So I was asked to continue my horror lists and make them into a series! I’m actually really excited to do this since, as I have said before, I am a major horror junkie. Today, however, instead of looking at a specific country and picking out some films, I am going to do something a little different. Today, we’re looking at the five most disturbing horror movies that I have ever watched.
TW/ Mentions Graphic Scenes, Sexual Abuse, Bloody Violence, Sadistic Torture, and mentions of Child Sexual Exploitation
Yes, these movies are all classified as being of the Horror genre, so this list is still one of my series. I’m warning you now, every movie on this list is deeply disturbing and is -not- a movie that any children should be watching. Hell, adults probably shouldn’t watch these movies. I made the sacrifice for you and I’ll tell you what makes each film just way too much.
Warning: The movies on this list are all extremely disturbing. Viewer and reader discretion is highly advised. There will be spoilers and graphic/controversial subject matter. Continue at your own discretion.
Jack Ketchum‘s The Girl Next Door (2007) – United States
Rated R for sadistic torture and sexual abuse, nudity, language and strong sexual dialogue – all involving (implied) children
Synopsis: In a quiet suburban town in the summer of 1958, two recently orphaned sisters, Meg and disabled Susan are placed in the care of their mentally unstable aunt Ruth. But Ruth’s depraved sense of discipline will soon lead to unspeakable acts of abuse and torture that involve her young sons, Willie, Ralphie, and Donny the neighborhood children, and one 12-year-old boy, David whose life will be changed forever.
We’re starting off this list with a doozy of a film that, the first time I watched it, I actually had to turn off because it just made my stomach churn. This is the only movie on this list that I actually turned off the first time I watched it. I can handle all the blood and guts you can throw at me, but there is one scene in particular with this movie that is just -way- too freaking much. The Girl Next Door is based on a true case. In 1965, a young girl named Sylvia was beaten, starved, raped, and taunted by her former neighborhood friends and by her caregiver. While her sister survived, Sylvia died from all the trauma and the case was brought to trial, raising awareness of child abuse and bullying. This film is graphic in its portrayal of what the poor child endured. The one scene I mentioned above involves a blowtorch and female genitalia. I won’t say anything more. If you’re into this kind of thing, go ahead and give this film a watch. It’s actually a pretty good movie, but it is just way too much. It’s not scary but it is freaking hard to watch. I’m not going to go into any more details here, watch at your own discretion.
Audition (1999) – Japan
Rated R for violence/torture and sexuality
Synopsis: In Tokyo, Shigeharu Aoyama is a widower that grieves the loss of his wife and raises his son Shigehiko Aoyama alone. Seven years later, the teenage Shigehiko asks why his middle-aged father does not remarry and Shigeharu meets his friend Yasuhisa Yoshikawa, who is a film producer, and tells his intention. However, Shigeharu has difficulties to approach to available women to date and Yasuhisa decide to organize a sham audition for casting the lead actress for the fake movie. They receive several portfolios of candidates and Shigeharu becomes obsessed by the gorgeous Asami Yamazaki. Despite the advice of the experienced Yasuhisa, Shigeharu calls Asami to date and he falls for her. But who is the mysterious Asami?
I covered Audition in one of my previous articles when I looked at five films from Japan. This film is just downright messed up. I felt so bad for Shigeharu during and after this movie, and some of the scenes you just feel like it’s happening to you. While not as graphic as some on this list, Audition still finds a way to shock and appall audiences. This is one of the best films by the infamous and legendary Takashi Miike who is known for violence, gore and twisted films. Audition is one of my most recommended movies from Japan, as it is one of the best horror movies I have ever seen from the country, but it can also be highly disturbing so viewer discretion is strongly advised.
Inside (2007) – France
Rated R for strong bloody violence, gruesome and disturbing content, and language
Synopsis: Four months before Christmas, Sarah and Matthieu Scarangelo were in a car crash, of which Sarah and her unborn baby were the only survivors. On Christmas Eve, Sarah stays home alone, where she grieves her husband and prepares to go to the hospital the next morning for the delivery. As night falls, a woman knocks on Sarah’s door asking to use the phone. When she refuses, the woman reveals that she knows Sarah and tries to force her way in. Sarah calls the police; they inspect the home and determine the woman has left, but promise to keep watch over Sarah through the night. The woman returns and tries to take Sarah’s unborn child, but Sarah locks herself in the bathroom. The strange woman torments Sarah through the night and kills all who try help her.
