10 Hardcore Horror Films To Watch This Weekend

10 Hardcore Horror Films To Watch This Weekend
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So you think you can handle anything a horror film can throw at you? We wouldn’t be so sure. Here are ten of the most extreme horror movies ever created. We dare you to watch this lot back-to-back, alone in the dark.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

“The film which you are about to see is an account of the tragedy which befell a group of five youths, in particular Sally Hardesty and her invalid brother, Franklin…The events of that day were to lead to the discovery of one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.”

In this opening crawl, Tobe Hooper kick-started the slasher genre and forever changed horror movies — for better or worse. Like Psycho before it, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was criticised at the time of release for gratuitous bloodshed and extreme violence. In reality, there’s very little red stuff onscreen.

What makes this movie so terrifying — even some thirty years later — is it’s matter-of-fact filmmaking. There are no cheap jump scares, villain one-liners or “cool” kills to telegraph that you’re watching a movie: instead, mayhem just explodes onscreen without reason or explanation. The remote Texas locations and 16mm cameras only add to the plausibility — it almost feels like you’re watching a snuff film. And then, it just abruptly cuts to black, leaving you rocked to the core.

Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

The early ’80s birthed one of most warped and depraved genres in the annals of cinema: Italian cannibal exploitation. As its name implies, these movies were little more than an extended banquet of human torture and dismemberment (with an emphasis on good eatin’) made with the assistance of bemused real-life jungle tribes. By far the most notorious was Cannibal Holocaust by Ruggero Deodato. Using the “found footage” motif before that became a thing, it follows the plight of a documentary film crew who mysteriously disappear in the Amazon. Years later, their footage is found.

Despite the occasionally shonky effects and questionable acting, the film remains highly disturbing — especially the multiple, unsimulated scenes of animal slaughter. A year after the film’s release, the director was charged with murder in Italy over rumours that some of the cast members had been killed on camera. (These charges were later dropped after the actors were located, alive and well.) If you’re brave/sick enough to watch this nasty piece of work, be sure to seek out the “animal-free” cut. Nobody needs to see that crap.

Flowers of Flesh and Blood (1985)

Part of the notorious “Guinea Pig” film series from Japan, Flowers of Flesh and Blood is a plot-free horror movie that depicts the abduction and dismemberment of a female victim at the hands of a demented samurai. The effects in this film are excruciatingly realistic — so much so, that the CIA investigated whether the murder was genuine at the behest of actor Charlie Sheen who had watched a tape of the movie at a party.

Audition (1999)

Audition is a Japanese horror film directed by the country’s No. 1 horror maestro, Takashi Miike. Beginning as a romantic comedy, the film follows a widowed businessman who concocts a casting call for a non-existent movie in a bid to find a new wife. He eventually settles on the shy but beautiful Asami and the two enter into a loving relationship… and then things turn incredibly dark.

Audition is a very hard film to watch both for the disquieting sense of dread it invokes and multiple scenes of extreme torture. It’s not a film for the faint of heart.

Martyrs (2008)

Over the past decade, French horror has enjoyed a renaissance, with heavy-hitters like Inside, Baise-moi and Haute tension spearheading the “New French Extremity” movement. One of the most shocking entries in this grotty genre is Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs; the first native film to run afoul of France’s famously liberal classification system.

Martyrs is a bleak and harrowing film from start to finish — it begins with a terrified young girl escaping a disused abattoir after weeks of torture. Years later, she breaks out of a mental institution with a friend in tow and exacts revenge on a seemingly innocent family… but everything is not as it seems. Martyrs is a hard watch, but also highly thought-provoking — it’s torture porn for people with a brain.

Thanatomorphose (2012)

Thanatomorphose is a Canadian “zombie” film that takes the concept of body horror to its furthest extreme. The film is a fly-on-the-wall depiction of a young woman’s slow physical disintegration in a squalid apartment. Does she have a disease? Is she suffering hallucinations? Is she turning into a zombie? The reason for her deteriorating flesh remain frustratingly unexplained. Part art house movie, part gross-out horror flick, Thanatomorphose is one of the weirdest — and most disgusting — films you are ever likely to see.

The Evil Dead (2013)

Sam Raimi’s original Evil Dead trilogy is rightfully regarded as a classic of the genre. However, the cheap effects, hammy acting and frequent use of slapstick comedy rob the films of any scares. Not so with the remake. Fede Alvarez’s re-imagining ramps up the terror to hysterical degrees. Equipped with a decent budget, gore-tastic practical effects and a cast of incredibly committed actors, the 2013 version truly is the ultimate experience in grueling horror.

