In a Hollywood filled landscape filled with remake after remake, it’s not surprising that audiences crave an unconventional shock fest every now and then. Some movies are just shocking for exploitation sake, while others find art in their own disturbing ways. They are hard to watch, and sometimes feel like they are unwatchable, but when the final credits role, it will not let you go. Even if today things are less shocking, you can still go back to these ten films and they will make you feel something still.
Here are the top 10 shocking films that are a true work of art. If you’ve not seen any of these, you are missing out on something, as they will always stay with you.
Funny Games: A bare bones psychological thriller that mocks the audience, Funny Games is a movie you will never forget once you see it. Two bored young men invade the house of a family on vacation and torture them by playing brutal mind games that ultimately lead to their demise. Sadly for the family, these games are not as funny as the title implies. Recently, someone told me this film wasn’t disturbing compared to the films of today. If you have even a spark of humanity in you, you’ll find the systematic, slow murder of an entire family highly disturbing.
Happiness: Presented like a quirky black comedy, it features a wide array of dark themes that are some of the main character’s sources of happiness. All of the characters in this film seek happiness, except they get it from dark sources such as pedophilia, rape, murder, stalking and fantasizing about mass shootings. The scariest thing is that everyone in the film seems like someone you’d meet in real life. Because we all want happiness right?
The Last House On The Left: This is one film where I do find the remake to be by far superior to the original. Better directed and scripted, The Last House on The Left is a haunting tale of a mother and father’s journey through getting revenge for the brutal rape and assault of their daughter. Although I could definitely live without the drawn out rape scene, it is ever so satisfying to see these sicko’s get their just due. The fact that the parents get their justice when these killers enter their home doesn’t help lessen their pain any more. The theme of a man’s home is his castle was turned some in this film, as what person would want to remain in their home after what they were forced to do in it.
Wes Craven made this film while America was still reeling from Nixon, Watergate and the Vietnam War, and you can feel the frustration and anger in this film. Interestingly enough, in today’s world, it fits in just as much as it did back in the Seventies.
Irreversible: A movie that is almost impossible to watch, Irreversible is the story of a beautiful woman brutally raped and beaten by a stranger in an underpass in Paris. When her boyfriend and his friend go looking for revenge, the brutality never ends! This film’s brutal and gritty style is even more impactful because the entire story is told in reverse, hence the the film’s title. The 9 minute rape scene is skip worthy for your own sanity I must recommend. The most disturbing and poignant part of the rape scene is that it happens and we see this woman’s night before it all goes down. Knowing what is coming down the road for her, only makes this much more disturbing and affecting.
The Passion of The Christ: Bet you didn’t expect to see a religious movie like this on the list did you. Whether you’re a christian or not, this film is shocking because of its unrelentingly brutal depiction of the Crucifixion of Christ. Seeing anyone tortured like this is emotionally stirring, and if you do believe the religious implications behind it, it’s even worse!
Audition: This movie goes down in history as one of the most brutal thrillers in cinematic history. The craziest thing about it is that all of its horrific nature does not kick in until the final act. Audition is about a rich widower who holds an audition to screen girls in order to find a new wife. The only problem is the woman he chooses is nothing like how she appears. The film flows like a normal film for a while and some that haven’t seen it, will wonder what the big deal is….but then it takes a hard sharp left and you’ll quickly understand. Hope you have a strong stomach for this one, and the words “Te Te Te” won’t leave your head anytime soon either.
Requiem For a Dream: One of my alltime favorite films, this movie delivers one of the most graphic and realistic depictions of drug abuse of all time! Requiem For A Dream shows the downward spiral of drug abuse from the angle of four individuals. Their stories are depressing, disturbing, and will hopefully scare you away from any thoughts you ever had about drugs for good.
Hostel Part II: Now, I don’t know why I thought this movie was so good, but it really was. If you’re looking for a slick and stylized blood bath, this film is it! The plot is pretty simple. Three American girls who are studying overseas are lured into a Slovakian hotel and discover its deadly and disgusting secret. The scene where a woman slits a girl’s throat and bathes in her blood is one of the most gut wrenching things I’ve ever seen. The film is backed up by some kick ass girl power moments, so it’s not a total exploitation loss. It’s well directed and strangely mixes horror and black comedy very well.
Sinister: Oh how I doubt the sequel could do it any better. Sinister was a big box office success horror film, and even though there may not have been an overwhelming amount of blood and gore involved, the film totally hit 7 or higher on the shock factor. The 8mm tape sequences of the families being murdered were enough to make you squirm in your seat and sometimes jump out of your chair! The ending was also very disturbing and not in anyway hopeful. And this people, is what makes this Hollywood horror film surprisingly great!
A Clockwork Orange: The classic psychological drama, this movie was shocking for its time, and still does a really good job of being shocking to this day. Filled with its own strange made-up language and a little bit of ultra-violence, the story is a about a future British society fighting to stop violence and poverty. The main character and villain of the story, Alex Delarge, is jailed and forced into an experimental aversion therapy treatment that’s developed by the government to try and stop crime. The results are not what they were expecting, however, and things most likely escalate for the worse. This film was totally ahead of its time and still serves as a great futuristic genre mash up!