Warning: The following contains spoilers for some awesome and classic movies. Oh yeah, there is also a lot of slicing, cutting and breaking of body parts.
The screams echo in the night. The Butcher’s knife covered in blood. Fingers, arms, noses and ears cut, diced and sliced. Blood sprays on the walls, the floors and even reaches the ceiling. All hope is lost. No, we’re not talking about an episode of The Bachelor. Body mutilation in film first became popular through the horror genre. Disturbing body mutilation can be found in many horror films, such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Scream and Saw. However, it’s no longer only in horror movies where one can see the slicing of an entire limb or the decapitation of a head. The mutilation has spread to other genres. It’s often disturbing, painful and very hard to watch. It’s done sometimes for shock value but other times filmmakers include body mutilation for realism. With the help of special effects, body mutilation in film can look and sound very accurate. The mutilation will sometimes go to the extreme and other times, it’s so simple but the results are the same. The key is to make the viewer feel the pain. It makes us cringe and want to turn away; but we can’t, or if we do, it’s only for a second. Here is a look at 12 of the most disturbing body mutilation scenes in movies.
12) Cabin Fever – September 12, 2003
Cabin Fever is cult classic horror film by Eli Roth. It was his first film and his breakthrough. The film revolves around five friends who are infected by a deadly virus while at a remote cabin. The film initially received mixed to positive reviews from critics. The film is known for its gore and disturbing scenes. Sometimes it’s a deranged criminal or a psychopath that’s doing all the cutting, dicing and slicing, but this time it’s a virus. The character Marcy (Cerina Vincent), decides to take a shower and shave her legs. She is unaware that the virus is rapidly spreading through her. As she shaves her legs, her skin gruesomely and graphically peels off.
11) Casino – November 22, 1995
Casino is a gangster crime film directed by Martin Scorsese. The story revolves around Sam “Ace” Rothstein who runs the Tangiers Casino for the Midwest mob. It starred Robert De Niro as Rothstein, Joe Pesci as the out of control enforcer and Sharon Stone as Ginger Rothstein. The film has received wide spread critical acclaim and is often cited as one of the best gangster films. The film was notable for its course language and excessive violence. In one of the most brutal scenes in the movie, Nicky places a guy’s head in a vice to get the information he wants. The scene is based on a real life moment in which the real Nicky placed a man’s head in a vice and his eye popped out. In this scene, the eye popping out is implied and the actor’s reaction shows disgust.
10) Fargo – March 8, 1996
Fargo is considered by many fans as one of the greatest movies by the Coen Brothers. The plot revolves around a car salesman, Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy), who hires two criminals to kidnap his wife. Frances McDormand plays Marge Gunderson, a pregnant Minnesota police officer investigating the disappearance. The film is universally critically and commercially acclaimed. It’s been praised for its directing, acting and dark humor. In this case, the disturbing body mutilation scene is actually not shown. Instead, what the viewers see is the aftermath and disposing of the body. One of the criminals, Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare), is shown shoving the dismembered leg of the victim into a wood chipper with the blood spraying out the other end. It’s a gruesome sight that is disturbing and memorable.
9) The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – December 20, 2011
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a mystery thriller directed by David Fincher. It is based on the novel of the same name. The plot follows a journalist, Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), who is investigating the disappearance of a young woman years earlier. He is aided with the help of a computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). It was very well received by critics and was widely considered one of the best films of 2011. Lisbeth Salander has been deemed mentally incompetent by the state and is appointed a guardian who has control of her money. The guardian sexually assaults Salander but he is unaware that a camera in her purse is recording everything. She returns later and knocks him unconscious. When he wakes he is nude and tied up. She tattoos the words, “I’m a rapist pig” on his stomach. She warns him that she will be checking in periodically to make sure he isn’t harming anyone else. She also blackmails him into giving her control of her money and deems her competent. This body mutilation isn’t a finger being sliced off or needles in the eyes, but it certainly leaves a mark.
8) Drive – September 16, 2011
Drive is a neo-noir action film based on the novel of the same name. The plot revolves around an unnamed driver (Ryan Gosling) who is a Hollywood stunt performer and at night works as a getaway driver for criminals. The film is universally critically acclaimed. It received a standing ovation at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. In one scene, the Driver bashes in a criminal’s hand with a hammer. The Driver begins to spend a lot of time with his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son. Her husband is released from prison but owes protection money to some thugs. The Driver helps him rob a pawnshop but chaos erupts and the husband dies. The Driver ends up with millions of dollars that belong to local gangster Nino (Ron Perlman). The Driver agrees to return the money as long as Irene and her son are safe. Instead, Nino sends a hit man to take care of the problem. In a brutally violent scene, the hit man, Irene and the Driver are in the elevator. The Driver gives a hot and passionate kiss to Irene before he beats the life out of the hit man. The Driver brutally stomps the head of the hit man until it implodes.
7) Kill Bill Volume 1 – October 10, 2003
Kill Bill Volume 1 is a Martial Arts film and the first film in the two part series. Quentin Tarantino directed the film and it starred Uma Thurman as The Bride. The plot revolves around The Bride seeking revenge on Bill and his associates for trying to kill her and her unborn child. The film was a major critical and commercial success. The film is known for its nonliner storyline and graphic violence. There are many scenes of tongues being ripped out, heads bashed in with doors and eyeballs torn out of their socket. In the lead up to the final climatic fight, The Bride tracks down O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) and her henchmen. The Bride captures O-Ren’s second in command, Sofie Fatale (Julie Dreyfus). The Bride slices off the left arm of Sofie with blood spaying everywhere. The body mutilation is graphic and disturbing, yet is one of the most memorable scenes in the film.
