Most of us have been using the vivid expression “makes me want to barf” for years. The pronouncement is funny overall, but it’s also quite versatile. Ultimately, “makes me want to barf” can have several different meanings.
Obviously, a film that includes a domino effect of people actually vomiting might make you want to barf. Or maybe a scene that’s too graphic and bloody could make people queasy. Then, there are other more complicated reasons to barf, like, if you hated the film beyond all comparison. A film that doesn’t make any sense or is too far-fetched can make you want to barf. A movie that is sappy is also nauseating.
In this list, we’ve tried to give at least one good example of every type of barf-worthy film. We have chosen everything from throwbacks to recent works. Some movies triggered phobias or real health concerns that actually sent people to the hospital. Other films just made people laugh themselves sick. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the list, but if it makes you want to barf, please let us know.
15 Stand By Me
We’ll clue you in, right now, that this isn’t the only Stephen King brainchild to make it on our list. What’s the deal with King anyway? Have you ever noticed how all this guy does is take the things we love and destroy them? You love clowns? He wrote It. You love cars? He wrote Maximum Overdrive. You love your pet? He wrote Pet Sematary. It’s a ridiculously simple formula if you think about it, and it has made the dude a bajillion dollars. He even took nostalgic memories of growing up and flipped it with Stand By Me. There were a couple parts in this film that made us barf. Remember the leeches scene? That was pretty disgusting. Dudes came out of the water with the slimy little buggers all over. Then there was the barfing scene, which wasn’t on the journey, but was told in a gratuitous flashback. The pie eating contest gone wrong. This was one of the first blatant gallons-of-barf scene in a mainstream film that we can think of.
14 The Shining
Here we have a classic lead-you-into-a-trap scenario. The Shining is one of the best horror films ever made. It has the predictable character arcs and the gore, but not too much of either to turn most audiences away. And there is one scene in particular that was vomit-inducing. We’re talking about the full frontal nudity scene. Just as Jack Nicholson reacted, most boys saw that beautiful young woman in the tub and got very excited. She slowly walks towards Jack, gives him a big smooch, and it’s on. Yes! But wait, it’s a trap. Jack looks in the mirror and is repulsed to discover that the woman is actually a disgusting elderly goblin. Jack nearly barfs right there, and the audience is right with him. This lead-you-into-a-trap trick has been redone many times, most famously in The Crying Game. Instead of a goblin, the movie plays to the homophobia of the early 1990’s and reveals that the beautiful woman is actually a dude.
13 Saving Private Ryan
Whether you like the WWII genre or not, Steven Spielberg changed the game with this epic war movie. The most famous scene was near the beginning. You see Tom Hanks shaking like a leaf trying to open his canteen, then you realize why. Dude is about to be dropped off on the beaches of Normandy, where the Germans are there and waiting to kill everybody. Then, the soldiers rush onto the shore, and some of them don’t even make it off the boat. Guys are blown away left and right. One man even walks around in hysterics while holding his guts in his hands. The film was too real for many veterans, and the number of PTSD reports spiked. The Department of Veterans Affairs fielded 170 calls in the first two weeks of the film’s 1998 release. Meanwhile, civilians were trying not to barf too, either from the sickening battlefield carnage or the maddening irony of the jerk who shot Hanks in the end.
These guys are total idiots, okay? There is nothing appealing about these dudes. If you are over the age of twelve, then Minions has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. They are bumbling idiots and dumb enough to make us want to barf. What also sucks is that they’re violent and rude. They try to kill things, and then they sit around and fart. So from a parent’s standpoint, they're even worse. But, get used to these idiots because they’re not going anywhere. The sequel is due out on July 2, 2020. Why does everybody love these guys? Well, for one thing, their weird made-up language appeals to kids who speak any language on earth. The franchise was built for international appeal and consumption. Minions grossed $5 billion across the globe, the highest-grossing film of any animation not under the Disney umbrella. Even Disney is a fan, having played the NBC-owned Despicable franchise of movies several times on ABC and the Disney Channel.
