I guess I must be a masochist of some sort, because I simply can’t stay away from the most gruesome, twisted, sickening movies out there. I’m always searching for the next movie to repulse me to my absolute core, while still managing to wow me. There’s just something so intriguing to me about a movie that dares to show the absolute sickest things us humans are capable of, and these 10 movies does just that.
So, in the mood to get nauseous at the sight of extreme violence, explicit sex scenes, twisted character studies, and the rawest of gore? Then check out these 10 most sickening movies of all time. But please don’t hold me accountable for feeling absolutely horrible afterwards.
Irreversible sickens you to the core, not only mentally but also physically, with the help of sound frequencies and camera movements that make you feel nauseous. The first 30 minutes of the movie include an unnoticeable sound frequency of 28Hz, just 8hz above what classifies as infrasound – a low frequency sound known to cause a range of symptoms in humans, such as vertigo, disorientation, nausea and vomiting. This in combination with the horrendous scenes director Gaspar Noé puts us through makes for a truly sickening, although genius, cinematic journey.
The movie begins at the end, playing in reverse, and so we witness the aftermath of an event that has already occurred, not knowing what it was, why or what the relationship between the people are (well, that is unless you read the spoiler heavy IMDB plot). We see two men rushing through a not so glamorous gay club, looking for a man they’ve never met. It’s clear they seek vengeance, one more than the other. And as we witness them finally get their revenge, by gruesomely smashing the guys head in with a fire extinguisher – we still have absolutely no clue why. But you feel a brief relief, the camera has finally slowed down and with the movie going in reverse, the worst must be over now, right? No, Irreversible offers absolutely no relief.
Director Ari Aster has really proven himself these last 3 years, releasing Hereditary in 2018 and now Midsommar in 2019. Both movies masterfully deals with humans real horror, grief. The cinematography is nothing short of stunning, however disturbing you might find some scenes, the beauty in them can’t be denied. All these epic elements are brought together by Florence Pugh’s phenomenal performance, who keeps us emotionally invested throughout the entire film.
Midsommar explores the aftermath of an emotional wound. Grief strikes Dani after losing her family in a collective suicide. Her boyfriend Christian had decided to leave her before the tragedy, but stuck around out of “compassion”. What was a relationship already on the brink of falling apart is now solely based on guilt. So when Christian’s friend Pelle invites him and his friends to celebrate Midsommar in Sweden with him, they reluctantly invite Dany.
What should be an amazing party and summer vacation quickly turns out to be a far more bizarre and dangerous event. I promise, I’m Swedish and although our “normal” celebration is pretty weird – this is not it. Midsommar is not a usual horror movie filled with jump scares. Although it might give you nightmares it’s not very frightening, but certainly unsettling.
The Director of Requiem for a Dream brings us yet another disturbing, horrific, unsettling, masterful movie – Mother!. A movie that makes us anxious, question our existence, and ultimately leave us sick with guilt.
Mother centers on an unnamed married couple played by Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem. “Him”, a poet who struggles with writer’s block and the wife, “Mother” spends her days caring for their house. It’s a tranquil relationship, but their conflict-free living is suddenly disturbed one day when a man knocks on the door. The stranger, known as “man” played by Ed Harris arrives late one night, and the husband’s personality suddenly change drastically as he happily welcomes the man into their home, despite his wife’s worries.
The unnamed main character, the wife, becomes more and more frustrated and the irritation doesn’t ease the slightest when yet another visitor comes to stay with them. A fierce woman played by Michelle Pfeiffer, with no respect for the house. A house the wife holds so dear and cares for as if it was her child.
The house holds great meaning, and as chaos emerges, we see the character played by Laurence desperately trying to to keep order in the house everyone keeps ruining. The house is suffering, much like our earth, and so its mother suffers too. The first two visitors, Man & Woman, represents Adam and Eve. The wife represents Mother Earth and how she cares deeply for earth/her house. The husband only called as “Him” symbolizes god, and all he wants is to be adored and admired. He cares little for Mother or her house, filling it with destructive followers who can feed his growing ego, at any cost.
