mutilation of those innocent animals done for food then as you are referring to the food chain? I think not, it’s done to satisfy sadist pricks like you who clearly have something wrong with their brains (or lack of perhaps).

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23 malena dinwoodie January 30, 2009 at 6:59 pm

i have to say that i was happy to see american history x on the list. for some reason, things having to do with teeth breaking always makes me squirm. i cant watch that scene to this day.

has anyone ever seen gummo? its not exactly violent, but the idea that it was loosely based on a real town deeply disturbs me.

thanks so much for this list! i cant wait to rent irreversible!

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24 Lupin 3 February 5, 2009 at 4:59 am

It was Kakihara that did the torturing.

Not Ichi.

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25 gooch February 6, 2009 at 5:15 am

Once Were Warriors, Jake the Muck beats his wife pretty bad and you know it’s coming. Pretty difficult to watch.

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26 Dan February 6, 2009 at 11:08 am

Yeah, definitely Once Were Warriors – plus the final scene.

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27 Joni Adams February 9, 2009 at 11:30 am

The scene in Zodiac where the killer ties up the man and woman and places them face down by the lake, then stabs the man repeatedly in the back while she watches and anticipates that she is next, then she gets stabbed repeatedly. It has haunted me to this day.

Also agree with the truck stop scene in Fat Girl. I still remember that.

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28 The Swede February 14, 2009 at 4:14 pm

“Caligula”. Need i say more?

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29 mistamojo March 11, 2009 at 6:51 pm

The last scene of both “halves” of “Full Metal Jacket.” If AmHistX rates (which I believe it does) “FMJ” certainly makes the cut, even with Kubrick already represented. Don’t believe me? Seven Words:

“I AM IN A WORLD OF SH#T.”

Not enough? Two more:

“shoot me.”

‘Nuff said.

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30 Barbs April 8, 2009 at 10:32 am

Wolf Creek!!! worst, most pointless movie ever!!

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31 Tom E. April 9, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Obviously, few of your readers have seen Salo, or more of them would be mentioning it. It is without doubt the vilest, most revolting piece of cinema I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen many of those you cite here. On the other hand, your list is sorely missing an entry from David Cronenberg, and you could have selected one or more scenes from most any of his films. Recent entries might include the showdown in the front yard between Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris’s goons in A History of Violence or the assassination attempt in the sauna on a nude Viggo in Eastern Promises. Crash offers a whole movie’s worth of squirmy scenes, among them is James Spader apparently having sex with an unhealed wound that runs the length of Rosanna Arquette’s leg. Early works I’m familiar with like Scanners, Shivers, The Brood, and Videodrome are filled with images guaranteed to make one cringe. But at the top of my list is Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly. I love horror movies, but I can hardly bear to watch this one. Starting with Jeff Goldblum’s initial skin problems, each step in his transformation is more disgusting than the previous. Three scenes in particular are almost puke-worthy: when Goldblum shows Geena Davis how “Brundlefly” eats, when Brundlefly undergoes his final metamorphosis, and, ickiest of all, when the pregnant Geena Davis experiences a dream (prophecy? flash forward?) in which she goes into labor and ends up squirting out a wriggling watermelon-sized maggot. If I were a woman I might be permanently traumatized by such a vision. As it is, I’m just thoroughly grossed out. No doubt, Cronenberg deserves a prominent place in the sicko hall of shame.

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32 dinstapinsta June 23, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Aaah, games, they’ve taken so much of my precious lifetime already. I wonder if I’ll get a bonusgame when I die =P

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33 miah July 6, 2009 at 10:02 pm

they definitely killed a real snake in the original friday the 13th… doesnt sound as bad as what you describe in cannibal holocaust though.

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34 Ada July 19, 2009 at 10:25 pm

The rape scene in American History X was also very unnerving. Loved the movie though.

