Guest Post: Five disturbing films you may not have heard of

As a film lover, I tend to keep an open mind and see as many different type of films as much as I could. But once in a while I’ll see some films that were too weird or disturbing for my taste and I promised myself I would never ever watch those films again. The list of films I came up below are sure to disturb or might be too weird for general movie audiences. Mind you some of these films were quite well made but I could never recommend them to anyone, so be warned if you decided you really want to see some of these films, you can’t say I didn’t warned you.

1. The Baby of Macon (1993)

A movie about the corruption in all levels of society. A baby is born from a supposed-to-be virgin woman, so a chain of hysteria about divine intervention in the birth takes place.

This film from director Peter Greenaway never was released here in the States so it’s actually considered ban in the U.S. But thanks to my fellow FC contributor Vince I was able to see the film. Greenaway is known for his unconventional style of filmmaking and this film definitely fits that description. You see the whole film is a stage play, when the film starts you see an audience sitting down and watching a stage play. And so we the movie audience is actually watching the play along with the audience in the movie, hope that makes sense.

The subject matter in the movie caused quite a controversy upon its release back in 1993, because of that no Hollywood studios were willing to pick up the rights and release here in the States. To me I think the main reason the film was never picked by a studio was because of what happened at the end of the movie, it was quite repulsive and I won’t go into it.

Per imdb, this is why Peter Greenaway decided to make this movie:
Director Peter Greenaway has said that one of the sources of inspiration for the film was the banning of the Benetton advertising poster campaign in the UK that featured pictures of a newborn baby, covered in blood and still attached to its umbilical cord. An outcry caused the posters to be removed. “What is so horrible about a newborn baby?” Greenaway wanted to know. “Why is that image (one that is seen many times a day in hospitals all over the country) so unacceptable, when much more horrific images are presented on television and the cinema, featuring murder and rape, but glamorized and made safe?” Thus Greenaway set out to make a film featuring murder and rape in which “nothing was glamorized and nothing was safe“.

Well if you seen the movie then I think you’ll agree with me that Greenaway achieved that goal.

2. Fat Girl (2001)

‘Fat Girl’ is about the lives of two sisters on a summer vacation. Elena is 15 beautiful and gets all the guys. Anais is cute but overweight and is 12. That summer, the lives of the two sisters change forever with one of the most shocking and controversial endings.

This French film by Catherine Breillat is a coming of age story about two sisters, the older one is beautiful and the younger one is overweight. The story takes place during a summer vacation and it’s about sibling rivalry, family discord and relationships.

To me the entire film was sort of uncomfortable to watch and then the icing on the cake was the ending that sure to disturb many people. I can’t really say this was a good movie but for those brave enough to see it, you might be interested to check it out.

3. Santa Sangre (1989)

A young man is confined in a mental hospital. Through a flashback we see that he was traumatized as a child, when he and his family were circus performers: he saw his father cut off the arms of his mother, a religious fanatic and leader of the heretical church of Santa Sangre (“Holy Blood”), and then commit suicide. Back in the present, he escapes and rejoins his surviving and armless mother. Against his will, he “becomes her arms” and the two undertake a grisly campaign of murder and revenge

Alejandro Jodorowsky is another filmmaker whose style  is very unconventional. So when he decided make this film about a young man and his armless mother going on a killing spree, many critics compared the film to that of Albert Hitchcock’s Psycho. I think that was a fair assessment but I think Jodorowsky took it a step further with this film, it was so strange and terrifying but yet it also sort of hypnotized me. Roger Ebert even put it on his top ten best film list from 1990.

4. Gozu (2003)

When Minami is sent to kill his mentor, Ozaki, who is in the midst of a nervous breakdown, he embarks on a journey of unexplained natural phenomenon.

Shock master Takashi Miike is known for making films that would disturb and repulse people and this film is no exception. I won’t go into details about the plot of this movie, but it sure to make you pay attention to the screen if you decided to see it. I was speechless when I saw what Miike put on the screen towards the end of this movie. Trust me you have to see it to believe it. Again I highly caution you before you decide to watch this one, it’s NOT for everyone.

