Let’s make something clear right away: this is not going to be a list that includes The Exorcist or Hostel or any of the other usual suspects found on these type of lists. These films are all relentless. When we say “utterly terrify you”, we mean movies that will ruin you, films that will rip your soul to shreds. This is not your Dad’s list of scariest movies; there will be no Jaws or Poltergeist.
Keep in mind, every movie we’ve named so far has been scary and had its merits as a horror movie. But we’re just going a tad bit more hardcore on you. Jaws, when compared to some of the films mentioned here, will seem like a family film. In this instance, these are movies you walk away from with bleeding eyes. These are movies you go to bed and wish you never saw because the scenes replay in your mind, over and over. This is horror as it should be: horrifying.
Be prepared; the movies on this list are the scariest and most disturbing movies ever made. With Halloween a little over a month away, it felt like the perfect time to start prepping people with some darker material. Again, to remind you, the following ten movies will scare, traumatize, and disturb you. And do not worry, all movies will be mentioned with no plot twists or major moments spoiled. We want you to see these movies and get scarred, not scared – scarred.
In a rare move, this is an Asian horror film that is influenced by American horror; it’s usually done the other way around. But in this case, you can tell Grotesque was influenced by the Hostel and Saw film series.
A couple ends up being abducted by a man who goes on to perform horrible acts to both of them in front of one another. It sounds simple in premise, but this movie delivers non-stop horror, making Saw look like a children’s cartoon. It’s brutal stuff and a great jump-off point for the rest of the entries.
9. Eden Lake
Don’t you hate when you take a vacation, only to get bullied or harassed by local punk kids? The problem is, they’re kids. What can you do?
THAT is the question Eden Lake dares to ask its viewers. What would YOU do in this situation? This is one of those films where the tension mounts palpably through the first half of the film, and then just spirals too fast to keep control of. Bleak, hopeless, and kind of amazing as far as horror films go. Check it out!
8. Ils (Them)
Remember that movie The Strangers some years back about a home invasion? Well, that movie ripped off this movie, and did so with less than stellar reuslts. Ils is about a couple taking a remote vacation, when they begin to get harassed.
It starts off slow and subtle enough, but then things just go from zero to one hundred; as you watch Ils, you realize just how scary and realistic a scenario it is. Be prepared for one of the greatest closing shots in all of horror history.
This is listed below Eden Lake for a reason, for the films share some wonderfully scary qualities.
7. Men Behind the Sun
Some say this film should top every one of these kinds of lists because this is stuff that really went on. Men Behind the Sun is a mockumentary (found footage) film that claims to show what the Japanese made the Chinese and Russians suffer through during WWII. From ripping skin off of arms that have been left exposed in the cold to doing autopsies on film (which many claim is actual autopsy footage), Men Behind the Sun will mess you up.
The movie shows you what humans can do to another under great duress. The horrors here may be recreated for the camera, but they are very much real. That can be hard to take.
6. Cannibal Holocaust
This movie is so infamous for its brutality, the director was brought in front of federal court to provethe actors in the film were still alive – THAT is how intense this film is. It recounts the tale of some explorers coming across a feral tribe in the woods and finding out the hard way that they’re cannibals. Cannibal Holocaust is a must see for any fans of ’70s exploitation horror.
So there is this Asian woman in this film who has a secret to keeping woman looking young. She serves them very special dumplings that they go out of their way and pay great money for. Starting out as a short film in the (awesome but shocking) movie Three Extremes, Dumplings will shock you, disgust you, and awe you.
As we’re sure you’ve already figured out, something really twisted goes into those dumplings, and once you find out, you will never look at the food the same way.
You are a pregnant woman home alone on Christmas Eve. Okay, good start. Here’s the kicker: here is another woman who is 100% sure you are alone and pregnant and wants in. That is the all but unspoken story of this remarkable piece of horror cinema. Let it be known, once it starts, it keeps going to panic attack-type levels. There is no reprise once you start this movie.
And make no mistakes. Inside will beat you down by the time it reaches that final, haunting shot – unforgettable French extreme cinema at its finest and most unsettling.
Now is when we begin to straddle that fine line. Martyrs is an utterly brilliant film and maybe one of the greatest horror movies (and conclusions) you will ever see in a movie. The problem is, getting to the ending is what most people have trouble with. A torture movie no doubt, but one with an incredibly spiritual message if you can make it to the end.
Marytrs is about a young girl who was kidnapped and abused as a kid. She escapes and vows revenge. Years later, she goes back with a friend to exact the revenge. Little do they know they are re-opening old wounds that will never heal again.
2. In My Skin
After a woman gets into an accident, she becomes morbidly interested in her body. What this means is, she begins to cut and slash at it. While cutting is indeed a “thing” in our culture, one has never seen self harm on-screen the way it is reflected during the movie In My Skin.
You think you have seen gore before on film (and you have), but In My Skin takes self abuse to new heights and never shies away from it, which can make it jarring on the audience.
The truth is, many cannot make it all the way through this film. Another French film famous for luring people in then scaring them off.
1. A Serbian Film
Just a quick final disclaimer: this movie is intense and upsetting beyond anything you have ever seen. We cannot recommend watching it for any other reasons than sad, bragging rights – just a warning.
Serbian Film is about an aging adult film star who gets given one last gig, and with his finances being in ruin, he decides he has to take it for the well-being of his family. Suffice it to say, it ends up being a much darker movie (snuff, anyone?) than was let on, and before the actor knows it, he is partaking in activities that would make most normal humans vomit up everything they ever ate.
We won’t go into detail, but if you want to pop something on that will scare you, screw you up, traumatize you, and make it so your soul feels assaulted – Serbian Film is that movie.