Here’s a look at 10 of the most gruesome movie scenes in film history.
Movies can draw audiences in and transport them to another world. But, with some films, the presented scenes can be too much for viewers to handle. Whether through shock, horror, or sheer terror, certain movie scenes stand out from all the others as being particularly gruesome.
Warning: This post contains gruesome images. Definitely not appropriate for children, not even with parental guidance. Maybe, even some parents aren’t supposed to see this.
If you are still reading this, don’t blame me. I warned you.
1. Cannibal Ferox
Director: Umberto Lenzi
About the Movie: The movie is also known as Make Them Die Slowly. Siblings Rudy and Gloria, with their friend Pat, went into the rainforest to prove that cannibal ethnic groups don’t exist anymore. There, they encountered two cocaine-high men that lured them into drugs and sex. They eventually went into a drug rage and killed each other. They killed some locals in the area where they were staying in. The surviving ones encountered the cannibalistic group, who learned what they had done and made them suffer for it.
The Gruesome Scene: The brutal death scene of the female character Pat (Zora Kerova). She was hanged using iron hooks through her breasts. Ropes suspended the hooks.
Director: David Cronenberg
About the Movie: Scanners are people with powerful telepathic and telekinetic abilities. Vale was a homeless guy who had this power. A weaponry and security systems company wanted to take him in and exploit him. Okay, so the dude can make you do as he wishes. He can make a car explode just for the heck of it. He can make your heart stop beating whenever he feels like it. Exploiting him was not a good idea.
The Gruesome Scene: Sure there are many more gruesome death scenes than this, but the graphic way one of the “evil” scanners made one man’s head explode is now a classic. It still wants to make me puke to this day.
3. Salo or The 120 Days of Sodom
Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
About the Movie: The movie is so gruesome and brutal that it is still banned in many countries today because it involves rape, torture, and murder of young people, and when I say young, I mean immature. The director claims that it is a direct criticism of Fascism.
Salo was rejected in England, and the BBFC advised that they were discouraging the release of it. When it was shown, police raided the theater. There are some countries now that allows it to be available on DVD. However, some countries like Australia allowed its distribution, then banned it again, then let it again. Undercover cops are being sent out to track down who sells the DVDs. Yes, it’s that controversial.
I don’t need to tell you the gruesome parts of the film. You have to watch it if it is causing this much controversy more than three decades after its release.
Suppose you find a copy of this; congratulations. You are one of the lucky ones.
Director: Martin Scorsese
About the Movie: Even Scorsese was surprised this got through. The idea started when the screenplay writer Nicholas Pileggi was about a domestic fight between a casino figure and his wife, a former topless dancer. He contacted Scorsese, who encouraged him to write a book and then come out with the movie.
The Gruesome Scene: This is now known as the “head in a vise” scene. Mobsters brothers were forcing McCarthy to give up the identity of the man who helped him kill the Salvos (another Mobster brother). They beat him then, stabbed him with an icepick, then shoved his head in a vise to crunch it five inches wide. He still was not talking (I’m amazed he is still alive), so they tightened the vise so that one of his eyes popped out. The Mobsters brothers decided to kill him by burning him.
5. The Last House on the Left
Director: Wes Craven
About the Movie: To this day, the film still has censorship problems. In the UK, it was banned, allowed then banned again. This only helped in the build-up of its reputation among cult movie followers. It was given a one-off permit, but BBFC found it too much, so it appealed to have it banned again. Today, the video is available, but many of the scenes were cut. The original DVD will provide you with a website where you can view cut scenes.
The Gruesome Scene: The lesbian rape scene, the photographic still of Mari in her room, and the rape scene of Marie by Sadie. Unfortunately, these scenes are hard to find.
6. Portrait of Serial Killer
Director: John McNaughton
About the Movie: The movie is loosely based on the life of a real-life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas. He confessed to 600 murders while he was in prison and then recanted most of them later. Police could prove that Henry didn’t commit the crimes because the physical evidence didn’t match his stories. Certain things are true, though: that he killed his mother, that he got a homosexual killing partner, and that he became the lover of a 12-year-old girl (niece of his homosexual partner), which he later on killed.
The Gruesome Scene: The most graphic scene is when Henry mercilessly smashes a TV over the head of a salesman repeatedly.
7. Death Wish
Director: Michael Winner
About the Movie: The movie begins when a woman is overheard by two rapists/killers telling the store clerk that she wants everything she shopped for delivered to her house. The rapists/killers went to her apartment to rape and kill her and her daughter. The husband takes revenge.
The Gruesome Scene: This was just too painful to watch. I still can’t get the images out of my head: the gang rape, beating, and murder of the woman and her daughter. The daughter didn’t die; she ended up in a mental institution.
Director: Michael and Roberta Findlay
About the Movie: This requires a bit of explanation. A snuff film is the depiction of gruesome crimes without special effects. However, some snuff films were said to have been videos of killers doing their acts. In 1976, a snuff film was released, directed by Michael and Roberta Findlay. It was a low-budget film called Slaughter. It was about the killing spree of the Mason family. In the promotion, they alluded to having footage of the actual murder of one of the film crew.
The Gruesome Scene: Disembowelment of an actress by another actor after they had sex. This is after the closing credits.
9. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover
Director: Peter Greenaway
About the Movie: Believe it or not, this is a great film. It even won at the Toronto Film Festival. A gangster, Albert, took over the high-class Le Hollandais Restaurant with chef Richard. Spica’s wife, Georgina, accompanies him every night and develops an affair with a customer, Michael. Spica eventually learns of the affair Spice and tortures a boy who helps Georgina in carrying out the experience.
The Gruesome Scene: Spica tortured Michael by feeding him books and then killed him. Georgina learns of it and asks the chef to cook for Michael. Georgina then forces Spica to eat Michael and then kills him. Miramax was given a choice on whether to be given an X Rating or go Unrated. Miramax went unrated. It’s available on video.
10. American History X
Director: Tony Kaye
About the Movie: Derek is a neo-Nazi kid bent on killing every African American person in the community and launching a war against them. Ah, no. I don’t want to give a summary. You have to watch it because the film is one of the best I have ever seen.
The Gruesome Scene: Nothing, and I mean nothing, will ever come close to this infamous scene. An African-Amercian guy biting the curb meets Derek’s feet. Get it?
What is considered the most disturbing film?
The Shining (1980) is widely considered to be the most disturbing film ever made. Directed by Stanley Kubrick, the horror movie follows a family that is terrorized by a supernatural presence in an isolated hotel. The psychological elements of the film and its intense atmosphere create an overall feeling of dread and unease that makes it one of the most unsettling films ever created.
What are some of the most disturbing scenes in movies?
One of the most disturbing scenes in movies is the shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Another disturbing scene is the birth scene in Alien. The opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan, with its graphic depictions of war violence, is also very unsettling. Finally, the infamous “no, no, no” scene in The Shining is truly bone-chilling.