6) The Audition – October 6, 1999
The Audition is a cult classic Japanese horror film. Takashi Miike directed the film. The plot revolves around widower Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Isibashi). It’s been seven years since his wife’s death and his son encourages him to meet someone new. His friends set up a fake audition for young actresses to find his new companion. Aoyama falls madly in love with Asami Yamasaki (Eihi Shiina) but he is unaware that she is responsible for the disappearance of other men. The whole film itself is full of graphic content and disturbing scenes. In one of the most graphic body mutilation scenes, Asami becomes angry when she finds a picture of Aoyama’s deceased wife. She drugs him and ties him up. While giggling, she slowly inserts needles into his eyes. If that wasn’t enough brutality, she then cuts his leg off with a piano wire. It’s one of the most painfully gruesome and disturbing body mutilation scenes.
5) Misery – November 30, 1990
Misery is a psychological thriller starring Kathy Bates and James Caan. It’s based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. The plot revolves around a novelist who is in a horrible accident. He is taken care of by a crazed fan that turns out to be a psychopath. Rob Reiner directed the film. The film is universally critically and commercially acclaimed. Kathy Bates received praise for performance including winning the Academy Award for Best Actress. It features a very hard to watch scene. It’s not as graphic as some of the others, like pins in the eye or something like that. However, it’s a mutilation that is so realistic and painful. Paul (James Caan) is held captive at a remote cabin and plans to escape. However, Annie (Kathy Bates) drugs him and when he wakes in the morning he is tied to the bed. In order to make sure he never tries to leave, she brutally breaks both of his ankles. The film is considered one of the scariest movies.
4) Hostel – January 6, 2006
Hostel is a horror film that follows two college students who are kidnapped and tortured by wealthy businessmen. Eli Roth wrote, produced and directed the film. The entire film features brutal and disturbing scenes of body mutilation and torture. To pick one was extremely difficult, but one particular scene jumps out, which is kind of ironic since the victim in the scene probably will never jump again. After being kidnapped, Josh (Derek Richardson) is tied to a chair in a dungeon. He meets a Dutch Businessman who had dreams of being a surgeon but failed. He tortures Josh and slices off his Achilles tendon. If you screamed out in pain when reading that, it’s okay. It’s brutal, especially when Josh attempts to stand and we get a clear shot of what happened.
3) Oldboy – November 21, 2003
Oldboy is a South Korean neo-noir thriller that revolves around Oh Dae-Su (Choi Min-Sik), who is imprisoned without explanation in a hotel for 15 years. When he is released, he uncovers the motives and horrible truth. It’s the second installment in the Vengeance trilogy. Park-Chan Wook directed the film. It’s universally critically acclaimed and is widely considered one of the best Asian movies. The film contains several disturbing scenes but two in particular involved body mutilation. Oh Dae-Su tracks down the owner of the hotel. He slowly and painfully pulls out the owner’s teeth, one by one. He pulls out 15, one for each year he was locked up. In the climax of the film, the antagonist reveals that Oh Dae-Su unknowingly fell in love and slept with Oh Dae-Su’s now adult daughter. He did this to gain revenge on Oh Dae-Su, who during their school days, had inadvertently spread a rumor about the antagonist’s sister, which lead to her suicide. Oh Dae-Su believed a different woman to be his daughter. Oh Dae-Su crawls around like a dog and then cuts out his own tongue in order to keep the antagonist from revealing the truth.
2) 127 Hours – January 28, 2011
127 Hours is a biographical drama based on the memoir, Between A Rock and A Hard Place by Aron Ralston. It stars James Franco as Aron Ralston and was directed by Danny Boyle. The film was a critical and commercial success. It tells the real life story of Aron Ralston, who goes canyoneering at Blue Johns Canyon. A boulder traps his right arm and he is unable to remove the boulder. He is trapped for nearly a week and becomes dangerously dehydrated. He has hallucinations and reflects on his life. Realizing that he will die trapped there, he amputates his right arm with a dull multi-tool. This isn’t a scene that Danny Boyle dreamt up and thought would be good in the film. This painful and disturbing scene really happened and according to Aron Ralston, is very accurate. Aron Raltson went on to have a career, a family and continued his mountain climbing hobbies.
1) Reservoir Dogs – October 23, 1992
Reservoir Dogs is a cult classic independent crime film. The film centers on a diamond robbery gone wrong and focuses on the events before and after. The actual diamond heist is not shown. It’s notable as being the first film by Quentin Tarantino. It’s widely regarded as one of the most influential independent films. It starred Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney, Chris Penn, Tim Roth and Tarantino in a minor role. The film contains one of the most disturbing and famous body mutilation scenes. The scene features a deranged Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen), torturing a police officer he took hostage. He slashes the cop’s face and then brutally slices his ear off; all the while the song “Stuck In The Middle With You” plays. When the film played in theaters, it was common for people to walk out during that scene. Reportedly at one showing, iconic horror director Wes Craven walked out. Madsen also noted that it was difficult for him to shoot the iconic scene.
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