5. Inside (2007)

Four months after the death of her husband, a woman on the brink of motherhood is tormented in her home by a strange woman who wants her unborn baby.

Directed by Alexandre Bustillo, this French horror film is part of the current torture porn craze and it’s definitely one of the most disgusting and gruesome films I’ve ever seen. I thought the film was well made and sure to shock people, but I can’t for the life me recommend it to anyone to see it. Just remember this is not for the faint of hearts, so again see it at your own risk.

Well those are some of the films I considered to be quite disturbing and some will make you sick to your stomach. Of course there are some other extreme films that I didn’t include on the list, for example last year’s A Serbian Film is considered the most disturbing film ever by those who’ve seen it. I haven’t seen it myself and I have no desire to see it, so if you seen it do share it with us on the comments section.

43 thoughts on “Guest Post: Five disturbing films you may not have heard of

  1. Great post Ted. It’s very rare to read these kind of “never heard of” posts and actually not having heard about any of these flicks! Looks like all of those are really disturbing ahah. Maybe I will give Gozu a try since I’ve heard of Takashi Miike’s style.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Castor, Gozu’s probably one of Miike’s weirdest films. Not as gory as Itchi the Killer or Audition but weird enough to disturb you.

  2. OMG i saw Inside before…i remember when i was writing my hollywood vs foreign post i remembered the plot but hot the title. Santre Sangre sounds ilike something i’d watch, so i will try to find it on netflix. I’ve watched a few Takashi Mike films, but i don’t know if i’ve seen Gozue or not.

    As for me, i’ve watched a couple of disturbing unknown movies mainly through netfix streaming. A recent one i saw is called Grace. Was extremely unsettling, but that is what i was looking for so i was happy about that. I could probably make a list of similar movies myself if i put in the effort

    1. Ted S.

      I’ve heard of Grace but never seen it myself, not sure if I want to since these films on my list are pretty disturbing already. I think I’ll to see these kind of films once a year and that’s it.

  3. Vince

    Ted, kudos for making this post. And kudos too to Ruth for indulging! There are many excellent flicks that fall under this category. They are obviously an acquired taste but (as in Jodorowsky’s case, or even Gaspar Noe), the talent there is undeniable. Curiousity is my weakness. I’m glad we are able to choose to see or not see such films.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks to you I was able to see The Baby of Macon, I’ve wanted to see/not see it for a long time. It so beautifully made but I’ve never wanted to see it again.

      So true about we have the choice to either see these kind of films or just ignore them. I think I’ve ignore them the last couple of years, don’t have desire to see either AntiChrist or A Serbian Film.

  4. Even just researching the posters for this post gave me the creeps, Ted! I did read more about Sante Sangre, more than I should, and man even reading the reviews are disturbing enough for me! These are definitely for those w/ nerves of steel, which I clearly don’t have.

    1. Ted S.

      Lol, these aren’t your kind of films Ruth. I think out of the five films, Fat Girl is probably the most tame but what happened at the end was so sudden and shocking that I don’t ever want to experience it again.

      1. I actually went and read the whole synopsis for Fat Girl. Man that ending seemed to come out of nowhere, just what in the world is the point of it all?? I reckon this will bring back too much bad memories for every chubby girl who grew up with a slim/slimmer sister.

        1. Ted S.

          Yeah that ending came out of nowhere, I think the director and writer just wanted to just shock people and what a better way to do it than just end the film that way.

  5. Inside (the unrated version especially) is one intense film. Haven’t seen the other four but if Inside is ranked 5 then it’s probably for a good reason.

    Irreversible and Salo (another Criterion) are ones that I think might be a little more well knoen than these but are just as positively irksome. If you yearn to squirm they’ll get the job done, but like you said, I wouldn’t recommend them either:)

    1. Ted S.

      Yeah I’ve seen both Irreversible and Salo, just wanted to list some of the ones that most people might never heard of. I don’t think I ever wanted to see Salo or Irreversible again, well made but too disturbing.

