Top 10 Most Disturbing Movie Scenes


Mom, don’t read this.

So, we are making our Oscar push right now, which means that we are attempting to see as many movies as possible with Oscar nominations. Not just best picture, but actor, short film, make-up – really whatever we can feasibly manage to see before the red carpet parade of stars. If my political research were this intense my voting strategies might be altered.

In any case, Oscar-nominated films often broach difficult, disturbing subjects. “12 Years a Slave” (2013) and “Schlindler’s List” (1993) come to mind. Slavery and the holocaust – pretty much the epitome of difficult and disturbing? They are the kinds of movies that should be made. The kind of movies that remind us of what we are capable of as a race of humans. What we have done to each other. What we will be doomed to do to each other again and again and again if we allow patterns in history to repeat themselves by embracing ignorance. But man, are they hard to watch! I watched “Schlindler’s List,” and there are moments from that movie that are forever burned into my brain. I could not bring myself to watch “12 Years a Slave.” I just couldn’t do it. I wimped out.

Recently we saw the controversial, and Oscar nominated, film “American Sniper” (2014). It was excellent. Riveting. Revolting. Incredible. Chris Kyle is an American Hero in my eyes. He “just wanted to get the bad guys.” And, as the “most lethal American sniper,” he certainly got a lot of bad guys. I’m glad I saw the film. And not because it was fun to watch Bradley Cooper parade around in uniform with his big guns blazing. Ahem.

Wait, what was I saying? I got distracted there for a moment. Oh yes! Right. Difficult and disturbing films.

During the course of my time as a film buff, and an Oscar buff, I have come across a lot of disturbing scenes in films. I’ve seen enough movies (even though I bailed on “12 Years a Slave”) to have compiled a list of seriously disturbing scenes. I thought I had my number 1 for all time, which could never be touched, until I saw “American Sniper.” And now it’s been usurped. Sadly. I’m sure there are many scenes that may trump these (or should be included), but I can only use my own cinematographic experience.

Here is my Top 10 List of Most Disturbing Movie Scenes

10. Regan, possessed by a demon, scene with the metal crucifix (expletives involved that I won’t repeat – if you’ve seen the movie, you know the scene), “The Exorcist,” 1973

9. The eyes of Alex are forcefully held open while he is subjected to endless scenes of brutal imagery, “A Clockwork Orange,” 1971

8. Bill confesses to his son that he’s drugged and raped two of his friends, who are children, “Happiness,” 1998

7. The head in a box, “Se7en,” 1995

6. Church explosion that kills four innocent young girls in their church, committed by white racists, “Selma,” 2014

5. Gang rape of Mrs. Alexander in “A Clockwork Orange,” 1971

4. Jewish children hide in the feces of a latrine to keep from being killed by Nazis, “Schlindler’s List,” 1993

3. Beating death of a man using a fire extinguisher to the face, “Irreversible,” 2002

2. Brutal 9-minute long rape/beating of Alex in “Irreversible,” 2002

1. Use of a power drill to torture and then murder a young boy by a terrorist known as The Butcher, “American Sniper,” 2014

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