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35 Melanie February 26, 2010 at 10:51 am

I recently watched Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, and it’s definitely up there with some of my hardest to watch movies. I usually don’t mind gratuitous sex and violence, but this is just von Trier at his most self-indulgent. If you haven’t seen it, I’ll sum up the scene: psychotic wife castrates husband and bolts a heavily weighted rod through his ankle, then masturbates in front of him. Hmmm…
I noticed nobody mentioned Eraserhead, which I haven’t seen in over 20 years, and don’t think I could watch again. I do love most of David Lynch’s work, but Eraserhead makes me ill.
How about the scene at the end of The Doom Generation, rape and castration? Not exactly a feel-good movie…
Great list, by the way. You definitely mentioned many of the all time best pukeolicious moments in cinematic history:) Thx!

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36 Patrick February 27, 2010 at 11:34 pm

This is a really great and diverse list – refreshing since most I’ve seen spew off about the likes of “Saw” and “Hostel” nonsense. To this day I get a bit queasy just thinking of “Salo,” everything about it, the scatology, rape, humiliation and that gut wrenching mass torture to round it out.

I do think “Antichrist” will be popping up a lot once more people find out about it.

I’ll submit a kind of odd one – “Happiness.” Nothing physical or gory going on it, but the scene of the father explaining in totally straight forward detail to his 10 year old son exactly how he molested and raped two of the son’s schoolmates makes me squirm every time.

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37 Spillipha March 5, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Deliverance!!! Squeal like a pig, Just as single scenes go

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38 Fauerholm March 16, 2010 at 5:08 pm

you should have added ”The Outpost” a movie with a group of mercenaries trying to track down something valuable, but they stumble into a WWII SS bunker where gruesome experiments were being done.
and.. well let’s just put it this way, you have to watch the scenes to see the details, one guys get’s his eye dug out with an empty bullet casing, another one get’s a knife shovved in between his teeth then twisted so you can hear the steel of the knife tearing into his teeth, and then getting his eyes stuck out, and one guy get’s his skull broken slowly against a wall, until in the end his skull just collapses and he dies, that movie has more then enough scenes to qualify for this list:)

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39 Gail March 24, 2010 at 8:15 am

‘Stoic’- Disgusting. Really vile and quite frankly, unneccesary. Couldn’t finish watching it,the only film to date that I haven’t sat through. Mind you, I haven’t seen Salo, and I believe, after reading this, that I never want to.

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40 Melanie March 27, 2010 at 10:52 am

After watching all 4.5 hours of “Philosophy of a Knife”, a 2008 mock-documentary about Japanese WWII war atrocities, I feel I would be negligent if I didn’t mention it here… Anyone who doesn’t have a stomach of titanium will have a hard time getting through this. The film is about Unit 731, a biological and chemical warfare research facility responsible for some of history’s most notorious war crimes, carried out on Chinese prisoners of the Japanese.
“Philosophy of a Knife” contains so many horrible experimentation scenes (albeit somewhat poorly made), that it does begin to mess with your head after a while.
Scenes include tests of human decompression, human vivisection, a woman’s arms immersed in liquid nitrogen then shattered, et al…
The kicker was when I had to watch them throw a cat into a pit of many, many starving rats, I began to “tune out”… Just simply gratuitous, voyeuristic stomach-turning nastiness without a single ray of hope or redemption. I realize that this is the “message”, but I don’t need to see every last detail of the horribleness, just because it actually happened.
And I have to agree with Patrick on “Happiness” – Really great film… super horribly uncomfortable scenes! I think I’ll watch it right now just to get rid of the taste of “Philosophy of a Knife” – Thx!!

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41 Eric Melin March 28, 2010 at 12:44 am

Wow. This post is really generating some obscure movie suggestions to see (or stay away from).

Just thought I’d mention “Stoic” is Uwe Boll…ha!

Fauerholm- Is “The Outpost” the one that’s also called “Mind Ripper”?

Melanie- What do you mean by “Philosophy of a Knife” being a mock-documentary? Is there re-enacted footage? What is fake–the whole thing?

