There is a fine line that divides gore from violence when we talk about movies. Sam Peckinpah, Gaspar Noe or David Cronenberg are a few names that deal with intolerable amount of violence in their films, but this is solely to launch an assault on a person’s mentality. Their films are beautifully crafted and never let the act of violation take the center stage. On the other hand gory movies indulge themselves only in bloodshed and a X rated visual lecture on the human anatomy. There are a few though, that have a shocking underlying social commentary and use this graphical violence to compliment the exaggeration in the presentation of their themes. But most of them as I have pointed out earlier only intend to shock audiences by demanding a stimulus, which doesn’t take much effort considering not everyone can swallow a “disembowelment scene” with a glass of Coke.
Now, I have constructed a list of best gory movies, that contain evidence of great filmmaking as well as utter crap and also range in the depiction of gore, so that it can intrigue the hardcore followers as well as the newcomers. Here is the list of top gory films ever that you simply cannot handle: You can watch some of these best gory movies on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
15. Aftermath (1994)
Starting off the list with a 32 minute short film, ‘Aftermath’ directed by Nacho Cerda. He is known for his Trilogy of Death, which started with ‘Awakening’ in 1990 about a boy who expriences an out-of-body phenomenon. This was followed by the controversial Aftermath, which featured the most horrific depiction of necrophilia. Most people consider death to be the end of the journey on this plane, and believe that the body is laid to rest while the spirit faces the consequences. Cerda destroys this very thought, and if death wasn’t scary enough, he frightens you with the horrific afterlife.
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14. Day of the Dead (1985)
‘Day of the Dead’ is the third film from George Romero’s The Living Dead Trilogy and probably his most underrated one. It’s a favorite among the cult followers, and is known for converting the zombie sub-genre’s limitations into its strength. From subtle undertones in ‘Night of the Living Dead’ to the witty satire in ‘Dawn of the Dead’, Romero makes takes this on the dark horror-com route, being an important part of the rise of the sub-genre in the late 80’s. The practical effects by Tom Savini are masterful and Romero doesn’t wait until the final moments to flash his make-up artist’s talent.
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13. Philosophy Of A Knife (2008)
If you’re looking for serious input on the horrific war crimes committed by the Japanese Unit 731, then this movie is not for you, despite proclaiming itself as a documentary. But if you savor yourself disgusting visuals of the torture and assault the victims had to go through, then ‘Philosophy of a Knife’ is the perfect film. Shot in black and white, this 4 hour-feature is reminiscent of cheap propaganda videos you may find on YouTube but what sets it apart is its palpable visuals of human experimentation.
12. Hatchet (2006)
‘Hatchet’ may not be a great horror film, but its a great entry into the slasher genre after all the stale 80’s remakes Hollywood has been feeding us. Hatchet is old school, it’s filled with campiness and over-the-top gore sequences which may be a bit too much for average audiences to digest. Borrowing its plot and characters from ‘Friday the 13th’, the movie’s only originality lies in its death scenes and its redneck rip-off of Jason Voorhees.
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11. The Vomit Gore Trilogy (2006-10)
‘The Vomit Gore Trilogy’ is an abomination and this is the only movie I would not recommend to any person. The title is seriously an understatement to describe the exploitation the movie carries out. There’s not only vomit and gore in the movie, there’s legit defecation, urination, rape and every single atrocious activity you can never imagine. This movie is a great example of the idiom, “an idol brain is the devil’s workshop” as this has no premise, no conclusion, no story, only series of ridiculously unpalatable images. This movie has apparently gained a small cult following, but honestly only a person with a large dose of krokodil and the mental depravity to amuse him/herself with human waste can be fond of it.
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10. A l’interieur (2007)
Movies like ‘Haute Tension’, ‘A l’interieur’, ‘Martyrs’ and ‘Sheitan’ have given birth to New French Extremity, a new wave of horror from this part of Europe. While Hollywood bare it all and go skinny dipping in torture porn’s success, French horror filmmakers have used it as a bow-tie to make their already gripping stories effective and appealing. ‘A l’interieur’ functions like a psychological horror cum slasher because of the relentlessly gripping use of its motives and scenario.
It follows a home invasion of a pregnant woman by a stranger who intends on stealing her unborn baby. If you thought Rosemary’s Baby was horrifying with unborn life at stake, A l’interieur oozes blood out of the walls that tormented Rosemary and is very disturbing to watch.
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9. Martyrs (2008)
‘Martyrs’ is a movie that is associated the most with the French Extremity Movement. Physical abuse has always been a driving force for the premise in exploitation films. Like every gorno flick it has inconsistencies in narrative but it totally delivers in the gorefest department. The inconsistencies however are a sacrifice to obtain the twists that the movie presents, and unlike many entries is disturbing than disgusting. Another trait that becomes noticeable on re-watches and one I acknowledge to be beautiful is the color palette used in the movie. ‘Martyrs’ isn’t really a horror movie, it’s somewhere along the lines of Haneke and Noe.
