Wednesday, February 23, 2011

10 Films That Greatly Disturbed Me

10 Films That Greatly Disturbed Me

After watching Dogtooth last week, I got thinking about some of the films that have gotten under my skin over the years. While there are some disturbing films that I can watch over and over (i.e. A Clockwork Orange, etc.) there are some that I just have no desire to ever watch again (i.e. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc). Below is a list of films that have left an impression on me for better or worse.

I saw this film in my teens and the realism of it really hit me. I have watched this film a few times since then and can appreciate what director Larry Clark does with the film. Still I cannot shake the memory of my first encounter.

Twentynine Palms
I have never walked out of a film, especially one screened at a film festival, but I came very close with this one. After sitting through two-thirds of the film watching the main couple repeatedly have sex and get into arguments, the last act of the film focused on a random act of violence that is beyond words. To this day I still do not understand the significance of the violence in this film.

Straw Dogs
Although I think this film is brilliant, it still unnerves me every time I see it. One of the few films on the list where the violence, depending on your point of view, seem justified. However, this does not make this film easy to watch.

Gaspar Noé’s revenge tale is often talked about in relation to its unflinching nine minute depiction of rape. While that scene is indeed startling, I found the sequence of events that unfold at the gay bar equally hard to forget.

Similar to Kids, Bully is one of those films that stunned me because of its view on today’s youth. The fact that the story was based on true events made Bully even more unsettling. No surprise, Larry Clark was the director of this one as well.

The Hills Have Eyes
Considering the grotesque levels to which horror films go on an average day, it really takes a lot for a horror flick to bother me. Yet, The Hills Have Eyes remake went that extra mile. The rape scene in the RV was just too extreme in my opinion. There is so much that occurs in that moment that it took me weeks to get the imagery out of my head.

This was my first introduction to the films of Takashi Miike. Now I have not seen either Audition or Ichi the Killer, two films that I hear are far more disturbing, yet Gozu makes the list for a birthing scene that is both strange and unsettling. Having only seen one other of his films, Sukiyaki Western Django, Miike is a director whose works I really need to catch up on.

Pink Flamingos
I usually enjoy John Waters’ films but Pink Flamingos is one of those films that you should not watch while eating. This is a lesson I learned the hard way. The film features some disgusting scenes that will cause many to lose their appetites. You will also never look at dog poop the same way again.

The Piano Teacher
Michael Haneke makes films that often get under people’s skin. Yet of all his films, I found The Piano Teacher to be the most disturbing. If you have problems stomaching scenes of self-mutilation than this film is probably not for you.

The Doom Generation
Although billed as a black comedy, the last act of this film is anything but comedic. The ending of the film features Neo-Nazis, multiple rapes, and mutilation. Needless to say this is not a film that one easily forgets.


  1. Four words: Requiem for a Dream. *shudder*

  2. Agree with "RFAD". Still makes me shake. Also "Martyr", "Dead Girl", and of course, "The Human Centipede".
    I haven't seen many of the films you've mentioned, and now I am simultaneously intrigued and scared. Good post!

  3. I actually haven't seen any of these...I generally don't watch really disturbing films. I do want to see Straw Dogs though, I'm a big Peckinpah fan.

  4. The minute I saw the title of this post I thought of Gummo. Have you seen that one. It will change the way you think about pasta forever.

  5. @MovieNut – Requiem for a Dream is a great choice. I cannot see how anyone could do drugs after watching that film.

    @Sara - Dead Girl was extremely disturbing. Took me a while to forget that one. Still need to see both Martyr and The Human Centipede. I came close to watching Centipede at a local festival last fall but opted out at the last minute.

    @Jack L - Hollywood has a remake of Straw Dogs coming out later this year. I recommend seeing the original prior to watching the remake if you can.

    @Mike – Yep I saw Gummo, wish I had not though. Found it to be a rather disgusting film all around. It could easily be on this list as well.

  6. Wow... that's a list. Of those 10, the ones I haven't seen are...Pink Flamingos, Gozu, and Irreverisble (which I own on DVD with plans to see it soon).

    The rest I will agree with. One film I want to add to that list is Audition. Notably those final moments and it scared the shit out of me. I'm going to watch Dogtooth later tonight and I'll write what I'll think about the film for tomorrow.

  7. @thevoid - I have heard that Audition is a very disturbing film. Part of me really wants to see it, the other part of me wonders if I can actually stomach it.

  8. The Piano Teacher bathroom scene...ugh...

  9. @Simon - Agreed. There are several scenes in that film that made me shudder.

  10. I think Audition has maybe built up a reputation that it can't live up to anymore. Sure, the last 15 minutes are kind of graphic but for the remaining hour and 45 it's a slowly building psychological drama with only one or 2 disturbing things in between. It's certainly not as graphic as Ichi the Killer which, for my money, is nearly unwatchable due to it's too hip for it's own good, illogical plot.

  11. Hmmm, I should watch 'The Piano Teacher'...

    I wonder what would happen to my brain if I did a weekend marathon for all of these films.

  12. The only one of your picks I've seen is THE HILLS HAVE EYES (which, on a sidenote, has in my opinion some of the best sound design of any movie, ever).

    Personally, THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE didn't disturb me too much. I think the concept is worse than anything it actually shows.

    Others I would consider - REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (even though it's one of my favourite films), ANTICHRIST and AUDITION (which is the only film I've ever seen that I couldn't finish watching, I was so disturbed).

  13. @Mike – Thanks for the info. I might give Audition a shot after all. Ichi the Killer has been on the “must see” list for a while. Heard a lot of mix things about it which has me intrigued.

    @Edgar – Depending on the order in which you watch them, I think you could easily do a marathon weekend of these films. You would probably become desensitized to half of the films anyway.

    @Tom – I may have to re-watch The Hills Have Eyes again just to check out the use of sound in it.

    Requiem is favourite of mine as well, which is probably why I did not even think to include it on the list. Antichrist nearly made the top ten but my love of the first half of the film is what kept it off the list. I did not think the second half needed to be as dark as it was.

  14. I dint heard about few films in the list, Have to watch those films.

    My favorite list is;
    2.The Pianist
    4.The OldBoy(Korean)

    In the above list, Grotesque and Old Boy scares me. I dint sleep well for few days after watching these movies.

  15. @Manikandan – Absolutely loved Oldboy! It is definitely on my list of all time favourite films. I also enjoyed Pianist, though I did not find it that bad in comparison to other films about the Holocaust. For me Hostel only gets bad in the last 20 minutes, even then it did not bother me like other horror films have. I hear Hostel 2 is much worse, though I still have yet to see it.

    I have not seen Grotesque yet but from the synopsis I read it sounds very similar to Human Centipede, Doctor Giggles, etc.


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