One of my favorite parts about all of these year-end lists is going back through all of the horror films I’ve seen that year and picking out the most fucked up scenes to include on the “Most Disturbing Movie Moments” list. I think it may actually be my favorite list to compile at the end of every year. Does that make me depraved? Maybe. Do I care? Not really. Anyway, below are 12 of the most disturbing scenes the horror genre gifted us with in 2016. To qualify for this list the scene in question had to inspire some sort of visceral reaction in the viewer. It didn’t necessarily have to be gory or violent. It just had to provoke a strong reaction from the viewer. For the sake of not letting readers feel left out, films that only screened at festivals this year were not taken into consideration. Those films will go on 2017 lists (should they actually get a release in 2017).
Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation is a masterful exercise in unbearable tension that culminates in a dinner massacre so shocking that it had people screaming in the theater. Out of context it probably doesn’t seem that disturbing, but after 70ish minutes of slow-building paranoia and dread the cathartis that the scene provides is astounding.
First-time director Can Evrenol shocked audiences this year with Baskin, a self-proclaimed trip to Turkish Hell (which is apparently worse that regular Hell). There are a plethora of disturbing moments throughout the film’s 97-minute runtime, the worst of which is when one of the cops is forced to have sex with a woman wearing a goat’s skull. It’s a stomach-churning moment in a film filled with them.
Emelie is a perfectly average psycho babysitter movie bolstered by a bravura performance from Sarah Bolger (The Lazarus Effect). In one of the film’s more unsettling scenes, Jacob (Joshua Rush) finds Emelie (Bolger) in the restroom during a game of hide and seek. After informing him that she’s on her period, she proceeds to make him find a tampon for her. Best babysitter ever!
Jena Malone is arguably the best thing about The Neon Demon, Nicolas Winding Refn’s pretty but hollow psychological horror film. The film received a jolt of energy every time she came (in more ways than one) on screen. Something that didn’t come to life was the corpse she had sex with towards the end of the film. Not much else needs to be said about this scene, but suffice it to say if you don’t like saliva, you should probably steer clear.
Up Next: Vagina Eggs and Broken Bones