Editor’s Note: This article was first published in October of 2013, shortly before Halloween. It is being reprinted as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months…
Looking for a Halloween horror movie that goes beyond screaming-babysitter and haunted-house cliches? Some of the most disturbing, vile, disgusting and off-the-hook films ever made are available on Netflix’s instant streaming service.
Here are six incredibly twisted experiences that will have you whimpering with disbelief. Tasteless? Wicked? Exploitative? These films are all of these things and then some. Don’t watch them, if you have any sense whatsoever.
6. Maniac (2012)
Even more violent and depraved than the trend-setting 1980 original (which isn’t available to stream on Netflix), this slasher flick involves the mommy-fixated owner (Elijah Wood) of a mannequin store who prowls the night in search of women to stab. Even sicker: He keeps the scalps to top off his mannequins in a fly-ridden room. You’ll almost smell the rotting flesh.
“If it’s possible to be both impressed and appalled by a movie’s pull-no-punches savagery,” wrote The A/V Club, “Maniac earns that dubious distinction.”
5. The Woman (2011)
A rural lawyer who encounters a mysterious feral woman living in the woods captures her in his net like an animal and proceeds to simply turn her into his personal prisoner-pet while encouraging his family to “civilize” her while she’s tied up in a cellar.
He douses her with boiling water and rapes her, but she eventually wins some gory vengeance: Get ready to see a face chewed off and a heart ripped out of a chest.
“An utterly insane 30-minute climax of violence, audacious gore and all-around bad behavior,” ruled The Miami Herald.
4. I Spit On Your Grave (1978)
One of the original midnight-movie shockers from the early days of truly gory special effects, this is a rape-and-torture film with a satisfying (and feminist) twist: the woman, who has been held captive in a house in the woods, eventually turns the tables on her attackers, with her no-holds-barred vengeance turning even more bloodthirsty than the early parts of the film. If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to witness a castration using an outboard motor, here’s your chance.
Deemed one of the “top ten ridiculously violent movies” by Time magazine, which declared it “still nearly impossible to watch 30 years later.”
3. The Girl Next Door (2007)
Based (as was The Woman) on a Jack Ketchum novel that in turn used many of the details from the 1965 case of an Indiana girl who was tortured, raped and murdered, this film uses an unnervingly realistic style to explore the twisted tale of a sadistic aunt looking after two sisters orphaned in an accident. Together with her three sons, she graduates from sexually humiliating one of the girls to attacking her with a blowtorch.
“The kind of movie that makes you wish you could wash your brain in bleach, to wash all traces of it from your memory,” wrote the New York Times.
2. and 1. The Human Centipede: First Sequence (2010) and The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence (2011).
“No horror film I’ve seen,” wrote Roger Ebert, “inflicts more terrible things on its victims than The Human Centipede….a film deliberately intended to inspire incredulity, nausea and hopefully outrage.” Linking up a row of people from mouth to anus is director Tom Six’s perverse innovation, and if you’re not appalled by shots of defecation from one person into another’s mouth, there’s something deeply wrong with you.
And yet opinion is nearly unanimous that the sequel (which was shown in a terrifying black and white) was even more revolting, living up to Six’s boast that it would make the first one “look like My Little Pony.” The British board of censors effectively banned the sequel as presented and successfully demanded more than two minutes of cuts of the most mind-blowingly horrific scenes, and HCII was also initially banned in Australia. All this, in a world that shrugs at the Hostel movies? Well played, Mr. Six.