5. Stanley Kubrick
From the classic “2001: A Space Odyssey” to “The Shining,” despite the range of themes and stories the legendary director has brought to us, there is one common feature found in them all – violence. But like most great directors, he didn’t just throw the theme around and splat a gory image onto the storyline for the sake of shocking effect. Kubrick was famous for tactfully commenting on society and the way we act in its absence and presence. He always provides a human reason (even in the case of HAL in “Space Odyssey”) that jump off the actions and reactions to violence, justifying his obsession.
His most violent film has to be “A Clockwork Orange.” Although arguably viewers have become more desensitised since then, casually accepting the gore of mainstream shows such as “Game of Thrones,” the portrayal of violence was so extreme for 1971 that it was taken out of its showing cycle in the UK.
4. Sam Peckinpah
Sam Peckinpah’s most famous film is “The Wild Bunch,” which was once named the most violent movie ever and of course (as most violent films) caused a lot of controversy. Like “The Wild Bunch,” a lot of his films are based in the western genre. Westerns commonly take a slightly comic approach, making their violence subtler; Peckinpah, however, prefers to show the true and bloody face of the Wild West. His villains are merciless, the violence not discriminating between men, women or children, which makes the effect so shocking.
However, Peckinpah believes the brutality of his films is a reflection of the world. And although this is not the vision most viewers want to see, perhaps he has a very valid reason.
3. Lars von Trier
Perhaps the most controversial director on this list is, of course, Lars von Trier, but if anyone loves violence, it’s him. Graphic self-abortion (“Nymphomaniac”), castration (“Antichrist”) – if there’s anything von Trier hasn’t yet shown us, expect it in his upcoming film “The House That Jack Built” (about Jack the Ripper, of course).
People have walked out of his movies and even banned them, but nothing will stop von Trier from seeing how far he can take it. But as twisted and sick as his movies may be, the violence always has a purpose in revealing the horrors and perversity of human nature.
2. Michael Haneke
While some directors love to shock their viewers with horrific images of blood and torture, others, like Michael Haneke, prefer a different kind of violence. Haneke feels extremely passionate about violence in film, particularly regarding its use. For him, the more flashy and comic practices of directors like Tarantino are an absolute disgrace and the embodiment of the Hollywood he stands against. No, Haneke prefers a more philosophical approach, exploring violence not just through bloodshed in specific scenes, but rather as a dominant thread that brings together all of his scenes and films.
Rather than physical violence, although that is also present, Haneke prefers to focus on perhaps a worse kind – the violence of the mind and the psyche – one that disturbs and horrifies you in a way that physical violence doesn’t.
1. Takashi Miike
One of the most controversial directors known for his love for violence is, of course, Japanese director Takashi Miike. When you’re making a horror movie (or nearly one hundred of them, in the case of Miike, considering most of his films are made in the genre), it is quite difficult to avoid violence, which is after all, quite a significant component of the genre. Miike, however, brings violence to another level.
If there is blood – expect a fountain of it; if there is death – expect a gruesome one. However, as much as he likes experimenting with violence, he never maintains a one hundred percent realistic approach. The more dramatic and exaggerated look is what allows his films to get international distribution rather than be banned. Despite this, his movies such as “Ichi the Killer” or “Audition” have earned themselves the labels of some of the most violent films of all times.
Author Bio: Polina is an aesthete and cinephile, devoted to using the arts to revive “sex, drugs and rock’n’roll” in hopes of loosening up the world by defying the unnecessary social restrictions. When taking time off her edgy crusade she can be found soaking in a bubble bath with a Dostoevsky novel.