In every film enthusiast’s repertoire there tends to be a handful of movies that, for one reason or another, are just truly un-rewatchable. I have compiled a list of those films that are for me, just too horrifying to sit through again. Some of them are just plain gruesome, while others just made me so uncomfortable during the first go ’round, that once is enough.
Disclaimer: Some of these aren’t necessarily considered straight horror but they do all hold horror elements. Also, the films listed here aren’t necessarily deemed “bad” movies, but for me, I won’t be re-watching anytime soon.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
This one is really two-fold for me. First off, I really get bothered by rape scenes. I know, I know, obviously well-adjusted people don’t generally enjoy rape, but watching rape in movies just makes me feel so uncomfortable.
The second reason A Clockwork Orange makes my list is that I am terribly frightened by eyeballs. When people poke or prod at their eyeballs, I just cant take it. Elementary school was the worst-remember when the kids would flip their eyelids inside-out? ::shudders:: And then there’s that one time when I was the first kid in class to finish her assignment, the teacher called me over to her desk to help her “find” her lost contact that her eyeball.
This is probably on many-a-disturbing list. While the brutality and visuals are truly graphic, the torture was arguably not futile; there was a reason (while extremely questionable) why the secret society performed their controversial experiments. A step-up from the “torture porn” of say Hostel, this was much more psychologically disturbing beyond the surface level. I would be interested in re-watching the early scenes of Martyrs to fully appreciate the story, however I cannot get past the persecution and viciousness of the latter part of the film. Martyrs is true horror.
An American Crime (2007)
Part of what makes this story so distressing is that it is based on the true story of a young girl tortured to death by an adult caregiver, a housewife, who had several children of her own. The acting was amazing in this film, especially considering there were so many child-actors. While I won’t spoil it here, what is heartbreaking for me is the way the movie is directed. I was unaware of the real-life case this was based on and the ending-when Slyvia flees to her parents-really got to me.
Funny Games (1997 & 2007)
While this was certainly disturbing, I was more annoyed at the main characters than truly horrified by the death and torture. Yes, the scene with the young boy was extremely unpredictable, as well as heinous, but ultimately I felt like all of the characters-victims included-were bored with their roles. Additionally, I was really irked by Paul’s “breaking of the 4th wall” when he pulls a Zack Morris-acknowledging the viewers behind the camera.
Again, the rape really was excessive. In fact, that was much of the film. I guess I just didn’t get the point of the movie.
The Mist (2007)
This was a fun movie up until the end. Lots of decent special effects and creatures, however the overwhelming sense of hopelessness in the final act is just too much for me to want to sit through again.
This is definitely not in the horror genre at all but it is scary beyond-belief and on a very real level. I remember watching this when I was in college. I don’t think I even kissed a guy for like a year afterwards. One could argue this is a good movie to screen to middle-aged kids during their sexual education classes.
Whether you find the film good or not, child death and genital mutilation make this a no-go for me on the re-watch scale. Somber, desperate, and bleak, the atmosphere is visually and psychologically haunting.
Honorable mentions: Frontier(s) (2007), The Strangers (2008), The Woman (2011)
The following I haven’t yet seen but I suspect they would fall onto this list. I do plan on eventually getting to them: Cannibal Holocaust (1980), I Spit on Your Grave (1978 & 2010), A Serbian Film (2010), Irreversible (2002), The Last House on the Left (1972 & 2009), and Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door (2007).