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Top 10 Most Disturbing Movies

By Edited Sep 16, 2016 6 37

Here is a movie list that is not for the faint of heart or stomach. Viewing these movies will actually change you, and not for the better. What they do offer is a unique look into the human mind, not just of the movie's subjects but also the film directors and writers as well. Some of these movies might make you ashamed to be human.

10. Clockwork Orange

Clockwork Orange Movie Poster

Stanley Kubrick's academy award nominated film really ventures into the human mind and mankind's violent side. In the not so distant future, acts of ultra violence are committed without motivation and without mercy by Alex and his Droogs. What makes this film disturbing is how real the film feels and how cool the characters are when performing these acts of violent behavior.

A Clockwork Orange [Blu-ray]
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9. Hard Candy

Hard Candy Poster

Hunted becomes hunter in this film depicting a child predator preying on a helpless minor. Thing is, she is not so helpless and has a plan of her own to make the man regret his actions. What makes this movie hard to watch, is the dialogue between the 2 main characters, it will make you recoil and give you the heeby geebies after every line. It is really well acted.

Hard Candy [Blu-ray]
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8. Ichi The Killer

Ichi The Killer Poster

From the legendary gore director Takashi Miike, comes a tale of Yakuza, stolen money and buckets of blood. Some of the scenes range from separation of tongues and nipples to hanging rival gang members from the ceiling with hooks and pouring hot tempura grease on him. And that's only scratching the surface of disturbing scenes. Ya this movie is as strange as it sounds and despite of all this comes out with comical aspect to it with some dark humor. The only reason it isn't higher up on my list is the gore is over the top and hard to take seriously at some points.

Ichi the Killer [Blu-ray]
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7. The Hills Have Eyes

The Hills Have Eyes Poster

This one is a little more main stream but was never the less disturbing. The one scene in particular was definitely hard to watch as the mutants invaded the family's trailer and raped the younger sister while the other was held at gun point. I have never wanted a villain of a movie to die as much as these sick deformed baddies. Luckily for me they take a few axes to the head. Damn Muties!

The Hills Have Eyes (Unrated) [Blu-ray]
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6. Audition

Audition Poster

Another one from Takashi Miike makes the cut (pun intended). The synopsis of this movie could likely be mistaken for a romantic comedy at first glance. Man sets up fake audition to meet new wife, and hilarity ensues. Unfortunately not, but what you do get is some edge of your seat suspense and of course, cutting off of feet with piano wire. The man eating vomit after emerging from the burlap sac was definitely strange to watch. Out of all the movie on this list, this one defiantly has the best use of suspense and not just shock value.

Audition: Collector's Edition [Blu-ray]
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5. Oldboy

Oldboy Poster

Ok the set up goes like this, Oh Dae-Su is locked in a room for 15 years, gets out and exacts revenge. In one scene a hammer gets introduced to a man's teeth over and over again. In another, he enters a small hallway and 25 men stand between our hero and his destination. Insert intense karate scene here. This film has received high praise from director Quentin Tarantino, who surprisingly does not have a movie on this list.

Oldboy [Blu-ray]
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4. I Spit on Your Grave

I Spit on Your Grave Poster

Arguably one of the most intense, long and unpleasant scenes to watch, involving the heroine and her rape. But worry not, she gets to exact her revenge on her attackers in very gruesome ways. One such way that involves the removal of an attackers little buddy. Made back in the 70's when Grindhouse flicks were at their peak.

I Spit on Your Grave [Blu-ray]
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3. Cannibal Holocaust

Cannibal Holocaust Poster

This film has been banned in numerous countries including its country of origin, Italy. The movie depicts numerous scenes of rape torture, cannibalism and one very real and very disturbing scene where a turtle is slaughtered for chow, urging many animal cruelty agencies to protest the movie, with good reason. The film is shot in a Blair witch style with main film being shot like a documentary where a group of researchers venture into the South American jungle and stumble upon some very dreadful natives. It looked so real, the film's director had to appear in court and get the actors to appear as well to show the judge that they were still alive. Don't be fooled this ain't no zombie flick.

Cannibal Holocaust (Unrated)
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2. Men Behind The Sun

Men Behind The Sun Poster

T.F. Mous' Men Behind The Sun recounts some of the experiments that were carried out by the Japanese to further their own research. Some of the worst scenes entail a woman being tied up outside in the freezing cold and then her hands put in boiling water. Another shows the effects of a pressure chamber on the human body, not a pretty picture to say the least. What makes it even worse, is that these were actual experiments that were carried out during World War 2, making the movie all too real. Cat + starving rats = not so good looking cat.

Men Behind The Sun
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1. Salo

Salo Poster

This film tops the list of most disturbing movies. I guarantee it leaves you changed upon viewing. The movie begins with a group of very rich and influential Italian fascists kidnapping a group of lower class citizens during World War 2. They then proceed to force them to perform some really diabolical actions, including scalping, eating feces and in the end dismembering each other. And that's only scratching the surface of what this movie does. The worst thing for me was the realization after watching this movie was that it could have happened and also could be happening right now in a 3rd world country. Money can buy you anything even if you are a truly sadistic psychopath.

