The 20 Most Fucked-Up Movies of All Time

14. Mysterious Skin

Mysterious Skin (2004)

Mysterious Skin is Joseph Gordon Levitt’s edgiest performance as a male escort who begins selling his body at the age of 15. Sexual abuse by his little league coach as an 8-year-old impacted his sense of personal boundaries that desensitized any sort of reluctance to become a male prostitute.

His best friend who was also abused by the same coach becomes delusional and withdraws into a fantasy world of alien abduction. His only conscious recollection of the trauma was the memory of hiding in his basement with a nosebleed before his parents found him.

What happened five hours prior is the mystery that slowly unfolds throughout the plot. The movie has multiple sex scenes where the actual sex is not shown but the violence is candid and unsentimental.


13. I Stand Alone

I Stand Alone (1998)

Yet another one of Gaspar Noé’s films makes the list. An embittered middle-aged meat butcher has various scenes of internal dialogue cursing his unfulfilling life as you watch his dissent into madness.

This 1998 film was what gave Noé his big break in the French extremity movement. After struggling as a single father to take care of his autistic daughter, he develops but then suppresses incestuous feelings for her. After he mistakenly assumes that she has been raped after seeing that she got her period for the first time, he nearly stabs an innocent man to death.

After his daughter gets taken away to an institution, he is forced to sell his shop. As his world is crumbling down around him, his first-person narration drives him to commit heinous crimes.


12. A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange

This cult classic could never go without recognition for being controversial for its time. Banned from many theaters upon its release, A Clockwork Orange has become a cultural enigma. In Stanley Kubrick fashion, it depicts an existence of a dystopian state where crime is merely seen as an act of human nature.

A group of four juvenile delinquents who frequently engage in rape and what is termed “ultra-violence” features a classical soundtrack with Beethoven to sanitize the graphic scenes. Alex, the main character winds up having his crimes catch up with him as he is arrested and taken to a facility where he is sent through a series of psychological testing.

One of the most iconic scenes is when he is forced to watch various scenes of evil while being hooked to a device which forces his eyeballs to stay open to prevent blinking. Though Alex is developed to be this evil character both inside and out, the institution that forces him to be “good” and a conductive member of society has its morality called into question.


11. Gummo


The candid mind of Harmony Korine brings an art drama about life in a small, poor trailer park town in Xenia, Ohio that had been previously devastated by a tornado. Shot in Korine’s hometown of Nashville, the plot follows the routine, nihilistic life of the community of what many would refer to as white trash.

The narration is grainy and told by Solomon, a teenage boy (who just looks rough even by his first appearance) making a living by killing stray cats and selling them to Asian markets.

The film has a strong vaudevillian influence where the plot is not as developed as the character complexity, which is showcased in a wide variety of dysfunctional scenes. Since everyone in this movie lives in poverty, they have to come up with inhumane ways to get by.

The film explores a broad range of issues as a result of being dirt poor in Middle America including mental illness, sexual abuse, prostitution, violence, murder, grotesque profanity and animal cruelty. By the end of the movie, you are almost sure to feel better about your own life.


10. Happiness


This comedy-drama starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Lara Flynn Boyle follows the lives of three sisters and the people surrounding them. The eldest one, Trish Maplewood is a nuclear suburban housewife with three children with a seemingly normal life. Her husband, a psychologist is a pedophile (unbeknownst to his wife) who invites his son’s friend over for a sleepover and then later rapes him.

The middle sister, Helen (a successful author) feels unfulfilled with her own life and quickly becomes aroused by obscene sexual phone calls (who she later finds out his her neighbor who is infatuated with her). The youngest sister, Joy lives a lonely life until one of her Russian immigrant-education students Vlad has sex with her (but then later robs her). Happiness as the name implies makes a mockery of the title because all the characters are anything but.


9. Nymphomaniac


Though this film has two volumes, it was originally intended as one four hour-long film. Lars von Trier returns another movie with Charlotte Gainsbourg as his leading lady alongside Shia LeBouf. A middle-aged man finds a battered and disheveled woman lying outside his home and takes her in.

As she makes herself comfortable, she begins telling him her past as a “nymphomaniac” beginning as a sexually curious teenager (who voluntarily loses her virginity to an arbitrary partner) through multiple encounters where she demands the highest extent of masochism and violent kinkiness. Chronicling her life as a sex addict, she dismisses love as “lust with jealousy added”, which eases the pain of attachment to her slew of sexual partners.


8. Oldboy


This 2003 South Korean mystery thriller neo-noir film directed by Park Chan-Wook is based on the Japanese manga with the same title. The movie follows the plight of the anti-hero Oh-Dae-su who finds himself trapped in solitary confinement for many years inside a hotel unaware of the identity of his captors. Middle-aged and lonely, he becomes resentful of the time lost that he will never regain.

After getting arrested for his alcoholic behavior, his friend bails him out of jail but he is later abducted and taken to a hotel. After 15 years, he is released onto the roof of the building where the man responsible for his isolation greets him. He challenges Oh-Dae-su to a game: he has 5 days to figure out why he was kidnapped or his death will ensue. If he does discover the reason, his captor will kill himself. Through extreme violent scenes, the pain and vengeance is satisfying.