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The most disturbing film I've ever seen


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For me it is The Honeymoon Killers with Tony Lo Bianco and Shirley Stoler. Will not watch it because the murder scenes are just far too disturbing for me to watch. A tribute I suppose to the film's realism. saw it way back in the early to mid 1970s on pay cable. your heart goes out when a poor old lady gets wacked on the head with a hammer and then Stoler finishes her off by strangling her and Stoler killing a little girl by drowning her in a toilet is just too traumatic for me to sit through. a very disturbing film. Has all the punch of in cold blood and then some. I can easily sit through in cold blood but not The Honeymoon Killers.

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  • 4 months later...

Certainly one of the most disgustingly disturbing for me was Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs.

 

And that is because of one scene in the film of revolting s a d i s m performed upon a captive police officer. The director does, fortunately, pull his camera away from the moments of greatest horror so that the audience only hears the screams of the officer. That didn't, however, mitigate the extreme discomfort I felt during the scene (which, of course, the director wanted the audience to feel).

 

I came close to turning off Reservoir Dogs during this scene but didn't, sticking the film out to the end. It's actually a well crafted film with terrific performances by the all male cast.

 

But I'll never watch Reservoir Dogs again because of the torture scene. Seeing the depths of depravity to which one person can stoop in order to torture another is not something that I will ever find entertaining. For the same reason, I will never see any of the Saw horror flicks, sometimes referred to as "torture porn."

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When we were kids( the group I hung out with back in the late '50's to VERY early '60's) we thought some tortures in movies were COOL.  But, just about all of the tortures we SAW back then in movies were the tortures the ROMANS and like that would perform on their captives.  That it was so far removed by history and locale is why it wasn't that disturbing to us.

 

Y'know, many years later, when we'd all catch up a bit while attending(unfortunately) one or another's parents funerals, we discussed it and figured we were just a bunch of naive and dumb kids.

 

So, we're left to wonder what's behind ADULTS both CREATING these movies, and the adults that PAY TO SEE THEM!

 

I never did go in for that sort of cinematic "entertainment", and also shy away from it.  RESERVOIR DOGS certainly IS kind of disturbing, and I agree well acted, and the fact that it's mostly the ONE COP that gets tortured is why it doesn't bother me that much.

 

But, HONEYMOON KILLERS IS a bit much!  I never stuck THAT one out to the end...

 

 

Sepiatone

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For me it is The Honeymoon Killers with Tony Lo Bianco and Shirley Stoler.

 

That is a disgusting little film, I agree. I wrote a comment over at IMDb some years back - it was headed "Cheap, Stark Exercise in Ugliness".

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But I'll never watch Reservoir Dogs again because of the torture scene.

 

When I watched it back in the 90's, for the first time, it affected me similarly. Pretty brutal. It's the suspense of whether or not there's gonna be a burning that is the greatest grip in the movie.

 

Watched it again recently - added it to my collection in fact. Didn't bother me nearly as much this time. Knowing what was gonna happen softened it, and I was able to appreciate the film as a film rather than as a disturbing experience. The performances of Michael Madsen and Steve Buscemi are just outstanding. Madsen in particular will never be separated in the public consciousness from this role, no matter what else he does. He's that good.

 

The DVD commentary is terrific to listen to as well - and Madsen is a part of it.

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Elim Klimov's 1985 Come and See is very disturbing.   You might equate it with being on a packed plane that you know is going down.

The feeling of dread in films can be just as disturbing as on-screen violence.

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When I watched it back in the 90's, for the first time, it affected me similarly. Pretty brutal. It's the suspense of whether or not there's gonna be a burning that is the greatest grip in the movie.

 

Watched it again recently - added it to my collection in fact. Didn't bother me nearly as much this time. Knowing what was gonna happen softened it, and I was able to appreciate the film as a film rather than as a disturbing experience. The performances of Michael Madsen and Steve Buscemi are just outstanding. Madsen in particular will never be separated in the public consciousness from this role, no matter what else he does. He's that good.

 

The DVD commentary is terrific to listen to as well - and Madsen is a part of it.

I take nothing away from Michael Madsen's performance. He's so convincing in that film that he gives me the willies whenever  I see him in something else. But I also think, "Oh, there's that sicko from "Reservoir Dogs."

