14 March 2013

Movie Round-Up: Most Disturbing Films

It's no secret that I'm a fan of the grisly, edgy and horrifying, but as a dedicated fan of the horror genre, I've watched a lot of terrible movies and I feel like I've seen it all before. Suffice it to say, not much surprises me. However, every so often, a movie will come along that ups the anty to completely blow me away. This list of films walks a fine line between gruesome and disturbing, often bordering on discomfort for the wary viewer. What I've found is that there's more to the genre than just gore and violence, and if you get lucky, the shock factor pays off to create the perfect balance of repellent horror and macabre interest.

Beware. These movies are not for the faint of heart. They are gritty, disturbing and, in most cases, just f*cked up. Be that as it may, they've each turned the genre on its side to redefine horror, and for that, I share my appreciation.

American Psycho (2000) - A wealthy New York investment banking executive hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he escalates deeper into his illogical, gratuitous fantasies. 

Sickest Scene: Any and all of the sex scenes. Patrick Bateman is, by far, one of the sickest individuals ever created in a book or on screen.
Drive (2011) - A mysterious Hollywood stuntman, mechanic and getaway driver lands himself in trouble when he helps out his neighbour.

Sickest Scene: The one with the stuntman bashing in a guy's head in an elevator while the girl of his dreams watches in horror. I have to be honest, as sexy as Mr. Gosling is, he plays a very convincing sociopath.

The Mist (2007) -A freak storm unleashes a species of bloodthirsty creatures on a small town, where a small band of citizens hole up in a supermarket and fight for their lives. 

Sickest Scene: The ending to this movie is the most messed up ending I've ever seen in a movie, EVER. Stephen King is a master at horror and explores the degradation of humanity and the consequences in this film.

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009) - A mad scientist kidnaps and mutilates a trio of tourists in order to reassemble them into a new "pet"-- a human centipede, created by stitching their mouths to each others' rear ends.

Sickest Scene: I can't even discuss it for fear that I might start retching again. Let's just say, its pretty remarkable that blood and gore have absolutely NOTHING to do with how disturbing this film is.

Silence of the Lambs (1991) - A young FBI cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims.

Sickest Scene: Buffalo Bill prancing around as a woman before attempting to skin his next victim alive. This movie managed to be pretty revolutionary as far as psychological thrillers went. It's a toss-up as to who is worse --- Hannibal Lector or Buffalo Bill?

High Tension (2003) - Two college friends, Marie and Alexa, encounter loads of trouble (and blood) while on vacation at Alexa's parents' country home when a mysterious killer invades their quiet getaway.

Sickest Scene: A deranged murderer in a truck uses a severed head in a very unsettling manner. This is a twisted tale of obsession and murder that culminates in one of the greatest twist endings of all time.

House of 1000 Corpses (2003) - Two teenage couples traveling across the backwoods of Texas searching for urban legends of murder end up as prisoners of a bizarre and sadistic backwater family of serial killers. 

Sickest Scene: Murder, cannibalism, rape and satanic rituals make this entire movie cringe-worthy.

What are some of the most horrifying movies you've seen? In your eyes, have there been any movies that have redefined what it means to be disturbing? What traits, blood and gore aside, make a movie more than just horrific?


  1. Drive was waaaaaaay more disturbing than I expected it to me. Ick. And I haven't been brave enough to watch The Human Centipede, just reading the summary on Wikipedia was enough to make me almost vomit.

    1. It really was! I had no idea that Drive would be so creepy when I went to see it. Gosling's character was seriously messed up in the head and I'd be more than a little afraid if he were doting on me. It's one of those cases where if he can't have you, no one can. Yikes!

      And yeah. Don't want The Human Centipede. I'm not grossed out by much but I immediately regretted my decision when I watched this one. So sick.

  2. I can't and will not watch The Human Centipede because of how gross I heard it is. I enjoyed Silence of the Lambs, Drive, and American Psycho, although yes, they have some very disturbing scenes. I can't watch The Exorcist...it is way to creepy with the little girl saying and doing horrible things. Plus, I do not like watching body parts move in ways that they are not supposed to. I tried watching this when I was younger and I tried once more with I was older... I still can't bring myself to watch the whole thing and I don't think I ever will.

