October is the month of scares, culminating in the spookiest holiday of the year, Halloween. To get ready for the holiday, cinephiles often enjoy indulging in a plethora of horror movies, from time-tested classics to new gems. Everybody is getting their list together for the scariest experiences to watch for this occasion, but what about ones that go overboard?
Maybe that is some people’s tastes, but others are looking for something that won’t shake them to their core. For those who want to avoid the most disturbing horror films imaginable, don’t even do a Google image search for the following ten entries. On the other hand, this is exactly what others are looking for.
This French horror film bares some similarities to Hostel, in that it is the rich kidnapping and inflicting unbearable amounts of pain on unsuspecting innocents. It varies in several key aspects, however. Firstly, the society’s reasons for their inhumane behavior is more than just for twisted thrills. Secondly, the actual torture scenes are significantly more drawn-out and harder to endure. Little discretion is used and nothing about the story or ending is fair for the bystanders caught in the middle of the evil society and their goals.
Japan’s Takashi Miike has directed several incredible horror films, including Ichi the Killer and Audition. The latter is famous for its intense climactic torture scene involving amputations via piano wire and acupuncture needles put in places they never should go, but it is the lead-up to these events that really puts the film on the list.
The revelation of the mysterious woman’s secret masterfully builds up over the course of ninety minutes. There is also one particular eating scene too disgusting for description, but it’s made even more grotesque when learning that the method actor perhaps took his dedication to his craft a little too far.
8 Funny Games
Michael Haneke’s Funny Games is a black comedy if the viewer looks at it the right way. If they take it seriously, then it is one of the most sadistic home invasion films one could ever hope to see. Three men break into a family’s house and torture them with cruel games.
Nothing pans out like the audience expects it, and the film is entirely aware of this. It is a commentary on the pointlessness of violence in media, but if one is unaware of the thesis, it just comes off as pointless itself.
Begotten isn’t only scary for the images on screen. The black-and-white grainy look makes it hard to tell what is even happening during the unsettling events. Additionally, there is no conventional story line to speak of. Instead, the film is an abstract interpretation of the death and rebirth of God, Earth, and Man.
There is no dialogue and the sound effects are as unsettling as the actions transpiring on screen. Released in 1990, the seminal film has influenced numerous other filmmakers and artists from all different media.
6 Salò, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom
Not to be confused with the similarly named Ukrainian cuisine, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom is certainly not about pork fat. In the last days of World War II, Italian aristocrats kidnap a group of teenagers and turn them into slaves whom they abuse both physically and sexually. It is only horror because of its story and content, but plays out more like a drama. Adding to the creepiness is the story behind the movie. The director was murdered just weeks before it was set to premiere. This work is fantastic, but Pasolini’s entire body of a work is worth checking out, both in literature and cinema.
Lars von Trier is known for his overindulgence in graphic content, whether it be the detailed scenes from Nymphomaniac or the grizzly murders from The House That Jack Built. Antichrist, however, is on a whole other level.
Antichrist starts with a couple losing their child due to negligence, and the bulk of the movie takes place in a cabin where the father is attempting to help his wife grieve. From there sprouts acts of violence and inexplicable supernatural occurrences that will make most close their eyes or leave the theater.
4 Cannibal Holocaust
The violence in Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust was so convincing, the director had to bring the actors before an Italian court to prove the footage was indeed staged. In the film, several students head to the Amazon for a documentary about cannibals, but they betray their seemingly altruistic intentions by torturing the indigenous people they are filming. The story is told through footage found after the events transpired, lending to the belief that it was a real snuff film and also influencing the found footage subgenre which films like The Blair Witch Project would later popularize.
3 August Underground
This trilogy was filmed on a shoestring budget by Fred Vogel, who also starred and did all the special effects. In all three films, a cameraman follows a sadistic serial killer as he maims and murders innocent people in almost inconceivably inhumane ways. The ones who go out quick are lucky, as several unfortunate souls stay alive for several days as they are tortured. The guerrilla filming style done with a camcorder adds to the realism, and the gore effects are commendable. The films lack any cohesive story, though, and serves more as a showcase of practical effects prowess from the filmmaker and a test of endurance for the audience.
2 Guinea Pig Series
This series of Japanese horror films are so realistic, they prompted an FBI investigation. Charlie Sheen received a copy of Flower of Flesh and Blood from a friend, and legitimately believed he had been given a real snuff film.
Thankfully, further investigation proved it was simply a movie, but those who have seen it wouldn’t fault the actor for thinking it was real. This was before the internet, after all, and he couldn’t assuage his concerns with a simple Google search. Flower of Flesh and Blood is the most notorious of the Guinea Pig series, and while they are all filled with gore, a couple of them are more comedic than they are horrific.
1 A Serbian Film
Srđan Spasojević’s exploitation horror movie is already legendary for its obscene content. Seriously, we can’t even type half the stuff that goes on during the run time without any red flags popping up from the FBI. The story involves a former adult film star coerced and eventually drugged into committing obscene acts for an art house film.
Some of the acts are even done against his own family. While no one can be faulted for not wanting to see the movie, it helps once one understands the director’s intentions. A Serbian Film is the filmmaker’s response to the tameness in modern Eastern European cinema and in his homeland specifically.
Next: 10 Movies With The Scariest Endings, Ranked