 

And I agree with you about that the potential burning scene in the film, which had me squirming in my seat till I almost put a hole in my pants. (SPOILER ALERT!) The only thing that can compare to the relief I felt when someone got shot full of holes here was when Burt Reynolds used his bow and arrow to save Ned Beatty in Deliverance.

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The only thing that can compare to the relief I felt when someone got shot full of holes here was when Burt Reynolds used his bow and arrow to save Ned Beatty in Deliverance.

 

Umm - unfortunately for Ned, he was too late. He saved Jon Voight (from a forced fellation).

 

Although he probably did save them both from being murdered.

 

I recently added 'Deliverance' to my collection. Did you know that Ned Beatty had never done a movie before? His performance is amazing - the best in the movie, in my opinion.

 

Ironically, he plays the least capable of the four while in real life he was the only one who'd actually canoed or spent time in the woods.

 

It's a perfect movie. I don't believe it could be improved upon if remade. It's thoroughly faithful to the novel by James Dickey (who plays the part of the Sheriff).

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Umm - unfortunately for Ned, he was too late. He saved Jon Voight (from a forced fellation).

 

Although he probably did save them both from being murdered.

 

I recently added 'Deliverance' to my collection. Did you know that Ned Beatty had never done a movie before? His performance is amazing - the best in the movie, in my opinion.

 

Ironically, he plays the least capable of the four while in real life he was the only one who'd actually canoed or spent time in the woods.

 

It's a perfect movie. I don't believe it could be improved upon if remade. It's thoroughly faithful to the novel by James Dickey (who plays the part of the Sheriff).

Burt Reynolds had a story about the actor who played the hillbilly perpetrator (forget his name) being a really strange guy who made it known that he was actively looking forward to doing the rape scene. The implication was that he was excited about it sexually. He scared the hell out of Ned Beatty, and the director knew that the first take better work, for fear that he'd never get an increasingly squeamish Beatty to do a second take.

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Burt Reynolds had a story about the actor who played the hillbilly perpetrator (forget his name) being a really strange guy who made it known that he was actively looking forward to doing the rape scene. The implication was that he was excited about it sexually. He scared the hell out of Ned Beatty, and the director knew that the first take better work, for fear that he'd never get an increasingly squeamish Beatty to do a second take.

 

Well, that actor's name is Bill McKinney - and he's one of the most menacing actors of all time. A strong man as well - and it shows in the performance he gives.

 

I'm okay with calling Reynolds a bullsh!t artist ('cause he is). The interviews with McKinney in the special features of the DVD, as well as the commentary track by Boorman, do not bear out Reynolds' claim. McKinney and Beatty spent considerable time together during the production, and were thoroughly prepared to get it done in one take. Beatty, understandably, didn't want to do it any more than that. They pulled it off masterfully.

 

Another movie in which McKinney gets to provide shivers from his menacing aura is 1974's 'The Parallax View' - a Warren Beatty 70's paranoia feature.

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Well, that actor's name is Bill McKinney - and he's one of the most menacing actors of all time. A strong man as well - and it shows in the performance he gives.

 

I'm okay with calling Reynolds a bullsh!t artist ('cause he is). The interviews with McKinney in the special features of the DVD, as well as the commentary track by Boorman, do not bear out Reynolds' claim. McKinney and Beatty spent considerable time together during the production, and were thoroughly prepared to get it done in one take. Beatty, understandably, didn't want to do it any more than that. They pulled it off masterfully.

 

Another movie in which McKinney gets to provide shivers from his menacing aura is 1974's 'The Parallax View' - a Warren Beatty 70's paranoia feature.

Here's Reynolds' anecdote:

 

on Bill McKinney, with whom he worked in "Deliverance":

 

I thought the other guy, Bill McKinney, was a little bent. I used to get up at five in the morning and see him running nude through the golf course while the sprinklers watered the grass. A strange dude, he moved to L.A. after "Deliverance" and worked in a lot of pictures of Clint Eastwood. He always played sickos, but he played them well. With my dark sense of humor, I was kind of amused by him. But as we got closer to the rape scene, I caught him staring at Ned Beatty in an odd, unnerving way. Ned would see it, and look away.