French film director and screenwriter Julia Ducournau made quite a stir with her director debut “Raw”. A movie that reportedly caused people to faint and vomit at the Toronto Internation Film Festival screening. The stylish imagery is like eye candy, and the bizarre plot keeps you intrigued yet disturbed throughout. I can’t wait to see what Julia Ducournau does next!
16-year-old Justin was raised as a vegetarian, so when she begins veterinary school she’s yet to taste even the slightest bit of meat. As part of a bizarre school ritual, a sort of freshman inauguration, they prompt her to eat a raw duck kidney. Encouraged by her sister who is a long term “alpha” student, Justin strays from her principles for the first time in her life and swallows it.
After an initial physical reaction to the meat, she soon realizes it stirred up something pleasantly primal in her. A hunger she never realized she had. When her sister has an accident that causes her to lose a finger, Justin explores the impulse of some literal finger food. With the craving now fully fledged, she must find a way to satisfy it.
Yorgos Lanthimos is one of my favourite directors, and Dogtooth became my favourite movie of his. This disturbing, utterly weird movie that illustrates a one of a kind interesting behavioural study.
Like “Mother!” this too is a nameless movie, with the family involving a father, mother, older daughter, son and younger daughter. From the view of an outsider, the father lives a seemingly normal life, but at home him and his wife keep their 3 young adult children isolated from the outside world. The three teenagers have no knowledge of the outside world, quite the opposite – the parents have misled them with utter nonsense that the teenagers consider facts. According to the parents the teenagers will be ready for the world once they loose their dogtooth. But the parents have taught the kids many absurdities, such as “one can only leave safely by car.” and that “cats are the most dangerous creatures of all” so one must naturally stand on all four and bark to fend them off.
I can’t even begin to describe how absurd this movie is. With examples as the father paying a woman named Christina to have sex with his son, the siblings believing they have an unseen brother, and letting the brother choose one of the sisters to have intercourse with – only being the tip of a very weird iceberg.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Stanley Kubrick is another favourite director of mine, and Clockwork Orange might be one of the most disturbing movies of all time. While it is not as unsettling as Irreversible or A Serbian Film, it delves deeper into the psychology of humans violent behaviour – and THAT is truly unsettling to watch.
Alex definition of fun is not like other kids his age. His fun comes at the bestial expense of others, and so he spends his evenings with his “droogs”-gang acting out “ultra-violence”, vandalizing, fighting, and raping innocent people. Then comes the day Alex’s leadership of the “droogs” is challenged, resulting in a fight. To show his good faith, Alex decides to break into an elderly woman’s house, but after knocking her unconscious Alex receives a payback beating from the gang, and so Alex gets left unconscious at the scene.
Alex wakes up in custody and finds out the woman he knocked out is dead. He’s sentenced to 14 years in prison. 2 years into his sentence Alex is chosen to undergo an experimental behaviour treatment called the Ludovico Technique. In exchange, he’ll get his freedom back. An aversion therapy so gruesome you’ll almost feel bad for Alex, a character we know as a sadist.
I don’t have much to say about the director. Marcel Sarmiento doesn’t have a masterful resume, with movies like Totem, The Invitation and Deadgirl. It’s not a brilliant film, but it keeps you entertained enough for it to be worth a watch. The director does his best and what comes out is ok horror flicks. He’s not one I look to in order to have my mind blown with wow-feelings, but I know his movies will help me kill off a couple of hours.
Deadgirl follows friends JT and Rickie, who skip class and head to an abandoned asylum to enjoy some beer in private. What starts as a a fun, careless day takes a dark turn when they discover the body of a naked, beautiful woman. Rickie’s reaction is normal – he freaks out and leaves the premises, but JT’s curiosity and urges gets the best of him and he stays behind, only to find out (after raping the girl and violently fending off her resistance, by breaking her neck) that she can’t die. Of course, proving his theory he “kills” her another 2 times.
This sets off a twisted but somewhat realistic journey into the human psyche of two young boys. Ricky, a hopeless romantic who feels bad, and JT, a jerk who sees the opportunity of using this mysterious immortal girl as his personal sex slave. With Ricky being too fragile, JT decides to invite a third friend to his unethical endeavor. Will Ricky cave under the group pressure, or will he try to free the girl?
