Shock guarantees an audience. Unsettling imagery fuels controversy, and the more debate a film stirs, the more notorious it gets. Think: The Human Centipede.
How many had gotten their hands on the film despite warning, and regretted their spur of the moment?
Since Craven’s prime years, on-screen mutilation in exploitation horror has been on a gradual decline. But the Splat Pack is here to make sure the gore does not go away for good. A new legion of horror film-makers like Eli Roth and Rob Zombie are succeeding in their attempts to make the viewers as uncomfortable as possibly executable.
Masked men stalking with blood-stained butcher knives has since evolved into elaborate and intricately designed traps that brutally shed flesh. A spatter film sets focus on graphic violence, of which not everyone can stomach, while mental torture scares alongside physical searing pain.
Has disturbance become the skeleton key to a welcoming reception? This one’s to my fellow sadists:
Saw suffers from overexposure and one sequel too many. So often overlooked is the first movie that started it all. James Wan and Leigh Whannel unleashes a classic villain in John Kramer, who acts on the philosophy of vigilantism and paints his victims’ darkest secrets with red, red kroovy. With each instalment, the tactics grow more violent and disturbing, but the real chill lies in Tobin Bell’s harrowing performance.
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street
Slashers are aplenty, but A Nightmare on Elm Street had to make this list. Robert Englund’s familiar screeching of the iconic claw haunts and draws the unwilling into Wes Craven’s nightmare. The remake reroutes to morbidity, obliterating all traces of dark, cheesy humour Freddy Krueger once possessed. Be it in aesthetics or characterisation, the increased ultraviolence feeds our desire for disconcerting imagery.
3. Men Behind the Sun
There is no carnage more so sickening than that of a real war. Men Behind the Sun reveals World War Two’s grotesque atrocities in graphic realism, as the Imperial Japanese Army’s experimentation unit harvests organs and tortures the imprisoned with ruthless inhumanity. Both gut spilling and gut wrenching, this is a portrayal of the worst in human nature in a horrifying page of history.
2. Salò: 120 Days of Sodom
Nine teenagers suffer 120 days of physical, mental and sexual torture in Salò, a film that escapes being labelled pornographic by mere inches. This shocking venture has, way before the Human Centipede, upped the scary prospect of excrement-feeding. The notorious A Serbian Film decides to up the ante, as much avoided topics of incest and paedophilia in the past are readily given bright albeit inglorious limelight.
1. Ichi The Killer
The Japanese have certainly been at it for years. Takashi Miike deserves his own spot for being a forerunner of creative spatter. Suspended by the skin and pierced with spikes, Ichi The Killer‘s torturous violence will leave one backing away and squirming. That is but one of an entire collection containing his various recipes of uncomfortable but unforgettable depravity.