Sunday, August 25, 2013

15 Discomforting Films That Are Worth It

 Ever seen a movie that you rented to shock and intrigue you, and it just turned out to be BAD? Not 'bad' as in 'disturbing,' but bad as in 'sucking shit out of a straw is preferable to watching this turd' bad? Maybe  it was "The Human Centipede," or an "August Underground" sequel. Well look no further, you sick low-life disturbing-film lover! I've got a collection of sick and depression-inducing movies for every taste. They're called-  you guessed it- '15 DISCOMFORTING MOVIES THAT ARE WORTH IT.'

Before you start, a quick note...

If this list is well-received, I will make a sequel. Recommendations are not only appreciated but actually encouraged. I have seen the original "Funny Games", "Audition," and the second "Human Centipede", I just wasn't a fan (but concerning "THC2"- that short fat guy can really act.) Note- I WILL ONLY ADD A FILM IF I LIKE IT.  Don't recommend some third-rate Troma gore-fest and expect it to end up here. Now, now that we've gotten that sorted out- enjoy my list. And for the love of God, comment. Okay, that sounded a little desperate. Enjoy, anyway. -SARAH.

1. Tyrannosaur, Directed by Paddy Considine

Arguably the most disturbing film on this list. Shows what happens when you mix social realism with brutal, and sadly, all-too-common violence. Although I won't spoil this engrossing tale, the movie might be too much to take for doggie lovers, Peter Mullan goes through dogs with his fists, his feet, and his baseball bat the way some people go through used Jalopies.
Consensus- Very Worthwhile

2. The Living and the Dead, Directed by Simon Rumley

My well-intentioned advice- if you go to see this flick, make it a double feature and watch a mindless comedy after lest you, too, end up in a funk for days. Addled James, wants, in his Oedipal desperation, to look after his very ill mother so much that he is willing to do anything. A couple of hallucination scenes later, Mom is on the verge of death and James has gone around the bend.
Consensus- Very Worthwhile

3. Antichrist, Directed by Lars Von Trier

Definitely the biggest mind-fuck on this list. Self-devouring foxes, deer fetuses, and grievous attacks on genitals all figure into this strange story about a grieving wife and her shrink husband who's busy, you know, being a shrink and not a spouse. Once a shrink, always a shrink. Or something.  Freaky, polarizing stuff.
Consensus- Somewhat Worthwhile

4. Bullhead, Directed by Michael J. Roskam

I watched this one with my Dad. It was an intense experience, but, you know, I think it affected him more than me. Anyway, "Bullhead" is about a Steroid junkie whose macho man posing and secret self-loathing can be traced down to one childhood incident. The lead is built like an ox, so that helps.
Consensus- Worthwhile

5. Buddy Boy, Directed by Mark Hanlon

Any movie that begins with a montage of religious imagery followed by a scene of a stuttering, unkempt, possibly Schizophrenic man jerking off is sure to polarize audiences, so there you are. Coincidentally, my dad thinks this is pretentious garbage, but I fell in love with this dark story years ago. An early and subversive role for "Game Of Thrones"'s Aidan Gillen.
Consensus- Very Worthwhile

6.  Midnight Cowboy, Directed by John Schlesinger

This wasn't particularly disturbing to me, just dark.  The NC-17 rating then (1969) doesn't mean much now, but "Midnight Cowboy" still shines, propelled by the performances of Dustin Hoffman as a shady, crippled con man and Jon Voight as his naive friend, who fancies himself God's gift to women, but finds himself alone and unwanted to an unforgiving city.
Consensus- Very Worthwhile



7. Eraserhead, Directed by David Lynch
Not sure if I liked this one or found it a pointless mind-fuck. Anyway, loner Henry Spencer navigates a apocalyptic world until he is forced to care for his own offspring- a horribly deformed, disgusting , reptilian baby. "Eraserhead" contains many weird and uncomfortable scenes, one of the weirdest being a piece of meat that squeaks and spits out bile (pictured above.) Fun times.
Consensus- Somewhat Worthwhile

