Some movies just happen to be pretty f’d up – there’s no two ways about it. For the first installment of ‘Six Picks’ we’re not listing the grotesque-for-the-sake-of-being-grotesque (i.e. torture porn) “classics” of cinema, but rather some psychologically scarring, nerve-shredding, gut-wrenching, hard-hitting, vomit-inducing, nightmare-causing films of recent times.
You could check out the trailers for each movie, but we recommend going into these as blind as Matt Murdock for full, eye-popping impact. So, (in your best Joker impression), here we go . . .
#1: À l’intérieur (Inside) (2007 – France)
A pregnant widow, still reeling from the death of her husband, is stalked by a scissor-wielding psychopath in this terrifying, almost-impossible-to-watch horror from French filmmaking duo Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury (Leatherface).
In short: a woman wants what’s inside a pregnant woman’s belly. Need we say more?
#2: Martyrs (2008 – France)
Another slice of psychopathy from France, this polarizing film directed by Pascal Laugier (The Tall Man) is, much like the reaction to it, split in two halves. Two victims of child abuse search for the people responsible, but this quest for revenge leads them to something even more terrifying than their past experiences.
Psst – the early scene in the family home will have you spitting that thirst-quenching beverage all over your neighbor. (This will be a fun side-effect of watching the film. We recommend cola; something sticky). Oh, and look out for a young(er) Xavier Dolan who has a small role in the film.
#3: Braindead (aka Dead Alive) (1992 – New Zealand)
‘Gore, gore . . . Gore!’ shouted a fervent Paul Heyman (for all you wrestling fans out there). And it would be perfectly apt for you to scream this at your TV screen while indulging in Peter Jackson’s (West of Memphis) ‘a million miles from LOTR’ cult classic, Braindead. Not only is this extremely visceral, it’s also belly-achingly hilarious. So, while being somewhat disturbing due to its high level of blood ‘n’ guts, it’s much more affable than the French frighteners previously mentioned.
Note: If you enjoy a good ol’ custard desert, you may want to steer clear of this one.
#4: A Clockwork Orange (1971 – United Kingdom/US)
This is probably too obvious, or not obvious at all. The films previously mentioned have all been more on the . . . let’s say blood-spattered side of the celluloid. Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Anthony Burgess’s somewhat inaccessible (for some) dystopian novella of the same name shocked audiences in the early 70s with its disturbing and violent images (most notably a scene of sexual violation accompanied by the protagonist’s rendition of Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain). Touching on a range of socio-political issues, this was, and still is, bold and brave (and beautiful) filmmaking, presenting us with the disturbing realities of the human condition.
#5: Antichrist (2009 – Denmark)
For any of you who like your genitalia (which we imagine is most of you) this one may be a film too far. With indisputably fearless performances from its leads Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe, and an opening scene as beautiful as any in recent memory, Lars von Trier (Melancholia) presents us with a couple grieving the death of their infant child. The mother, in particular, has taken it hard, and she retreats into the woods with her professional therapist husband in a bid to tackle the grieving process in a more secluded and peaceful setting. Needless to say, this doesn’t quite turn out exactly as the husband had planned, and what follows is psychosis and self-mutilation, which isn’t the most pleasant experience, as you can imagine.
This one’s certainly not for the squeamish. But it’s well worth a watch for von Trier’s bold direction, the beautiful cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle, the phenomenal performances by the lead actors, and the talking fox (because who doesn’t want to see a talking fox?).
#6: Irreversible (2002 – France)
It’s told in reverse, the camera swirls like a maelstrom, there’s a sexual assault scene that lasts several minutes, and a man’s skull is brutally caved in with a fire extinguisher. Yes, this truly is a disturbing film that’s difficult to watch. Gasper Noe (Love) delivers this unpleasant and shocking, yet equally beautiful and affecting mystery-thriller with a score composed by one half of electronic maestros Daft Punk. The non-linear narrative follows two men (Vincent Cassel and Albert Dupontel) as they track down the person who brutally raped Cassel’s girlfriend (Monica Bellucci). With the nauseating camera movement, the violence, and the traumatic scene of sexual abuse, this one will stay with you for a long time after the camera swirls away into the empyrean.
So there you go – some f’d up films to add to your list if you haven’t seen them already. Of course there are many, many more we could’ve included, but hey, feel free to mention some of your favorite messed-up movies in the comments below!
Thanks for reading! What did you think of Six Picks #1? What are your favorite f’d-up movies? Comment down below!
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