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Horror Movies Nobody Who Is Squeamish Can Finish, Ranked

Updated December 2, 2019 1.8k votes 434 voters 21.1k views14 items

List RulesVote up the nasty horror films you just can't stand to finish.

Whether it's gross-out horror, extreme slashers, or just horror movies that are downright disturbing, not every movie is exactly easy to sit through. And the goriest scenes aren't always even in horror movies. In fact, some movies - even whole film movements - make it a point of being as difficult to watch as possible, whether that means amping up the gore or introducing scenes of physical degradation. 

While some of these films become underground cult classics, others become endurance tests that individuals subject themselves or their friends to in order to see who's "tough enough" to watch the whole thing. Whatever the case may be, there are plenty of horror movies out there that nobody who is of a, shall we say, delicate disposition is likely to make it to the end of - at least, not without covering their eyes or needing a barf bag. 

  • Jörg Buttgereit's debut, about a couple who brings home a cadaver, deals with themes of necrophilia, fascism, aggression against animals, and more. The special effects include actual animal intestines and pig eyeballs, as well as documentary-style footage of rabbits being slaughtered. If the film's subject matter alone isn't enough to get you to tap out, the gruesome animal carnage might be.

    • Actors: Jörg Buttgereit, Beatrice Manowski, Daktari Lorenz, Volker Hauptvogel, Suza Kohlstedt
    • Released: 1987
    • Directed by: Jörg Buttgereit
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  • Banned in countries all over the world and subjected to a criminal investigation in its own home country, A Serbian Film might be one of the most controversial movies ever made. It doesn't take a detailed list of the atrocities depicted in it to see why, either.

    When a former explicit film star is recruited to star in an "art film" that turns out to be a snuff film, things go badly in a hurry in this grotesque picture, which deals with themes of assault, necrophilia, and lots, lots more.

    The makers of A Serbian Film have argued that the movie is a form of political commentary, and they may be right, but that doesn't make it any easier to watch the whole wretched thing unfold.

    • Actors: Jelena Gavrilovic, Srđan Todorović, Sergej Trifunović, Ana Sakic, Nenad Herakovic
    • Released: 2010
    • Directed by: Srdjan Spasojevic
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    Photo: MVD

    Depending on who you ask, Thanatomorphose will either "fascinate, aggravate, and impress," or it's "all grue, little substance." No one will tell you that this 2012 Canadian body horror flick is something that you should watch on a full stomach. Even the film's detractors say that it "ought to challenge even the most robust of gore fans when it comes to some of its nastiest moments." 

    For most of the film, it's a one-woman show, as Kayden Rose plays Laura, a woman with a decaying personal life whose body abruptly begins to decay as well after a night of particularly rough intercourse. The bruises that she finds the next morning don't fade. Instead, they spread and eventually become something much worse. While Rose may be the star, the "special effects are the true stomach-churning winner of the day," according to Dread Central.

    • Actors: Émile Beaudry, Eryka Cantieri, Karine Picard, Simon Laperrière, Roch-Denis Gagnon
    • Released: 2012
    • Directed by: Éric Falardeau
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  • "Unlike other recent torture-themed horror works , such as the Saw and Hostel series, Grotesque features minimal narrative or character development and presents the audience with little more than an unrelenting and escalating scenario of humiliation, brutality and sadism." Those were the words that David Cooke used to explain why the British film board would not issue a certification to the 2009 Japanese horror film Grotesque , effectively banning it in the UK.

    If that doesn't sound like your cup of tea, you can see why Grotesque might not be the easiest thing to sit through. Director Kôji Shiraishi has shown his aptitude for horror in a variety of styles and sub-genres, from the haunting found footage film Noroi: The Curse to the monster mash of 2016's Sadako vs. Kayako , which found the vengeful specters from two of Japan's most popular horror franchises ( The Ring and The Grudge , respectively) duking it out.

    In Grotesque, he turns his talents toward the conte cruel, portraying some of the most sadistic torments imaginable as a wealthy surgeon with a "skunk-like" odor kidnaps a young couple and torments them for days at a time, stopping only long enough to heal them before beginning their ordeal again.


    • Actors: Shigeo Osako, Hiroaki Kawatsure, Tsugumi Nagasawa
    • Released: 2009
    • Directed by: Kōji Shiraishi
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