Ten Disturbing Scenes that will Turn Your Stomach
Written By Greg Roberts
Ever watch a movie and have that one scene that is so shocking, so
unsettling, so disturbing, that you have to give yourself a minute just
to take a breath and gather yourself again before you continue with the
screening? Films today try harder and harder to push the envelope in an
attempt to give us these scenes that will make us squirm, shift and
generally feel uncomfortable in our seats.
This week, the staff at Killer Reviews got together and began
amassing our list of the most disturbing scenes ever put on film. By the
end of the day, we managed to whittle our list down to a Top 10. The
process meant delving deep into the bowels of hell (well, Netflix and
Ebay) to secure copies of films, some of which are still banned in many
countries to this day.
And as we watched film after film/scene after scene of some of the
most raunchy and violent films that the world has to offer, one thing
became crystal clear – nothing is more disturbing that an mix of
violence and nudity clashing on screen at the same time. Because
watching a man get stabbed in the chest will have less of a chance in
eliciting a stomach turning reaction than the same man getting stabbed
in the groin.
In amassing our list, we also spent great lengths discussing the era
to which a movie was released. After all, a film like A Clockwork Orange
seems tame when compared to the gore porn which is now circulating in
today’s unrated world. That didn’t have us exclude any title, but it
sure made the conversation more colorful.
So, just what are the most disturbing scenes of the last 25 years not
including Kathy Bates nude hot tub scene in About Schmidt? Our list
10. Bit the Curb scene – American History
Ed Norton was not yet a household name when he took the role as a
young Neo Nazi in this black and white, gritty masterpiece. We watch is
complete awe as Danny Vinyard reveals his hatred and propensity to
violence towards other races and religions and Ed Norton brings the
character to terrifying life.
But it was the scene where Danny takes his version of justice out on
the city streets that had us squirming in our theatre seats. As Danny
gets a weaker combatant to ‘bite the curb’ and proceeds to stomp on the
back of his head, we witness one of the more gruesome and shocking
scenes to be shown in mainstream American theatres for years. The sound
alone of the teeth hitting concrete made us wiggle uncomfortably and put
down our popcorn so that we could collect ourselves. The scene left an
indelible mark in our memories and clearly belongs on our list.
9. Castration Scene – Hard Candy (2005)
Before Ellen Page went all Juno on us, she starred in this low budget
thriller about a young girl extracting vengeance on a suspected
neighborhood pedophile. And the scene we picked to be the most shocking
is one that really doesn’t show us much at all.
After gaining the upper hand on the stronger adult, Hayley Stark
(Page) has Jeff (Patrick Wilson) tied down and vulnerable to her
imagination. This imagination comes in the form of a homemade castration
which includes a knife and a bag of ice and a lot of crossed legs by
You may not get to see that actual ‘procedure’ but that didn’t make
us shift any less while sweating in disgust. It was a hard sit through
and goes a long way to prove that you don’t need to show the violence on
screen to make the audience experience it along with the victim.
8. Wire Cuts Off Foot – Audition (1999)
Shock master, director Takashi Miike brought us this foreign language
gem – the story of an innocent young girl who is duped into thinking she
is auditioning for a film role, when she is really being interviewed as
a potential date for widower Aoyame (Ryo Ishibashi).
As it turns out, Asami (Eihi Shilna) is anything but an innocent
victim. After debilitating Aoyame, Asami then pulls out piano wire and
begins to cut through the foot – slowly and painfully. The scene is
nightmarish. Throw in some additional torture to eyelids and tongues and
you have an ending to a movie that will have you stepping out for a
breath of fresh air before continuing on with your evening.
7. Breast Milk Scene - Visitor Q (2001)
No surprise here that Takashi Miike hits our list twice. This is the
same sick and twisted mind that used sperm for the opening credits of
Ichi The Killer.
This time, he makes our list with the very strange and awkward tale
about a man who sets out to make a documentary about sex and violence
only to travel down the rabbit hole himself. Visitor Q has plenty of
sex, violence and degradation for five films and will have a few scenes
that you won’t likely forget.
In the final chapters of the movie, our protagonist has sex with a
dead girl only to get his penis stuck in the constricting muscles of the
deceased. While he struggles to free himself, his wife is in the kitchen
spraying her breast milk on a stranger who uses an umbrella while
watching her work her nipples.
As both of these occurrences happen at the same time, the audience is
thrust into a roller coaster of disgust that takes us back and forth
between two unsettling scenes. This is not one of Miike’s best films,
but it is arguably one of his most disturbing.
6. Rape Scene – Irreversible (2002)
Gaspar Noé shocked and infuriated audiences with this backwards told
story about a woman who is raped and the man who tries to find out who
Monica Bellucci plays the victimized woman while Vincent Cassel plays
the man hell-bent on vengeance.
