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6 Disturbing Horror Movies I Wish I'd Never Seen

Lana has a Masters in International Affairs and writes on topics related to politics, transpersonal psychology, and counterculture.

Gory movies have a way of fascinating the human psyche, but is it worth it?

Gory movies have a way of fascinating the human psyche, but is it worth it?

Have You Ever Seen a Movie Too Scary to Watch Again?

Once you’ve seen something truly unsettling, you’ll never forget it. These images have a way of traumatizing the psyche, and even destroying the innocence of which we possess so little.

So consider this a public service. This is my list of movie 'offenders' that I wish I'd never seen because they were either too graphic, too disgusting, too perverse, or just plain disturbing.

These films aren't necessarily bad; in fact, they are quite masterful in achieving the desired effect. So masterful, they made me wish I could travel back in time to never watch them in the first place. They are listed in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent ones.

"I Spit On Your Grave" (2010)

Who amongst us, aspiring novelists, hasn't dreamt of renting a quiet cottage in the country, away from civilization and all the familiar distractions, to immerse ourselves in writing?

This is how my latest cinematic regret, I Spit On Your Grave, begins. A female protagonist rents a cabin in the woods to write her novel, but that innocuous beginning does not prepare you for the rest of the film.

The 1978 original was named one of Time Magazine's Top 10 Ridiculously Violent Movies, yet it was still remade in 2010 and 2013. The film is nothing but relentless raping and torture, followed by even more torture, revenge-raping, and killing, as the heroine becomes her own avenger, repaying the men with the same kindness they've shown her.

That's it. There's nothing more to it. No hidden meaning, no metaphor, no character development, no subplot, no message. And despite the film's claim to a feminist agenda, I fail to see how it's supposed to empower women or be a deterrent to rape, for that matter. Yes, I can sympathize with a female character seeking revenge, especially since all the male characters are so repugnant and irredeemable. But I never thought that feminism was about hating men, and that is the only emotion the film inspires.

"The Human Centipede" (2009)

There's "Saw," there's "Chernobyl Diaries," and then there's "The Human Centipede". The crown jewel of crap, if you will. In fact, crap is very much a part of the story, although not graphically, thank god, and that is the only redeeming quality of the film.

"The Human Centipede" is not a horror flick strictly speaking; it's in a genre of its own. The genre I'd like to call "unspeakable garbage". Other people might call it "experimental cinema" or "a masterpiece of perverse originality." Yeah, yeah, let all the flowers bloom.

The plot of this unique film is simply too vile to speak of, but in case some of you haven't heard of it or seen it (I am infinitely envious of you), I'll explain it as delicately as I can. A sadistic doctor saws three people together, ass-to-mouth, so when they're on their knees, they form a perfect... centipede, functioning as one organism. Yeah. This is as gross as you think it is.

I've actually only watched the first half an hour or so, but that was all I needed. Just knowing that it's out there is disturbing enough.

"Hostel" (2005)

Looking for a bit of the old ultra-violence? Then Hostel is for you.

A true star in the constellation of fringe transgressive cinema, Hostel is disturbing on many levels. Some of the things that happen in this movie you will pray to forget for years to come.

Friends come to an Eastern European hostel that turns out to be a front for an elite sadistic enterprise. I have to say, there is something particularly grizzly about movies set in Eastern Europe. (A Serbian Film comes to mind, although I've never watched it, thank god.)

And I couldn't watch "Hostel" all the way through. I had to read the ending on Wikipedia. That's actually a testament to the fact that the movie was pretty entertaining and thrilling up to the point when people started losing their limbs and eyeballs. Stay away from it, unless your soul is as dark as this movie.

"Irreversible" (2002)

Worst date-night movie EVER.

There's nothing like a brutal 10-minute rape scene to turn you off a movie or even an entire French cinema.

What is it with the French and the vulgar realism? Is that considered artistic because it's shocking, disturbing, violent? Because it exposes the dark side of human nature? Yes, bravo on the unusual directing (Gaspar Noe) and the acting (Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel), thanks for all the swell metaphors and clever parallels, but in the end, I wish I'd never seen it.

The story is shown in reverse, leading up to a horrifying finale/beginning. I've read that some people fainted while watching its first screening at Cannes Film Festival. Others just call it "one of the most disturbing movies I have ever seen."

"A Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984)

Freddy Krueger will haunt your dreams...forever.

Freddy Krueger will haunt your dreams...forever.

This is an oldie, but a goodie.

