There are many reasons for not wanting to rewatch a film. Very disturbing themes, approaching themes that are very difficult to digest, or just being bad (which is not the case of any movie on this list), there are films we simply are not able to watch for a second time.
On this list, the decision was to approach good movies that are not really rewatchable for their disturbing aspects, especially in depicting explicit violence, but psychological violence and other themes are not being considered.
It is never too late to remember that many things interfere in the choice of the titles in this article, but the main factors are memory and the fact that the writer of this list finds these movies really disturbing and will probably never watch them again.
So, here are 10 great films you will probably not watch twice.
10. Eraserhead (1977), directed by David Lynch
Very few filmmakers are able to attack our senses as precisely as David Lynch. In 1977, the acclaimed surrealist director made his first feature film, “Eraserhead”, which, for its black and white photography and allied with the bewildering use of sound, is among the most disturbing of his career.
Following the story of Henry Spencer, a factory worker who is the father of a deformed baby that screams all the time, who lives with his girlfriend and is very unhappy with this situation, this movie plays with an unusual structure of narrative and has a very somber atmosphere that approaches many traces of a never-ending nightmare.
With a great performance by Jack Nance as the oblivious Henry, “Eraserhead” has many of the themes and nuances we would see further in Lynch’s career, and is a very difficult film to watch more than once because of the aforementioned “attack on the senses.”
9. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986), directed by Jon McNaughton
Starring Michael Rooker (“Guardians of the Galaxy”) as serial killer Henry and loosely based on the life of Henry Lee Lucas, a serial killer who claimed to have killed more than 3,000 people, this film directed by John McNaughton is very disturbing for the cold way its characters tortures and kills their victims with no remorse at all.
Following the story of Henry and his roommate Ottis (Tom Towles) as they murder many people again and again in Chicago, the most shocking thing about this film is how normal this extreme violence seems for the leading character.
Although it relies too much on explicit violence and has some problems with its script, “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” is not a bad film, but is also a movie you probably do not want to see twice.
8. Begotten (1990), directed by E. Elias Merhige
This disturbing film directed by E. Elias Merhige is an approach on the story of Genesis. On its 72-minute length, this silent film is very explicit in its dazzling (not necessarily in a good way) black-and-white imagery.
The movie starts when God disembowels himself using a razor in a very long scene. After that, Mother Earth appears from his corpse and after, the Son of Earth is tortured in a spiral of violence. This might seem to be a simple plot, but it includes some of the most disturbing images cinema has seen in the last 30 years.
Although it’s very inventive and bold in telling a story like that with such an explicit depiction of violence, “Begotten” is surely among the most ominous movies from the 1990s and is very, very difficult to watch more than once.
7. Funny Games (1997), directed by Michael Haneke
Austrian director Michael Haneke has a very unique way in approaching – while criticizing – violence in his films. And in “Funny Games” (the original from 1997, not the American remake directed by himself in 2007), it is not different.
Following the story of a family taken hostage by two violent men while on vacation, “Funny Games” is a difficult movie to watch for its use of both physical and psychological violence and for the way it builds tension as many moments of gratuitous brutality are shown.
Although it’s very similar to the American remake – but also way better – there is a certain atmosphere even more somber in this film from 1997. This is a movie that has most of the iconic traces of Haneke’s filmography and should without a doubt be watched, but is surely a movie that’s very difficult to watch more than once.
6. Dogtooth (2009), directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
A game-changing film in the career of Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, “Dogtooth” is one of the most unique – and disturbing – films from the second half of the 2000s.
In this film, ultra-protective parents forbid their three teenage kids to leave their house until their dogtooth falls out. With a dystopic approach – because this place where they live is completely isolated from the rest of the world – “Dogtooth” is a very psychologically disturbing film that studies this very violent environment in which those teenagers live.
The way this film explores the space where the characters are confined while showing the violence that is a part of their routine makes “Dogtooth” a brilliant film that should definitely be watched. Still, it is very, very difficult to watch it one more time.