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42 Brandon April 14, 2010 at 2:56 am

“Philosophy of a Knife” sounds very similar to a movie I saw recently called “Men Behind the Sun” although what I saw was in no way a documentary and it sure didn’t last 4.5 hours. The tortures that went on in Unit 731 right before Japan surrendered in WW2 are nothing short of insane and “Men Behind the Sun” holds very little back. There are more and more documentaries about that place coming out as people from that era are coming to the end of their days. Hard to bring yourself to believe the hell that was created there, but it shouldn’t go unnoticed.
The movie shows a scene where a cat is thrown into a room full (FULL) of rats and is eaten alive, but cinema buffs have noted that it looks a lot like a well edited scene of a drugged up cat just REALLY uncomfortable where it is. There is, however, no getting around the scene that has 20 or so rats lit on fire and scampering out of a burning building at the end. It makes for a very strong symbol, representing the Japanese captors destroying their labs and running from prosecution…A stunning visual, but definitely not cool. Very real.
People should know about what happened to all of the captives this place held (from China, Korea, Australia, Holland and America) but this movie is one very tough pill to swallow. Well made, not a gore fest, but brutal.

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43 Focusedman April 27, 2010 at 4:20 am

Passion of the Christ, the ENTIRE movie! And whats makes it much worst is the fact that other human beings have recieved the same sadistic treatment and worst! SickGirl is a little known movie about a psychotic teenager and the things she does to protect her little brother, you ever seen the end result of a face after a Rat has been trapped inside a bag covering someones face?!! NASTY. The best torture scene that i’ve viewed is in a movie called FarmHouse, a cheese shedder and a human leg=Vomit!

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44 beetlemier May 3, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Not quite as bad as those listed, but I will never be able to watch the ending of the The Strangers again. Such slow stabbing, one at a time, ugh. Of course that could’ve been prevented by the protagonists and their GUN, but this is about disturbing scenes, not idiotic characters ;-)

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45 gucci May 12, 2010 at 12:02 pm

What about the end of Casino when Pesci and his brother get beat to fuck, and buried alive. That was insane. No other movie ever made me sick to my stomach like that did. Just the way it happened and how they looked after being beat with baseball bats was disturbing!

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46 Jillian May 28, 2010 at 1:40 am

I know this seems tame compared to the other horrific rape scenes mentioned here, but I am always forced to look away during Jodie Foster’s rape scene in “The Accused.” And I’m a major Jodie fan!

I also have issues with the violent killing of Bobby Kent in “Bully” (even though he SO deserved it)…I just thought it went on a little too long.

And yes, I’m old enough to remember the teeth-drilling scene in “Marathon Man!” Every time I watch it, I yell at Dustin Hoffman: “Jesus Christ, MAKE SOMETHING UP!!”

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47 mrmaniac May 30, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Good list.

Still, might add “Last House…” is a remake from Bergmann´s “The Virgin Spring” with Max Von Sydow.

Don´t believe me?

WATCH IT.

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48 sb June 17, 2010 at 4:18 pm

what about passion of christ?
and i would rate irreversible a little higher

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49 Mitch June 18, 2010 at 1:24 pm

“A man hangs from the ceiling by several small meat hooks in his back while his torturer, Ichi, stabs a long needle through his face and then pours boiling oil over his back. Not cool.”

Yeah like the other people said, It’s Kakihara not Ichi. No one can fault you for not reading the imdb page…

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50 Angela June 22, 2010 at 10:35 pm

I have seen some of the movies on the list and have to agree. I know that you don’t want it to all be rape scenes however there are some unerving scenes i’d like to mention. Please keep in mind that there isn’t much they can do in a movie to make me look away. so here are the few that shook me to my core.

“Last House On The Left” (remake) – the rape scene is far more brutal and graphic than the original along with the death scenes too. However I wish they had kept the castration scene from the original in the remake.

“Life is Hot in Cracktown” (2009) – I was just watching it for the first time cause nothing else was on and tuned in just as a guy was leading his girlfriend down an alley where he and some friends rape her. One guy proceeds to urinate on her. Then they throw a couple vials of crack at her.

“Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever” – this isn’t as unnerving but a little gross. This movie is a shitty sequel to begin with since there’s no Eli Roth. However there are plenty of gore gags. One of which follows a scene where this nerdy kid gets a b.j. from some chick with braces and a funky sore on her lip. moments later he realizes something is wrong and pulls down his pants to reveal a penis oozing pus and slowly becoming a bloody pus pile.

