Behind-The-Scenes Stories About The Making Of Extremely Gross Movie Scenes

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Vote up the funniest stories about Hollywood's most disgusting scenes.

Curious about how the Farrelly brothers cooked up the grisliest scene in the gross-out comedy classic There's Something About Mary? Want to know which effects genius used a particularly disgusting prop to decorate his office? Have any questions about what was left on the cutting room floor from one of the grossest scenes in one of the biggest smashes of 2011? Those and many other questions you didn't know you had will be answered below!

This list takes stock of a litany of firsthand behind-the-scenes anecdotes detailing the way unforgettable flicks filmed their most famously gross sequences, including revelatory notes from stars and crew alike.

Vote for your favorite (and least favorite) stories behind your favorite (and least favorite) disgusting movie moments below!


  • In body-horror specialist David Cronenberg's demented reimagining of The Fly (1986), genius scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) creates a teleportation system that relocates the genetic material of its occupants between two machines. When a fly sneaks into one of the machines as he tests it out on himself, the fly's DNA intermingles with Seth's DNA, creating a terrifying mutation over time. 

    As Seth grapples with his new, ever-worsening condition, it eventually reaches a point where his whole body grows swollen and bulbous. Goldblum noted in an interview with Yahoo:

    [Once] I get mashed up with the fly DNA, I’m given to great power, volatile storms and a sexuality, a fevered unquenchable sexuality. [Special effects artist] Chris Walas won the Oscar for that, yes. And Stephan Dupuis, for five hours, put me in a dentist’s chair and applied that thing. And then another hour after we were done... ya know, rub rub rub... took it off. Kinda squeezed on this suit... rubbery suit... so I look all boily... misshapen. And then prosthetics... It’s not the most comfortable thing but it wasn’t bad. It was a fun thing to do.

    In one particularly grisly scene, the mutation of Brundle and the fly (which Seth himself warily calls "Brundlefly") vomits out acidic saliva onto the hand of Stathis Borans (John Getz), the ex of Seth's current girlfriend Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis). Walas described the process in a behind-the-scenes clip years later.

    "For that gag, we did a wax hand with some pumping blood and goop," Walas said. The melting effect shown on-screen, all shot practically in front of the camera at the time, transpired much slower during production than it did in the final cut. "We had to try and speed it up. So [the melting hand] was locked down," Walas continued. "So we had heat guns on it, and just couldn't move because we were doing very long exposures on film. Still wasn't short enough, and Hoyt Yeatman and the visual effects guys had to do an overlay over the scene and speed it up [in post production] as well. It was such a nice unique piece that after the show I had it made into a light and stuck outside my office for years."

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  • During one particularly grotesque moment in David Fincher's serial killer thriller Seven (1995), intrepid detectives David Mills (Brad Pitt) and William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) accompany a SWAT team while hot on the trail of a maniac, John Doe, who doles out punishments upon people whom he deems guilty of having committed one of the seven deadly sins. 

    The group bursts into the apartment of a suspect, and instead, they discover a victim: a drug-dealing pederast who has been kept alive, barely, for a year, penalized for the sin of sloth. 

    "It was so visually arresting that it just looked fake," John C. McGinley, who portrayed the leader of the SWAT team, said of the setup in a USA Today anniversary article. "But it certainly wasn't."

    "People still think they used a dummy in that scene," said Michael Reid Mackay, who played the victim. "I get that a lot. But that was me." The article notes that the scrawny, 5-foot-5-inch Mackay, who weighed just 96 pounds at the time of production, is frequently hired due to his gaunt look.

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  • At the climax of Ridley Scott's outrageously over-the-top and fantastically violent Silence of the Lambs follow-up Hannibal (2001), depraved fugitive cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) feeds captive FBI agents Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore) and Paul Krendler (Ray Liotta), Clarice's ex, pieces of Paul's brain as he cooks them, while Paul is still alive.

    "It was really outrageous," Moore told Syfy.com. "It was, obviously, pretty far-fetched stuff. But we actually had a wonderful time shooting it."

    The effect was achieved through a combination of makeup, practical animatronics, and computer-generated imagery. A full-body, blinking animatronic puppet of Liotta was created for the sequence, with the top of the skull removed and the brains exposed. Liotta was also equipped with a green-screen skull cap, which would be swapped out digitally after the fact and replaced with the puppet brains.