A sickening movie displaying rape, torture, violence and the moral decent of some high-school students. It’s not a masterpiece by any means, but it gets the job done in making you feel grossed out all the while being entertained.
Some directors really have no desire to warm up to the public before releasing a sickening movie (much to my delight), and such was the case when Richard Yates Jr. released his director debut Excision. This deliciously macabre film is not for the faint of heart, as it explores the sexual desires and aspirations of a very disturbed teenager.
17-year-old Pauline is sick of most things in her life, her christian parents’ resentment, all her two-faced school-mates, and the fact that she’s still a virgin. This misfit teenager finds satisfaction in challenging her teachers and turning her classmates against each other. So it’s safe to say, she has no friends – with the exception of her sister. She dreams of being a Doctor, but is definitely not a model student – so she finds her own way of learning. With the goal of curing her sick sister who suffers from cystic fibrosis, and eliminating her mother’s influence of her life, Pauline descends on a twisted journey to learn all about the art of surgery.
Pascal Laugier is yet another favourite Director of mine, I guess I have a thing for directors whose films make me feel sick. Martyrs is probably my favourite horror movie of all time, and Laugiers’ “incident in a Ghostland” doesn’t fall far behind. He is a horror genius, although he’s had some missteps with movies that only get the “ok”-stamp. Hopefully Ghostland brought him back on track, and his genius can continue to be enjoyed.
Martyrs begins by following the journey of Lucie’s search for revenge. Helped by her friend Anna, her mission is to track down and kill her abusers, who kidnapped and tormented her as a child. What starts as an intense 20 minutes quickly takes a turn as the plot changes. We are clueless as to what’s to come, having imagined the plot of the first 20 minutes be the narrative of the entire movie. But that’s not the case, and the movie takes an even darker turn. (But see for yourself, I don’t want to spoil it for you.)
Martyrs is definitely not a jump-scare movie. It doesn’t really make you scared, rather traumatized. My mental state really took a beating after I watched this film for the first time. Since then, I’ve watched it countless times, and although I’m a bit more desensitized now – it still makes me feel sick, mentally and physically.
Killer Joe (2011)
William Friedkin’s director resume is a long one, involving some absolute masterpieces such as The Exorcist, Bug, 12 Angry Men and my absolute favourite – Killer Joe. This movie explores how far individuals will go when faced with threats, such as debt, violence. The movie takes you on a hellish ride, and I don’t think it’s a movie for everyone. I guess you have to be some kind of masochist to enjoy any of the movies I’ve listed here. But if you’re like me and enjoy movies that make you feel sick – then Killer Joe is for you!
This NC-17 masterpiece is unsettling on so many levels. The movie takes place in a typical red-neck state and presents a not so intelligent family. Texas based drug dealer Chris is in debt, a damage caused by his mother stealing the dope. A race against the clock begins as Chris has to pay back his debt. So a plan is formed with his father Ansel to hire a hitman to kill Chris’s mother in order to get the $50,000 life insurance. Ansel, who is separated with the mother of his children, now lives with his new girlfriend Sharla and his daughter Dottie.
So this is when Matthew McConaughey finally arrives, a hitman called Joe hired to kill the mom/ex-wife. But seeing as no one can pay him upfront, he wants the virgin Dottie as collateral. There are some misconceptions online about Dottie only being 12 years old, but she is in fact 18-19. However, it doesn’t make it any less unsettling since Dottie seems to suffer from a mild retardation. She basically has the mind of an innocent child.
I won’t spoil anything for you, but there are after all KFC chicken drumsticks displayed on the poster. Let’s just say, the movie didn’t receive its NC-17 rating because of the unnatural relationship between the hitman and Dottie. It received it because of a gruesome, sickening scene involving KFC chicken.
The reason why I love movies about clones, imposters and doppelgangers is because we can use it as an amazing tool to reflect on...
Many of us have an undeniable fascination for serial killers, I'm no exception, which is why I could, and probably will, write many more...
Most of us know all about teenage angst, the existential horror that is growing up. If you don't, consider yourself very lucky. But some...