  6. Wow, I’ve only seen “Inside”, which I liked quite a bit. I get a kick out of New French Extremity.

    Santa Sangre is in my Netflix queue and I’m sure I’ll get to it at some point. I haven’t seen Gozu but I’m definitely familiar with Miike, who is hilariously over the top about everything (in a good way).

    I’ve avoided “Fat Girl” on purpose from what I’ve been told about it. I MAY get to it at some point but I sort of doubt it.

    And that leaves “Baby Macon”, which I’m very intrigued about now. Although I’d probably be more intrigued if it was called “Maybe Bacon”.

    1. Ted S.

      Let me know what you think of Santa Sangre, definitely a well made but weird film, same with Gozu.

      Fat Girl was a descent film but I think the filmmakers just wanted to shock people by having that ending. See if you like it though.

      If you can find The Baby of Macon, do give it a watch. Not sure if you seen any of Greenaway’s work but he’s definitely one of a kind filmmaker.

  7. Ugh! I feel like a failure, considering foreign film and/or disturbing movies are usually right up my alley and I haven’t seen any of these. Had my eye on SANTA SAGRE for a while now though, since I really liked two other Jodorowsky movies, EL TOPO and THE HOLY MOUNTAIN.

    The most disturbing film I’ve ever seen is Jean-Luc Godard’s WEEK END.

    1. WOW! I thought you’d be flashing your indie cred and say I’ve watched all these and here are five more, ahah. I’m genuinely surprised you haven’t seen any, Tyler, the whole time I was so creeped out by these I kept thinking all of these would be a walk in the park for you 🙂

    2. Ted S.

      These are definitely are up in your alley Tyler, if you decided to any of them, I highly recommend The Baby of Macon. It’s pretty hard to find here in the States but I think you can them anywhere else over Europe and Asia.

      I’ve never seen Week End, might have to give it a rent.

  8. Hi, Ted and company:

    You got me, Ted!

    Five films I’ve not heard of, let alone seen.

    All of them sound interesting. Though not a fan of the current cinematic tryst with Torture Porn. ‘Gozu’ sounds the most the most intriguing, with fair warning.

    Excellent article and critiques!

    1. Hey Jack, I just left you a comment on your guest review at Nostra’s blog. Somehow I thought it was for this week, so sorry I missed it. Would you be willing to do a guest review here too? I’d be so honored!

        1. Wahoo! Ok, I will email you. We could use more Classic reviews/write-up since my friend Vince had been pretty busy lately. But you can always choose contemporary ones also of course.

  9. Ted S.

    Thanks Jack, I kind of wish I hadn’t seen any of these films but again most of them were so well made I was glad to have seen them.

  10. I own 3 of the 5 movies above and have seen them all. Gozu (very Lynch like), Inside (deliberately slow but brutally creepy) and Santa Sangre (I have the Jodorowsky box set). Greenaway is interesting in an almost a surreal,
    classical way. Breillet has made a living on NC-17 material that’s usually
    sexual and in the case of Fat Girl contains one single act of violence. I could write a tome with this subject so I’ll only give you 11. “This one goes to 11.” LOL.

    1) Almost any film by Takashi Miike. Visitor Q, Ichii the Killer, Audition, and
    Three… Extremes are the highlights. Eli Roth was such a big fan he put him in Hostel as one of the torturers.

    2) Begotten directed by E. Elias Merhige. The film was inspired by a near
    death experience the Merhige had after an automobile accident. There is no
    dialogue to the film. Just the sound of crickets, grunting and thrashing. It’s
    been called “a Rorschach test for the eye”. It’s often considered with
    Eraserhead and Tetsuo: The Iron Man among the most unique and weird
    films even made because of their utter obsessiveness in their strangeness.
    Marilyn Manson was so infatuated with this film that, while recording his
    seminal masterwork Antichrist Superstar, he mandated that Begotten be on
    24-hour loop in all studio rooms from the album’s start to its finish. E. Elias
    later went on to direct Shadow of the Vampire (Dafoe, Malkovich). Even
    though I own the out of print DVD I would probably recommend this to no
    one except maybe Tyler on this board.

