Most Disturbing Movies Ever Made


Some movies are often cited for their repulsiveness, while earning spots on everyone’s “most disturbing movies” lists. Not that anyone ever calls them “good”– but they are pretty unequivocally awful, (the fact these films even exist is sort of impressive). The films caused quite a stir in many countries, where their releases sparked a debate over government action on media violence. There is sadism and gore, but ultimately, the directors seem to have an overall of shocking audience in whichever way necessary.

The films kick-start a contagion, going after victims with rabid rapacity, which the film makers film with skin-shredding, flesh-gnawing glee. Go for the list and you find a subgenus of horror that specializes in shifting gears with unpredictable abandon between extreme gore and outrageous humor, whose apotheosis is the unrelenting gag-fest. Along with Saw, Hostel helped usher in what many critics would dub the ‘torture porn’ era of mainstream horror. The films leave you loathing at your own self. Check out:

Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

The film is an amalgam of disturbing visuals meant to shock our senses; from multiple sexual assaults and scenes of gratuitous animal slaughter, to healthy pounds of gory, make-believe flesh (including an image of a woman impaled vag-to-mouth on a wooden spike), the film truly goes for the repulsive jugular, couching all of its nastiness in a cinema verity aesthetic that heightens the narrative’s escalating ugliness. The movie remains, today, ethically questionable and there’s still some mystery surrounding its filming; the biggest shocker was the rumor that the movie was a “snuff film,” and that its actors were actually killed on camera.


The film tells the story of a couple who retreat into the woods to cope with the death of their child, but get much more than they bargained for. Antichrist does its best to jar you into feeling something – genital mutilation features prominently; – truth be told, the movie is filled with a lot of metaphysical mumbo-jumbo, but the images stick, and the audaciousness of what the director is trying to execute here is hard to shrug off.


Undoubtedly this movie is the most disturbing entry on this sordid list. A retired porn star looking for work is tricked into making a snuff film; as the movie progresses the scenes start becoming more and more depraved and inhumane, and the finale involves an unspeakable act that really pushes the film over the edge. The horror you will be treated to are: a newborn baby, fresh from its mother’s womb, is raped; a woman’s head is cut off by a machete-wielding man as he performs sodomy; a man is raped to death by shoving a penis through his eye socket, sexual sadism, incestuous necrophilia and ‘snuff movie’ nihilism. Branded “the sickest film ever” during its 2010 festival run, it has been banned outright in Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Brazil and Australia.

Audition (1999)

Audition’s rise to infamy in 1999 was swift, meteoric and, like any game-changing horror film worth its salt, shrouded in tales of hysterical receptions at film festivals worldwide; with escalating unease and a switch and bait, Audition culminates in its infamously disturbing dénouement. The most graphic scene is the one in which a girl puts needles through a man’s eyeballs.

The Passion of the Christ (2004)

In this drama about the last 12 hours of Jesus’s life, director Mel Gibson stresses only cruelty and suffering, complete with slow motion and masochistic point-of-view shots. On the way to Golgotha, Roman soldiers flagellate Jesus constantly, first with sticks and then with a species of knout.

Grotesque (2009)

The film is an artful blend of thoughtful malaise and grotesque bloodshed. The movie’s title, truly lives up to its name. It’s bloody over the top ending though, momentarily discredits the believability of it, unlike the three mellow and not overdone performances.

The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (2011)

Director Six’s screenplay puts it out there plain and simple: tendons sliced in graphic close-up; butt cheeks sliced along a dotted line; a scene (admittedly inventive) of anal rape with barbed wire; and teeth hammered into a gullet one by one. Staples take the place of stitches. There’s also enforced diarrhea that passes through each member of the ill-fated centipede clan in a moment that includes the primarily black-and-white movie’s only use of color.

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

This 1975 art film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini is based on The 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade. Set in World War II Italy, where Benito Mussolini’s Nazi-Fascist regime is very much in power, the film has no conventional story, being an allegory composed of tableaux in which we see the dictator’s high-standing minions are capable of degrading and brutalizing the citizens, particularly the youth, just to satisfy some perverted and homo-erotic desires. Controversially violent scenes include: enforced sodomy, scalping, branding, enforced excrement eating, tongues and eyes cut out.

When it comes to these sorts of movies, of course, the accolade of ‘disturbing’ is debatable, as it’s a subjective idea. With so many taboos already broken in mainstream media, movie-goers have become almost immune to filmmakers’ version of torture and gore. Please add your own additions in the comment box below!

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1 Response

  1. August 23, 2016

    […] gory movies will be seared into the catacombs of your mind forever. The films are explicitly disturbing, ridiculously violent and genuinely terrifying up to the denouement. The directors seems to lace […]

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