“Black Circle Boys” – as a person who hates animal cruelty i was deeply disturbed by the scene in this not so popular movie that involved a kitten being placed in a potato sack and bashed repeatedly against trees as a “sacrifice”

finally..
“Fear” – this movie is pretty normal and it’s not any particular scene but more Mark Wahlberg’s performance as the seemingly innocent boyfriend David who turns posessive and psychotic.

these are meerly my opinion and the scenes that cause me to try to shield my face (again this doesn’t occur often)

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51 Spencer July 25, 2010 at 4:44 pm

I can’t believe Anti-Christ is on here.

Sara,

You mentioned (over a year ago) how you thought the implications of a rape scene were enough. You need to put yourself into a male’s shoes. We are different people and we don’t share the same mindset. Saying a rape seen is unnecessary is like saying a holocaust movie is unnecessary because everyone knows how bad it is. While some people might “know” they don’t “feel”. Sometimes in cinema, if done right, a scene can be a moral eye-opener. While I respect your choice not to list certain scenes, I decline to acknowledge that they are never necessary. Sometimes, people just don’t get it and the unnerving and unflinching results such as that in irreversible can have lasting and impersonating(in a good way) effects on people.

Good list, loved the read.

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52 Matty NG August 6, 2010 at 12:40 am

Schindlers List. Take a pick.

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53 twinkybud August 10, 2010 at 10:54 am

good list, but i would say the home abortion scene in hanger deserves a spot. oh and in the ichi the killer scene u mentioned, the torturer is Kakihara not ichi get it right.

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54 Matt August 16, 2010 at 12:43 am

Robocop–Murphy execution

midnight express– Rifki beaten by Billy

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55 Ally August 23, 2010 at 9:20 am

What about \The Hills Have Eyes\? There is not only insanely gruesome scenes in it, but there is also rape.
\Cannibal Holocaust\ is the most repulsive thing I have ever watched by the way…

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56 John August 23, 2010 at 8:04 pm

I think “May” (2002) was a very disturbing movie in general, but the eye scene at the end is just…*shudders*

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57 Rudolph Rednose September 6, 2010 at 8:57 am

In the Wizard of Oz there was a very unnerving scene that haunts my every thought. When Dorothy realizes that her time is running out and she is looking at the sand in the hourglass falling from one chamber into another, her eyes become misty and she sniffles a bit. One of the most shocking scenes ever filmed and disturbs me to my very core every time I watch it.

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58 Dali September 30, 2010 at 9:03 pm

I’m looking for a film with a “country bumpkins” rape scene in which 5 (or 6?) guys from a small town brutally rape a young girl in her house in the evening. She goes out to a bar where they see her (I think she’s back from college to her small town but my memory isn’t great) and then they follow her home. Her parents find her after the rape. One notable is that in the rape scene, she’s placed on a rocking chair so they can do their dirty bizness. Also, a big guy rapes her while he’s standing up. It’s not Last House on the Left, but same time period I think.

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59 steve July 7, 2012 at 7:34 am

The movie you’re talking about was called naked vengeance.

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60 Dan October 1, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Dali – It’s not I Spit On Your Grave, is it?

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61 steve July 7, 2012 at 7:35 am

I think he’s talking about a movie called naked vengeance

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62 LouisAnthoni October 16, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Stoning scene in “The Stoning of Soraya M.” pretty disturbing on many levels….

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63 dell October 20, 2010 at 1:51 pm

“The hills have eyes” has the most cruel scenes I have ever seen. **SPOILER** two deformed thugs asault an entire family, first hang the father on a tree and burn him alive in front of the family, then rapes the young teen daughter, then shoots the mother, then points a gun on a baby’s head so they can molest the other daughter. That scene haunt me for days

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64 stigs October 20, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Watch \A Serbian Film\. Enough said.

(Also, the ending sequence of \Requiem For A Dream\.)

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65 Mark October 29, 2010 at 9:23 pm

I’ve seen alot of disturbing films, I just can’t get enough of the ultra violent movies. No im perfectly normal, just love the gore i guess…

But the one most disturbing movie that sticks out in my mind is August Undergrounds Mordum, I dont think ive seen anyone mention it here, cant believe that.