    3) Tetsuo: The Iron Man directed by Shinya Tsukamoto. Hyperkinetic,
    Japanese cyberpunk at its finest. Imagine if Lynch (industrial sounds and
    settings), Cronenberg (body manipulation) and experimental Czech
    filmmaker Jan Svankmajer (stop-motion) got together to make a film. This is
    what you’d get.

    4) Forbidden Zone directed by Richard Elfman. Yep… that’s Danny Elfman’s
    Brother. His band Oingo Boingo did the music. Actor Hervé Villechaize of
    Fantasy Island fame (“The plane boss… the plane!”) was the only paid actor in the film. Originally shot in B&W it has since been colorized. Booo. Yes it’s
    weird. There is some nudity in the trailer.

    5) Man Bites Dog. A Belgan film shot as a documentary where a film crew
    follows a serial killer. Things get ugly as the killer encourages the film crew
    to participate in his murders and then he suddenly become suspicious of their motives and turns on them. A very dark comedy. The discussion of the
    weighing of the bodies scene is classic.

    6) Anything by Gaspar Noe. I Stand Alone, Irreversible, and Touching The
    Void. His violence that is so real it goes beyond horror. The infamous fire
    extinguisher scene in Irreversible was the basis for a scene in Nicolas
    Winding Refn’s Drive (Gosling). So much so that he even asked Noe’s advice on how to shoot the scene.

    7) Dobermann directed by Jan Kounen. Husband and wife Vincent Cassel
    and Monica Bellucci (also in Irreversible) starred in this. Venerable French
    actor Tchéky Karyo (La Femme Nikita, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of
    Arc) plays a sadistic cop bent on catching the Dobermann by ANY MEANS
    NECESSARY. A way over the top action film. The violence is almost comical. Not released on region 1 DVD. I have a region 0 version from Taiwan.

    8) Any film by Alejandro Jodorowsky. El Topo, The Holy Mountain, Fando &
    Lis, Tusk and The Rainbow Thief (O’Toole and Sharif reunited). His films
    resemble Dali’s work more than any other filmmaker… Buñuel, who
    collaborated with Dali, excepted.

    9) Schramm directed by Jörg Buttgereit. The fictional story of a serial killer
    who known as the ‘Lipstick Killer’. Stylistically shot on a very low budget it
    has more than a little in common with Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.
    Couldn’t find a suitable trailer to post. It’s THAT kind of movie.

    10) Funny Games (’97) directed by Michael Haneke. The film is meant to be
    turned off and walked out on. Haneke wanted to show how far we as the
    viewer are willing to suffer through for the sake of “entertainment”. There is a
    notorious “rewind scene” that should make you to turn it off but you don’t
    because you want to see what happens. Ironically he was tapped to remake
    the film after the torture porn boom (Hostel, The Hills Have Eyes remake). It
    was made shot for shot in English with Tim Roth, Naomi Watts and Michael
    Pitt. A gut wrenching film to sit through. Sadly his point was lost on most
    people and they watched to the very end because it came “packaged as
    entertainment”. We are sheep.

    11) Dr. Caligari directed by Stephen Sayadian (aka Rinse Dream when he
    directed adult films). It’s an 80’s update of the 20’s German silent film The
    Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Shot like an 80’s, neon, avant garde nightmare
    directed by Tim Burton and David Cronenberg. The only way to find the
    DVD is from Excalibur Films, which despite mostly dealing with adult films,
    currently distributes this film on DVD.

