5. The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
The scene in question – That scene with the crucifix.
The accusation – Caused viewers to faint.
The Exorcist was originally a novel by William Peter Blatty who adapted it into a screenplay himself, making quite a name for himself. A religious horror, cult classic and one of the scariest movies of its time, it was a bold move and has subsequently had countless cuts which still didn’t lessen the controversy surrounding it. It’s difficult to decipher rumour from truth when researching The Exorcist.
The movie is set in the home of an actress and her young daughter. Initially the classic “why is the window open?” brings in some concern, but with the clockwork of everyday life this is quickly forgotten about – until we hear the unforgettable, iconic music that goes hand in hand with The Exorcist and strange goings on begin – ringing phones, shaking beds and flickering lights.
Soon after Regan, the daughter of actress Chris, starts acting out of character. Chris thinks she’s telling lies and talking to people who aren’t there so takes her in for some tests. During the tests Regan starts to use extreme profanity, hum softly and just be generally vulgar.
When Regan comes downstairs during her mother’s party and tells a dinner guest that he’s going to die, all while casually urinating on the floor, Chris pushes for a different diagnosis. It seems that the more tests there are the worse the symptoms get. The movie cuts between a mother in despair and a daughter performing a range of disgusting acts, each more severe than the last.
Chris walks in to Regan’s bedroom to see her violently defiling herself with a crucifix and screaming blasphemy. When Chris goes in to stop her, Regan grabs her mother’s head and shoves it brutally to the blood-covered mess between her legs, demanding “lick me!”. At this point in the movie, several people fainted – including one man who fell at a bad angle and broke his jaw.
For the remainder of the movie Regan is strapped to the bed and visited by a couple of priests who, after her mothers begging, agree to perform an exorcism. Ultimately, the demon kills off one priest and transfers itself from Regan to the other priest who, in turn, throws himself out of a second storey window to make it stop.
Whilst this scene is greatly disturbing, you’ll probably stay conscious unless you have very strong religious beliefs.
4. Raw (Julia Ducournau, 2016)
The scene in question – Multiple flesh-eating scenes.
The accusation – Caused a number of people to faint.
This French-Belgian horror is not a movie for vegetarians. Raw is… just that. It’s raw. You really feel for the characters and visually, the filming is great. The subject matter is interesting – so we’re holding hopes high with this one.
Justine is a vegetarian in her first year of veterinary school. After meeting her new room-mate and settling in, she attends a ritualistic induction ceremony where she runs into her older sister, Alexia. It becomes apparent that she’s supposed to eat a raw rabbit kidney, and after some hesitation and seeing her sister do it, she does so. Shortly after she breaks out in a rash and starts getting cravings for meat.
A stolen hamburger, a late night trip to the gas station and raw chicken for breakfast don’t quite seem to do the trick, and in a bikini waxing incident Alexia’s finger is cut off. The wait for the ambulance is taxing and Justine can’t help herself any longer – she devours her sister’s finger and lets the dog take the blame, who is put down.
The next day, Alexia causes a car crash so that she can eat the dead passengers; Justine wanders back to school on her own and doesn’t join her sister in the meal. After biting off the lip of a boy she was kissing she confides in her room-mate Adrien. They end up sleeping together and Justine bites her own arm during.
Justine realises that many people are avoiding her yet still staring, and has no idea why until Adrien shows her a video of the night before. Alexia and Justine are fighting and eating each other in the video… which started over a corpse.
At the end of induction week Justine finds Adrian dead and half eaten and her sister downstairs covered in blood. She thinks twice about killing her and cleans her up. The movie ends with Alexia in prison, being visited by Justine and their parents, who assure them it’s not their fault and show that they, too, have bite scars from the induction at that school.
The subject can be a touchy one, and it’s done with as much class as a horror movie can have. If you’re not a meat-eater you may end up feeling a little queasy.
3. Gag (Scott W. Mckinlay, 2006)
The scene in question – A mouthful of razor blades.
The accusation – Caused a viewer to lose control of her bladder.
Although Gag looks a little like it was filmed by a drunk girl on Snapchat, the storyline has great potential and there are some interesting torture methods involved. The story is this: two thieves break into a house in search of money, but instead come face to face with a man who has been bound, gagged and beaten. They decide to untie him, and the lights go out. When they come back on, the thieves and the man are all bound, and the torture begins.
A man heats up some pennies on a portable hot-plate and tips them onto the bound man’s stomach, threatening Tony with the same and leaving the room. Detroit, Tony’s partner-in-crime, has been drugged and has little clue what’s going on. When Tony manages to break free, he unties the bound man and instructs him to cut Detroit loose while he goes to find the psychopath.