    "It was gross, it was cool," Liotta reflected after the fact in a behind-the-scenes clip. "It was like, 'Wow, I'm in a movie with [Hopkins]. Wow, there I am acting with him. There were so just many different emotions. But the biggest thing was a giddy joy of just moviemaking. I said, 'Oh my God, they're going to be eating my brain out. Oh, look at that, how cool.'"

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  • During a particularly memorable (and literally vomit-inducing) moment in The Exorcist (1973), demonically possessed preteen Regan (Linda Blair) vomits onto Father Karras (Jason Miller) after an intense interrogation.

    The vomit, made from pea soup, was rigged onto Blair's double, Eileen Dietz. Though the plan had been for the faux puke to connect with Miller's chest, it instead got him in the face, and his stunned and angered reaction is apparently real.

    Dietz was the actress wearing the possession makeup at the time of the vomit scene. "Yeah, Jason didn't like that," she confirmed in an interview. "He got very upset from that."

    "It was... like a horse's bit," she said of the apparatus linked to her makeup. "And it had tiny, tiny tubes, with a bigger tube right in the middle, and tubes going down my back and to the back of the set, and [the makeup effects crew] actually pumped it."

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  • In the first Alien (1979), poor Nostromo crew member Kane (John Hurt) perishes gruesomely after a baby Xenomorph is birthed by bursting through his chest. If you thought that was horrible, don't worry: Members of the cast were pretty darn grossed out in the moment, too. It looked - and smelled - pretty real to all parties on the day of the shoot, a moment captured with four cameras running simultaneously.

    Veronica Cartwright, who played ship navigator Lambert, passed out after they finished filming the scene. "We read the script," she told The Guardian years later. "They showed us a mock-up, but they didn't show how it was going to work. They just said, 'Its head will move and it's going to have teeth.'" Director Ridley Scott wanted to leave an element of surprise for the moment his cameras started rolling on a take, to hopefully capture some genuine surprise and fear from his stars.

    "Prosthetics in those days weren't that good," Scott reflected in the same article. "I figured the best thing to do was to get stuff from a butcher's shop and a fishmonger. On the morning we had them examining the Facehugger; that was clams, oysters, seafood. You had to be ready to shoot because it started to smell pretty quickly. You can't make better stuff than that - it's organic."

    "I remember easily half an hour was spent with [Ridley Scott] draping this little piece of beef organ so it would hang out of the creature's mouth," screenwriter and executive producer Dan O'Bannon recalled.  

    The film's other screenwriter and executive producer, Ron Shusett, detailed Veronica Cartwright's reaction: "[W]hen the blood hit her, she passed out. I heard from Yaphet Kotto's wife that after that scene, he went to his room and wouldn't talk to anybody."

    Kotto, who played chief engineer Parker, verified this in the same Guardian piece: "Oh, man! It was real, man. We didn't see that coming. We were freaked. The actors were all frightened. And Veronica nutted out."

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  • Brian De Palma's horror classic Carrie (1976), adapted from maestro Stephen King's first novel, remains a deeply affecting story several decades later. Its most memorable moment might be its grossest.

    During the film's tragic turn, shy, awkward high schooler Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is crowned prom queen by her peers. Carrie has led a sheltered life, the product of a cruelly abusive religious zealot mother (Piper Laurie). She enjoys the experience for mere seconds, as we soon find that it was all a setup: A bucket of bloody pig guts is dumped onto Carrie from the rafters of the school gym by bullies Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen) and Billy Nolan (a young John Travolta). Carrie, secretly outfitted with telekinetic powers, unleashes her full abilities on her laughing classmates, killing most of them with her psychic skills.

    Spacek described the moment of the pig's blood dump as being "[a] little nerve-wracking." She told ComingSoon.net:

    I was having my beautiful prom queen moment and that was so lovely. Carrie was having the time of her life, and those were real tears of joy and happiness, and when the blood spilled all over me, I remember it felt like a warm blanket was thrown over me. It was heavy, thick, and it was shocking. And then finally, it was humiliating, and then when everyone started to laugh, well, then, yes - it felt exactly the way it looked! We did it in two takes, so there was that point where I had to get cleaned up and do it all over again, but the second time was just as intensely real. I loved shooting that scene, it was really great.

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