We are another day closer to Halloween and another list closer to the end of this series. These horror movies take things a little farther and push a few more buttons. As usual, this is NO list for kids and none of these movies are family-friendly. These movies are not only too scary to watch, they will freak anyone right out. While these may not be the top of the list, none of these films made this list lightly. Some of these movies portray things that are still being investigated.
These movies are the ones you’ve probably heard of, but yet still shouldn’t watch. There are loads of horror films in the genre, but all of these crossed a line. Some of them crossed several and didn’t care. But mostly, these movies are too messed up, too terrifying, and generally too horrific to watch. So if that’s what you’re here for, let’s dive right into it.
Without Further Ado…
9. The Green Inferno (2013)
Another entry on this list by director Eli Roth, The Green Inferno takes us to the exotic Amazon rainforest. Inspired by Cannibal Holocaust, Roth recreated a widely banned movie from his childhood. This movie pits a group of activists trying to save the rain forest against a native tribe. These Americans find themselves as strangers in a strange land… where everyone wants to eat them.
A revival of the 1970s and 1980s cannibal horror, The Green Inferno is Roth’s homage. This movie had people leaving theaters because it was so graphic. Adding modern CGI to the concept of cannibals in the rainforest was a bold move. Eli Roth obviously stands behind it. But this movie isn’t making ANYONE visit the rainforest anytime soon.
8. Martyrs (2008)
This movie heavily features torture and abuse, and thus isn’t welcome in polite company. But that’s precisely what this list is for of course. This film follows two women who are both the victims of horrible abuse. They team up in order to try and enact revenge on the world around them and cause a LOT of havoc. One critic literally said about this movie: “You don’t need to see this.” That said, it is a brutal watch and a psychological twist on the ‘torture porn’ genre of horror.
That alone isn’t enough to make the list, however, this movie is here for good reason. An American remake was attempted but was so ‘watered down’ that it seemed to miss the point. The original stands as a horrific movie discussing abuse to a degree not many are willing to dive into.
7. The Thing (John Carpenter 1982)
Most horror movies have a sense of isolation to make the viewer feel more terrified. But there are few places on Earth that can match the isolation of Antarctica. That’s where John Carpenter set this classic horror masterpiece. This movie is probably the most ‘mainstream’ of the films on this list. But that doesn’t mean that it’s safe for you to watch with the family. Between gruesome practical effects and dark, horrific messages of danger, this movie frightens to the core.
Set at basecamp, it begins when people are horrified to see a helicopter pilot trying to shoot a sled dog. After taking in the injured animal, they find that they had everything wrong and are treated to a violent awakening. The animal is NOT a dog and can change shape, making it almost impossible to identify. If this isn’t enough, add to that the fact that the cold and snow are trying to freeze them to death.
Moving Right Along
6. House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
Rob Zombie’s directorial debut went just about exactly as everyone expected. This film is gory to the point of nausea and is NOT appropriate for most audiences. More of a matter of shock and awe than a movie, this horror film is difficult to watch at times. Starting typically enough, with a group of young kids road-tripping across America. They stop for gas at a small ‘museum of oddities’ and become interested in a local legend. Attempting to solve the mystery, they get involved in a severe amount of danger.
Calling back to classics like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes, this movie doesn’t disappoint. Unless of course, you were hoping to keep down your lunch… then you might be disappointed. Not for the faint of heart, Rob Zombie did make a movie he’s proud of to be sure. He made it part of a trilogy of films, showing he definitely has the stomach for it.
5. Strangeland (1998)
Strangeland is an… odd film, to be certain. Written by Dee Snider, best known for the rock band Twisted Sister, and directed by John Pieplow. This film follows a small-town detective trying to save the local teens, and his daughter, from a vicious sadist. Captain Howdy (Snider) kidnaps local teens and subjects them to ritual torture. He does this in an attempt to bring ‘enlightenment’ and shops around the internet for teens.
