15 Weird, Wild and Shocking Movies to Watch After ‘Saltburn’ and ‘Poor Things’

15 Weird, Wild and Shocking Movies to Watch After ‘Saltburn’ and ‘Poor Things’

Hello again! 👋🏻 Recently two movies have been causing a bit of a commotion and getting a bit of a reputation for being quite ‘shocking’: Saltburn and Poor Things. I watched both of them to see how they fared when compared to things that I usually watch, and my takeaway was that they’re not that shocking. 

Actually, I didn’t like Saltburn. I thought it was a boring drama about rich people being leeched on by ‘poor’ people with nudity and couple of weird sex things that aren’t that scandalous. Poor Things was a lot better because it was funny, had characters that were interesting, but I still didn’t think it was that shocking. Yes, it’s about a woman who has a child’s brain and grows up over the course of the movie, but it’s still just people having sex. And that doesn’t shock me because I’m an adult and I’m also not a prude.

If you’re looking for things that are more scandalous than Saltburn or Poor Things, you’ve come to the right place because these are some of the weirdest and wildest movies that I’ve seen. But if you’re thinking ‘hey, you missed this one’ it’s because I either didn’t think it was that shocking or I haven’t seen it at all. Even though I do pride myself as a gore hound, there are movies that even I wouldn’t touch with sterile gloves on.

I’ve included links to the Does the Dog Die pages for every movie because what upsets one person may not affect another and it’s important to stay safe.

As a disclaimer before we get into this post, the media that a person chooses to engage with has nothing to do with their moral standing. Watching extremely gory movies does not mean that you are a violent person in real life, just the same as how reading a lot of erotica and romance doesn’t make someone a pervert. If these movies contain things that would deeply upset or trigger you, it is your choice whether or not to watch them.

 

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🟢 EASY MODE 🟢

There is no easy mode. Saltburn and Poor Things were the easy mode. Stop crying.

 

🟠 MEDIUM MODE 🟠

A still from 'Malignant'. A woman is lying down with her head resting on the pillow. She is lit up entirely in red while the background is blue.

malignant

I’m not exactly sure how to describe Malignant. It’s a violent and gory movie with a fairly straightforward premise at first glance (a woman starts to have visions of people being murdered only to find out that they’re happening in real life) but it’s an homage to Italian giallo movies and takes a lot of weird turns while being pretty cheesy in places. This movie was directed by James Wan who is probably more famous now for directing the Aquaman movies, but also directed the first Saw movie, Insidious and The Conjuring.

It’s been a while since I saw this movie but I wouldn’t be recommending it if I didn’t enjoy it, and I’m excited to see if there are any plans for a sequel.

A still from 'The Fly'. A naked man crouches down in a scientific teleporter.

the fly

I’ve talked about The Fly on this blog before but I think I should mention it again because if you’ve never seen a movie like this, it can be pretty shocking.

The Fly tells the story of Seth Brundle, an eccentric scientist who slowly turns into a fly-human hybrid creature after one of his experiments goes wrong. This is a body horror movie and body horror is something that not everybody can handle. I didn’t watch this movie for years because of that but now body horror is one of my favourite genres and David Cronenberg is the undisputed master of body horror.

The Fly isn’t the kind of horror movie you go into if you want something akin to a rollercoaster ride; this is a slow burn of a movie and Seth’s transformation is very gradual, which makes it so much more effective than if he just appeared with a fly head like in the Vincent Price movie that this is a remake of. It’s also a movie with a somewhat sad ending, but I won’t really say what happens other than that it’s weirdly abrupt. Also the first name you see in the end credits is Chris Walas, who created the special effects and won an Oscar for this movie.

A still from 'Gerald's Game'. A white woman wearing lingerie is sitting upright in bed and handcuffed to the headboard. A man wearing boxer shorts can be seen in the background.

gerald’s game

I bet you didn’t expect to see a movie based on a Stephen King work here, did you? I personally have only ever been truly shocked by two things in Stephen King’s work: that scene in the original IT novel (you know which one I mean), and this movie.

