Some of the films made in this world, were created for sick and twisted individuals that find strange pleasure in watching the most atrocious scenes. Let’s start with some of the tamer scenes in extreme horror films, to please those of you who might not be quite ready for the serious brutally and for those of you who are just interested in remembering a few gnarly scenes. Here are some of the most disturbing moments in horror films for you to sink your teeth into.
Saló / 120 Days of Sodom – Feasting on excrement
This 1976 Italian film from Pier Paolo Pasolini is an adaptation from one of the most disturbing books ever written; Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom from 1904. The story featured in both book and film details four powerful libertines who have a sexual deviance for nearly everything they shouldn’t, force nine boys and girls (quantities differ in book vs. film) to endure 120 days of constant physical and psychological torture, which gives them sexual satisfaction.
The film is a tamer version of what is detailed in the book but that doesn’t make it any easier to watch and digest, with scenes derived straight out of the mind of someone residing in hell. One of the most disturbing scenes in this film is when they have a grand feast, with the main course having been freshly prepared that day by the young victims; their own excrement. It’s both disgusting and disturbing to watch, and will really leave a foul taste in your mouth for days after.
Sinister – The execution of children
Scott Derickson’s 2012 supernatural horror film Sinister still doesn’t receive the attention it deserves, because it’s far more haunting and harrowing that any synopsis makes it sound to be. A true crime writer needs his next big story to tell, which is why he moves his family into a new home, one which was the house of a slaughtered family. As he begins to investigate he finds the snuff films of the various families being killed and even though realises his own family are in danger, continues to write about the horrific killings that happened in their new home.
Any film with a snuff element tends to have a very sombre tone to it, and Sinister definitely has that. The scene that really sticks out from this film and is uncomfortable to watch, is a section from one of the snuff tapes that the protagonist of the film discovers. It has a raw feel to it as it’s shown on a projector and shot on super 8mm film; this scene shows a family all being hung from a tree and suffocating to death. It has a very real feeling to it and makes you feel dirty watching it.
Antichrist – Self love and mutilation
We live in a generation where self love is constantly forced down our throats like ugly bouquets of flowers on Valentines Day. But the self-love shown in Lars Von Trier’s controversial Antichrist is slightly different to what the advertisements might have imagined. After losing their son in a tragic accident, a couple isolate themselves in a remote cabin in the woods to delve into their own psychological issues and find a way to make their marriage work again.
This scene in Antichrist is somewhat of a double whammy because both husband and wife get their fair share of mutilation and titillation. During a frenzied sexual encounter on the floor in the shack, the wife (who only goes by the name of She) commits a horrific act on her husband whilst he is climaxing, resulting in a bloody mess. A little while later she takes to a similar act to herself, resulting in the self castration of her genitals as punishment for the sexual enjoyment she found.
Antiviral – Mass consumerism of celebrity flesh
This film always tends to be lesser known amongst most of the others on this list, however, it’s always been one of my favourite films and one that makes me feel constantly disturbed and queasy. From 2012, director Brandon Cronenberg, son of David Cronenberg, takes inspiration from his father’s love for creating mentally challenging body horror films by producing his own. Antiviral follows Syd who works in a company that gives out the same virus and diseases celebrities have to their obsessive fans. After the biggest celebrity on the books mysteriously dies, Syd becomes entangled in finding out what really happened to her.
Throughout Antiviral there are strange scenes that will leave you feeling a little unwell, but it is the aspect of cloning celebrities’ DNA in order to grow meat that tastes just like their flesh. With a commentary on society’s obsession with famous people, we see the audience purchasing steaks of their favourite actor just to have a little taste of them. It’s very subtle, but once you start to think about the reality behind it, you’ll never look at your steak the same way.
Irreversible – Extinguishing faces
Gaspar Noé has made a name for himself within the most disturbing films sector, and not only purely because of his shocking Irreversible. He’s behind the more recent shocker Climax, the bad trip Enter The Void and many others. However, Irreversible stands the test of time and still can’t be removed from the retinas of those who have watched. Starting at the end of the film and working backwards, the audience learn the atrocious act that happened to one woman and why the beginning of the film features one of the most brutal and violent openings.
