In part 1 of this series looking at the most disturbing moments in film, we visited some classic extreme horror films that were easy to remember for their shocking and controversial elements. However, it seems like disturbing scenes are in abundance when it comes to horror films and many of us hold specific memories of how those scenes tortured us. Therefore we’ll look at some more of the most unpleasant moments ever witnessed. Got another scene that fucked you up? Send them over on Twitter or Facebook to be included in the next article! Or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
100 Tears – Where are my legs?
Only those with a penchant for extreme will recognise this independent horror film, but Marcus Koch’s 100 Tears is a film that will leave you reeling for a long time afterwards. Two journalists go on the hunt for a serial killer who happens to torture and slaughter his victims whilst dressed as a clown, nothing more sinister than those happy fuckers, right?
Even though the film has elements of black comedy, it certainly dabbles in trying to destroy the viewers mind with some scenes that will truly stay with you forever. The particular scene which has forever made me feel unwell is when a young woman wakes up on a torture table exclaiming that she cannot feel her arms or legs, and that they must be too cold to feel. We can clearly see that the reason she cannot feel her arms or legs is because they have been dismembered, which she soon comes to realise. It’s a distressing and sickening scene that really makes you feel her realisation of waking up completely mutilated.
Headless – Coitus with severed skulls
From 2015 comes a little hidden gem within the horror world, yet one that is exceptionally disturbing in every way possible. The film Found 2012 features a segment about a film called Headless which inspires the serial killer, and therefore the team behind Found went on to turn that segment into the feature length film. It focuses on a serial killer who indulges heavily in cannibalism and necrophilia, including one act that is the reasoning behind the title of the film.
Once again this is a film that features many depraved and sadistic scenes, however, it’s the decapitation and defilement of women that really is disturbing. As the title suggests, the killer loves “headless” women and goes far enough to remove their heads for his further pleasurement, using their bloodied necks as fleshlights to climax inside their now brain dead heads. The depiction of such an act is vile, and unfortunately leaves you wondering how close to reality that might be for some of the sick serial killers that have existed.
Doctor Sleep – Tastes like foul play
In 2019 Stephen King fans finally saw the follow-up to The Shining adapted into a film, which meant we could all immerse ourselves in the world once again. What wasn’t expected from Mike Flanagan’s film was for us to be shocked in the cinemas by a scene that really felt quite brutal and perverse. The film follows Danny Torrence as an adult, trying to help others with the shining as they run from a group of soul suckers, whom possess eternal life by draining the life from the children who shine the brightest.
One young boy, played by Jacob Tremblay, is walking home alone after his baseball match when he’s snatched by the True Knot who want to suck the life from him in order to continue their immortalisation. Even for those of us who have read the book and know the boy dies, seeing the adult group torture a young boy to death whilst revelling in his pain is absolutely one of the most distressing scenes to witness. I think most people would agree that this outrageously nasty moment came as quite a shock, and is a very disturbing scene.
Society – A familial orgy
In 1989 Brian Yuzna released a film to the world which shocked and disturbed, and has managed to still have the same effect on the audience now. Billy has a suspicion that his parents and many close family friends are part of an elite society in which they parttake in extra curricular activities. Billy decides to uncover the truth for himself, which only leads to a horrifying discovery of pleasure, flesh and body horror.
This film was suggested to me by my Dad, which perhaps adds an even weirder aspect to it, but I’ve also made him watch Cannibal Holocaust so I guess it’s just family life. When Billy finally uncovers his family’s secret cult, everything quickly divulges in a big fleshy, sweaty, gooey orgy in which the bodies of everyone sexually aroused begin to amalgate and fuse with one another, creating one humanoid creature that lives, breathes, moans and climaxes as one. If you were looking for something to help you become celibate, then this is it.
Saw II – Crack pit
After the success of Saw in 2004, it only took another year for the second installment of the neverending franchise to be released. Following off where the previous film left off, another group of people are awoken to find themselves in Jigsaw’s games, ready to do whatever it takes to survive and escape the chamber they’ve been locked in. The Saw films are well known for their inventive kills and copious bloodsheds, but there’s one scene that really penetrates the skin.