Gerald’s Game is about a couple who go to an isolated lake house for a romantic getaway, but the husband dies of a heart attack, leaving his wife handcuffed to the bed without a key to set herself free. While trapped, she starts to hallucinate and has flashbacks to her childhood which looks happy at first but turns out to be a lot more sinister. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away because that nauseous feeling you’ll get when her childhood is revealed is something you need to experience for yourself.

A still from 'Evil Dead II'. A young man with blood running down his face looks scared while holding an axe.

the evil dead series (yes, all of them)

If you follow me on Letterboxd (which you really should be, btw) you’ll know that Evil Dead II is in my Top 4 favourite movies ever. I only watched the first movie in this series in October of 2020 but it and the rest of the series quickly became a favourite of mine. I’ve only seen the movies, however, since I get a lot of mixed opinions on the TV series, I’m not that into comics anymore, and the video games are either really expensive retro titles or just aren’t games that I would play anyway.

The original movie follows five college students; Ash, his sister Cheryl, his girlfriend Linda, his best friend Scotty, and Scotty’s girlfriend Shelly as they take a vacation to a cabin in the woods in rural Tennessee. They find a weird book and an audio tape talking about the book and end up summoning demons that Ash has to fight off until he is the only survivor. And there’s a lot of gore involved.

The second movie is sort of a remake of the first one; Ash and his girlfriend Linda (who is now played by a different actress) take a vacation to a cabin in the woods in rural Tennessee. He finds a weird book and an audio tape talking about the book and ends up summoning demons that possess Linda and the cabin itself. Then a young woman called Annie (whose father originally found the scary book) arrives with her boyfriend Ed, and two country people called Jake and Bobbie-Joe, and they think that Ash has intruded and murdered someone. Oh, and Annie’s mother is in the basement and possessed by a demon. And Ash chainsaws his own hand off. This one is more comedic than the first and is somehow even gorier but because it’s so over the top, it’s not really possible to take it seriously.

The third movie is a dark fantasy comedy that sees Ash in medieval England, fighting against the demons to save the kingdom. Yes, really. It’s not my favourite of the original trilogy since it goes full into comedy territory and there’s pretty much no horror left, but it’s still a good one to watch because it ends Ash’s story nicely before going off into several non-canon directions and landing on a TV show.

The fourth movie goes back to being full-on horror and is one of the more intense instalments. Instead of Ash and his friends, we see a new cast of characters going to a cabin to help Mia overcome a heroin addiction. Out of the gate, it’s already got a heavy story and it only gets amplified from there. I believe that this movie set the world record for the most fake blood ever used on a film set, and when you watch it, you can see how it got that record. This movie was technically set up for a sequel since there is a MCU-style stinger of Ash at the end credits, but nothing ever came of that which is a huge shame considering that Bruce Campbell has since retired from playing Ash.

Finally, the most recent movie takes place in a high-rise apartment as a family tries to survive a demonic attack. I’ve only seen this movie once and I do have it on Blu-Ray so I need to watch it again sometime soon since it was so good. This is another very violent and very gory movie, but the violence in this one made me have a more visceral reaction to it because it’s more than just someone getting their hand chainsawn off or catching a rogue eyeball in their mouth, this movie has people being scalped, eating glass, there are cheese graters being used in ways that cheese graters should not be used and so on and so forth.

Here are the content guides for:

A still from the movie 'Audition. A Japanese woman with long hair holds a large syringe while wearing an apron and black gloves.

audition / オーディション

Audition is a movie that you kind of have to go into without really knowing what’s going to happen, but it’s become so well-known now that it’s not really possible to do that. This movie is about a widower whose son tells him that he should find someone to start a new relationship with. So he and his friend stage a fake movie audition which is basically their own form of speed dating. He picks a young woman called Asami who quickly falls in love with him, and that’s as much as I will say.

The movie is essentially in two parts: one being a straightforward romance film and the second an intense horror film and on a first watch you don’t really see the transition between the two coming. I’ve sort of spoiled the end of the movie by using a still from it so you can guess what happens, but it’s better to go into it for yourself.

