8 horror films that will make you feel dead inside
By Emily Kitchin
There exist those horror films which disgust even horror aficionados. Merely mentioning them has the power to deeply offend. They make you feel a little like a small yet important part of your soul has withered, blackened and died, like Dumbledore’s horcrux-cursed hand. You will never quite be the same again after watching them.
Why this desire to visually plumb the very depths of human depravity? It might be that the dark thrill of watching such pure evil is unrivalled. Some argue that it’s cathartic – to experience the highs and lows of such trauma without experiencing it yourself is a sort of feng-shui for the psyche, allowing you to release your deepest fears.
Or it may be that you’re a total sicko.
We have helpfully rounded up a list of our top films so that you never have to watch them (because we did it for you). Have one to add? Warn us about it in the comments!
For those who haven’t been informed, the delightful premise of this film is that a retired surgeon becomes obsessed with stitching three human beings together, end to end, to create a ‘Siamese triplet’ with one gastric system, so that food can pass through all three of them. The film is fairly standard in many ways – two young women get lost out in the woods and, looking for help, knock on the door of a total psycho, unwittingly walking right into a trap – but its out-there premise makes it stand apart (and has caused a ton of controversy). The acting from the victims is a bit dodgy, but the evil Dr Heiter (played by Dieter Laser) is portrayed with chilling, psychotic perfection – one of the most sinister baddies ever.
‘Dare you see Saw?’ pronounced the posters for the first film (a touch of genius). To briefly summarise the premise: those who are cruel to others, or fail to appreciate their lives, are kidnapped by a sadistic killer and forced into situations in which they must endure excruciating physical pain in order to save themselves before time runs out. Think: plunging your arm into a jar of acid to retrieve the key which will unlock an enormous contraption locked to your body, poised to spring apart and take your organs with it. Spoiler alert: the victims rarely make it and mostly die in these horrific circumstances. #1 is sheer brilliance – twisted, yes, but with a cracking plot and a shock twist ending. We highly recommend. SAWs #2 and #3 follow suit with grim scenes intercut with race-against-time plots which are genuinely thrilling to watch. Thereafter, the plot lines connecting the scenes become more and more outlandish, and increasingly feel like an exercise for the writers and directors to come up with the sickest, most perverse situations possible and commit them to film. For real gore-lovers they’re still enjoyable, but the first three have a better balance. Playing the ‘which Saw death scene is your favourite?’ game is always fun (ours is the pig vat from Saw 3).
Described as ‘torture porn’, these are horror films about… well, torture. We watched the first one a week before going on holiday to Latvia. To stay in a hostel. We recommend that you avoid doing this. In the first film, two backpacker dudes from America travel to Eastern Europe and, on the recommendation of a fellow traveller, stay at a remote hostel packed with exotic beauties. They swiftly find themselves caught up in a sinister situation which the product description on Amazon describes as being ‘as wide and as deep as the darkest, sickest recess of human nature itself.’ Spoiler alert: twisted sickos pay a lot of money to torture victims from different countries to death, with victims from the US and UK getting the highest price (is this because we’re the most annoying?). Ultra-violent and sadistic. The ‘eye’ scene in #2 will certainly stay with you for a long time after watching. Aye, aye…
I watched this a while ago so our memory is a bit shaky, but I seem to remember blood. Lots and lots and lots of blood. And crazed, crying French girls drenched in blood. Yes. A young woman must save her best friend from a blood-letting psychopath who, in the first few minutes of the film, brutally murders the protagonist’s family. This film has an epic twist at the end which has invited a lot of speculation and controversy, and hostility in places. All part of what makes it so intriguing. ‘Nerve-shredding?’ Definitely.
Described as ‘a truly demented little masterpiece’, this Australian horror flick is AWESOME. Troubled, handsome teen Brent turns down an invitation to prom night from Lola, a shy girl at school, because he’s already going with his girlfriend. He doesn’t realise that Lola is determined to make him her prom date no matter what… and that her daddy is going to help her. The depravity really, REALLY ramps up about halfway through and there are some truly brilliant shock moments. Prom night will never look the same again, and the song that Lola’s obsessed with – a creepy version of Kasey Chambers’ ‘Not Pretty Enough’ – will haunt your dreams. This might be our favourite film of the list.
Mutant murderous rednecks? Yes, please. This is the sequel to the 2006 remake of the original. A family of sadistic, deformed, cannibalistic hillbillies lives up in the mountains – when government troops visit the mountains to investigate some disappearances, they find themselves pitted against the monsters. In a further gross-out twist, we find out that the cannibals have been kidnapping normal women, and breeding with them, to continue their bloodline. Both #1 and #2 are a total gore-fest but the sequel gets a mention purely for the excellent scene wherein a mutant forces himself onto a soldier and she, erm, bites his tongue off.
Unlike the Saw and Hostel films, I’ve separated the Centipede films because they’re quite different. Watching the sequel made me feel that the first film, in comparison, may as well have been about happy gazelles prancing around in the field, with sparkling rainbows and sunbeams hanging in the air. #2 is set in the UK (Brit-flicks always seem creepier than their US counterparts) and is shot in grainy black and white designed to make you, the viewer, feel seedy and dirty just by watching. Martin is a disturbed loner who is obsessed with the film The Human Centipede (yes, a touch of self-referential meta action from director Tom Six), and is determined to recreate it… this time, with twelve people, each of whom he’s brutally abducted and shut in an abandoned warehouse. Alas, Martin lacks Dr Heiter’s medical skills, and must create the centipede using a staple gun, extreme violence and lots of gaffer tape. Another twist is that, unlike its predecessor, #2’s protagonist also finds the ‘centipede’… titillating. We’ll leave that to your imagination.
The daddy of torture porn, Martyrs is the only horror film that has truly made us feel that there is something deeply, deeply wrong with us in wanting to watch it. A film of two parts, everything you thought you understood was happening in the first half is suddenly turned on its head and becomes something EVEN MORE depraved in the second half. We won’t give any spoilers because we don’t want to, erm, ruin it. Personally, we give this the award for Most Utterly Depraved of the list.
Horror films so disgusting I cannot even bring myself to mention them: Serbian Film, Human Centipede 3