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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During my haste to write this article, I seemingly forgot 2 movies that disturbed, bothered and intrigued me. I apologize for failing to remember these movies and hope this will correct that truly horrible mistake that was made.


The first movie is Irreversible. I was reminded of this movie by the numerous forum posts and comments made by readers (just like you). For those of you that have not seen this movie, it starts from the end and moves backwards, ala Memento styles. After you see a man's face get crushed by fire extinguisher, you will not be the same, and that is not the nastiest part of this movie. The worst comes as a rape scene that is portrayed using a single, unbroken shot, lasting nine minutes, for obvious reasons it very difficult to watch. Several reviewers declared it one of the most disturbing and controversial films.


Blue Velvet

The other film I missed is Blue Velvet. Directed by David Lynch, who also directed EraserHead, this movie takes us to a small town of Lumberton, North Carolina. There we meet Frank Booth, one the most vile and well acted villains in movie history. Acted by Dennis hopper, he inflicts his bizarre sexual proclivities which include but are not limited to inhalant, dry humping, and sadomasochism on a girl he blackmails into his, lack for a better word, slave. The film centers on voyeurism, violent sexual acts and murder. Everything in this movie symbolizes something and will leave you thinking long after it's over. This film relaunched Dennis Hopper's acting career.

Blue Velvet

Blue Velvet Blu-ray
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Obviously every person is going to have different tastes in movies and what they consider to be the most disturbing, this is my personal list.  I would highly recommend using a movie recommender such as ApeFlix if you want to find other movies that are in the disturbing niche.



Apr 8, 2009 5:23pm
I was asked some questions from my friends after they read the list and were wondering why i didnt include some films. Horror fans might know films August Underground’s Mordum or Aftermath. Both are disturbing in their own right but I feel they didnt really affect me as much as these ones.

Both were filmed with 8mm camera and noticable with Mordum, the sound/music werent any good. I feel those movies are more like watching an autopsy video and going to shock value rather than a film that effects your mind and thought process. The only thing that makes you sick with these types of film is the shaky camera angles.

But hats off to Toe Tag Pictures, for making those movies look quite real.
Apr 8, 2009 5:24pm
Sorry i meant to say 35mm camera
Apr 9, 2009 9:31am
What about the most distrubing film ever "Teeth", about a woman with vagina denta.
That film was off the chart freaky.
Apr 9, 2009 5:03pm
The remake of "The Hills Have Eyes"? Be serious. The original, ONLY. The remake, like all remakes, is a vapid, glossy Hollywood teen date movie in comparison to the original.

The second classic disturbing film is of course "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". And again, the original, not the appallingly tacky Hollywood remake.

"Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer" and "Man Bites Dog" are also seriously damaging. Is "Henry" the more disturbing because it's based on a real killer, or "Man Bites Dog" because it's more sympathetic to the killer? Hard to say.

"Ichi the Killer" is at no point meant to be serious. It's a comedy superhero movie. Sure, there's buckets of blood and severed faces, but that's just FUNNY if you aren't squeamish.
Apr 11, 2009 1:22pm
i was quite sure Salo was gonna be first and canibal holocaust in the first 3 but i agree men behind the sun was very disturbing
Apr 11, 2009 1:25pm
why isn't irreversible on the list? definately one of the most brutal films ever made and not just cus of the rape and murder but the cinematography and sound totally fuck you up.

also clockwork orange dosn't feel real Kubrick made it theatrical on purpose to highlight the audiences voyuerism
Apr 11, 2009 3:39pm
I feel like this list was quite well made and I have no queries with any of the selections or descriptions except for...this sentence "could be happening right now in a 3rd world country". As an American who has lived in Africa and all over the world for the better part of my life, I am not only shocked but offended at this assumption. This thought simply exemplifies the average western naivety of developing countries. Also, "3rd world country" is not an appropriate term and one I find offensive as it was merely created during the cold war to seperate the countries that had been backed by the Soviet Union versus those backed by the United States. I dont mean to come off as rude but this really needs to stop and Americans need to become better educated.
Apr 11, 2009 3:58pm
To repond to a few comments:

Yes I have seen toyko gore but it was so over the top, it didnt effect me the way these other movies did. Go look up Machine Girl if you liked toyko gore police.

And to Ghostwriter:

Sorry I didnt mean to affend anyone. I only used that term because i could not think of a better term to use. All I wanted to get out was that is it could be happening right now even in a first world country, all you need is money. Sorry for the confusion and thanks for bringing that up.
Apr 12, 2009 7:22am
What about "SAW"?
Apr 13, 2009 12:47am
The 2007 version of Girl Next Door follows the abuse a 16 year old girl takes while being tied up in her aunt's basement. There are some particularly hard parts to watch like when the group of 12 year olds take turns raping her at her aunt's command.
Apr 13, 2009 5:17am
Nice list Spyrocks - I agree with some of your choices and with others I'll have to reserve judgement until Ive actually seen the films mentioned. Its always good to 'discover' something new so im looking forward to getting hold of them.