You're never quite the same after seeing Freddy Krueger slice and dice people in their sleep, especially if you've first watched it at a tender age of... teen, and your parents were out of town.

"Whatever you do, don't fall asleep" was a famous line from the movie. Oh, OK then! I'll just toss and turn every night until I collapse into an exhausted terrified slumber.

This wasn't just another slasher flick. Nightmare got under your skin, it truly haunted your dreams.

Freddy Krueger's character is deeply disturbing because he's the composite image of the subconscious human fears, our frailties, and vulnerabilities. Not only that, the film is partially based on facts: Nightmare Death Syndrome is a real medical condition when healthy young men inexplicably die during sleep, from what appears to be a nightmare.

The 2010 remake didn't re-capture the original film's intensity, and modern teenagers probably associate Freddy Krueger with a silly Halloween costume.

"The Omen"(1976)


The Omen isn't particularly gory, but deeply disturbing nonetheless.

It was the first film that made me genuinely scared of small children. The boy was so creepy and so obviously evil, it was uncomfortable to watch, and I've had nightmares about little boys for years after that. You never know where that 666 mark is hiding!

You may think that the film is actually pretty tame by modern horror standards. In fact, I recently re-watched it with no adverse effects whatsoever.

Even so, there is something genuinely unsettling about it, and a string of bizarre tragic incidents associated with the filming of "The Omen" is a testament to that. There's even a British documentary about it - "The Curse of the Omen".


And this is by no means an exhaustive list...

What movie do you wish you could unsee?

© 2015 Lana Adler


Lana Adler (author) from California on June 15, 2016:

Incidentally I love "Clockwork Orange" and "Eraserhead" :) But no "Serbian Film," thank you.

Nantosuelta on June 15, 2016:

Sigh... all of them tried and tested...:( Join me on the next level with "Clockwork Orange" and "A Serbian Film". Even Eraserhead was more disturbing lol :D :D

Lana Adler (author) from California on August 12, 2015:

I absolutely agree with you Nadine! I am by no means a horror aficionado. These movies were total accidents, or a result of my misguided curiosity. You would be totally right not to waste your time on these, or on that genre in general. Thanks for stopping by! I didn't realize I had a comment because of the changes to the front page :)

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on August 07, 2015:

Well after reading your post I'm more and more convinced that these movies were made to made people fearful, hateful and disturbed, so they can be easily controlled. I've seen none of them (except the Omen many many years ago....I think) Today I will never go for horror of violent movies. I have far more interesting things to do than waste my time.

Lana Adler (author) from California on July 27, 2015:

Yeah, no, these sound pretty hardcore... I'm still recovering from The Omen lol :-)

SusieQ on July 27, 2015:

I'm haunted by They Came from Within, The Sentinel, and Phantasm...movies you guys probably never

Lana Adler (author) from California on May 07, 2015:

Thank you Suzanne! Some of these films definitely inspire misanthropy.

Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on May 06, 2015:

Yes, these movies are quite disturbing, I did enjoy watching "Hostel", "The Human Centipede" and "I Spit On Your Grave". Makes you hate people I think! I also think that "Into The Wild" is disturbing (though not a horror movie). Voted awesome!

Lana Adler (author) from California on May 03, 2015:

Thank you! I was beginning to think that the list was too tame for the modern desencitized viewer :) I'm curious about how you manage to refer to the Omen on a monthly basis - that's quite impressive! And I agree with you about the Exorcist - another film production that was laden with with accidents, tragedies and bizarre occurrences.

Jane Wilson from Geogia on April 30, 2015:

Enjoyed your list - Some I have never heard of, and won't be tempted to watch after your review. I saw The Omen back in the day, and it still haunts and resonates with me. I find reason to refer to it on a monthly basis - how many years later??? The exorcist was quite disturbing as well, and pretty true to modern day exorcist accounts (minus the split peas soup and head spinning).

Carlo Giovannetti from Puerto Rico on April 28, 2015:

Dead Alive was crazy indeed. Gory and icky, but with more of a tongue-in-cheek approach. Directed by none other than Peter Jackson, hehehe.

Lana Adler (author) from California on April 27, 2015:

I'd rather not :) if I learned anything from my movie-watching experience, it's that I don't have the stomach for gory movies. Give me a comedy any day of the week!

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on April 27, 2015:

Great list. If you every want to see another crazy gory movie, watch "Dead Alive".

Lana Adler (author) from California on April 26, 2015:

I think I've heard about that one. Rape and revenge, right? Sounds like "Irreversible," except in that one the revenge ultimately fails to punish the right person, which makes the movie even more harrowing and depressing.

