Some movies are so gross you shouldn't be eating popcorn - and certainly not a creamy beef stroganoff - while watching. The films on this list are bad dinner time movies, and some are just bad anytime movies. Some of the films are so graphic and gruesome that you might throw up in your mouth a little. At the very lest they'll churn your stomach. After all, people can have some pretty extreme reactions to watching movies.
While a some of these films are just torture porn (nothing more than one gruesome scene after another made to provoke mental and physical repulsion) others are cult classics and surreal masterpieces. The provocateurs behind these films are testing the limits of the viewer's voyeurism. We want to turn away, but our morbid curiosity (and perhaps an inner and inactive deviance) keeps us staring at the screen in equal parts horror and fascination.
Some of the more intense movies on this list will make you want to scrub your brain with Lysol, while others will merely give you some horrific nightmares for a while. Watch at your own discretion. Warning: the films in this list are so repulsive that you may not want to read this on your lunch break.
And obviously: spoilers ahead. Because of course there are.
You know how when you witness someone else vomit, you immediately need to vomit? Well, that’s about an hour of György Pálfi’s Taxidermia (2006). The Hungarian film follows stories about three generations of men. The first sequence begins in WWI with a military private who is forced to live in a shack near the home of his sadistic lieutenant and his family. He ends up impregnating the lieutenant’s wife (though the scene shows him porking - pun intended - a pig carcass). The lieutenant, Öreg Balatony Kálmán, kills the pervy private and raises the child as his own. The child, named Balatony Kálmán, is born with a corkscrew tail which Öreg chops off with a cleaver.
Appropriately, the pig baby grows up to be a competitive eater during the Cold War. Just the sheer amount of barf during this sequence is enough to make you empathetically dry heave. There are also scenes of two morbidly obese people screwing while shoving sandwiches down their throats. So there's an image you'll have stuck in your head all day.
The final sequence takes place in present day with Baltony’s son, Lajoska, a talented taxidermist. Lajoska is a huge disappointment to his morbidly obese father. See, Lajoska is pale and stick-thin unlike his portly relatives. In the end of the film, the immobile Blatony is eaten alive by his three obese cats (experimental creatures that he created). Lajoska ends up killing himself and using an ingenious contraption to turn his own body into a work of taxidermy. After his death, the lonely Lajoska goes down in history as a great artist. Queasy yet?
John Water’s camp cult classic Pink Flamingos (1972) is the filthiest 92 minutes of film that you’ll ever see (non-porn categroy). Well, okay, it’s not that bad. But it does deserve a badge of dirty, dirty honor because the plot of the film revolves around the battle for the title of “Filthiest Person Alive.”
Protagonist Divine is on the run under the pseudonym Babs Jonson along with her mother (who, incidentally, lives in a baby play pen), her deviant son Crackers, and her gal pal Cotton. After a tabloid names Divine the “Filthiest Person Alive,” two of Divine’s rivals, Connie and Raymond Marble, try to dethrone her as the Queen of Filth.
On Divine’s birthday, Connie and Raymond send her a packaged piece of human sh*t, complete with a card that called her “fatso” and singed “the Filthiest People Alive.” This was a direct attack on Divine’s dirty divinity, and she vowed to kill Connie and Raymond, but not before she proved her filthiness.
In Pink Flamingos, Divine performs unsimulated fellatio on Danny Mills, the actor who plays her son Crackers. That, somehow, is not the grossest part of the movie. At one point, Divine eats actual dogsh*t. Also, a live chicken was killed in a sex scene that involved a crush fetish. PETA wasn’t happy. Neither was the audience's stomach.
David Lynch’s films have a way of making you feel uneasy and itchy, like insects are crawling under your skin. Eraserhead (1977) started it all. Lynch’s first feature-length film, the entire surrealist piece is in black-and-white and follows Henry Spencer (Jack Nance – who later starred in Twin Peaks), a man who lives in an apocalyptic wasteland. Several notable scenes in the film will make you squirm.
During a dinner at his girlfriend’s parent’s house, for example, the baby chicken entrée begins to squirm and bleed on the plate, to Spencer’s shock. You know, since "baby chicken entrée" wasn't terrifying enough already. Spencer also ends up impregnating his girlfriend, Mary X, who gives birth to a deformed and grotesque child. The child’s organs are held together by bandages. When Spencer removes the bandages, the child’s organs fall out and it cries in pain. Spencer stabs it to death, and the film ends. In other words, a classic fairy tale ending.
Peter Sobczynski of Roger Ebert’s site said that Eraserhead blew his mind. “Here was a film that took elements that one might have encountered in other movies in the past—black humor, gore, surrealism, erotic imagery, gorgeous black-and-white cinematography and oddball performances—and presented them in such a unique and deeply personal manner that the end result was something that literally looked, sounded and felt like nothing that had ever come before it,” he said.
Srđan Spasojević’s A Serbian Film (2010) is the closest you can get to “legally” watching child pornography and snuff without having the FBI bust down your door and confiscate your computer. Honestly, you'll still probably end up on some watchlists. There are only two words that need to be said to describe how disturbing this movie is: newborn porn. Seriously, don’t watch this movie if you don’t want to feel like burning your eyes out.
In the film, Srđan "Žika" Todorović plays Milos, a struggling former porn star who is asked to participate in a film at the request of a director and former psychiatrist named Vukmir (Sergej Trifunović). Milos accepts with reluctance, but before he realizes that he is participating in a snuff film with pedophilia, incest, and skullf*cking.
It is incredibly difficult to watch, and elements of the violence leave you with a rage boiling up in your chest. But it is also difficult to look away, and it challenges the boundaries of your own morbid curiosity. A Serbian Film was banned in an astonishing 46 countries. The film was so grotesque that a US distributor fainted as he was trying to escape the theater. He banged his head so hard he needed stitches.
When Spasojević’ was asked if he had any regrets about the movie he said, “I wish I had made it harder. More extreme.” What... what could that possibly mean?! Have fun with that question haunting your nightmares.