Regarding the '3rd World', as Ghostwriter says its not an expression that is in favour but it is still used by many. Its a legacy rather than anything which should be stigmatized. I use the term 'developing nations' which seems to be more acceptable but to my mind more condescending!

Thanks for sharing!
Apr 13, 2009 3:24pm
are you sure that Saw or House of wax cannot be compared to any of the above 10 movies??
Apr 13, 2009 6:06pm
The far most disturbing film, in the sense of giving me the creeps, I've ever seen in a cinema was the American thriller "The Lost" from 2005. With the amazing newcomer Marc Senter as a perfect mix of a "Rebel Without a Cause" and "American Psycho", and all of it happening in a "Blair Witch Forrest". It left me speechless and paralyzed for hours. I still have trouble forgetting the last scene...

Apr 15, 2009 9:15am
You must see "Visitor Q", your number one wil change again...
Apr 16, 2009 8:55pm
Totally agree with ur choices, check out Man Bites Dog thats some crazy film.
Apr 18, 2009 7:37pm
Watch Begotten, you just might edit your entire list.
Apr 19, 2009 9:08pm
The most disturbing film I've ever seen is a Japanese film titled Gozu. One of my friends told me that it translates into "cow head."
Apr 19, 2009 11:23pm
The number one spot should go to pink flamingo. It was so disturbing i couldn't even sit through the entire thing. I def do not suggest watching it. Ever.
Apr 20, 2009 1:51am
Please good sir: If you have not yet seen a movie called Dumplings (Gaau Ji); You would be doing yourself a favor to watch it.

There is a short version of the movie on the dvd titled three extremes; however this is not the full move and you will not get the full effect as its tamed down a bit.

The full version is hard to track down; I do have a copy...
May 3, 2009 6:46pm
it's a good list i admit...not to sure about the hills have eyes.

what you all should really watch is suicide circle...i have seen quite a few disturbing movies and that one is right up there with these.

definitely agree with audition, one of the few movies i wouldn't watch a second time
May 5, 2009 2:53pm
It in the line to be watched as we speak.
May 11, 2009 3:52pm
I recommend High Tension. Perhaps not in the same gore category but in my humble opinion it trumps Clockwork, BV and Hills for disturbing mindfucks.
Thoroughly disturbed.
No gore but UNdeniably cage rattling was Short Bus and Long Island Expressway. Thoroughly enjoyed both for taking me far far out of my comfort zone.
Jun 22, 2009 1:30am
Hmmm... What about the Hostel Movies. Thought those were pretty freaky.
Only movie here I've seen is The Hills Have Eyes. OMFG you are sooo right I wanted them to die SOOOOO bad. Ofcourse this was the first movie I have seen with a **** in it, and that is one of the only things that gets me really upset and furious. I'd probably punch the tv watching some of these.
Jun 25, 2009 6:26pm
2 of the most disturbing movies were left out. King of the Ants and also Jacob's Ladder. Both of these should've made the list.
Jun 25, 2009 6:28pm
Also Dead Alive a.k.a Brain Dead, a movie where monkey bites turn people into zombies and the zombies have sex with eachother and rip people apart and eat them.
Aug 5, 2009 5:14pm
@Spyrocks - When are you publishing your next article? I thought you had something in the works?
Dec 3, 2009 2:50am
Yeah those are some pretty rough movies.
Jan 2, 2010 2:55am
nice list!

I have a few more, not so violent recomendations...

2 classics from Luis Buñuel: L'âge d'or 1930 & Un chien andalou 1929

Brazil 1985
Les enfants de la cité perdue 1995
Donnie Darko 2001
Mar 29, 2010 12:40am
I think "The last house on the left" is pretty rough to see espacially the part when the girl is being raped.
May 4, 2011 12:06am
Some recently seem to think that the Centipede movie was a crazy disturbing movie.
Aug 21, 2011 7:56am
All I have to say:
Schindler's List.

Why is it not on this list?
Nov 11, 2011 9:01pm
I agree with Human Centipede. I saw the first one and tried to watch the 2nd one but didn't make it. Blue Velvet freaked me out when I first saw it 20 years ago (as did A Clockwork Orange), but those are Disney films compared to what is made these days. I do appreciate that this list is personal to you and that you were honest in how they affected you.
Nov 14, 2011 12:46pm
I have never heard of any of these movies, but I think my girlfriend would enjoy them! Thanks for the "recommendations."
Mar 27, 2012 1:26pm
I have only heard of,but not seen, a couple of these films. I'm not sure whether to try and get a copy. There can be 'good' shocked and 'I-need-to-see-a therapist' shocked. I feel that these may be in the later category.
Jun 13, 2012 10:10am
Very thought provoking article--Except for "horror" movies that have historical value, I am always shocked on who puts up the finances for such trivia and who buys theater tickets to see it? As a movie buff, I am always left with a sting of discust for pure, ugly abd/or cruel sensationalism
Aug 25, 2012 11:07am
check out a movie called "happy" pedaphelia beyond belief
Nov 22, 2012 8:21am
i've just watched salo and it just is COMPLETE humiliation.
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