1. Se7en – When Detective Mills (Brad Pitt) shouts, “What’s in the box?”, then discovers his wife’s head in it.
One of the most seminal, and by now, most parodied scenes in movie history, this one got us all by surprise. As the relationship and entire personality of his character was made in tune with Tracy, her brutal loss left us all with a feeling of hopelessness.
2. Irreversible – The rape scene.
Few people have been able to sit through this French film by Gaspar Noé. The long scene where Monica Bellucci’s character is rape is a petrifying, and the film caused a massive controversy upon its release.
3. Requiem for a Dream – When Harry tries to find a vein on his blood-soaked arm to shoot heroin.
One could argue that the entire movie was wholly disturbing – there was no dearth of horror in this movie about drug addiction and it’s hellscape. But the scene where Jared Leto’s character is trying to find a vein on a dying, purple arm just destroyed me.
4. Black Swan – When Natalie Portman’s character rips the skin from the fingernail all the way down.
As Nina’s delusions in the world of ballet start to deepen, she starts seeing things. In one delirious scene, she starts clawing at a stray piece of skin next to the fingernail, pulling it all the way down. We felt that.
5. Bone Tomahawk – When Deputy Nick is scalped, bisected alive, and finally eaten.
In case you haven’t watched this film, please do. It’s a strange combination of Western slow-burn horror, and damn does it deliver. It’s a creative and unique film that’ll remain in your memory long after.
6. The Human Centipede – When the 3 of them realise they’ve been sewn together.
The early scene where the 3 unfortunate tourists of this shock horror flick realise they’ve been sewn together? Legendary, especially when the middle one realises just how bad she got it.
7. American History X – The curb stomp.
When Edward Norton’s new-Nazi character shoots a black man trying to steal his truck, you already know something terrible is about to go down. Then he places the other man’s mouth on the curb and stomps it from behind in one of the most brutal moments of cinema. We all collectively grimaced.
8. The Witch – When the goat starts speaking.
There’s a constant sense of unease through the entirety of this film set in tougher times, but they really take the movie title seriously by the end. As the goat starts speaking, revealing itself to be the very embodiment of Satan, things get way too creepy.
9. Hannibal – When Anthony Hopkins reveals his victim’s brain and eats it while he’s still alive.
It’s hard to forget this scene, where the villainous genius Hannibal takes the cloth of Ray Liotta’s head and reveals the brain. He then takes a bite of it himself, before feeding it to his victim as well. Talk about manners!
10. Don’t Breathe – When the old man tries to forcibly impregnate the woman, before getting a taste of his own medicine.
This films has a bunch of jump scares and the like, but one of the most uncomfortable scenes involved the blind man hanging up the woman and almost impregnating her with a dropper full of semen. She escapes, and sticks that dropper deep down his throat.
11. 127 Hours – When James Franco cuts his arm off.
We all knew what was going to happen in this film, but it still pulled it off shockingly. Every time he thrust at his arm with the little pen knife – a blunt mockery of a blade – you’ wince with pain and the accompanying dissonant violin strike.
Ugh, this felt gross.