Horror has always pushed the boundaries of what is extreme, ever since its humble beginnings. As part of The Edge’s Halloween features series, we are taking a look at the darker side of film and look at 5 of the most extreme horrors of the twenty first Century.
1) The Human Centipede Part 2: Full Sequence (2010)
The first film in the series The Human Centipede: First Sequence was released to a social media circus, with links flying across the stratosphere to taglines ‘Have you seen this?!’ The story was simple: A mad European doctor kidnaps some tourists and fixes their mouths to each others’ anuses to form a human chain with one digestive system. However, the idea was more horrific than the film, which passed through the BBFC uncut.
The Human Centipede Part 2: Full Sequence follows underground car-park attendant Martin whose obsession with he first film leads him to recreate the same experiments on an even bigger train. Initially rejected the the BBFC, the film was eventually passed cut with a certificate 18 after over three minutes of footage was taken out.
Extreme close ups of mouths being stapled to anuses, defecating into each other’s mouths, teeth being knocked out with hammers, masturbating with sandpaper, rape with barbered wire and the horrific on-screen death of a new born baby. This is not easy viewing.
Tom Six’s self-indulgent and repugnant film deserves its place in this top five because it is nasty for the sake of disturbing its viewers. Mission accomplished.
Why it makes the list: Joyless and dehumanising, it is truly void of any human emotion apart from suffering. Disturbing to the highest degree.
2) A Serbian Film (2010)
Another film made famous through social-media is A Serbian Film. Retired porn-star Milo is is lured out of retirement by an offer to make one last film. After 49 individual cuts, the film received an 18 certificate for containing very strong sexual violence, sex and violence.
Although some of the most explicit scenes are more implied than shown, it does not detract from the extreme nature of this film. A newborn baby is raped, acts of pedophilia, necrophilia, everykindofphilia. Death by choking on penises, decapitation, faces smashed in by blunt objects. It is this cutting of extreme violence and sexualised images, often surrounding children, that makes this infamous film in the top 5.
Its director Srdjan Spasojevic defended the film, suggesting it was an allegory of the political situation in Serbia He told ElectricSheep Magazine: Concerning our region, the last few decades have been dominated by war and political and moral nightmares. The world in general is sugar-coated in political correctness, but it is actually very rotten under that facade. So we’re talking about problems in the modern world, only they’re set in Serbia. And it’s a struggle against all the corrupt authorities that govern our lives for their own purposes. ‘
Whether you believe this or not, I’ll let you judge, although Spasojevic certainly seems convinced by his own rhetoric. Either film genius or sick provocateur, it cannot be un-seen.
Why it makes the list: Infamous in its explicit display of abhorrent sexual acts and violence, it is the king of extreme cinema.
3) Martyrs (2008)
Martyrs is a French film that pacts a real punch.
The film follows Lucie, who fifteen years after been abducted and tortured, who seeks revenge on her captures.
Forming part of the New French Extremity movement, Martyrs does have some intelligence behind it, with it existentialist ending. However it disturbs more than it provokes intellectual thought, with its relentless violence that is cruel and malicious. The less that is said about the film the better, as going into too much detail gives away the films’ story. Although take this warning, it is not for the faint hearted.
Jamie Graham from Total Film describes it as ‘a torture-porn movie for Guardian readers, Martyrs is […] savagery devoid of glee and its scalpel scraping at mind and soul as much as bruised, flailed body.’ Viewer caution is advised.
Why it makes the list: Sustained terror and extremely graphic violence. A very hard watch.
4) Ichi The Killer (2001)
The Saw franchise is considered by some to be the ultimate in the torture porn genre, and has made millions from entertaining us with the sadistic torture of others. However three years prior to Saw, Japan’s Ichi The Killer was already making scenes James Wan could only dream of.
Ichi’s victims are strung up and tortured in increasingly elaborate and sadistic ways. Tongues are severed, women are raped, faces are ripped off and the blood flows. The east have always found ways to shock audiences and are renowned for their expertise in disturbing their viewers. The most extreme part of it all? The satisfaction of those inflicting the pain on their victims
Other Japanese horrors such as Audition (1999) and Visitor Q (2001) are worthy of a place on this list, but as the most infamous of all these films, Ichi and his gang take the lead in graphic torture and cold-blooded approach to its victims.
Why it makes the list: The Combination of brutal rape and copious amounts of gore made Ichi the Killer a pioneer of extreme Eastern cinema.
5) Funny Games (1997) and (2007)
Whilst not one of the of the most extreme films made in terms of visceral content, Funny Games, released in 1997 then remade shot-for-shot by original direct Michael Haneke, is extreme in the psychological sense, leaving viewers emotional disturbed by its conclusion.
The story is very simple. Two psychotic young men take a family hostage and force them to play various sadistic games for their own enjoyment.
The film is relentless in its tension and is emotionally draining to watch. The characters are humiliated and tormented, which makes for very difficult viewing. The original, with its unknown cast, is extremely powerful and at times genuinely terrifying. Unfortunately, the remake with Naomi Watts and Tim Roth detracts slightly from this world we are thrown into, yet stands admirably on its on right too.
Why its on the list: The psychological torture on its characters and its audience make Funny Games not so fun to play.
Honorable mentions: Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), Cannibal Holocaust (1980), The Last House on the Left (1972), Audition (1999), I Spit On Your Grave (1978, 2010), Eden Lake (2008).
Do you agree? Are there any films you think should be in this top 5? Leave your comments below.