Horror Movie Scenes Even Serious Viewers Can't Make It Through

Voting Rules
Horror fans only: Vote up the scenes you have a hard time stomaching.

There are plenty of freaky horror movies out there, and for some horror fans, the more unsettling the better; but then there are some horror movie scenes too disturbing to finish, even for dyed-in-the-wool horror hounds. These scenes aren't always lodged in the most twisted movies, either. Every now and then, a fairly tame flick will suddenly bust out a scene so disturbing that you just have to look away. Sometimes that's gore, sure, but other times it's something else - an idea so insidious and unsettling that it gets under your skin or creates a sense of utter nihilism and despair.

Whatever it is that makes them so hard to watch, these are some disturbing horror movie scenes you can't finish unless you're among the most ironclad of horror fans. Vote up the scenes you couldn't make it all the way through - or wish you hadn't...

Photo: Saw 2 / Lionsgate

  • Banned (or only released after heavy revisions) in several countries, A Serbian Film has been called "the nastiest film ever made," so it's no surprise that it is full of scenes that are tough to take.

    In Srđan Spasojević's feature debut, a retired adult film performer named Milos is lured back into the game for one last gig that turns out to be a snuff film. As the movie escalates its depravities, there are plenty of distressing scenes, perhaps none more so than one in which the sinister director Vukmir shows Milos one of his other films.

    In it, a woman on a table in a bare room gives birth while a big man dressed only in his underclothes stands by. As soon as the baby is born, the man begins harming it. That's unpleasant enough, but what really amps up the grotesqueness of the scene is the look on the faces of both Vukmir, who watches Milos to see how he will react, and the new mother, who looks on beatifically.

    • Actors: Srdjan Todorovic, Sergej Trifunovic, Jelena Gavrilovic, Katarina Zutic, Slobodan Bestic
    • Released: 2010
    • Directed by: Srdjan Spasojevic
    1,187 votes

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  • This scene may not be what it sounds like, but that doesn't make it any less hard to watch.

    "Tapeworm" is the nickname of a character (Jo Prestia) in Gaspar Noés provocative film Irreversible, which showcases the aftermath of a vicious assault in a red-lit underground walkway.

    Clocking in at around nine minutes, the inciting incident is almost unbearable to watch, as Tapeworm not only treats Alex (Monica Bellucci) so savagely that he leaves her in a coma, but he degrades her the entire time, as well. Because the film is told in reverse chronological order, it is only later that we learn she was pregnant at the time.

    • Actors: Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Gaspar Noé, Albert Dupontel, Philippe Nahon
    • Released: 2002
    • Directed by: Gaspar Noé
    663 votes
  • Lars von Trier's controversial horror film has been subject to any number of interpretations, from the biblical to the psychoanalytic, and it seems to welcome almost all of them. But regardless of how you read the film, its shocking scenes of mutilation are hard to ignore - and tough to watch.

    There are plenty of uncomfortable scenes throughout Antichrist, but the whole thing reaches its fever pitch as Charlotte Gainsbourg's unnamed female character (credited only as "she") assaults her husband, the equally unnamed "he" played by Willem Dafoe.

    After crushing him with a grindstone, she fondles his unconscious body and then takes scissors to her own most intimate anatomy. None of it is exactly pleasant to watch, even if von Trier has called Antichrist his "fun" way of working through a depressive episode.

    • Actors: Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Storm Acheche Sahlstrøm
    • Released: 2009
    • Directed by: Lars von Trier
    539 votes

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  • 4
    635 VOTES

    The 'Wishbone' - 'Bone Tomahawk'

    Writer/director S. Craig Zahler's 2015 debut was a grisly mashup of the horror and western genres that certainly got people talking. The Critics Consensus at Rotten Tomatoes, where the film enjoys a Certified Fresh rating with 91%, says that its "peculiar genre blend won't be for everyone, but its gripping performances and a slow-burning story should satisfy those in search of something different."

    It's a tough movie to watch for a lot of reasons, trading in some of the grimmest and grittiest aspects of both the genres it draws from, as it follows a team of gunslingers who go to rescue townspeople captured by cannibals.

    It doesn't take much searching online to find people talking about the infamous "wishbone" scene in Bone Tomahawk. In fact, there are YouTube videos of people doing the "wishbone challenge," wherein they record their reactions to the scene, which has been called "one of the most savage and barbaric" in cinematic history.

    • Actors: Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Richard Jenkins, Matthew Fox, Lili Simmons
    • Released: 2015
    • Directed by: S. Craig Zahler
    635 votes
  • John Carpenter's landmark horror picture is filled with gruesome special effects and stomach-churning sequences. The scene with the defibrillator remains one of the most startling and effective jump scares in film history.

    Yet, possibly the hardest sequence in The Thing to sit through - at least for animal lovers - is also one of the earliest. Before the eponymous alien has begun wreaking havoc on the residents of Outpost 31, it goes after the dogs that they keep in the kennel.

    Rob Bottin's effects work is never grislier than it is in this moment, but it's the whimper of the dogs as they are assimilated that really makes the scene tough to get through.

    • Actors: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, T.K. Carter, Richard Dysart, Richard Masur
    • Released: 1982
    • Directed by: John Carpenter
    689 votes

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  • "Almost as unwatchable as the newsreels of Auschwitz..." That's how film critic Robin Wood described Audition's closing half-hour or so, when the film descends into the kind of Alice in Wonderland of pain and madness that only someone like Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike could deliver.

    The main scene that most people remember from Audition is the film's climactic sequence of torment, in which Asami takes long needles and piano wire to Aoyama, accompanied by her singsong repetition of "deeper, deeper" as she pushes the needles in.

    • Actors: Eihi Shiina, Renji Ishibashi, Ren Osugi, Jun Kunimura, Ryo Ishibashi
    • Released: 1999
    • Directed by: Takashi Miike
    450 votes