Controversial Movies that Cross the Line

 What Are Your Limits?

I have been asked, “What are some of the scariest or most graphic movies you have ever seen?”

The movies I consider scary are ones that have existed as classics and have stood the test of time – movies that everyone have seen.

Graphic movies aren’t as well known as their scary cousins. Graphic movies are those hidden gems that have been banned, caused controversy, and has resulted in younger audiences becoming grounded upon parents discovering their younglings went against their better judgment.

If you are looking for gore this Halloween, I do have a list for you, but I urge you to watch at your own risk. These movies are not for the faint of heart.

Instead of listing movies that are gory for no other reason but to be gory, I have listed movies that have an actual meaning to them – despite their subject matter.


The first on my extreme list is A Serbian Film. Out of all other movies, I would consider this one to be the most gory, graphic, and explicit. Even the cut version of this movie goes too far. A Serbian Film begins with a Quintin Tarantino feel. A retired porn star is in need of money and receives an offer he can’t refuse. With a script that has been kept secret from him, until the day of performing, he discovers that he has been tossed into the world of snuff films.

A Serbian Film graphically shows scenes of bestiality, necrophilia, and yes, even a scene that is dubbed “new born porn”. Although the scenes are fake, thank God – they are repulsive enough to make the viewer realize, you cannot unsee what you have seen.

With gore aside, this movie makes a strong point in which I feel society has turned its head to. The point is, if there is someone sick enough to buy it, there is someone sick enough to produce it. This also shines light, not only on the all mighty dollar, but the dangers of pornography and human trafficking.


Cannibal Holocaust is another infamous movie that resulted in a lawsuit for the director.  With graphic scenes of REAL animal slaughter, the viewer is taken a step further as the director casted actual cannibals. How he was able to get actual cannibals to work with him and his crew is beyond mind blowing to me.

One of the most gruesome scenes regards a native impaled on a stick. This is also the scene that gained attention from the courts. During trial, the director was forced to bring the native actress into court so she could reenact the stunt.  Rumors surfaced that the woman who performed before the court appeared similar to the impaled victim in the film.  Also, she was unable to reenact the impalement stunt.

With all said and done, this movie focuses on Yellow Journalism, something that is still alive and thriving in today’s society.


Men Behind the Sun ties with Cannibal Holocaust in my opinion. Men Behind the Sun is a fictitious historical horror movie regarding the tortures within Unit 731. This wartime movie doesn’t shy away from scenes featuring actual animal abuse: a cat being thrown into a room filled with rats, and rats being burned alive. If you can stomach these scenes, you can probably endure the movie, despite it shows the real autopsy of a young child.

Men Behind the Sun has been heavily banned and was deemed as being a movie that negates any educational value. Although this movie is what it is, I believe it holds truth to the suffering that camp sufferers may have experienced. Men Behind the Sun could have easily been a drama, had it not been for the scenes which made it so controversial.

Excluding the moments that were real, the viewer is introduced to ice water torture, the stomping of a baby, people being skinned alive, etc. Although filled with gore and torture from beginning to end, I feel the storyline is equivalent to any other war related film, except this is the one that doesn’t hold back.


If you can tolerate the previous titles, you can likely tolerate Faces of Death. Despite what people say, only a small percentage of this movie is actually real. The rest simply shows what can be done with a good camera and an awesome effects team.

Faces of Death is that one infamous movie that I had heard about all through school and watched it for curiosity sakes, of course during the time I was in school, it was rumored that all footage was 100% real.

For those who have no idea what Faces of Death is about, the viewer is taken through the many ways to die by narrator, Francis B. Gross. We are introduced to other cultures and tangible horrors that we might not be aware of existing.

The parts of the movie which I found most interesting are the scenes presenting a professional medical insight. Also, the scene at the end about the man who was haunted by his dead wife and daughter was interesting – although it was fake. If you’re a gore author, like myself, some of the scenes in the move can help your descriptive nature.


Salo: The 120 Days of Sodom inspired by the Marquis De Sade novel should raise a few eyebrows. Critics and historians alike have praised this art house movie and have debated if it can be considered horror or not. The genre of this film is in the eye of the beholder.

Beautifully shot with stunning angles, costumes, and scenes, the viewer is introduced to four wealthy libertines who kidnap a group of teenagers. These teenagers are introduced to four prostitutes, who tell stories of their depravity. During and after storytelling, the libertines force the teenagers to preform acts that are sexual and torturous.

Visuals include victims eating bread filled with needles, a fine dining scene where everyone is forced to eat their own excrement, and finally scenes regarding castration, rape, and the burning of genitals.

There are a few philosophies regarding this movie which make the subject more interesting. Some viewers hail it as being a film that urges people to consider their own limits in the world of sex. Others claim Salo is metaphoric to the German holocaust. This is the only movie I have listed where the director was murdered by one of his actors after filming was complete.


In a Glass Cage begins with an ex-Nazi living in Mexico with a wife and child. The first scene introduces us to his failed suicide attempt, causing him to be hospitalized in a glass tank to stay alive. Not long after, a young man is appointed to become the caregiver of this ex-war criminal.

We later discover that this young caregiver was a victim of the ex-Nazi and instead of seeking revenge, he plans to continue life, following in the footsteps of his abuser. In a Glass Cage is an art house film that is beautifully shot, well-acted, and well written. This movie is not the goriest out of the list but scenes of insinuated child abuse is nerve cringing, especially a scene featuring a five year old taking a shot of gasoline directly to his heart.

