You’ve seen people’s lists of the most disturbing films ever made. Dun dun dun. I guess this is kinda’ sorta’ my version. I’m not into definitive lists or ranking things, so it’s just gonna’ go down the way I want it to…
Movies I’ll Never See
Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
Sorry, but no. I’m not on a moral high horse. I don’t think you’re a bad person for watching it. I just don’t care to see it, knowing that real animals were murdered for the sake of celluloid “entertainment.” In fact, I don’t really care to see those hidden camera documentaries about the meat industry either, even though their intentions are most likely in a better place than the makers of Cannibal Holocaust. I’ve read enough about this film to know that it will do nothing more than leave me with a sick feeling. No, I’m not curious enough to sneak a little peek or two on You Tube. And no, I don’t think it makes me less of a horror fan by not watching this movie.
From what I’ve read, it sounds like pure exploitation of the true horrors of war and slavery. Just like I don’t care to see actual animals mutilated onscreen, I’m not inclined to endure the sights of children being tortured for two hours (or longer, depending on the version you see). I have a hard time sitting through Lord of the Rings, so there’s no way I’m going to sit still for 120+ minutes of 120 days of Sodom. I will acknowledge that this film may be trying to reflect on the terrors of Mussolini’s regime and that there is something to be said about the depiction of violence as it is, as opposed to a glossed over, stylized depiction for entertainment. However, an intellectual excuse for sitting through Saló will never overcome my gut.
August Underground (2001)
I don’t want to feel like I’m watching a snuff film. I loves movies because they are movies—not simulations of reality. I want to experience cinema, not shock for the sake of shock. I suppose August Underground is for all those kids who couldn’t get enough of Faces of Death (fake they may be) or a particular website with a URL I refuse to post.
Movies I Wish I Hadn’t Seen
This necro-rape movie is sick with very little to redeem itself. It certainly left me with a bad feeling in my tummy, as the moral depravity continued to deepen. I watched the film in two sittings and I’m surprised I came back to it a few days later. I wanted to see how it ended and figured that it would get better, but it only got worse. For a full review of Deadgirl, go here.
I enjoyed the first half of this film, but I could have lived a thousand lives without ever needing to see the final act of Martyrs. The final images were boiled into my eyes for weeks. A torturous conclusion is set against the background of a cold, nihilistic world that makes you want to return to your mother’s womb. Every now and then, I still think about this movie, and I get a little chill. Brrrr! For a full review, go here.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
This movie had been on my to-do list for years before I actually saw it. However, I wish I had kept postponing it until it disappeared from my mind completely. If it didn’t star Michael Rooker and Tom Towles (or if I had seen this before they were recognizable faces), it would have felt like a snuff film. Disturbing to its core with no payoffs and no revelations, I think I should have passed on this “classic.”
Movies I’ll Never See Again
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
An important film, but my goodness, it can be tough to watch. When your protagonist is professing ultraviolence as his motto, how can the film be anything but taxing on your stomach? The sometimes apathetic and sometimes gleeful manner in which the droogs rape and kill is something I will never forget…and something I never want to experience again.
The Road (2009)
Wow, could you make a film any more depressing? There are plenty of disturbing moments in this film, from the chained up victims of cannibals to the constant threat of suicide induced by a father to his son, but the overall tone is what left me feeling dead inside. I will certainly never again go down The Road.
Wowzers! Never have I had such a love-hate relationship with a movie as this. I have re-watched select scenes from this film a couple times, but I’m never going to sit through the entirety of this gut-wrenching movie again. If it wasn’t for the final five minutes or so, I may be watching it again and again in the years to come. However, as someone who wants to have children someday, I don’t think revisiting Inside will be likely.