 

on the rape scene in "Deliverance":

 

The day before we shot the scene I noticed [bill McKinney] hovering beside Ned [Ned Beatty] and sat down between them. I wanted him to see I was Ned's friend. No different than in the script. Then I asked him how he planned to handle the rape scene. McKinney turned out to be a pretty good guy who just took "The Method" way too far. Staring straight at Ned, he whispered, "I've always wanted to try that. Always have." Ned shouted, "John! Oh, John!".

 

In his brilliance, Boorman [John Boorman] reassured Ned but also brought in several additional cameras, knowing Ned wasn't going to give him a second, third or fourth take. Ned was only going to do the brutal scene once. When it came down to shooting it, ['Herbert Cowboy Coward'] and McKinney were hands-down brilliant. Scared the **** out of everybody who saw the movie. People crawled out of the theatre. None of that creepy "squeal, piggy, piggy" stuff was in the script. But McKinney, I swear to God, really wanted to hump Ned. And I think he was going to. He had it up and he was going to bang him. It's the first and only time I have ever seen camera operators turn their heads away. Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore. I ran into the scene, dove on McKinney, and pulled him off. Boorman, hot on my tracks, helped hold him down. Ned, who was crying from both rage and fear, found a big stick and started beating him on the head. Half a dozen guys grabbed Ned and pulled him away. We separated the two of them and let things cool off.

 

I don't know if Burt Reynolds is B.S.ing or not, but it makes for one hell of a good story.

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McKinney was sure in a hell of a lot of movies and tv episodes for a guy like Reynolds is claiming him to be. Clint Eastwood used him eight times.

 

By the way, before McKinney made it in movies, he was a tree surgeon in Beverly Hills.

 

Asked about what Reynolds said of him, he denied it was true. There was nothing sexual about his performance in 'Deliverance' and no one had to pull him off Beatty.

 

Just more of Reynolds' bullsh!t.

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I like this thread topic. Good job, Nipkow.

 

My selection here is a film I watched last Christmas, as in -- yes, on Christmas Day. It was THE WHISPERERS by Bryan Forbes. It's such a meditation on the fine line between sanity and insanity. Also, if you live alone like I do, you appreciate what she goes through-- and how the voices comfort her. Not saying I have voices in my head but I do get lonely sometimes, especially after I had to put my dog down (not ready for a new one yet). So this film is disturbing in a good way-- because watching it, I confront a part of myself, the lonely part I try to ignore or avoid. 

 

Disturbing can be truth itself. Not necessarily blood and guts. Am I making sense...?

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For me it is The Honeymoon Killers with Tony Lo Bianco and Shirley Stoler. Will not watch it because the murder scenes are just far too disturbing for me to watch. A tribute I suppose to the film's realism. saw it way back in the early to mid 1970s on pay cable. your heart goes out when a poor old lady gets wacked on the head with a hammer and then Stoler finishes her off by strangling her and Stoler killing a little girl by drowning her in a toilet is just too traumatic for me to sit through. a very disturbing film. Has all the punch of in cold blood and then some. I can easily sit through in cold blood but not The Honeymoon Killers.

 

One of the most disturbing films I've seen is the scene in "The Fly II", the poor dog that got messed up in the transporter and had to be euthanized. 

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Probably Funny Games, Michael Haneke's sadistic little story about a family being tortured by a couple of  degenerates. Haneke sets up the viewers by making us hate these two, and then pulls off a bit of directorial **** by giving us the infamous 'rewind' scene. This movie is meant to disturb and it succeeds. Haneke must have thought a lot of this film because he made it twice. I saw the first one, a French-language film, and came nowhere near seeing the second one, in English starring Naomi Watts, made about 10 years after the first one. I wasn't going to put myself through that again. The second Funny Games is basically a carbon copy of the first one, Haneke used exactly the same script and camera angles, etc...

 

When I was quite young, I saw a scene from a movie of which I don't remember the title that disturbed me so much I had nightmares as well as morbidly obsessive thoughts in daytime. It involved a young woman who picks up a pair of binoculars and looks through them and ... I don't even want to repeat it (I will reveal only upon request, it's horrible). Maybe some here will remember, though I'm quite sure it was some obscure, trashy little film of little consequence (although I think it perhaps might make the Fri night Underground lineup, it's that kind of thing, low budget, creepy, etc.)

