With the popularity of my ‘scariest films on Netflix instant’ lists (both the original list and the updated summer 2012 list), I’ve realized that a good amount of people are probably looking for disturbing films that they can watch right now. So if you’re seeking discomfort, check out this list of the most disturbing films on Netflix instant. Now this may seem obvious, but if you are squeamish or easily offended, you’ll want to avoid these movies.
I learned with the scariest films list that the Netflix lineup will change frequently, so some of these films may not be available for long. For that reason I will specify that this is the list for summer of 2012. If a new list is needed in the future, I’ll make it. So leave your comments below and let me know if any of these have been taken down. Also feel free to leave your own suggestions as they could help other readers!There will be a couple similarities between this list and my original scariest films on Netflix list because I did not anticipate the necessity for similar lists at the time I was writing that one. Also please note that this is ordered based on ‘disturbing’ and not necessarily on which is a better film.
But without further ado, here is the current list of most disturbing films on Netflix instant.
Top 10 Most Disturbing Films on Netflix Instant – Summer 2012
The Last Circus is the story of a young boy who watches his father, a ‘happy clown’, forcefully drafted for the Spanish Civil War. As an adult he becomes a ‘sad clown’ in order to follow in his father’s footsteps, but finds himself unable to be happy. When he joins a new circus he falls in love with an acrobat with an abusive boyfriend. It’s certainly not an easy plot to sum up, but this is a truly incredible film. The overall tone and a few single scenes make it a discomforting watch however. So not only does this film fit on this list, but I also highly recommend it.
Now I will start by saying that I don’t like this movie, in fact I more than don’t like it, I think it’s a terrible film. But the fact is, The Human Centipede is one disturbing movie. The very premise should have never been thought up, but it was and now we have this grossly uncomfortable film. It will very likely become a cult film down the line, and though I don’t think it’s a good movie, it is surely original. So if all you are looking for is disturbing and don’t mind a crap film (gross pun entirely intended), then give this one a run.
Lloyd Kaufman outdid himself with Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead and damn near resurrected exploitation. This gross-out-musical-horror-comedy-gorefest is as absurd as it is disgusting. It’s an extremely…well, Troma…film. If you like Troma, you’ll love this one and Kaufman himself plays a hilarious role (face it, the man’s a genius). One thing is for certain though, it’s a disturbingly gross film.
This is a strange trip of a film directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky, who also directed two other movies commonly found on ‘most disturbing’ lists (The Holy Mountain and El Topo). Santa Sangre, which translates to ‘Holy Blood’, is the story of a young boy who is part of a circus, and his mother who worships a bloodied, arm-less saint. It’s a difficult plot to describe (especially without spoiling anything), but it amounts to a very unsettling viewing experience. It isn’t quite as disturbing as some of Jodorowsky’s other work, but it is the only one available to watch instantly.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer does exactly what the title indicates: gives a portrait of Henry, who is a serial killer. The psychological ramifications of that plot are immense, and this film does better than most at capturing those aspects. Henry is soft-spoken and has many characteristics that we are all familiar with. The portrait shows the true humanity of the man behind the murderer, but at the same time there is always something a little wrong with him. Michael Rooker plays the role masterfully.
One of the more popular ‘rape and revenge’ films (partially due to the recent remake) is I Spit On Your Grave. It is also one of the most brutal and unforgiving. Although I have yet to see the remake, the original is certainly a raw and disturbing film (70’s films tend to naturally have that ‘raw’ feel). The very nature of the ‘rape and revenge’ genre is meant to be unsettling, and the innocence of the victim in this movie makes the brutalizing more painful, and the revenge more satisfying. It certainly belongs on this list.
4. The Last House on the Left (1972)
The Last House on the Left is a deeply haunting film. It’s also an important film in horror history that will be remembered for beginning the ‘rape and revenge’ subgenre (although it was inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s lesser known film, The Virgin Spring). Most disturbing is the fact that there are no happy endings. It demonstrates that even in vengeance there is no true fulfillment. It’s a straight-forward film with virtually no effects to speak of, but it is just a very raw, effective, and immortal film that belongs high among these other disturbing viewing experiences.
Takashi Miike’s Audition flawlessly demonstrates that innocent appearances can mask the most evil intentions. Asami is a perfectly normal and innocent looking young woman. What she practices behind closed doors however are anything but normal. Torture films were not unknown before Audition, but it immensely increased the brutality shown on screen. Nothing about this film is comfortable.
Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg play a grieving couple in Antichrist. They go to stay in a remote cabin in a place simply called ‘Eden’. Several elements tie together around the biblical story of ‘the first sin’ and the inherent evil of man (or woman). The visuals are astonishing, and all of them infect the viewers mind until the horrifying last half hour. This one is certainly meant to offend, disturb, and haunt the viewer long after the film is over.
The French shock film Irréversible is highly unsettling from the very beginning. It portrays the events of a brutal night in reverse order. This film is most infamous for the extended and unflinching rape of the lead character. And that is not the only disturbing scene. All violence in the film takes the same approach: the camera never looks away. So when a fight leads to one man repeatedly beating another in the face with a fire extinguisher, the viewer sees every single hit (I’ve seen a lot of films, and I’m baffled at how they shot this scene). On top of everything, the cinematography is chaotic and the camerawork is disorienting. If this one doesn’t turn your stomach in knots, there’s something wrong with you.