There are so many plot twists in this movie that it would be an impossible to follow and a pretty boring read from here, so we’ll stick to the juicy bits. Various other characters come in to play, all of whom have been tortured in different ways. One girl is forced to perform sexual acts on her brother, who is then killed by a rather long steak – inserted rectally. Tony has been recaptured at this point and is witnessing the entire thing, scared for his life.
Detroit awakens with a long glass tube to his mouth, and the psychopath looks at him menacingly. He tips shards of glass and razor blades into the tube, forcing Detroit to swallow them. There’s a bit of a blood-gargle and some painful noises, however it’s not nearly what you’d expect from a scene of this stature.
By the end of the movie, everyone except Tony and the killer are dead, and Tony has a gun aimed at the killer’s head. A security guard comes in and assumes that Tony is the murderer, shoots him dead and gets himself kidnapped in the process.
Realistically this is a torture movie about things that shouldn’t be put in mouths being put in mouths, and had the special effects been up to scratch it would be a high contender.
2. Irréversible (Gaspar Noé, 2002)
The scene in question – The majority of the film.
The accusation – Nausea, vomiting and anxiety attacks.
This is a French horror movie that’s in reverse-chronological order, which makes it pretty difficult to follow and you really have to be paying attention. It prides itself on unbroken shots, including a 9 minute rape scene which is enough to make anyone uncomfortable. If that wasn’t bad enough, most of the film has a low-frequency sound played behind it to stimulate nausea and anxiety.
In the opening scene, a man’s discussion about having sex with his daughter is interrupted by a commotion on the street outside, and we see someone talking to a police officer. Cut to the next scene and a man is being arrested whilst another one is on a stretcher. In order to properly explain the basis of the film, it’s going to have to go chronologically from here – but just imagine watching this backwards and how confusing it may be.
A young, pregnant girl (Alex), her boyfriend and her ex-partner are going to a party, where the boyfriend, Marcus, starts on the alcohol and drugs. This annoys Alex, so she decides to leave the party and head home. On the way she witnesses a transexual prostitute getting a brutal beating, and tries to run. Unfortunately she’s already been seen and is chased down and anally raped for a painful 9 minutes of film before being beaten until unconscious.
When Marcus and Pierre eventually leave the party, they see Alex being loaded into an ambulance on a stretcher and after finding out what put her in a coma, go on a mission to find and kill her rapist. A taxi driver is beaten and his cab stolen, along with the same prostitute being threatened for information about her attacker all before they’ve even found the guy.
When they do, it’s at a night club. They know he’s there, but do not know what he looks like and so, a bit ridiculously, end up murdering the wrong man. They do this by pummelling his face with a fire extinguisher – but not before he’s managed to fight back a little, breaking Marcus’ arm.
The movie itself is uncomfortable and unsettling enough to watch that it probably wasn’t necessary to add low-frequency sound under it but hey, it helps the authenticity.
1. Chasing the Devil (Mark Haber, 2014)
The scene in question – A man pulls his own eyes out.
The accusation – Caused people to feel faint and disoriented.
Chasing the devil is (mostly) filmed as a portrayal of an amateur documentary. Patrick’s sister committed suicide, but the circumstances were incredibly suspicious. Prior to her death, she had started self harming and talking in languages she’d never learned, acting violent and disruptive. Enlisting the help of a friend with a video camera and a team of paranormal investigators, only one of which seems to be the real deal, Patrick does some digging.
When it becomes apparent that Patrick’s sister’s death was due to a possession, the demon starts to act up. Rather than the usual throwing things and causing electrical problems, this demon goes straight for violence – throwing people around, choking them and putting them in crippling pain. When it looks like they have a lead they visit a man hopingfor some answers. As they arrive the man claims he’s been expecting them and stabs himself through the eye.
They set up surveillance cameras in their homes and in the meantime find out about a girl with symptoms incredibly similar to Patrick’s sister. The scene with this girl becomes quite The Exorcist-esque with the demonic voice, sexualization and writhing around hurling insults.
When it starts to look like people know too much, the demon begins to posses our main characters and, one by one, has them kill themselves or each-other – the most noted and the reason we’re here is the first death. Our young psychic is the first to incur the demon’s wrath and, slowly and with determination, he attempts to pull out his own eyes which are crushed in his hands. He turns to Patrick and says that he can still see, and he knows what the demon wants. Unfortunately but predictably, he dies before he gets to share the revelation.
As the rest of the cast are picked off, Patrick escapes and records the rest of his video as an interview with himself, in which he figures out that all the demon wanted was for everyone to see this video and thus, die – shaking viewers up even more. The film goes to great efforts to give you both visual and mental horror.
Author Bio: Sasha is a freelance content writer and self-proclaimed movie and TV enthusiast from Cambridge, UK. A slave to a mischievous black cat and lover of anything quirky, she endeavors to put a different angle on things.