By definition horror movies are meant to be frightening. They’re a safe trip into the depths of the subconscious, a place to explore the worst the imagination can offer. But every once in a while a filmmaker shoots a scene that they later realize is so disturbing the audience will feel jarred out of the "safety" of the film. A situation that leaves viewers feeling repulsed rather than delightfully spooked. In terms of art, less is more, and the directors of horror movies with disturbing deleted scenes recognized that back-to-back scenes of mutilation and terror aren't enjoyable.
Part of the filmmaking process is shooting more footage than a director may actually end up using in the final edit. Despite the difficulty and risks of filming and the excruciating effort that goes into making movies, it' s just worth it to have more to work with. This maximalist approach is why these scenes that were too scary for horror movies exist.
For the horror film enthusiast who always wants more, these gruesome cut scenes are like delayed icing on the blood-soaked cake. Read on to discover some of the worst scenes cut from horror movies and think about whether or not they should have made it into the final cut. And, if you love all things spooky, check out this list of the scariest shows on television.
A Serbian Film, directed by Srđan Spasojević, is one of the most disturbing collection of scenes committed to film. The film is a reaction to the glut of foreign-funded Eastern European films of the time that Spasojević felt pushed politically correct agendas. A Serbian Film is quite the opposite and may just make you want to bleach your brain after viewing.
The movie follows Miloš, a former porn star who's offered a massive pay day for one last film. He reluctantly accepts and what follows is a descent into torture, necrophilia, and worse. So what could the producers have possibly cut out of the movie? According to the British Board of Film Classification, just over four minutes of inappropriate behavior toward children were cut from the film. The uncut version of A Serbian Film is out there to view, but why would you want to?
It's interesting that the producers behind a movie like The Human Centipede 2 would even bother sending the film to a ratings board to have it deemed watchable. The film features a character kidnapping a group of people, removing their teeth, and surgically stapling them together mouth to unmentionables to form a human centipede.
It's horrifying enough to watch humans forced to consume each other's feces, so what could be worse? Nonconsensual intercourse, of course. In a cut scene the character Martin wraps his member in barbed wire and engages the tail end of the centipede. The film was allowed to go to theaters once that scene was cut. But don't worry, it was re-inserted into the film for the US version of the unrated director's cut DVD and Blu-ray. The entire franchise is obviously not for the casual horror movie watcher.
Paul W.S. Anderson's Event Horizon is an often overlooked science-fiction/horror film that teases an Alien-like monster on a spaceship narrative before descending into pure Lovecraftian terror. After docking on a spaceship sending out a distress signal, the crew begins suffering from violent hallucinations. A major point of the film is when the crew finds a video log from the original crew's descent into the hell dimension. Even though the audience only sees a few seconds of the footage, the message is plenty potent.
In the 20 seconds that appear in the final version of Event Horizon, the audience is treated to writhing naked bodies, crew members eating each other alive, a guy being sodomized with a pipe, and another ripping out his own intestines through his mouth. According to effects supervisor Danny Bonnywell, Anderson actually filmed way more intense stuff even though he was pretty sure it would end up on the cutting room floor.
There were shots of a crew member's legs getting crushed, someone having screws drilled into their teeth, and a woman's breasts being ripped off. This additional footage is lost to time, however, and should probably stay lost.
Man Bites Dog is an unflinching cinema verité faux documentary about a group of filmmakers following a serial killer along his personal journey. The film was one of the first of its kind where the audience was lured into the fun and games of cinematic murder until they were implicated in the crimes once the film flipped on them. The American release of the film had a major cut that let the air out of the film's tires in a major way. The scene has since been restored by Criterion and shows the documentary film crew that has been following the killer take part in the mistreatment of a woman before she's disemboweled.
Without this scene the film is functional, but it doesn't implicate the crew (and the audience by proxy) in the horrible deeds of the film's main character.