Andrew Smith from Richmond, VA on April 26, 2015:

I absolutely loved "The Omen", and I grew up on Freddy Krueger. I'd have to say that "I Spit On Your Grave" would be my #1 choice for horror movies I'd prefer not to have seen.

Lana Adler (author) from California on April 26, 2015:

Thief12, I agree that the movies I talk about have some redeeming qualities and I'm not necessarily saying they're bad. Certainly for someone who appreciates horror or experimental cinema these are gems, not disasters.

I based this hub on my personal (limited) experience with the genre: which movies actually gave me nightmares or deeply disturbed me otherwise. Like with Irreversible, no amount of awesomely aesthetic directorial choices can make me NOT wish I'd never seen this film. I can't explain to you why it was horrible and certainly not worth watching in the final analysis, if you thought it was OK.

From what I've see of The Human Centipide, yes, I suppose it could be more revolting than it was, but that's not to say that it wasn't already 9 out of 10 gross. I just don't get the point of it, or the humor of it. The doctor was very believable as a sadistic sob, I'll give you that :) But I would never describe HC as either tame or good.

Thanks for a great comment!

Lana Adler (author) from California on April 26, 2015:

Mel, I just watched the Human CentiPad on YouTube. Hilarious! The movie wasn't, imho. I agree with you about the Exorcist - it was creepy too, and also another movie that had many strange accidents during filming. Why is it that this subject matter invites misfortunes, I wonder? I'm not the lover of the genre either, as you can see. Too impressionable :)

Carlo Giovannetti from Puerto Rico on April 26, 2015:

The only one I haven't seen from that list is Hostel, but I either loved or liked the others. The Omen is a classic and easily one of my favorite horror films. I also like the sequel: Damien, which is pretty good as well.

Nightmare on Elm Street feels cheesy nowadays, and it has a weak ending, but nobody can deny it's a classic. Lots of iconic scenes and images make the best of the bad performances and the weak script towards the end.

Irreversible I saw once; tough film to go through due to the graphic violence and the directors aesthetic choices (like the revolving camera during the first act), but I still thought it was a good film. Interesting to watch at least.

The Human Centipede was also an interesting watch. Given the premise, I was expecting a piece of crap. But in all honesty, I was surprised at how good AND tame it was, again, considering the subject. I thought it handled things as tastefully as it could for a film involving, well, a bunch of people sewn up mouth-to-anus. Also, the dude that played the mad doctor was great. The sequel is crap though. If you thought this one was bad, don't bother with that one.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on April 25, 2015:

I have to agree with you that the Omen is tame by today's standards but I can understand how you feel about it if you saw it as a child. When I was a kid The Exorcist was a ground breaking horror movie that was keeping children awake at night. The movies that creep me out the most are Vacancy and The Strangers. I really don't care much for the genre at all, but my wife never met a scary movie she didn't like, and sometimes I have to man up and watch them with her. You should see the South Park version of the Human Centipede. You might LOL. Great hub!

Lana Adler (author) from California on April 25, 2015:

Freddy, I'm not into torture porn either, the ones I mention here I sort of watched by accident, foolishly thinking I can just look away when there's something gory... Not so simple, because you can still hear and imagine everything that's happening on the screen!

Lana Adler (author) from California on April 25, 2015:

You probably have a much thicker skin than I do, Bill! But there still must be a movie you wish you didn't see :)

Lana Adler (author) from California on April 25, 2015:

I'm with you there, M.T.! Some people say that it's meant to be funny, dark comedy of a sort, and maybe it is...but I wasn't laughing. Yet I watched a few scenes to satisfy my morbid curiosity, especially since it was said that the movie was 100% medically accurate.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 25, 2015:

Well, I've seen all five, and I'm not sure what that says about me. LOL

Keith Abt from The Garden State on April 25, 2015:

I love "The Omen" (as far as 70s "Devil Movies" go, I've always preferred it over "The Exorcist"), but I don't bother with the so-called "torture porn" movies like "Hostel" or "Human Centipede." I watch movies to be entertained, not traumatized/scarred for life.... haha

M. T. Dremer from United States on April 25, 2015:

I like to think of myself as 'hard to offend' but the Human Centipede taught me that it was possible. How I managed to sit through the first one is a mystery to me, and what's even more of a mystery is why I ever started watching the second. But the sequel is the first movie that I actually turned off because it was too disturbing. Even filming it in black and white couldn't downplay the gore. It's one of those movies that I wouldn't recommend to anyone ever.