Others are: A Serbian Film, August Undergrounds: Penance and the original, Salo was indeed hard to watch(anything involving kids bothers me to watch, A Serbian Film was VERY hard to watch), any of the guinea pig movies…

Also Note on Prior Comments: Philosophy Of A Knife different than Men Behind the Sun(2 separate movies based on the same thing

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66 Tommiliuz December 4, 2010 at 11:09 pm

everybody watch ” The Human Centipede ” olmost unwatchable
i can watch jackass eating their own puke and watch their shit IN 3D!! weil eating something myself but this movie made me vommit in my moth.

my most disturbing picks are.

cannibal holocaust, turtle scene

irreversible, Fire Extinguisher scene

antichrist, Clit cutting scene !!! just too much there

i know people will dissagree here but…
Paranormal activity part 1, when katie gets dragged into the other room olmost peed my pants.

and final Pan’s Labyrinth” when a man’s face is smashed in with a bottle.

thx and sorry for bad spelling ( Icelandic )

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67 Tommiliuz December 4, 2010 at 11:11 pm

olso requiem for a dream sits well in me.

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68 Collier Hageman February 4, 2011 at 12:18 pm

For a mainstream movie – The drowning scene in “The Abyss” is very unnerving. “Videodrome” was a damned disturbing movie in it’s day. I walked around creeped out all day the first time I saw it. There is an old B&W movie called “Hush,Hush Sweet Charlotte” that has a pretty shocking decapitation scene in the end. In it’s day I’m sure it was considered very unnerving.

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69 teamscream February 16, 2011 at 11:55 pm

the blowtorch scene in “the girl next door”. the whole movie is deeply disturbing and extremely frustrating to watch bc the kids involved are written to be so ridiculously ignorant, and the acting is mostly very mediocre.

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70 doogie February 17, 2011 at 11:02 pm

as a big animal lover, i think the scene in “The Ring” where the suicidal horse runs and jumps off the ship is pretty disturbing. it could have been much cleaner, but they had to make him trip over the side by his back legs and loudly ram his body into the side of the ship before plunging in. plus, we’re later seeing him writhe around in the ocean, and we then get to see the huge amount of blood mixed in with the ocean water (after he gets chopped up by the ship rudders).

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71 schmitty February 24, 2011 at 5:18 pm

the most filthy shocking movie ive ever ever seen is Seed. its about a murderer, you know, doing his thing. But at the very beginning, it says the old “real footage” warning thing. im thinking ok, might be like texas chiansaw massacre where they showed footage of his house etc. boy was i wrong. i saw animals tortured at the beginning, skinned live. it then went on to show how the murderer started. first he locked a cockroch in a room, showed it dying, starving to death, and disintegrating into nothing. followed by a rat. followed by a dog. followed by screaming baby. followed by a lady. THEN. he kidnpped a lady, started lightly tapping her head with a bat. slowly gets faster and harder, until chunks of her head are flying off. its very VERY graphic. if you can stop yourself, please dont watch this.

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72 Wade March 14, 2011 at 1:41 am

To #21: The food chain? There’s a big difference between an animal being killed for food and an animal being killed, pointlessly, for the sake of some piece-of-sh*t movie made by one of your fellow a-holes. Here’s hoping when the animals do retaliate, they retaliate on ignorant, amoral wastes such as yourself.

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73 Wendy March 25, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I agree with The Girl Next Door. It’s very disturbing, and I’ve watched every freaky movie out there. This movie is based on a true story. It’s one of those movies that you want to turn off, but keep watching to see what happens. I felt like a really bad person for watching the whole thing! lol

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74 jordan April 5, 2011 at 12:07 pm

cutting moments

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75 David lee October 16, 2011 at 4:16 am

You so gotta have A Seribian film on here,have watched a few graphic movies but this one steals the show…walks all over these movies suggested above :)

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76 VD88 October 19, 2011 at 11:38 am

Gawd, I’ve seen all of these and absolutely nothing disturbing with any of them. They’re art. And fiction. Salo and Cannibal Holocaust were pioneering films. Show a little respect.

