Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
This topic was a recommendation/request by Redmangoreviews Editor Julien Neaves. And I’m not sure if to thank him, or hit him in the face with a wet pillow.
As a horror fan one of the things people (in this case, non-horror fans) ask me is “how can you watch that stuff?!” It’s true, horror fans tend to be made of tougher stuff, at least when it comes to movies. But even the most hardcore of horror fans have their limits, and the following movies are the kind of genre fare that not only reached my limits but left me with one very indelible impression — I never, ever want to watch them again.
Here are my TOP 7 HORROR MOVIES YOU’LL WATCH ONCE (AND THEN NEVER EVER AGAIN):
If I had to list out my favourite sub-genres of horror from most favourite to least, so-called “torture porn” would most definitely be at the bottom of the list.
From the granddaddy of them all, Cannibal Holocaust, right up to, well, Hostel, I don’t care how good the story might be, watching people get tortured and killed just for the sake of it isn’t my jam. Eli Roth loves to make you squirm in your seat, and his big screen debut Hostel didn’t pull any punches. It also single-handedly caused a drop in people travelling to exotic European locales.
Brutal with a wicked sense of humour, I saw this one back in 2005 when it came out in theatres, and while I did watch the sequels (what can I say, I’m a completionist) I’m yet to rewatch the first Hostel. And I have no plans on doing so any time soon.
#6 Cabin Fever (2002)
Well would you look at that, Eli Roth makes the cut once again. This time it’s with his body horror movie Cabin Fever. This one was David Cronenberg meets Deliverance, and turns the gross factor up higher and higher as it runs down the viewing clock.
It’s one of those movies where you will barely remember the plot, but scenes where people shave off their own skin in the bathtub and a dog eats off a woman’s face? Yeah, that’s the kind of stuff that imprints on your brain and makes you never want to watch it ever again.
#5 The Lighthouse
Robert Eggers’ follow-up to one of my personal favourites, The Witch, isn’t like the other films on this list, in the sense that there isn’t a lot of body horror here. But it is the kind of movie that can wear on you mentally.
With heavy emotional themes, an extremely claustrophobic atmosphere, and the kind of visuals that remind you of your most disturbing nightmares, the entire movie unsettles your brain. And when it’s over, no matter how compelling this psychological horror may have been, like myself you’ll probably not be revisiting this story for some time to come.
#4 I Spit on Your Grave (1978 original and remake)
Like Last House on the Left, I Spit on Your Grave was one of those movies it took me ages to work up the nerve to watch. As much as I love horror there are just some things that are difficult to stomach, especially when they hit too close to reality. And Grave might be a horror movie, but what goes on in this film sadly and horrifically happens in the real world all too often.
Once you make it through the despicable and horrific things that happens to the protagonist, her revenge-fuelled journey does make it easier to watch the rest of this movie, but it doesn’t change what comes before. And because of that I Spit on Your Grave is not gonna make it on to my re-watch list any time soon.
Like The Lighthouse, this is a movie I’ll probably watch again…sometime…in the very, very distant future.
The issue here is not so much the visuals (although this one has its share of nightmare fuel and then some) but because of the mood Hereditary inflicts on its viewers. This is a story devoid of hope. Unlike slashers like Halloween or ghost stories like The Conjuring, you never feel like this family has any chance of escaping their fate. By the conclusion you’ve been put through an emotional grinder, and I’d bet anyone who watched this late at night would quickly click on the first light-hearted comedy they can find, just to ensure the images director and writer Ari Aster seared into their brains don’t follow them into their dreams.
Yeah, this one gets to sit on the shelf until I say otherwise.
#2 A Serbian Film
The only reason this movie isn’t number one on this list is because I’ve never watched it. Yet, I’m including it here because I made the mistake of reading a detailed synopsis of what occurs, even though I was warned not to. And to this day I can’t get what I’ve learned out of my head.
One of my favourite horror reviewers and internet journalist John Fallon, creator of the popular horror movie site Arrow in the Head, said in his review of this film, “Be warned, there are somethings you can never un-see”. Let me pass that warning on to you dear reader, this movie takes the term “torture porn” to a whole other level. I will never watch it, but my imagination has filled in the blanks in horrific ways that makes me wish I had never even heard the words A Serbian Film.
Honourable Mention: 8mm
Once again, it’s not what you see, but what you don’t that made this movie a one-and-done for me.
8mm is not technically considered a horror movie and it’s more of a thriller. But I will never forget the first thought I had as I walked out of the cinema after watching this movie about an investigator (played by Nicolas Cage) who’s hired to find out if a snuff film discovered by his employer is the real deal or not. I need a shower and I need it now!
I still don’t know what possessed me to watch this movie. I think curiosity got the better of me, and we all know what happened to that damned curious cat.
I barely remember the story at play here and I have zero desire to revisit this film to refresh my memory. What I do recall are the grotesque scenes delivered by the one horror director I wish NEVER to meet, Lars von Trier. If the devil has an art collection, it’s probably filled to the brim with images from this movie. There are scenes that are as bizarre as they are beautifully shot. I know that might be a strange thing to say but, like The Lighthouse and Hereditary, Antichrist isn’t a bad film; it’s just filled with so much sadism, intensely uncomfortable sex scenes, and brutality that I couldn’t begin to focus on what exactly it was Von Trier was trying to say here.
It takes a truly twisted and sadistic mind to commit images like these to celluloid. And as much as I love horror, I’m nowhere near the level of messed-up it takes to call this one an enjoyable movie, let alone one I would watch again.
Conclusion: There were other movies I could’ve added to this list like Husk, Human Centipede (I’ve never seen it and have no desire too) and Funny Games, just to name a few, but writing this list was just as draining as watching these uber-horrific films. So I’m gonna go binge on some episodes of Family Guy until I can’t remember any of this, or as Peter Griffin would do, drink until I can’t feel feelings anymore.
So what horror movie have you seen and you never want to watch again, or at least not for a very long time. For my Top 5 Body Horror Movies you can click here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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