11 127 hours
First off, who can stand that much of smarmy James Franco? Dude is constantly in this film and makes us want to barf already. Then you have the fact that he’s painfully grunting all the time. Plus the whole cutting off your arm idea isn’t very pleasant either. People don’t enjoy cutting off their limbs. That’s pretty obvious, right? The real hiker guy was brave and all, but did we really need to watch a film about this? According to news reports, 15 people fainted at the screening. Danny Boyle, the director, did way better with Slumdog Millionaire. That film had many different characters and many more sets. The film even crossed the span of decades and followed characters as they grew up. There was a barf-worthy scene in that film too, though. Remember when the kid was locked inside the outhouse and was forced to escape through the toilet and sewage below? That was pretty disgusting. And Boyle toilet-dived in Trainspotting as well.
10 Something About Mary
Maybe this one had more barf appeal for guys then girls, since much of the humor was placed on the head of Ben Stiller. This was Stiller in his prime, and the movie had two, if not three, cringe-worthy and barf-inducing scenes. How about at the very beginning when dorky young Ben scores a date to the prom with a smoking hot Cameron Diaz. The only problem is that he ends up zipping his own ball sack into his fly right before the big date. They even showed the skin protruding through the tiny metal tines. Then, there was a brief scene where poor Benny gets a giant fish hook stuck in his mouth. This film was the dawn of the gross-out comedy, paving the way for the Judd Apatow school of humor. Let’s not forget to mention the worst, most disgusting scene of all. We got to watch Stiller pleasure himself to a bra ad in a JCPenny flyer. Then Cam finds it and puts it in her hair. What’s grosser? Rumor has it that the yank scene was unsimulated. Ugh!
9 The Walk
Here’s a film that will make you barf, especially if you have acrophobia, a very widespread phenomenon, otherwise known as the fear of heights. Most kids don’t have these kinds of fears, then as you get older, they seem to get worse and worse. It’s like you get wiser and can suddenly imagine the worst case scenarios clearer than ever before. In The Walk, Joseph Gordon-Levitt played the real-life French acrobat, Philippe Petit, who walked a cable between the Twin Towers, when they were being constructed back in 1974. The dude didn’t even have permission for the stunt and ended up getting arrested, after the police applauded him for completing the un-netted marvel. News reported that several people were barfing at the New York Film Festival screening and that the men’s rooms at the Boston Jewish Film Festival were also full. Robert Zemeckis, the director, seemed proud of the reaction and said his whole intention was to make viewers feel the vertigo of the stunt.
8 The Blair Witch Project
Blair Witch was a groundbreaking film when it came out in 1999. It had a super low budget, the fake-documentary angle was fresh, and it redefined the subject of a horror story. But the thing people remember most is the hand-held camera. The film ushered in the single-camera technique. This method was soon adopted in critically-acclaimed TV dramas like Friday Night Lights and award-winning comedies, like The Office. The problem with Blair Witch was that it was WAY too shaky with the camera in hand. Some of the shots were so wild that it left the audience feeling dizzy. A news story out of Atlanta reported that people got sick left and right at the film. People were barfing everywhere, in the bathroom, lobby, and in theater seats. Theaters would post signs warning people about the effects of the crazy camera work. Of course, back then, there wasn’t a selfie mode and apparently a tremendous shortage of Kleenexes.
7 Howard The Duck
This film is barf-worthy through and through. It was a bit of a hit because the special effects of the walking and talking duck were done very well for the eighties. But other than that, the film is disgusting. We are mainly referring to the love scene between Howard and a smoking hot Lea Thompson. Lea is in the prime of her life, and she’s wearing a skimpy little satin top and panties. She crawls into bed with her bum up high in the air, and Howard starts to flirt. Meanwhile, Lea complains that she can’t find the right man in her life. Howard suggests that she should try the animal kingdom instead. He hops into bed beside her, she calls his bluff, and comes on to him. Howard gets nervous and she tries to make him relax. She starts taking off her clothes and rubs the ducks “so soft” chest. Are you barfing yet? This is so gross. Bestiality, bad writing, and bad acting all at once.
Alien shocked people when it came out way back in 1979. Sure, there were tons of horror films getting released back then, but none of them had such an intimate pure fear like an alien growing inside your body and then bursting out of your chest with such realistic effects. The film made everybody get sick and have nightmares for months. But the franchise wasn’t done there. Next came Aliens, then Alien 3, Alien Resurrection, Prometheus, and Alien: Covenant. Prometheus was the most shocking since the initial film. There’s a Caesarian alien abortion scene that made numerous people so disgusted. A boy in Australia even had a seizure and had to be sent immediately to the ER. Many fans wanted the director, Ridley Scott, to remove the overly-graphic scene, but he refused.