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77 Cortez November 12, 2011 at 10:16 pm

I have no respect for a person who mutilates and tortures living creatures that cannot protect themselves. There is nothing pioneering about it, just trying to get thrills out of people with unnecessary violence and gore, at the expense of taking an animals life and putting it through so much pain that you will never realize in your entire life. This is why in a later interview the director wholly admits that what he did was atrocious and feels bad about it every day that he lives.

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78 huiznex December 4, 2011 at 5:47 am

u r right

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79 m November 21, 2011 at 12:52 am

Ghost ship. Scene in beginning. With wire

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80 messy mm November 22, 2011 at 5:33 am

grosiest movie i’ve seen is wrong turn It CREEPS me at night!!!!!!!!!!0 _ 0

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81 Lavezzi December 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Ok, now im sure you had never watch Requiem for a dream. When you whatch it, it will be on your list.

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82 Ricky January 7, 2012 at 2:54 am

Wow! I love this info.

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83 Susan March 9, 2012 at 11:59 pm

I spit on your grave is in some ways worse than Last house on the Left and the foreign flick Martyrs needs to be on here to. martyrs has gore in it that rivals any saw movie. The only real thing that made it watchable was a decent story line.

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84 breakherlegs March 15, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I had to look away in the turtle scene of Cannibal Holocaust. I can’t stand animal cruelty.
Also couldn’t watch the scene in Salo, where the girl is made to eat the shit off the spoon. Made me sick.

However, a few scenes I believe should be on this list that weren’t mentioned…
The clit mutilation scene in Antichrist. (I have a strong stomach, but this made me cringe)
The child rape/murder scene in State’s Evidence (Was in no way expecting that, scarred me)
The ‘Ass to ass’ scene at the end of Requim for a Dream. (The epitome of disturbing).

Also, three movies which are highly disturbing, and I never see on any of these lists.
‘Sublime’, which actually scared me.
‘Dark Corners’, which is just a whole bunch of f**ked up.
‘Tideland’, which is not gorey or anything, but seriously… I couldn’t get it out of my head for weeks. Just thinking about it creeps me out. Very disturbing film.

Good list. Seen most of these films, and agree the scenes mentioned are disturbing… Except for A Clockwork Orange. :/ I don’t understand why it’s always in these lists. I mean, I understand why it might disturb some, especially for its time, but in comparison to other films, really?? >.<

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85 james March 19, 2012 at 11:46 am

None of the above comes close to ‘ a Serbian story’. Don’t watch it though. You may think u wanna see it but trust me u do not.

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86 bardy May 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm

A Serbian Film tops all. No contest. You will have some horrible things rattling around in your head for days after seeing it. Things you cannot unsee…………….

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87 TheShrink September 15, 2012 at 2:44 am

I have a few:
Rape scene in the movie “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (English version), I was not expecting that and it was very violent.

(Agree with Charles Samuels) The scene where a kid is supposed to shoot a ‘runt’ in the movie “City of God”.

Movie :Hostel 2:
1. Scene where Lorna (played by Heather Matarazzo) is naked and gagged is tortured to death by a nude women sitting under her with a scythe!
2. Scene: cannibal scene where an older gentlemen (really?) cuts up portions of a restraint man and dines on the meat in a very civilized manner.
3. Right at the end where Stuart (played by Roger Bart) gets his manhood chopped off.

Movie: Tell-Tale (2009)
There were two scenes that to me were quite memorable:
1. The scene where the main character (Terry) takes her daughter (who has a very serious degenerative condition which is not curable) to a museum to show her the body of a man who died of the disease. It is mentioned in the scene that all the connective tissue (ligaments, tendons etc..)of people who have the disease turns to bone and that the remains are not being held together with any king of frame or wire, just his bones.
2. The scene towards the end where Terry is forced into a bath filled with ice cold water and a surgeon (?) removes (using a scalpel) something from hi knee.