Number three was a toss-up for me between Inside and Martyrs, but I chose to go with Inside obviously. Another film I have previously covered, Inside is one of those movies that gets under your skin and just finds a way to unnerve and disturb you. Hell, you’ve got one woman trying to cut the baby out of another’s womb before it is even born. How messed up do you really think this movie is going to be? Well, take your best guess and multiply it by like a hundred. Like Audition, I highly recommend this film, but that said it is a hard watch. It’s part of the French Extreme movement in horror that included films like Martyrs and High Tension so you know this movie is gonna be twisted. I love it and hate it at the same time.
Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975) – Italy
This film is Not Rated. It includes extreme violence, sadism, and sexual/psychological torture.
Synopsis: Nazi-Fascist Northern Italy, 1943-44. Four senior members of government, aided by henchmen and Nazi soldiers, kidnap a group of young men and women. They hold them for 120 days, subjecting them to all manner of torture, perversion and degradation.
Ho boy, where do I even begin with this one.. If you’ve never heard of Salò then I envy you. I’ve watched this film once and I said I would never watch it again. Salò is widely considered one of the most controversial and disturbing films ever created, and supposedly it’s nowhere near as bad as the book this film is based on! The film is separated into four segments with intertitles, inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, so take that as you will. Salò has earned a reputation among some film scholars for being the “sickest film of all time”, with some citing it as an early progenitor of the extreme cinema sub-genre, alongside the American film The Last House on the Left (1972). This is the last film of Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini’s career, as he was found murdered three weeks before the films release. Salò has been banned in several countries, because of its graphic portrayals of rape, torture and murder—mainly of people thought to be younger than eighteen years of age. The film remains banned in several countries and sparked numerous debates among critics and censors about whether or not it constituted pornography due to its nudity and graphic depiction of sex acts.
Alright, we’ve seen some pretty disturbing films so far on this list. You’re probably asking yourself what film could be so bad that it would take the top spot here. Well, our number one film today is infamous in the foreign horror community. I’ll even say this now, I had an extremely hard time watching this movie. This movie is downright disgusting and it makes every other film on this list look tame in my opinion. I may have turned off Girl Next Door, but I should have turned this one off as well.. What is it I hear you say? Well, here we go…
A Serbian Film (2010) – Serbia
Rated NC-17 for extreme aberrant sexual and violent content including explicit dialogue
Synopsis: In Serbia, the retired porn star Milos is married to his beloved wife Marija and they have a little son, Peter, that is their pride and joy. The family is facing financial difficulties, but out of the blue, Milos is contacted by the porn actress Lejla who offers him a job opportunity in an art film. Milos is introduced to the director Vukmir who offers a millionaire contract to Milos to act in a film. However, Vukmir neither shows the screenplay nor tells the story to Milos. Milos discusses the proposal with Marija and he signs the contract. But soon he finds that Vukmir and his crew are involved in sick snuff films of paedophilia, necrophilia and torture and there is no way back for him and maybe it is too late to protect his family.
Wow.. that’s a lot to take in isn’t it? Upon its debut on the art film circuit, the film received substantial attention and controversy for its graphic violence and sexual content. The film has been banned in 46 countries including Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Norway, and was temporarily banned from screening in Brazil. A Serbian Film is without a shadow of a doubt the most disturbing film I have ever viewed. If the synopsis doesn’t get you there, nothing will. This film is not shy about diving into very taboo and very controversial topics and even includes a scene of, I can’t believe I am typing this, the rape of a newborn baby and of a young boy. You got to think, the poorer European countries, are rife with crime, and money goes a long way. So if you are having hard times and a massive money offer comes your way… How far would you go? This film.. just wow.. if you’re brave enough to watch this disturbing piece of ‘art’ then have at it. Me, I don’t think I will ever watch it again. It’s not a bad film acting wise and it is well shot, but it is just way too much for me.
Thank you for coming along on this trip into the most disturbing horror films I have ever had the..pleasure.. of viewing. Keep your eyes peeled for more horror film lists coming from me and my House Of Horror series!
I’m going to be doing a bunch of single articles coming up from different countries. Who knows, I may branch out to other kinds of movies in the future too. You never know!