 

****  s a d i s m

 

==

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When I was quite young, I saw a scene from a movie of which I don't remember the title that disturbed me so much I had nightmares as well as morbidly obsessive thoughts in daytime. It involved a young woman who picks up a pair of binoculars and looks through them and ...

 

That would be 'Horrors of the Black Museum' (1959).

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Probably Funny Games, Michael Haneke's sadistic little story about a family being tortured by a couple of  degenerates. Haneke sets up the viewers by making us hate these two, and then pulls off a bit of directorial **** by giving us the infamous 'rewind' scene. This movie is meant to disturb and it succeeds. Haneke must have thought a lot of this film because he made it twice. I saw the first one, a French-language film, and came nowhere near seeing the second one, in English starring Naomi Watts, made about 10 years after the first one. I wasn't going to put myself through that again. The second Funny Games is basically a carbon copy of the first one, Haneke used exactly the same script and camera angles, etc...

 

When I was quite young, I saw a scene from a movie of which I don't remember the title that disturbed me so much I had nightmares as well as morbidly obsessive thoughts in daytime. It involved a young woman who picks up a pair of binoculars and looks through them and ... I don't even want to repeat it (I will reveal only upon request, it's horrible). Maybe some here will remember, though I'm quite sure it was some obscure, trashy little film of little consequence (although I think it perhaps might make the Fri night Underground lineup, it's that kind of thing, low budget, creepy, etc.)

 

****  s a d i s m

 

==

 

"Bastard Out of Carolina" (1996) is brutal and sadistic. More disturbing in that it's based on a true story.

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"Bastard Out of Carolina" (1996) is brutal and sadistic. More disturbing in that it's based on a true story.

 

Unlike the other movies mentioned this one-made for TV as I remember-won or was nominated for several awards and became the breakout role for Jenna Malone.  I've yet to see it because I've never been in the right place to but want to.  If it dealt with child abuse and is true perhaps it needed to be graphic to tell the story.  I can testify it's definitely never pretty.

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In my case and the films which have "disturbed" me the most are not necessarily films which depict an individual or a small group of people displaying some extreme sociopathic behavior as there will always be a small percentage of the human race who for whatever reason will exhibit such behavior, but are instead films which present examples of a complete breakdown of society and the systematic inhumane behavior exhibited in history by a large number of people.

 

In this I mean I have probably been most disturbed, and even though I intellectually knew of the atrocities incurred during what has become known as The Holocaust, after seeing these atrocities vividly reenacted on film in such moves as KAPO (1960) and SCHINDLER'S LIST (1993).

 

And speaking of the WWII era and a vivid recreation of it, another film which disturbed me for weeks after watching it was another of Steven Spielberg's films, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, and especially the director's graphic and realistic reenactment of the D-Day invasion, and which since its release has seemed to have influenced other filmmakers depicting war and all its horrors in a more realistic manner.

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I think how disturbing you find a movie depends a lot on where you are in life when you see it.  I was raised religiously and when I was in college, I saw The Exorcist. Completely flipped me out. (18 years of religious training will definitely leave a mark.) Now the only thing that disturbs me about the film is the age of the lead actress--12 years old! What were they thinking??

 

Another example--I saw Pet Sematary with a couple of friends, one of whom was pregnant.  We both walked out. At the time the idea of crushing a 2 year-old with a truck, then bringing him back to life, only to find out he's not your baby, he's a demon in a rotting child's body, who kills his mother and tries to kill his father...no wait. Thats STILL totally disturbing.

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By coincidence, the last two rentals my wife and I had from Netflix were about as disturbing as any of the previous thousands of movies we've seen. Both were directed by Michael Haneke:

 

The White Ribbon

 

Amour

 

It's going to take us awhile to recover from this 1-2 punch.

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SECONDS – 1966 - John Frankenheimer

Starring Rock Hudson in his most dramatic role ever.

The premise of the story alone is enough to be disturbing to anybody, and Hudson gave a shatteringly real and inspired performance. I don’t know if this film was widely released. The critics (and the public I think) hated it.

I had never even heard of it before and came across it by accident at the library.

Thinking about Hudson’s life and what we know now it is even more disturbing. What must he have been thinking when he was making the film?

I can only imagine how the story must have been disturbing to him.

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