 8. Tony, Directed by Gerard Johnson

Great low-budget horror about a serial killer who likes his houseguests dead... and rotting.  A fan of 8o's action films, Tony is unemployed and haunted by his father's abuse. The the occasion arises, Tony... kills someone, keeping the body in his filthy, rank apartment as a personal companion. Uncomfortable? Yeah, that kind of movie will do that to you.
Consensus- Very Worthwhile

9. Red, White, & Blue, Directed by Simon Rumley

My co-blogger mom dubs this the 'most disturbing movie she's ever seen' and I'll tell you, baby, it's not for the weak of heart. Three lives violently intersect when good-time party girl Erica sleeps with struggling rocker Frankie. Worth watching mostly for Noah Taylor's performance as a Veteran with a sadist's streak. Intense.
Consensus- Somewhat Worthwhile

10. Breaking the Waves, Directed by Lars Von Trier

Before "Antichrist" made him one of the most hotly debated films in the Cannes film festival, Lars Von Trier provoked his audiences with this little gem, his best film, IMO. Emily Watson is simply magnificent here as Bess, a naive young Scottish woman who gives up everything for her disabled husband. I know, it sounds like a feminist's nightmare, but "Breaking the Waves" has a way of transcending it's troubling premise. 
Consensus- Very Worthwhile

11.  Pan's Labyrinth, Directed by Guillermo Del Toro 

If dark, Gothic fairy tales starring brave little girls are your thing (but this ain't no "Coraline,") "Pan's Labyrinth will appeal to and appall you in equal measure. Fairy Tale-obsessed Ofeilia seeks refuge in book from her monstrous military commander step-father, only to find that her fate ties into the fate of a centuries-old legend. Oh yeah, and the monsters are scarier than anything from Tim Burton.

Consensus- Very Worthwhile

12. Grave of the Fireflies, Directed by  Isao Takahata

I feel bad for not crying at this movie. I mean, in the film world, that's practically a mortal sin. I didn't think it was hokey or poorly concieved. It's a very effective movie. I just didn't cry. Nonetheless, this is a very dark story of Japanese children left orphaned and struggling to survive after a WW2 bombing.
 Consensus- Worthwhile

13. The Wrestler, Directed by Darren Aronofsky

I was about to put Aronofsky's "Requiem for a Dream," but I decided "The Wrestler" is a much less cartoon-y depiction of desperation and lower-class angst. Mickey Rourke plays an excellent character excellently, and the film pulls no punches in it's portrayal of futile 
 dreams and failed relationships.
Consensus- Very Worthwhile

14. Michael, Directed by Marcus Schleinzer

Unflinching look at a seemingly ordinary Suburban child molester is deeply unsettling, due to the lack of sensationalism and a everyday life approach to the abuser's crimes. The sexual content isn't graphic... it doesn't have to be, and the child actor is given enough distance from the material as not to be abusive. Still spine-tinglingly effective
 Consensus- Worthwhile 

15 The Snowtown Murders, Directed by Justin Kurzel

I didn't fall madly in love with it, but this film shows how a seemingly reasonable hang-up (i.e. contempt and disgust against child molesters) often hides a deeper seated problem, when taken out of hand. Like you start by killing pedophiles, then move on to other 'detriments to society' like gays and drug addicts and the mentally slow. The strangulation scene (pictured above) is intense.


  1. My first reaction to this was "Holy shit, did you really watch an August Underground movie?" I stumbled upon that little fandom a few years ago, and yeah, I definitely do not have the stomach for that.

    I definitely agree with Tyranasaur, Red, White, and Blue, and Grave of the Fireflies being on this list. Even though I wasn't moved by the latter, I'd never watch it again. I added Buddy Boy to my Netflix queue, that sounds intriguing. I've actually considered watching 'Michael' a few different times, but I always talk myself out of it.

  2. Grave of the Fireflies is such a hard film to watch and by the end of it, I was a mess. A part of me wants to see it again, but another part of me doesn't want that feeling again! Such a sad story. But worth it. Oddly.

  3. A lot of powerful films on this list. Antichrist and Breaking the Waves are tough to watch, but also stay with you. When you watch a Lars von Trier film, you sort of know you are in for that kind of experience!

  4. Excellent list. I haven't seen a few of these, but Antichrist, Eraserhead, Breaking the Waves and Michael are great choices.


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