When Alex (Bellucci) is accosted in an underground passageway,
audiences were witness to one of the most realistic and invariably
unnerving rape scenes ever put on film. The rape scene goes on for what
seems like hours and we watch helplessly as Alex is threatened, beaten
and violated. We had to watch the special features just to convince
ourselves that it was all just great acting. This is as distressing as
it gets and makes Irreversible one of the worst date movies of all time.
5. Rape Scene – The Last House on the
The only reason why this rape scene is ranked above that of the
disturbing Irreversible is because of the year to which The Last House
on the Left was released.
In 1972, it was less common to see such violence, torture and rape on
screen. Sure, it had been done before, but not as much in films that
were targeted for American audiences. This was before the NC-17 rating
system - this was before gore-porn became a hot DVD seller.
While the kidnapping gang force two girls into unspeakable acts, we
cringed back in 1972. One of the girls is forced to pee her pants and
the girls are beaten and raped. It was a strong statement by young
filmmaker Wes Craven and The Last House on the Left is still banned in
many countries today. However, don’t let the year fool you. If the scene
does not disturb you, then seek professional help. Fast!
4. Turtle Torture – Cannibal Holocaust
Cannibal Holocaust had plenty of disturbing scenes for us to debate.
The native skewered on a spike, the rape scene(s) and even the penis
chop all got good consideration. But in the end, we went with the
killing of the turtle as our ultimate choice.
Maybe it was the fact that we were aware that it was an actual turtle
that suffered the torture during the shoot. This was long before the
trademarked ‘No animals were harmed during the filming of this movie’
and director Ruggero Deodato has admitted that he went too far and
wished he hadn’t filmed the scene.
Anyone outside of Michael Vick will probably be repulsed by what a
film crew and a bunch of actors did to a helpless animal for the
purposes of ‘entertainment’. But there is no denying the emotional
impact the scene had with audiences and clearly, it belongs on our list.
3. Two Girls Get Raped – Baise Moi (2000)
As we got to the Top 3, we reflected on all the scenes that didn’t
make our top 10. There were a few from the Saw franchise, a scene from A
Clockwork Orange and even Rob Zombie and the dentist scene from Marathon
Man were considered. All were worthy, but we were in the top three now,
so it was time to get serious.
At number three we picked yet another rape scene from another French
entry – Baise Moi. The film is a French Thelma & Louise: NC-17 style.
When two women are raped, their hatred for men puts them on a road trip
of violence where their reign of terror back to the male species is
explored in graphic fasion. One poor sap even gets a gun shoved up his
ass before discharge! The rape scene appears early in the film and
includes actual penetration (thus the NC-17 rating). Whether it was
necessary to show the rapes as graphic and as detailed or not is
arguable. What it does do however, is it sets the viewer up for a rough
and unnerving 77 minutes of explicit sex and violence.
2. Clit Cut-Off – AntiChrist (2009)
It showed at Cannes. It showed at the Toronto International Film
Festival. And in both cuts, there was a scene of self mutilation that
cleared out a few paying customers who were not ready to handle what
they were viewing on screen.
Now, to be fair, there are two scenes of torture to genitalia in
AntiChrist. The first one has poor Willem Dafoe getting his erect penis
smashed by a log only to be jerked off to a bloody orgasm.
But that event can’t hold a candle to the scene where Charolette
Gainsborough takes a pair of scissors to her own private part and cuts
off her clitoris. Ouch!
Even if you closed your eyes, the snipping sound will send shivers up
your spine. And those of us that were brave enough to endure the visual
onslaught watched as the blood began to ooze and the audience began to
become restless in their seats.
AnitChist may never be considered a classic. But it will be renowned
for this graphic moment. One which muted my sex life for weeks after the
1. Shit Eating Scene – Salo (1975)
To say that our pick for the number one most disgusting and
disturbing scene was easy might come as a surprise. That is, unless you
have seen the Italian film Salo (or 120 Days of Sodom).
This film really has no redeeming qualities and is just filled with
WTF moments of torture, sex, violence and moments of pure grossness.
Actors are peed on. Teenagers are forced to have sex with each other.
Actors take shits on camera and in one unbelievable scene, one young man
is jerked off while his master is enjoying watching another young boy’s
tongue be cut off.
This film is the pinnacle of violence, sex and torture and it was
hard to pick just one scene as the entire movie made us feel
However, it was the scene where plates of shit are given to the
dinner table that got us up from our chair during our viewing to catch a
breath. It was as disgusting as it gets. As we watched the actors smile
with shit stuck to their teeth, we were assured that we were viewing one
of the most disgusting moments ever captured on film.
We can revisit this topic 20 years from now and this film will still
rank as #1. If you haven’t seen it and are somehow coaxed into finding a
copy - be warned.
But if you are adventurous, seek it out and just make sure that you
are alone and without company. That way, no one can judge you for your