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8. Ichi The Killer (2001)
Adapted from the manga of the same name, the movie is based on a psychologically damaged man Ichi, who ends up slaughtering the Yakuza. ‘Ichi The Killer’ is inarguably the best torture porn movie from this century and gets overshadowed by ‘Saw’ and ‘Hostel’ despite making hell worthy statements in the first feature itself, that led to it being banned in several countries. The movie despite its excessive use of gore works as a very twisted dark comedy with buckets of sadism and quirkiness. The characters are what really make it intriguing, and especially Ichi’s character is one of the most interesting ones from this century.
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7. I Spit On Your Grave (1978)
‘I Spit On Your Grave’ is a rare exploitation movie that has spawned sequels and a series now, which started with the remake in 2010. The series of films revolve around rape victims that exact revenge on their assailants and in the process flashing ridiculous amount of violence. The movies are a sorry excuse for portraying the atrocities a victim goes through as it indulges so much in violence, it forgets to convey its message and feels like a shallow inspiration of Wes Craven’s ‘Last House on the Left’. Nonetheless, the revenge flicks are still a suggestion for gorediggers, especially ones from the current generation.
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6. Any feature by Unearthed Films
Unearthed films is a U.S film distribution company that imports exploitation horror films from Asia and Eastern Europe. Some of the famous films distributed by them include ‘Black Sun : The Nanking Massacre’ which is a gut-wrenching depiction of the inhuman massacre at Nanking, the unappreciated classic ‘Where The Dead Go To Die’ or the Japanese torture porn cyberpunk movie ‘964 Pinocchio’. These have neither style nor substance, just pure gore which is polarizing. Some people cannot even indulge themselves for a second because of their disgusting content, while some like myself watch these to recognize the distinction between bad and very bad films.
5. Hellbound : Hellraiser 2 (1988)
“Your suffering will be legendary, even in hell” – Pinhead. The sequel to Britain’s finest body horror film may not have exceeded the standards the original set, but it made Pinhead the most feared horror icon of the 90’s. Clive Barker, the creator, served as executive producer and hence managed to make most of the X rating issued to it. Maybe the practical effects aren’t very convincing but this was a low budget horror film, and the narrative takes inspiration from Italian horror flicks. The film acts like a succession of images, very similar to the structure of a nightmare.
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4. Salo or 120 Days of Sodom (1975)
Paolo Pasolini was one of the most controversial figures in Italy before he was brutally murdered. The film was a horrific satire on the Fascist regime of Italy, and was despised by people who were too stuck up and involved to accept the truth, a very common trait found in European societies of that time. Though ‘Salo’ isn’t very gory, it is extremely effective at harnessing the true impact of whatever gore it presents. It’s not torture porn at all, that phrase de-evaluates the film’s exploitative greatness and it adopts realism to paint a nauseating and socially depraved masterpiece.
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3. Braindead (1992)
Peter Jackson is famous among mainstream audiences for his adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. But what many aren’t aware of is, Jackson started his career with horror comedies and ‘Braindead’ is one of them. It’s a slapstick splatter movie and it is nothing short of a gore carnival. Roger Ebert called it one of the most disgusting movies he had ever seen, and I would agree with him because despite being humorous you can’t help but wince at the red that covers every frame.
What makes Braindead so effective is the terrific practical effects which are still considered to be a great achievement, especially the face splitting scene which makes every WTF moment list you’ll find on the internet.
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2. Guinea Pig Series (1985-88)
‘Guinea Pig Series’ is a set of six controversial Japanese horror films produced in 4 years. After Ruggero Deodato’s ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ gained worldwide notoriety for its depiction of violence and a trial that saw him getting arrested for manslaughter along with animal torture, many films jumped on the bandwagon.
This Japanese series emulated Cannibal Holocaust’s horrifyingly brutal practical effects and snuff approach while combining it with ‘Blood Feast’s torture concept. They were circulated as tapes, and Charlie Sheen came across one and contacted the FBI, mistaking it for a genuine snuff film. The FBI contacted the Japanese authorities who already had the filmmakers in custody, summoning them to prove the special effects were fake. From eye gouging to self-mutilation to dismemberment, humans are treated like “guinea pigs” to experiment on the threshold of pain the human body can suffer.
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1. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
‘Cannibal Holocaust’. The fact that this movie remains banned after 37 years of its release in some countries, and is only available in a heavily cut version in most probably talks a lot about this “video nasty”. If Blood Feast gave birth to torture porn, then Cannibal Holocaust pushed the genre to an age of adolescence. It transformed from primitive splatter to something so realistic and disgusting, many hardcore fans couldn’t stomach the changes. Apart from being a landmark in torture porn, the film also revolutionized the found footage style, as it follows a missing documentary crew who had gone to the Amazon rainforests to film cannibal tribes.
Though the director, Rogero Deodato was cleared of manslaughter accusations after rumors that the actors were sexually assaulted and killed during the process, he was still condemned over the depiction of real violence towards animals which is horrid enough to make you puke in your popcorn.
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