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88 Krystal April 17, 2013 at 5:41 pm

How about Human Centipede! That in itself is an unnerving movie, and they created a sequel…

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89 rubyred September 1, 2013 at 1:31 am

I agree that “seed” was very disturbing. I know this will sound weird, but I can watch people get killed and tortured all day long (in movies), but mess with the animals and I get upset.
theres also a movie where a young disturbed kid bashes his mothers face to a pulp with a baseball bat. VERY real looking. I think it was called “frayed”?

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90 Johnny DB September 3, 2013 at 3:41 am

There’s a movie called Inside, about a pregnant woman (alone at home), with a ruthless stalker who wants her baby. I can’t remember when I’d seen so much significant blood in a movie.
There’s an Asian film called, The Butcher that’s worth a look. Hard to find English sub-titles.
Imprint, from the Masters of Horror is pretty gruesome too.
Murder Set Pieces is worth a mention, as well as the original Funny Games.
Martyrs wasn’t previously mentioned either.
The Audition was a ‘cringer’. “ki ki ki ki ki”
Of course there’s the movie that caused Charlie Sheen to contact authorities, believing it was a snuff film. I think it’s called Flowers of Flesh and Blood.
Aftermath is pretty necro-sickening to watch too.
The all time hardest to stomach is A Serbian Film, as mentioned before. The film was well made, and shot. The watch was a stomach wrencher.

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91 George T November 26, 2013 at 3:11 pm

From the number 1 horror buff in the world here are my two cents thrown in: Hostel 3 – the umasking scene, the uncut version – it is as realistic as they come, I watched it twice and dry heaved 50 times. Pure sadism for the sake of sadism as we can see by the applause by the elite members who witness the spectacle behind the glass. Martyrs is another stommach churner. As for Salo, well folks I saw the scene and it is pure fiction, no single human being could suppress the gag reflex no matter what the threat! I Spit On Your Grave (original of course) gets my vote for depicting the most realistic rape captured on celluloid, it verges on the snuff! I would include the brain sucking scene from The Blood Sucking Freaks if it was not a dark comedy, but the most disturbing image ever belongs to the Old Gun, 1975 French film, where a beautiful wife of an aristocrat is scorched by the sadisic nazi wielding a flamethrower. It is nihilistic, disspassionate, cold and savage, I would say – ANTIHUMAN, and the worst part is that those atrocities have been perpetrated by psycopaths in uniform known as solders on a playground for sadists and perverts known as WAR. That flamethrower scene is as disturbing as any in the annals of history of cinema – and that is comming from a man who has seen Human Centepede.

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92 jonaline May 17, 2014 at 9:07 am

There’s some stuff at the end of the green marker scare which is really disturbing

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93 Mary Jo Pierce July 17, 2014 at 1:26 am

I just had to add, “The Woodsman” with Kevin Bacon and his wife Kyra Sedgwick in 2004. I was floored when I watched this movie bc I had no idea what the movie was about. Beacon protrays a newly released peadophile and at one point starts reenacting what he did with these little girls he had molested. The most disturbing aspect of this film was the implication that this paedophile FINALLY felt empathy for the new victim he was grooming and stopped! I LOVED this movie bc in a perfect world this story could be true, it should be true, I certainly wanted it to be but it is not. There is no cure for paedophilia, none. They are sexually attracted to children. Period. That is what “does it” for them, that’s what turns them on; just like hetrosexuals and homosexuals. NO amount of therapy can change what makes us sexually attracted to someone, it is simply not possible. The Woodsman is such a great movie in every way, the acting, the story was incredible but many will watch and some may believe that these predatory paedophiles can change. If just one gullible single mom allows a paedophile in and around children well the thought makes me ill…unnerving 4 sure.

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94 Heather October 17, 2014 at 10:32 pm

There’s this french movie I can’t seem to find. I don’t know if you are into international films. Maybe it’s Canadian? But it has two girls who are picked up on their way home, one is stabbed to death and the other one survives. Both are raped repeatedly. The girl that survives walks out to the shore line and her fiends who are rowing a boat see her and get her help. The movie is actually set much later when the guy is up for a rehearing and she is trying to have a normal relationship with a guy. Do you know this movie?

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