Irreversible is always spoken about due to a very extreme scene about half way through the film, but I want to talk about a different scene for once. The opening scene of this film is an onslaught of red-lit pornographic images, disorientating strobing effects and finally an appalling attack on one man’s face and skull using a fire extinguisher and pure hatred. This is such a pivotal scene for the film, and one that the audience comes to understand throughout the duration of the film.
Cannibal Holocaust – The impaling of woman
Another rough film to watch, that best only be watched by those of you who truly have a penchant for watching something nasty. Cannibal Holocaust is an Italian 1980 found footage horror film from Ruggero Deodato, that is known mostly by those who enjoy the extreme side of the genre. When a film crew go missing in the Amazon, another go to find them and document their findings when they come across a cannibal tribe deep in the forest.
If you have ever heard of Cannibal Holocaust then you may already be aware of the posters that feature one of the most distressing scenes throughout the entire film, and that is the impaling of a woman on a wooden pole. What makes this scene even more disturbing in the film is the reasonings for such a public display of violence; because the crew members visciously gang rape her, the rest of the tribe sacrifice her for this, which hurts ones soul to know. After such a demeaning act, she is then publicly humiliated even after her death because of something she was victim to.
The Evil Dead – Sexually abused by a tree
In these modern times The Evil Dead isn’t considered as shocking or controversial by many, as it’s a little dated and the effects are often slammed due to their age. Even though I disagree with these points, it’s understandable that a younger audience may find it difficult to see why it was and still is such a loved franchise. The Evil Dead is about a group of friends that stay in an isolated cabin in the woods, and accidentally awaken evil by reading ancient words in a book called the Necronomicon.
When thinking about The Evil Dead as a franchise, most remember the schlocky-ness of the second and third installment, but the first didn’t have as many comedic moments and was actually very dark at times. The scene that really disturbed me and still continues to do so, is when one of the female characters is raped by tree branches in the woods – it’s such a horrible scene and even more so that the evil courses through nature to commit one of the worsts acts imaginable on the girl.
Audition – Treat them mean, keep them in a sack
Takeshi Miike brought the audience one of the most terrifying female serial killers in 1999 with his film Audition. This Japanese horror film follows Aoyama who after losing his wife decides to try finding love again. He hosts an audition where multiple women attend to put themselves forward as the woman of his dreams, but it is Asami that catches his eye. She is sweet, shy and very beautiful. However, she isn’t quite the charmer that he believes her to be.
The scene that is usually most spoken about is towards the very end of the film when Aoyama realises that Asami is not quite who he believed her to be, and as she starts her sick torture routine on him. But it is not this scene which really disturbs the audience, it is one where we see Asami in her apartment with a sack placed next to her… Later on in the film we discover what is inside the sack, which depicts the true nature of Asami and really makes our skin crawl.
The Human Centipede 2 – A very rough masturbation
The list must end of a very low note, which is why the last film is The Human Centipede 2 from one of the most controversial directors, Tom Six. The first film in the sequence was The Human Centipede which was released in 2009, but it is the second instalment from 2011 that is far more disgusting in terms of subject matter. Martin is sexually obsessed with the first human centipede film and decides it’s time to make his own pede, with more bodies included and a heavier focus on the sexual fantasy he wants to fulfil with it.
The one particular scene out of many, is one where Martin indulges in some self stimulation, but instead of accompanying his personal time with a soft hand moisturiser, he opts for something a little more rough – sandpaper. With a masochistic nature and some severe mummy issues, Martin masturbates himself, whilst thinking of the centipede, with sandpaper, which really doesn’t sound like the self love any of us would like.
Do you have a moment from cinema you think is one of the most disturbing? Head over to Twitter and tweet @zobowithshotgun your most disturbing moment ever!