This movie is a literal spiral into Hell and shows firsthand the actions of a deranged mind. Again, we question if this movie is horror or if it is an extreme drama.


Found. is a movie that I stumbled across at a comic con. The seller (Alternative Exchange) told me this was an extreme movie that was underrated and the she didn’t lie whatsoever. Found. is a strong movie that feels like a drama until the last fifteen minutes.

The lead character discovers his older brother is a serial killer. Not telling anyone, the boy allows nature to take its course. I felt this movie was solid for its many abilities, especially since it had a strong social message which focuses on racism and bullying.

It’s not until the end when our toes begin to curl and our fingers grip the couch. In the bloodbath, which is the end of Found., there is incest/rape, beheadings, and tons on other nasty elements which balance on the fine line of leaving nothing to your imagination.

Found. is based off of the novel by the same name and is bound to become a cult classic alongside other infamous movies such as Audition.


Speaking of Audition, this list would not be complete without mentioning Takashi Miike. Audition is a slow burner based on a widower and his son. What could have easily been a romantic drama eventually takes a hard left turn. The widower holds a fake audition where he become smitten with a sweet, shy girl. They begin dating and the character development between the two is bittersweet. Audition really focuses on how some people can be so desperately lonely.

Throughout Audition, the viewer is presented elements that make them think something isn’t right. It isn’t until we see a burlap sack thrash around in the girl’s apartment that we realize she is insane.

The last fifteen minutes of Audition has been hailed as some of the most intense torture sequences in horror movie history. If acupuncture torture gets under your skin then this movie might not be for you. One of the most infamous scenes shows the lead actress vomit into a dog bowl and forces her last lover to eat her regurgitation… Here’s a side note, she actually gagged herself and puked for this scene to look more realistic.

The basis for this shocker isn’t love hurts, but the warning to be careful of who you love.


Moving away from realistic horrors, we now have Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist. A couple in mourning from the death of their newborn take retreat in a cabin, where insanity begins to ravish them. There are four chapters to this movie, not including a prologue and epilogue. This is a supernatural, erotic, psychological thriller shot in an art house style.

Such as popular movies during the satanic panic wave, this too moves as a slow burner with elements that suggest “The forest is the devil’s playground.” Shot in a grimy, depressing tone, it isn’t until the end of Antichrist that the viewer is repulsed, as the majority of the movie is told through shadow.

It isn’t until the sexual torture begins between man and wife that we leave our comfort zones. The torture sequences include having a hole drilled in the man’s leg so that a weight be attached to his body, a clitoral castration, and a literal scene of bloody masturbation.

The highly graphic sex scenes, which weren’t torture related, required body doubles to act out the intercourse. With all aside, this movie shows what I believe is not only a mental but a spiritual downward spiral for someone who has suffered loss.


Finally, we have The Human Centipede movies. In my opinion, the first sequence is not a visual shocker, however, psychological wise – it’s like having a bucket of ice water dumped on you. At this point, I don’t have to go into details about the subject matter of the first movie. In a nutshell, a surgeon sews three people anus to mouth, each person in this modification are forced to eat the excrement of the person before them.

Now, after we survive that system shock, we are introduced to The Human Centipede 2. Shot in a grimy black and white, which managed to make even the nongory scenes appear grotesque, we are introduced to a slew of characters who are all insane in some way or the other.

The only sane people in the movie are those who become the centipede, which is twelve people long instead of three people long, like in the first sequence. We are force fed scenes depicting physical torture, fecal matter consumption, sandpaper masturbation, barbed wire anal rape, and the stomping of a new born baby.

What fascinates me about The Human Centipede 2 is that it touches on a subject rarely seen in the entertainment industry. The Human Centipede 2 is frightening in a sense that it shows what would happen when an insane fan takes his fandom one step too far.

alex 2

I hope you have enjoyed reading about these movies. Love them or hate them, here they are with their political messages, artistic nerve, and their infamousness. I have to admit more than a few of these movies crossed my line and pushed my boundaries.

Yes, it is true that we have the freedom of speech and expression but when is too much too much? As an entertainment consumer, I can tell you that some of these titles offered up too much to be considered movies I would boast about.

Being a horror author, I can understand the lengths to what some characters will go before a point is made. Thus poses the question: When working with an important subject, is it necessary for the creator to shock audiences into recognizing the brutality of our own existence? If yes is the answer, then these movies have succeeded.

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Best Wishes,

Alexander S. Brown


8 Responses to “Controversial Movies that Cross the Line”

  1. nice!! Very well done.

  2. Alexander S. Brown Says:

    Thanks! More blogs are on their way regarding the horror fandom!

  3. Wow! Very impressive review! You are really good at writing detailed articles about horror. I honestly thought this was written by an Internet reviewer who made a living writing reviews, lol. Seriously, I did. Keep up the good work!

  4. […] asked again for a list of controversial horror movies.  If you have not seen the first list, click HERE to be redirected.  Below is another Top 10, that I consider to be movies that will repulse you and […]

  5. Wow, the movies I’ve seen here are Audition and The Human Centipede, which I agree is way over the top much, but it sounds lime sequel is even more gruesome. And I thought the Hostel series was a new frontier.

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