Man, does James Cameron ever quit? First, the director debuts and has a huge hit with Terminator. Then, he made the concept a hundred times clearer with Terminator 2. Next thing you know, he crushes all expectation with Titanic. The film won everybody over and won tons of Oscars. That’s it, right? The guy’s done? Not even close. He releases Avatar and shatters the records again. Too bad that this time, he made the special effects so real that a guy in Taiwan reportedly died. The special effects were fast and there was a ton of flying going on. Many fans felt nauseous but nothing as bad as this poor guy. A Taiwanese man named Kuo had a history of high blood pressure. He went to the ER directly after the film and died later that day. A medic on the scene said, “It’s likely that the over-excitement from watching the movie triggered his symptoms.” There are three more Avatar movies due out soon starting this December, so be careful, folks.
4 Big Stone Gap
You may not have heard of this film, which is a good thing. It was awful and disgustingly sappy. This entry goes out to all of those sappy films, with a far-fetched romantic angle, poor acting, and terrible writing. The entire film industry barfed when they watched this movie because it was so bad. Many dudes were on a date and tried watching the film, but were sickened, so they decided to take a nap. There were no news reports of vomiting, but the film sucked so much that people were too embarrassed that they attended the film to report any negative effects from it. This entry pertains to most Ashley Judd rom-coms. Ninety-percent of all Jennifer Lopez films are also worth mentioning. Her films are also vomit-inducing. Why is she such a hot hardcore dancer and R&B/hiphop musician, but then her films are such sappy far-fetched crap that they make us want to blow chunks? Indeed, it’s a strange multi-sided career that JLo has.
3 Reservoir Dogs
If you suffer from a fear called haphephobia, then you are afraid of being touched. This happens unfortunately after many assault cases, but there are also natural and milder forms of it. Certain body parts are extra sensitive. Many people don’t like their hair or face being touched, and other people are crazy about their ears. The latter audience would certainly not like the torture scene in Reservoir Dogs. And even if you don’t have any ear sensitivity, torture is a topic that makes most people nauseous. Wes Craven, the legendary director of scary films like Nightmare on Elm Street, couldn’t even handle the torture scene in this film. He felt very uncomfortable and walked out of the theater. Quentin Tarantino, the Dogs director, followed him into the lobby and cheered, “I just scared Wes Craven!” Tarantino makes moviegoers sick often. In Pulp Fiction, many people reported vomiting and fainting after the overdose scene, when Uma Thurman is brought back to life after an adrenaline shot to the heart.
2 The Exorcist
Barf makes people barf. It’s that simple. Like we mentioned earlier in the Stand By Me entry, if you see people barf, it’s hard to control yourself. Some people get really into movies, they think that they’re actually there in the scene, so seeing something disgusting inspires more disgust. This “being there” feeling was even stronger years ago, before people watched films on their 70-inch flat screens in the comfort of their homes, or on the 3-inch screens of their iPhones, anytime and anywhere. Back when the Exorcist was released in 1973, people were freaked out more easily. And they lost their sh*t with this legendary flick. Audiences literally ran out of the theaters. People were barfing, having seizures, and just freaking out. It was so bad that after it premiered in New York City, the London Premiere took a safety precaution. They lined up a queue of ambulances outside of the movie theater just in case they needed them.
Previously, we brought up a no-brainer for a barf list, called The Exorcist. We stated how that film was such a big deal because it was the early 1970’s and people weren’t as desensitized to horror films as they are now. Well, take that angle and amplify it because Freaks came out in 1932. While the rest of the world was watching Greta Garbo and Clark Gable romances, Tod Browning directed a horror film that featured real-life circus performers. The Siamese twins and other acts were so horrifying to the sensitivities of the time that one woman even sued MGM. She claimed that she was so disgusted by the film that she miscarried. She must have been seriously affected too. Remember, this was way back, long before people sued for stupid no-duh reasons, like spilling hot coffee on themselves. In reaction to the suit, MGM chopped the heck out of Freaks, shortening it to a mere hour. That was also the abrupt end of Browning’s promising career, which surely made him want to barf.
Sources: TheGuardian, HuffPo, Ranker, CBSNews, Wikipedia