🔴 HARD MODE 🔴

These movies are definitely not for the faint of heart. While content guides are a suggestion for the previous movies, I would strongly advise looking at them before thinking about watching any of these. Some of these movies have incomplete content guides due to them being a little more obscure so if you do go into them, just keep that in mind.

A still from the movie '964 Pinocchio'. A Japanese man is painted entirely white with what is likely blood smeared across his mouth. He has a blonde Mohawk and chains around his wrists as he screams at the camera.

964 pinocchio / ピノキオ√964

I’m not quite sure where to start with this movie. This is a Japanese cyberpunk movie with a somewhat odd premise: a sex robot is thrown out by his cruel owners after having his memory erased because he can’t get an erection anymore and is found by a homeless girl who also can’t remember things and things go very, very weird. Out of all the movies mentioned in this post, this is one of the weirdest.

This isn’t a gory movie and there isn’t a lot of violence but the way the movie is shot and the feel it has to it is what makes it unsettling. Is it a good movie? I don’t know. But it’s certainly a unique movie.

A still from the movie 'Men'. A white woman with a short brunette bob haircut picks fruit from a tree.

men

This is independent British film is about a widow played by Jessie Buckley (Chernobyl) who goes on a retreat to a tiny village and comes into contact with a bunch of weird men who are all played by Rory Kinnear (No Time to Die). In terms of plot, that is as much as I will say without going into spoiler territory.

I like to think of myself as someone who can read between the lines and can spot a metaphor from a mile away, but I’m still struggling with this one. A lot of the movie is a metaphor for toxic masculinity and how it’s an endless cycle but it’s not exactly obvious if you’re not the kind of person who watches these kinds of movies. That’s not me saying that some people are stupid, but if you’re the kind of person who just wants to ‘turn their brain off’ this isn’t the right movie for you. This is a movie that demands your attention and needs you to think about what you’re watching.

A still from the movie 'Inside'. A white woman with long brown hair stands in front of a white tiled wall that is splattered with blood.

inside/à l’intérieur

This movie is part of an unofficial movement called New French Extremity, which is notable for movies with graphic depictions of violence, sex, and sexual violence. Most movies that fall under this category are French (hence the name), but they have been made all over Europe and can be found on a lot of ‘Controversial Movies of All Time’ lists or those ‘Disturbing Movie’ iceberg videos that are all over YouTube.

Inside affected me the most out of all these movies because it is about pregnancy. The fastest way for me to be freaked out by a horror movie is for it to be about pregnancy or childbirth. This movie is about a pregnant woman who has her house invaded and is tortured by a woman who wants to cut the baby out of her and take it for herself. Oh, and this all happens on Christmas Eve. It’s a horrific premise and watching it was certainly an experience so this is one to go into knowing that you’re going to see something that will stick with you.

There was an English-language remake in 2016 but I haven’t watched that one and I’m not really that bothered about it.

A still from 'The Toxic Avenger'. A tall humanoid monster stands next to a white woman who is smiling.

the toxic avenger

The Toxic Avenger is probably the easiest movie here to watch because it is a comedy, but it’s still one that you would need a strong stomach for. The story follows Melvin, a janitor at a health club who is bullied by the sociopathic jocks in the town and falls into a vat of toxic waste that mutates him into a crime-fighting monster, hence the title. This is the most well-known movie by the studio Troma, which is the oldest independent film studio and production company in the world. Troma movies that are made in-house have a unique style, which is low-budget and full of shock humour, violence, sex, nudity, and gore.

The Toxic Avenger isn’t for everyone since it’s the kind of movie that sets out to offend, but I will say that the first movie doesn’t go as hard on the ‘offensive’ parts as the later movies do (my Letterboxd review of the fourth movie is just ‘Please Be Offended: The Movie’) so if you can handle how gross and violent it can be, I’d say that this is the best one to go for. But don’t say that I didn’t warn you about it being gross and violent.