    Stephen Sayadian (Rinse Dream) also made a cult X-rated film called Cafe
    Flesh in ’82. More 80’s weirdness. It was written by Jerry Stahl who was
    portrayed by Ben Stiller in Permanent Midnight. Music producer Mitchel
    Froom (Los Lobos, Crowded House, Suzanne Vega) did the music for the
    film. You can see a young Richard Belzer as an audience member in the film.
    It was billed as a post-apocalyptic, cult, pornographic, science fiction film
    where in the future, humans are divided into Sex Negatives and Sex
    Positives. The negatives get sick if they have sex so they go to Cafe Flesh to see positives who are forced to perform on stage for the negatives. The film was a kind of anti-porn film directed at the pathetic, lonely viewer at home. The sex isn’t very sexy at all because it’s so freakin’ weird. Despite the irony it won several adult awards. Truly bizarre and one of a kind. These scenes are taken from the R-rated cut so it’s SAFE to watch. The X-rated cut with the sex scenes is much weirder.

    Bonus – Salo, or The 120 Days of Sodom directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini.
    This is the grandaddy of unwatchable films. It was one of the first DVD’s
    produced by The Criterion Collection (spine #17). The film recieved notice when it became out of print on DVD. Having a very limited run and being in the Criterion Collection canon, copies with the famous “white ring” on the disc were soon selling on eBay for around $500 a pop. Counterfeit copies were soon widespread all over the internet. It was re-released by Criterion on
    Blu-ray in 2008.

    It was based on the book by the Marquis de Sade. The setting was changed
    from the 18th century to the Republic of Salò, the Fascist-occupied portion of
    Italy in 1944. The film focuses on four wealthy, corrupted fascist libertines
    after the fall of Benito Mussolini’s Italy who kidnap eighteen teenage boys and girls and subject them to four months of extreme violence, sadism, sexual and mental torture. The film is noted for exploring the themes of political corruption, abuse of power, sadism, perversion, sexuality, and
    fascism. To say the least he was not a fan of Mussolini’s fascist regime. The
    story is in four segments loosely parallel to Dante’s Inferno: the Anteinferno,
    the Circle of Manias, the Circle of Sh*t, and the Circle of Blood. Pier Paolo
    was actually murdered for making this film shortly before its release.

    In no uncertain terms do I recommend this to anybody but those interested in
    the transgressive or those who’ve “seen everything”. You’ve been warned.


    1. Ted S.

      Hi Dave,

      Wow, I’ve seen 3 or 4 films you’ve mentioned but the rest I’ve never heard of. Not sure if I have the stomach to sit through some of them though. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing as always!

        1. Castor,

          Ted just happened to hit on a topic that is right up my alley. Thanks Ted. I’ve seen a lot of different movies and I just like sharing.

          I told Ruth that I’m living through her blog vicariously until I get my blog up. Word Press is having some problem that there working on so I’ll have to wait a week or so I can post. Hurray!


          1. Whoa Dave, this is tremendous! You are always welcome to indulge your passion for movies here on my blog, but I am thrilled you’re starting your own. I mean, you could make months’ worth of blog posts just from the comments you’ve left me, ahah. Thank you for that!!

        1. Ted S.

          Lol, I actually saw bits and pieces of Salo back in high school, I don’t think I finished it though. Not sure if I want to sit through the whole flick, ha ha.

  11. These are way out of my league but interesting to read about anyway. For instance, the original 1920 Caligari still scares. Kudos to Ted…you have a way of writing about films that doesn’t give away very much. & to Ruth…for your open-mindedness 🙂

    1. Yeah Paula being into all things surreal I love the German expressionists. Especially Murnau and Lang. Plus the directors like Weine, Dreyer, Pabst and Boese who dabbled in expressionism.


  12. HEHE Brilliant post Ted!! You are right I haven’t seen or heard of any of these. But that isn’t THAT hard to believe, I am not the best at this kind of cinema!!

    Very informative, although I probably would not venture out and see any of these soon

  13. Wow, this is quite the list! I am usually more willing to give disturbing films a chance, at least in my realm of friends, but I have never even heard of any of these. I will probably check out Gozu first, as I have enjoyed the handful of Miike films I have seen so far. Thanks for sharing this, Ted.

  14. Pingback: A Time of Thanks « The Warning Sign

  15. Todd Bently

    I’m wondering if you’re currently accepting guest posts. I
    have a few articles I’d like to contribute, but wanted to check with
    you first.

  16. Pingback: A Time of Thanks | The Warning Sign

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