The 16 Most Disturbing Movie Moments of 2017

Eight Legged Freaks (Rupture/Most Beautiful Island)

Two movies had my anxiety skyrocketing thanks to roaming arachnids: Steven Shainberg’s Rupture and Ana Asensio’s Most Beautiful Island. Both films subject their female leads to eight-legged torments in the form of either a “game” or “experiment” of sorts. Both actresses (or stand-in doubles) forced to lay motionless while the creepy-crawlers navigate the landscape of their bodies, any sudden movements ensuring the spike of poison fangs.

Nope. NOPE. FLY ME TO ANOTHER PLANET FAR AWAY FROM THESE IMAGES. I can take all the decapitations and spilled intestines and ripped fingernails horror has to offer – but spiderplay is where my hard line is drawn. Full stop.

This Little Piggy Is A Sick Freak (Pig)

Let me start by saying that not many of you will ever see the film I’m about to discuss: Adam Mason’s Pig. Producers wanted this 2010 schlock peddler double-tapped and buried forever, but 2017’s SXSW lineup included a surprise. Pig, in all its perverse glory, was allowed to show for an extremely limited run before being torched forever. “How torturous could it be,” I wondered. “REALLY ‘EFFING BAD,” director Adam Mason and writer/star Andrew Howard answered through their creative vision. A 70-ish-minute single take about one killer’s unspeakably infuriating vacation that includes (but is not limited to): “Rape time!” singing, female mutilation, cannibalistic themes, a pregnant captive, bloodlust, etc. A hopeless torture-bomb without rhyme, reason or validation. I guess you wouldn’t want to erase your own film from history without a good damn reason…

Yeah, That’s More Than A Flesh Wound (Gerald’s Game)

With so many Stephen King adaptations rising from the dead in 2017, a double-dose of disturbed King creations doesn’t seem too unlikely. Andy Muschietti tore a raincoated child’s arm off in It, but Mike Flanagan’s ambitions were not to be out-gored.

In Gerald’s Game, Carla Gugino must free herself from handcuffs that connect her to a majestic wooden headboard after a frisky bedroom disaster. Time passes, Gugino struggles, then desperation grabs hold – hence this year’s famous “degloving” scene. The flesh of Gugino’s hand peeling back as she slides her hand through the steel loop, already partially flayed by a shard of glass for ease of removal. It is…horrendously unnerving and abusively entertaining. Quite possibly this year’s most savagely sanguine slice of minced-flesh-pie worth your attempted aversion tactics and ultimate mental forfeit.

Necrophilia (Leatherface)

What’s a “Most Disturbing” list without a little necrophilia? The movie: Leatherface. The reason: to convey the deviant, malicious mindsets of two escaped asylum teens (translation: absolutely zero reason). It all starts innocently enough with your standard genre lovemaking interlude, until we realize the bed’s deceased, rotted corpse of an owner has joined Clarice and Ike. Maybe just as a background prop, one may hope? Try as an “active” participant, complete with squishy noises and intimate connections.

It’s certainly a distressing highlight among 2017’s horror offerings, but also one of the most unnecessary. Wedged in for no other reason than a cheap and easy alternative to scripted character depth. Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury can – and have – executed far better youthful horror stories (Among The Living). Guess it’s back to the drawing board for Texas’ Chainsaw franchise.

Remember, None Of This Actually Matters (A Ghost Story)

David Lowery’s A Ghost Story might be described by some as full-on “disturbing” from start to finish, but I disagree (and that’s the beautiful thing about cinematic interpretation). Never has there been a more accepting, comforting assessment of our place in this inexplicable cycle we call “life.” Equal parts soulful obliteration and freeing perspective adjustment. Every scene made me feel so insignificant yet so fulfilled, largely due to Lowery’s ability to channel his own chattering fears into a haunting exploration into mankind’s greatest never-to-be-answered questions.

All that said, A Ghost Story still lands on my list for a specific sequence – the pioneer girl. Casey Affleck, as a white sheeted ghost, is forced to witness a frontier family get slaughtered just after plotting their future home. Transported generations back to watch a little girl get murdered – and then sit there as her corpse decomposes as time speeds forward. Life, death and legacy in its purest form, forced-fed to viewers who may never want to acknowledge the reality of our organic decomposition – or worse yet, that we’ll be forgotten. No matter how cynical, unbelieving or uncaring you may be, this is 2017’s bleakest height.

Christian Grey’s Home Gym Faux Pas (Fifty Shades Darker)

Forget the personal pommel horse. Forget that Christian Grey’s “pump-up” music is The Police. Forget the whole “put these metal balls up your hoo-ha and let’s go to party” thing. ANYONE WHO HAS AN AREA RUG IN AN ACTIVE PART OF THEIR HOME GYM IS A SOCIOPATH. When I work out, I sweat hard. Like Dom Deluise at an all you can eat buffet. When I see that rug laying under Christian’s equipment, all I can imagine is his liquid funk seeping into furry flooring and the musty stench that’d soon follow. Maybe he throws his carpet away after every workout – it’d be on-brand – but goddamn if I didn’t scream internally when I laid eyes upon that fungal disaster waiting to happen.

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