    1. I highly recommend that you don't watch The Human Centipede. While it was a revolutionary idea, it was the sickest film I've ever seen. Next to The Exorcist (but for very different reasons). I almost added The Exorcist to this list but I thought the crab-walking backwards down the stairs + headturn to be way too creepy to talk about. I literally walked out of the theatre (when they brought it back in the 2000's w/ added scenes). So yeah.

  3. You are right, the shock factor is important. Great list Nikki! The Human Centipede just sounds gross, there's no way I would watch it. Just the idea of that is nasty. From what I've heard, it's actually possible to do that. ewww!!
    I agree, The Mist ending was majorly messed up. Silence of the Lambs is a favorite!

    On my list of messed up horror films are The Exorcist (which I watched when I was twelve and will never watch again because it scarred me for life), The Ruins (both the book and the film are friggin fantastic), Kalifornia (with Brad Pitt), The Strangers (this is a must see because the scariest scene happens in broad daylight), Wrong Turn, Hostel (I saw an actual Hostel in Miami a few years ago while on vaca and I instantly got the chills), 28 Weeks Later, The Ring and Silent Hill. Oh, and I just saw Mama in theaters and that was pretty scary/messed up too.

    1. Wait, wait wait... that's a REAL thing?! I think I'm going to have some pretty awful nightmares now.

      Great list! The Exorcist scared the crap outta me and I try not to talk about it too much because it's so messed up. I've seen The Ruins but barely remember it and The Strangers was really creepy. I know exactly to which scene you are referring! Hostel (Part 1) was pretty gory, especially the scene with the cell phone and the head photo. Wow, I forgot about Silent Hill and 28 Weeks Later. Those are really good ones!

  4. Anonymous3/16/2013

    Great list! Of these movies, I've seen Silence of the Lambs, Drive & American Psycho (and read the book, which was so much worse!) I give you credit for sitting through The Human Centipede -- it's on a short list of movies I've sworn never to watch. :-D

    Among my most disturbing movies would be Red, White & Blue and Pan's Labyrinth. I LOVED Pan's Labyrinth but I found a few scenes brutal.

    1. Thanks so much! There are definitely others that creeped me out (Pan's Labyrinth included) but I decided that listing those 5 was bad enough.

      And I'm not so sure I'm to be congratulated for sitting through The Human Centipede. That was... horrible.

  5. Really interesting idea for a list and I like your picks! I actually didn't mind The Human Centipede (although I prefer the sequel) and thought its nods to Cronenbergian body horror were a nice little feature. Drive is also fantastic, and I need to rewatch American Psycho (I originally watched it the day I finished the book and was rather underwhelmed in comparison!). The ending to The Mist - which is different from the short story - is just fantastic, and Silence of the Lambs is easily one of the best horror/thriller movies around. House of 1000 Corpses, however, had some interesting ideas but just felt a little like a series of mashed up music videos. I absolutely loved the scene with the slow pull away from the cop before (spoilers) he meets his demise - THAT is how you create tension on screen.

    Personally, I find movies that feature rape to be the most horrifying - Craven's Last House on the Left, for example, or Irreversible are just excruciating to watch. And although it isn't strictly a horror, Visitor Q is kinda messed up.

    Still, this is a great post! :)

    1. Wow, thank you so much, Liam! I'm so pleased you enjoyed my post. And might I add... you really know your cinema! I'm impressed!

      I had a tough time with The Human Centipede but I can appreciate it nonetheless. I haven't read the novelisation of American Psycho yet, but I usually try to read the book AFTER seeing the film for that very reason. I think, visually, I just adore Rob Zombie's work and I can certainly appreciate how uncensored he is. While it might not be the most appeasing of plots, he really can set a mood.

      I can't watch rape movies just because of personal issues with those types of scenes. I had a tough enough time with the remake of Craven's The Hills Have Eyes so I haven't even attempted to watch Irreversible or Last House on the Left.

  6. Just an FYI on The Myst: The ending here is actually not Stephen King's original ending. The film's director came up with the idea and added it in with King's blessing.

    1. Well now I'm really interested on knowing what the original ending was. The more you know!


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