Wolf Creek 2 (2013)

Like its low-budget predecessor, Wolf Creek 2 pulls no punches when it comes to depictions of human suffering and degradation. Once again, the film chronicles the heinous crimes of a seemingly invincible serial killer called Mick Taylor. While the film is too over-the-top to take seriously, some of the violence remains hard to stomach. The brutal dispatching of a pair of German backpackers is especially hard to watch, bringing to mind the real-life crimes of Ivan Milat and the Peter Falconio murder.

The Green Inferno (2014)

The Green Inferno is the latest pot of grue from Eli Roth; the same demented brain behind Cabin Fever and Hostel Parts 1 and 2. It’s essentially a gore-flecked love letter to Italian cannibal films with a similar no-holds barred approach to blood ‘n’ guts. You may want to watch this one on an empty stomach.

A Serbian Film (2010)

Yeah. Don’t watch this. Ever. Even the written synopsis is hard to take.

This story has been updated since its original publication.


      • I guess so. I just don’t like the idea of calling torture porn horror. Extreme or not.

        And man… The Evil Dead remake sure as shit doesn’t hold a candle to Evil Dead 2.

          • To be fair Evil Dead 1 and 2 aren’t actually scary either. Especially ED2 which is more comedy horror. I’m a big horror fan and I find ED2013 much more unpleasant * because it’s completely lacking the humour that offsets the first two (or three if you count AoD). It’s played completely straight faced with no slapstick or mugging to the camera or humorous effects (a lot of the possessed objects in ED2 crack me up).

            * When I say unpleasant, I don’t mean bad, I mean unsettling. Not scary, but more brutal and confronting. I think the problem is if you watch horror movies with any sort of regularity it’s hard to find anything genuinely scary. I can’t watch a supernatural or sci-fi style horror film and be scared at all. The only films that approach “scariness” are the “it could really happen” type films.

            To me Audition is probably the closest film to scary in that list (I have avoided watching Serbian Film because I’m not keen on the content). If you’ve seen Audition you’ll know the one seriously creepy scene towards the end that just… *ugh*.

            I find horror an interesting genre, my personal take is that I consider horror to require an element of the unreal – a monster, something supernatural or alien. Something beyond reality. Without that I feel a film falls into the thriller genre. So Wolf Creek or Hostel or even Martyrs while far-fetched would still be thrillers. I know a lot of people disagree with that, but *shrugs* that’s my logic.

  • More disturbing than the films is the fact I have seen more than half of what is on this list. Texas Chainsaw multiple times but Thanatomorphose and Martyrs are one time watchers since they are burnt in my mind forever- very very unsettling films.

  • Why would you even put this on Lifehacker. Seriously. Anyone that find this gore porn stuff is fun is mentally damaged and seriously needs to evaluate their life choices. I would rather subject myself to 1,000 hours of Shonda Rhimes chick-flick TV Shows than watch one of these films. There is enough sick depravity in the world already without sick filmmakers simulating it on screen.

    • Which just goes to show that you *haven’t* seen any of these. At least four of the movies are absolutely not gore porn (TCM, Audition, Wolf Creek & Green Inferno). And a couple of the others are borderline (Cannibal Holocaust and Evil Dead).

      Texas Chainsaw Massacre, despite the lurid title has a lot less onscreen gore than you’d expect. Far, far less than a movie like Hostel, or the Saw series or any of the more reason torture porn flicks. Audition is very subdued with a lot more psychological horror than physical. Wolf Creek has a bit, but no more than say Halloween or Friday or any other slasher movie (side note: I’d take Wolf Creek one over WC2). And Green Inferno is a more restrained version of Cannibal Holocaust. There’s not as much gore as you’d expect.

      At least all the films on the list are meant to make you think, even the few that are gore porn. About the only one I’d disregard totally is Flower of Flesh. Every other one is trying to tell a story and examine some deeper meaning.

      Genuine “gore porn” pretty much does none of that. All it does is spend all the time on gruesome effects with no character building, no story, no emotional involvement. There are plenty of examples of that NOT listed here.

  • I’ve been a fan of horror movies since I was fairly young, the gore doesn’t bother me but torture movies don’t really do anything for me, I don’t really get the appeal but each to their own. They’re really more a sub genre imo.

  • Baise-moi is not even close to being considered horror.
    Maybe mildly gore porn, with the emphasis on porn, given both of the leading actresses are (or were) porn stars.

    Also, looking at the picture at the start of the article, when did Gollum turn goth ?

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