After being sent to a mental institution, Captain Howdy seems cured. But the local detective knows it’s just a waiting game until he strikes once more. This movie is a trip for sure, but it’s one you won’t necessarily want to go on at all. Taking too much pleasure in torture is the name of the game for this movie, so don’t expect much else.
4. The Lure (2015)
This is the one and only musical on this list, and yes, it’s a horror musical. Taking on the story of two mermaids who hear a band playing on the sand. They decide to leave the water and follow this band, becoming backup singers with their siren voices. A Little Mermaid storyline erupts, with one of the mermaids wishing to give up her voice for legs. This movie is NO Disney film and lots of grim subject matter assures you of that even when singing.
This movie is graphic and has far too many scenes that I don’t even wish to describe. Not much gore compared to some of the others on the list, but the freaky storyline will have you gripped. It’s almost like a car accident, you don’t want to watch but can’t look away even if you try. This movie will have you gripping the edge of your seat while it sings you into false security. A siren’s song of a film if ever there was one, The Lure lives up to its name.
The Home Stretch
3. Deadgirl (2009)
This movie is… technically a zombie movie. Though I promise you it is NOTHING like any zombie movie you will ever see. Not many people took notice of this film when it debuted, but it exploded onto streaming services. That’s where the film took a sort of cult-classic turn… for some reason. Following two high school boys, as they investigate an abandoned mental hospital, they find something inside. An apparently dead, naked girl lying on an examination table. Rather, she is strapped to the examination table.
After a quick examination, they discover she doesn’t have a pulse. Thinking they stumbled onto a deadly secret, one of the boys is all too eager to leave. The other sees a depraved use for the dead girl and begins ‘using her’ for his own purposes. This movie is just about the only time I’ve sympathized with a zombie and I’m not sure how that makes me feel. Don’t EVER let your kids see this, it’s definitely… an acquired taste.
2. Event Horizon (1997)
Billing itself originally as a Sci-Fi thriller, this movie is a horror icon for good reason. With an all-star cast and writing/directorial team, this film is a masterpiece. What starts out as a journey into space goes horribly awry and becomes deadly. This movie is deeply disturbing in subject matter as well as visual effects. Dealing with several issues that you don’t expect in sci-fi, this movie was a sleeper hit for sure.
Well written, directed, and extremely well performed, this movie is still not one for everybody. If you don’t mind religious undertones, gore, and horrific imagery, give it a shot. Aside from being disturbing, it’s probably one of the best movies on the list to enjoyably watch. The space explorers will discover a LOT more than they bargained for as they make their journey.
1. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
This Italian horror film was the inspiration for The Green Inferno and was the reigning king of cannibal horror. A deeply messed up genre, but one that had LOADS of fans and movies in the 70s and 80s. Banned in several countries, and depicting actual animal sacrifices, it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s movie magic. Made in partnership with a remote tribe in the Amazon, the film was all too real.
Teaming up with the tribe allowed for realism, but they basically demanded animal sacrifice. The director was all too happy to oblige and it adds to the imagery of, well… cannibalism. This movie is NOT for vegans or those who don’t enjoy gore. Lots of people fainted and threw up when it was released in theaters. No one really SHOULD see this movie, but that hasn’t stopped thousands of people from doing so. Eli Roth took inspiration from this to make his own version. As if we needed more reason to be afraid of the rainforest.
Are You Scared Yet?
There’s still one more installment of this list to go. So turn on the lights and jump under your covers, the next one gets a bit bumpy. We will visit Japanese Horror and some of the MOST depraved movies that made the list. If you’re not too shaken by what you’ve read so far, keep an eye out for the final chapter. It is sure to get your spine tingling for Halloween.
If you’re already craving for more make sure to check out part 3 of this series.
My name is Jon Schmitt and I am a writer through and through. Though I’ve spent my whole life obsessed with various sections of Nerd-dom, the thing I like most is writing. If I’m not here on the site, you will probably find me nose-deep in a book, playing games, or reading comics… and always with a cup of tea.