First off, let me just say this: I am not encouraging or challenging you to watch any of these films. This list is not some contest to see who can endure the most brutal cinema and still have the capacity to sleep at night. No, I am simply writing this list because it needs to exist somewhere. There are certain horror movies from certain foreign countries that just take horror and the concept of terror to whole new levels.
I am not saying it as a good or bad thing (I do love me some French horror, though, I won’t lie), but I am simply stating it as a fact. I know there are a gaggle of movie fans out there who don’t like foreign films because they don’t like to have to “read” their movies, but that is fine. Those people are just denying themselves some of the most fucked up movies ever made is all. Their loss.
So here, for your consideration, are 5 foreign films that will fuck you up pretty badly. Beware though, this list is entirely not safe for work.Next
A Serbian Film
Ah, the ever-so infamous A Serbian Film. A movie SO fucked up that there tend to be only two schools of people who see this movie: the people who walk away from it wishing they could bleach their eyes, and the people who sing its praises. For me personally, I am in the first category.
To call this movie anything other than a vile film would be too dishonest. It is a vile film, through and through. Yes, I know this is the part where I am supposed to tell you that the whole movie was made as an allegory for all the awful things the Serbian government allows and perpetrates on its own people, but the truth is, I don’t care. Keep your (thinly) veiled allegories for someone who is into watching a baby get raped. Thankfully, as sick as I am, I am not one of those people.
For those who don’t know, A Serbian Film is about a retired porn star who gets called in and offered a very lucrative amount of money for one final film, so he decides to do it, as he as his family are suffering under hard financial strain. Flash forward a bit and it is a snuff film with all the horrible things you could ever imagine being stuffed into a snuff film (baby rape, incest, and other things that I can’t even write about here). It is the kind of horror movie that turns people off from the genre when they see it.
This is a pretty nasty movie, and unless you are into some sick and deplorable shit, you should walk away from it very fucked up.Previous Next
On the other extreme, you have Martyrs. A movie that, if glanced at quickly, could be written off as a kind of Serbian Film type torture porn/exploitation movie, yet it is anything but.
This is a movie that dares to use violence to ask philosophical questions to its audience. Martyrs will fuck you up, as it is relentlessly bleak and gory. But in the same breath, Martyrs is fucking brilliant. Any movie that can use torture porn as the bridge to existential and spiritual debates can’t be called anything BUT brilliant. Keep in mind, it will fuck you up, though. It really, really will.
Martyrs is a French film that can be hard to explain to people without utterly ruining it. I suppose, in essence, it is about a group of elites who believe that nirvana can be reached by methods of extreme torture and duress. They look to prove the existence of a higher being by torturing the humanity out of young girls (yes, girls only, which they sort of explain at one point) until they are so stripped and broken that they reach actualization (basically, enlightenment through pain). It should also be said the first fifteen minutes of the movie sets a strange tone, and that tone changes quickly. You think things are going one way, then the film does a complete 180 on you.
Suffice it to say, a rather stunning young woman spends a majority of the movie being tortured in ways you would have never imagined. From feeding her slop to beating her until she is unconscious, then waking her up to do it over and over, it is a brutal trial by fire, and one that is bound to fuck you up.
But then we get that ending. That genius, twisted ending, and it changes everything. But regardless, this is a movie that sits with you long after you watch it.Previous Next
I Stand Alone
You knew a Gaspar Noé movie had to be on this list somewhere, right? I bet a lot of you thought it would be Irreversible, but I have talked that movie enough at this point. On the other end of the spectrum, I think Enter the Void is beautiful, and though I know it may fuck some people up, it does not deserve a place on this list. What does deserve a place on the list, however, is Noe’s first feature, I Stand Alone.
This is a movie about “The butcher” (no, really, he gets no name). A man who is on a downward spiral so dark, you get caught up in at as a viewer and spiral uncontrollably with him. He lives with his daughter, whom he raises alone, and begins to develop incestuous thoughts for. At one point, he mistakes menstrual blood for “rape blood” and ends up killing a guy he assumes raped her.
This results in some jail time for him, and things only get sicker and sicker from there. You have seen people going down dark roads in films before many times, but I Stand Alone is different. It feels way more palpable, because the stuff that goes on in this movie is really going on somewhere, right now.
It is a heavy, brutal, unrelenting film, and it will mess you up pretty badly. Especially considering how it ends.Previous Next
Almost every movie on this list has had some kind of sick, sexual perversion so far. Incest and rape and such. Calvaire adds to that by having some animal rape. I know that is a messed up way to open a paragraph, but I am pulling no punches. Calvaire is one of those movies you walk away from sort of wobbling, trying to reassess what you just witnessed, while at the same time, trying to wipe it clean from your mind.
At first, you think Calvaire is the typical story of the “car breaks down in woods and people need to stay in small, eclectic, town while it gets fixed” type of horror movies, and you are kind of right. But then it goes from Texas Chainsaw to Deliverance really, REALLY quickly. Watching any kind of rape on film can be brutal and hard to swallow (I’ll take “Wordplay that will ensure I end up in Hell” for 500, Alex), and this movie proves that animal rape is even more difficult to sit through.
There is so much more that happens in this movie, but I just can’t get over the animal rape. It fucked me up, seriously.Previous Next
See, it’s not all French movies! This Spanish thriller (named Secuestrados originally) is one of my favorite home invasion movies because it caught me off-guard for just how many times it would go to a place I didn’t think it would go. It is one of those films that gets bleaker and bleaker the more you watch it. On the inside, because we have all been weaned on mainstream movies, you keep waiting for the odds to turn in the favor of the family being terrorized, yet they just never seem to. It instead snowballs and gets worse and worse.
Then it all culminates with an ending that just punches you square in the guts and leaves you, well, fucked up. There really are no other words for it. You feel rattled and exhausted, like you just went through everything you watched on-screen. Again, this list is not me telling you to see these films. It is simply me telling you that seeing any of the foreign films on this list will fuck you up. Take that as a challenge if you want.
Also, why is Salo not on the list? Because that movie is filthy and I don’t even like bringing it up.Previous