A still from the 1980 movie 'Maniac'. A white man with a moustache and long dark hair stands with a mannequin that has blood on it.

maniac (1980) and maniac (2012)

There are two movies called Maniac, the original from the early 1980s and a remake from 2012 starring Elijah Wood. Out of the two, I prefer the 2012 remake because of the cinematography, but the original is one to watch if you want to watch something that makes your skin crawl. The story follows Frank Zito, a mannequin restorer who spends his nights murdering women and scalping them to attach to the mannequins which he then treats like the women he killed. Yes, that’s actually the premise.

The original is a somewhat straightforward slasher movie, albeit a lot grimier and sexually uncomfortable than movies like Halloween or Friday the 13th (the director had previously made porn movies before making Maniac so the camera lingering on things is deliberate). With this being a psychological horror as well as a slasher, there isn’t much to the plot other than watching Frank kill women and try to rationalise his actions so it’s a character study with a lot of violence, provided by Tom Savini. And if you know who Tom Savini is, you’ll know what you’re getting into.

The remake, on the other hand, is very unique as it’s shot from an almost entirely first-person point of view. You watch the movie as if you are Frank, and you only actually see Elijah Wood in reflections or the odd moments when the camera moves into a third-person view. It makes for a very interesting viewing experience and makes the violence feel more intimate than in the original. It’s still very violent but the fact that it makes it look like you’re the one doing the killing makes it more uncomfortable.

Oh, and here’s a fun fact for you: the song ‘Maniac’ from Flashdance was originally written with lyrics inspired by this movie. Once the Flashdance producers got a demo, they asked for the lyrics to be changed to something less gruesome. No, I am not joking.

A still from 'Cannibal Holocaust'. A white man laughs while holding a shotgun. A burning hut is in the background.

cannibal holocaust

Have you ever watched a banned movie before? Chances are you have, but have you ever seen a movie that was not only banned in multiple countries but the director was taken to court on murder charges for making it? I have and it’s this little movie called Cannibal Holocaust.

If you know about ‘the most disturbing movies of all time’, you’ll likely know about this movie. It’s the one that pops up on every controversial movie list and can be seen as a gateway into the wild world of extreme cinema.

At first glance, this movie looks like a schlocky gore movie that’s racist towards the Indigenous people of the Amazon but when you think about it, it’s actually a commentary on sensationalism in the media and Italian mondo films. Just with a lot of gore, sexual violence, and real animal killings to shock the audience, which makes it a very confusing commentary on sensationalism and exploitation. This is a post-Vietnam war movie so seeing violence in the media was still relatively fresh in the world’s mind.

Either way, if you have the nerves for this movie, I would recommend watching it at least once and ignoring all the imitators and ‘homages’ that came after it because those are trash. Yes, that’s including The Green Inferno.

A still from 'Men Behind the Sun'. A Chinese man stands in a pool of black water while a group of men wearing gas masks beat him with sticks.

men behind the sun / 黑太陽731

I only watched this movie last year and it’s still left a lasting effect on me. For context, this is a historical film about Unit 731, a secret biological and chemical warfare research and development facility run by the Imperial Japanese Army in China during the Second World War. Some of the most atrocious war crimes of the 20th century were committed in this unit including human experimentation, sexual assault, and torture.

So then Hong Kong filmmakers decided to make it into a series of very gory movies. I’m not from Asia and I don’t have any Asian heritage at all so I can’t really comment on how Chinese people feel about this movie, but I do believe that it is a bit contentious because while this is a historical film about things that really happened, the brutality being shown on screen lands the movie directly into the exploitation genre. If somebody decided to make an ultra-violent and gory exploitation movie about the Holocaust, I can’t imagine people in the West would be very happy about that. (most horror movies about war tend to be about people fighting against fascism, not being shown what the fascists did to people in extreme detail.)

The special effects in this movie are a little dated by now, but there is one scene to watch out for because it allegedly shows real footage of an autopsy being performed on a child. It doesn’t really sound like I’m giving this movie a good recommendation, but this is a list of shocking movies and this is probably as shocking as it gets.

A portion of the poster for Nekromantik.

nekromantik

Have you ever wanted to watch people sexually violate dead bodies? Yeah, me neither but I still watched this movie and its sequel for some reason.

