Disturbing, Disgusting, and Just Plain WRONG
The following discussion was inspired by an article titled "10 Most Disturbing Horror Movies," at Horror-Movies.Ca. Anyone who likes scary/disgusting films should check out both this article and the comments attached to it.
The author of that article lists the following 10 horror films as the "most disturbing."
1. Pet Sematary
2. I Spit on Your Grave (1978)
3. The Hills Have Eyes (remake)
6. The House of 1000 Corpses
7. Funny Games
8. The Woman
I had already seen Pet Sematary, I Spit on Your Grave, the Hills Have Eyes, Seven, and the House of 1000 Corpses, and I could see the inclusion of all these movies except Rob Zombie's "House." In my opinion, "House" was terrible.
But what really caught my eye wasn't the films on this list that I'd already seen. What got my attention was the 5 movies I hadn't. So, armed with uTorrent and a strong stomach, I managed to find all of the films except "The Woman." What follows are my thoughts on each.
This movie is very, very French. On the plus side, Monica Bellucci spends much of this movie nude, and the cinematography is excellent. On the minus side, this isn't really a horror movie. I suppose I might find the extended rape scene more horrifying if I was a woman, but as it was I just couldn't find anything in this film disturbing. It's a good movie, but I don't know why it was included on the above list.
2. Funny Games
This one follows the "home invasion" format, with some clever twists at the end. Two guys hold a family of three hostage, forcing each to play a series of "games." Again, I wouldn't really classify this one as a horror movie, but it IS disturbing. I liked the ending.
This one is definitely a horror movie. Two high school kids find a nude woman who can't die in an abandoned basement. As you might have guessed, things go downhill pretty quickly from there. I thought the first 3/4 of this movie was fantastic, but it degenerates into a genre picture near the end. It's frightening and has a couple of truly disgusting/disturbing parts, but it also shows a surprising amount of intelligence.
Three college students embark on a study of fear. One of them takes the study too far. It's a good movie, but nothing in it disturbed me. It's also a bit too similar to the "Saw" movies. Probably one of the more philosophical horror films out there.
And aside from the above four films, the comments that followed that article offered many more. Here are three:
1. A Serbian Film
This is a very serious film, and it tries to say very serious things about Serbia. The main character is an ex-porno star, who agrees to perform in one more picture. Little does he know that this picture is - you guessed it - a snuff film. The second half of the film features rape, sodomy, incest, mutilation, murder, and other acts of violence. There is one scene in the middle that is NASTY, but it gets cartoonish near the end. I watched the "uncut" version. Kind of reminded me of Nekromantik.
2. Cannibal Holocaust
This movie is classic. Four Americans go down to the Amazon to film real-life cannibals. After their disappearance, a professor of anthropology is sent to find them and also to assess the documentary footage they left behind. Real animal mutilation is interspersed with staged scenes of rape and torture. This movie is still banned in several countries, and it is the ONLY movie discussed here that actually made me want to puke.
3. The Human Centipede (Full Sequence)
I haven't seen the first Human Centipede, but parts of the first movie are shown in the second. An emotionally disturbed man tries to construct a "human centipede" by stitching living people together. It's pretty sick, but it's also a pretty good movie.
Oh, and I also wanted to mention the film Prometheus while I'm at it. Prometheus has plot holes that you could drive a truck through, but it is also a disturbing movie, with lots of gore. The sequel, if it ever gets made, should be good.
Were I to compile my own list, it would look very different from the one at the top of this entry. Of the "10 Most Disturbing" above, I'd probably only keep the remake of The Hills Have Eyes. On top of that I'd add Cannibal Holocaust, and from these two go on to more contentious offerings. I'd have to put John Carpenter's The Thing on there, probably The Exorcist I and III, the first Alien, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (both the original and the remake), Videodrome, Audition, Prince of Darkness..... and on, and on. I've seen a lot of horror movies, and I would have to think long and hard before coming to any final decision.