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The five most disturbing films in recent memory

As in the most NSFW, soul-sucking, eyeball-scratching, nasty, perverted films of the last ten years

If you’ve already worked your way through the mass sexual torture in Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), the Roman fellatio in Caligula (1979), and the people-eating horror Cannibal Holocaust (1980), then first off – what the hell is wrong with you? Second, congratulations for surviving the 70s. So tell me, why are you looking for more disturbing films to torture yourself with? To curb the nausea, I recommend the new, family-friendly Pixar movie, The Good Dinosaur. You can’t go wrong – the animation is life-like! However, if you still feel the need to dirty your soul or sand down the brimming edges of your purity then try sitting through these five picks.


SKIP IT IFYou’re planning on taking hols in a heavily wooded area.

This is arguably one of Lars Von Trier’s better films, if not his best. You may have seen his most recent outing, Nymphomaniac, but this is that minus the hot sex. There is still coitus in this one, albeit of the incredibly disturbing kind. While the couple are getting it on, their kid falls out of a window and dies. Womp womp. To aid in the wife’s grieving at the loss of their son, the husband (Willem Dafoe) takes her to ‘Eden’ – a secluded cabin in the woods – to help her recover from depression. The film includes genital mutilation, so when your own babymaker ‘nopes’ right back into your body don’t blame me, sicko.


SKIP IT IF: You want to remain a happy, high-functioning member of society.

Undoubtedly the most disturbing entry on this sordid list, this film is shocking for the sake of being shocking. A retired porn star agrees to making an ‘art film’. OK, right about there is where you know this is going to be fucked up on all levels. As is wont to happen in these situations, he unwittingly agrees to a snuff film which includes child rape and necrophiliac scenes. Not convinced it’s worth adding to your Netflix queue? I’m going to leave this comment from a thread in IMDb here to help you make up your mind: “Seriously, DO NOT watch A Serbian Film. If you’re thinking ‘hur hur weak-ass nerds and ‘controversial’ movies hurhurhur i can do it,’ YOU ARE MOST LIKELY WRONG. Faces of Death is like Sesame Street. Martyrs is Barney. Human Centipede 2? You may as well be watching Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. Nothing can ever prepare you for A Serbian Film.”


SKIP IT IFFeeding James Franco’s massive ego is not on your agenda.

“You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!” This film is like that famous Jack Nicholson quote from A Few Good Men, but replace ‘truth’ with ‘necrophilia’. When multi-hyphenate DIY-director James Franco puts his mind to something, he doesn’t shy away from the ugly bits. So when Franco chose Cormac McCarthy’s novel Child of God as his next pet project to ferry to the big screen, Franco refused to water down the more unsavoury aspects. It’s about Lester Ballard, a serial killer who becomes a reclusive necrophile.


SKIP IT IFYou’re house-sitting.

Belgian export The Treatment is disturbing in very real ways, in that the events which unspool during its run time could likely happen. That is what makes The Treatment such a decent thriller, and one of the most watchable on this list. When a family is discovered imprisoned – bound, beaten and dehydrated in their own home – the detective on the job struggles to untangle the crime when it so closely mirrors his own past. The ending is redemptive, but there is some seriously wacky stuff here and the twist is unreal.


SKIP IT IF: Watching an arm get trapped in a door and sliced with a machete, then put back together with duct tape, doesn’t get you hot.

When a punk band witnesses a murder at an out-of-the-way, neo-Nazi run music venue, they get locked in the green room while it’s decided what should become of them. Instead of waiting to be chopped up into bits and fed to the Nazi dogs (literally), the captives wisely decide to make a break for it and get their slaughter on. This revenge tale is not easy to stomach, but its gory intensity is a shot of adrenaline from start to finish. It’s a seriously entertaining follow-up to Jeremy Saulnier’s Blue Ruin and only slightly OTT with the blood-letting.