An ex-drug addict, Amanda, must face her old demons and fears when she’s plunged into a pit filled with needles and must hunt through them in order to find a key. Even though the scene features no blood or gore, most of us squirm at the thought of one needle penetrating our skin, let alone thousands all at once. The thought that disturbs me the most is the ones entering the bottoms of her feet… just nope.
Visitor Q – Don’t cry over spilled milk
Takashi Miike has made around 200 films, which means he’s dabbled in many of genres and delivered us with quite a few contenders for most disturbing film. One of these is Visitor Q from 2001, and although described as a comedy, feels so removed from any humour because of just how weird it is. A stranger becomes friends with one family, which happen to have a plethora of problems mainly stemming from the Father who is perhaps the most messed up of them all.
One scene that initially comes to mind is when the Father is raping a corpse in his greenhouse and believes she is wet, but finds it is just poo instead… But surprisingly that’s not the scene that disturbed me the most. After being introduced to ‘lactation sex’, the mother of the family relises this is her sexual awakening and stands in the kitchen flooding the floor with her breastmilk whilst the stranger watches in amazement with an umbrella. You have to see this one to believe, and although kind of funny, it’s also pretty horrifying.
Dogtooth – Which sister would you fuck?
Not classified as a horror film at all, but definitely one that will leave you feeling strange and that is Yorgos Lanthimos’ Dogtooth from 2009. Three adolescents go about their daily lives, however, they are confined to their family home in which their parents oppress them by teaching them aspects of the world that are completely incorrect including language, behaviour, and societal norms. As the eldest daughter grows increasingly bored of her confined world and curious about the outside, she begins plotting her escape.
Another film that features a variety of distressing scenes, including the slaughter of a poor and unsuspecting cat in the garden. However, the scene that really stands out the most is when the brother must choose between his two sisters for which one he would most like to have sex with to satisfy his urges. He is blindfolded and naked in the bath and caresses each one of his sisters’ naked bodies to decide which one he likes the best without prejudice. Watching this forced incestuous act is very disturbing, purely because we understand it’s wrong but the siblings don’t quite realise that it’s not normal behaviour.
VHS 2 Safe Haven – Baphomet the womb destroyer
Anthology films often give way to some of the best and nastiest horror shorts out there, which is exactly what VHS did when it was first released. That’s why it was such a delight when we were graced with yet another series of anthologies with VHS 2, and it certainly delivered. In this particular segment, Safe Haven, a news crew go undercover inside a cult to document the horrors that are happening and find that it’s worse than they could have ever imagined.
Safe Haven features a lot of distressing imagery which is quite difficult to watch at times and due to it’s found footage style as it really helps us to feel immersed in this frightening landscape of terror. One particular moment that stands out amongst the rest is when we witness a woman who is strapped to a chair start to give birth to what they believe is a demon, however, before she can do so a Baphomet type creature tears its way out of the woman’s womb, leaving behind a bloody carcass of the woman that once was.
The Beyond – Arachnophobia in the library
This film was a recent first time watch for me, and even though I wouldn’t say I particularly like this Italian film from Lucio Fulci, it does have some scenes which are quite out there. The 1981 film follows a woman who inherits an old house which happens to be sat upon the gates of Hell, and therefore a plethora of absolutely batshit crazy things seem to constantly happen. Fulci is known for delivering the goods when it comes to gore and he does that throughout the entirety of the film with eyes being popped out, nails in the backs of heads and acid burning faces.
However, the scene that was most disturbing for me in the film is quite a personal one and may only have such an affect on others who suffer from severe arachnophobia like myself. One man is searching for records and falls from the ladder he is on, whilst paralysed on the ground a swarm of tarantulas begin to gradually climb over his motionless body making their way up to his face and neck. Once the tarantulas ascend upon his face they begin to tear him apart ripping skin from his mouth and cheeks. This might just be the most disturbing and distressing moment I have ever witnessed, but I guess that’s just because I cannot stand the sight of spiders.