Naturally, Nekromantik is a very hard sell for most people. You can’t exactly say to people ‘hey you should watch this German movie about people who fuck corpses’ because they’ll think that you’re into that sort of thing in real life. The scenes that involve necrophilia are very odd because you’re watching something that is objectively disgusting, but uses the same kind of music that Cannibal Holocaust does to trick your mind into thinking that you’re watching something romantic.

Obviously, you need an iron stomach to watch this movie because there’s the dead body stuff, there’s gore, and there’s extended stock footage of a real rabbit being skinned. Why? Because this is an exploitation movie and it wants you to react strongly to it. In fact, the filmmakers admitted to putting this stuff in just to mess with the overly-strict censorship laws of West Germany at the time.

A still from 'Tetsuo: The Iron Man'. A Japanese person is shown in black and white with metal tendrils growing out of their head.

tetsuo: the iron man / 鉄男

If you hover around certain internet circles, you may have heard of this movie before. Tetsuo is a science fiction body horror movie about a Japanese salaryman (whose name is not actually Tetsuo) who finds that his body is slowly turning to metal and becomes haunted by sexual thoughts surrounding metal that are coming from a hit-and-run victim who is also going through the same transformation.

The story doesn’t follow a conventional narrative structure and is very experimental so it’s hard to describe, but this is one to watch because of the special effects. There’s some weird sex stuff and the main character’s weenie turns into a drill at some point but you can’t really take your eyes away from the screen because it’s so interesting to watch people be animated in stop-motion. Yes, stop-motion.

There are two sequels, Body Hammer and The Bullet Man, and I’ve only seen the first sequel so far and it has a more cohesive narrative structure that could be easier for people to follow, but I think that this one is the more memorable one.

A still from 'Oldboy'. A Korean man with shaggy hair looks at the camera while standing in a martial arts pose.

oldboy / 올드보이

This is another movie that has a remake, but I haven’t seen it and have no intentions to so I will be talking about the original Korean version and not the American. The best way I can describe this movie is that it’s like The Count of Monte Cristo was mixed with the John Wick movies, but this movie came out in 2003 and John Wick was inspired by it. It’s a story of revenge and obviously very violent, but this is another movie that contains real animal cruelty. there is a scene in which Oh Dae-su eats a live octopus and it looks just as disgusting as it sounds.

While I would recommend this movie for the fight scenes, which are very well choreographed but feel very realistic at the same time, it does have some themes to look out for.

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What’s the most shocking movie you’ve ever seen?

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8 Comments

  1. Avatar February 3, 2024 / 1:37 pm

    While I probably won’t watch any of these (the real animal cruelty won’t let me), it’s fascinating reading about them. Awesome post!

    • Louise
      Louise
      Author
      February 6, 2024 / 10:07 am

      That’s totally fine! These movies definitely aren’t for everyone 😄

  2. Avatar February 4, 2024 / 2:10 am

    The only one that ive watched is malignant!
    The movie that still shocked me/mindf*cked me is hereditary. We went to see it in theaters with my ex and I just.. I dont even know what the plot of that was 😅

    • Louise
      Louise
      Author
      February 5, 2024 / 10:40 am

      I wasn’t a big fan of Hereditary, or any of Ari Aster’s movies, it just felt like a bunch of jumbled nonsense to me.

  3. Avatar February 4, 2024 / 4:05 pm

    Most shocking? I have to go with Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer and Irreversible.

    • Louise
      Louise
      Author
      February 5, 2024 / 10:35 am

      Henry’s a good one! I watched the first (last?) 10 minutes of Irreversible in college and couldn’t manage it because the camera movement gave me motion sickness 😅

  4. Avatar February 7, 2024 / 9:15 pm

    Okay, I’m going to have to check out some of these because I have never heard of most and when you have an itch, you kind of have to scratch it. I do like Evil Dead (2013) but every time I share it with someone, they are shocked by how bloody it is.

    • Louise
      Louise
      Author
      February 12, 2024 / 9:40 am

      Evil Dead is one that I recommend to a lot of people because it’s one of my absolute favourites ever, but as soon as someone tells me that they don’t like gore I take it back 😅

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