10 Old Movies Too Disturbing For Mainstream Audiences | blameitonjorge


For as long as Hollywood has been around,
filmmakers have endeavored to make dreams come to life. As far back as a century ago, in film’s
infancy, attempts at grand spectacle were already being made, and Hollywood has never
stopped trying to improve its capacity to blow our minds. But it was also discovered early on that going
straight for the fear center was just as effective, and often cheaper, than giving the audience
visions of the fantastic. So today, we’re going over 10 early films that are every bit
as unsettling today as they were decades ago- some that were even deemed too disturbing
for mainstream audiences. Freaks (1932)
Tod Browning was already a veteran film director by the time he scored an enormous success
with 1931’s Dracula, the Bela Lugosi-starring classic that helped to define the horror genre. Due to that film’s groundbreaking success,
Browning was given pretty much free rein to create a unique vision for his next project. He did not fail in that respect; his 1932
film Freaks has been described as inhabiting a genre all its own, one that no other filmmaker
has dared to touch. It’s the story of circus sideshow performers,
a trapeze artist and strongman, who conspire to kill one of their fellow performers for
his inheritance. But the cast was populated with actual freaks-
circus performers recruited by the producers, including conjoined twins, a limbless man
known as “The Human Torso”, and others with the types of deformations that audiences
had simply never seen. Test audiences were treated to a horrifying
ending in which the scheming pair are attacked by the freaks during a rainstorm, with the
strongman castrated and the trapeze artist mutilated beyond recognition. Most of this ending has been lost, as these
test audiences were appalled and one woman even threatened a lawsuit against production
company MGM, claiming that the film caused her to have a miscarriage. Despite being given a new ending and undergoing
other extensive cuts, the film was still considered extremely controversial upon its release. It effectively ended Tod Browning’s career
and was completely banned in the UK for 30 years The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1959)
Shot in 1959, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die didn’t see a theatrical release for three
years, as distributors were leery of its content. American International pictures, never a studio
to shy away from schlock, released the film to drive-in theaters in the summer of 1962
to shocked audiences, who got a look at what might be considered the first gore film. A mad transplant scientist accidentally decapitates
his fiancee, but manages to keep her head alive in his lab with mad transplant science. While he searches for a new body for her,
she develops a telepathic connection with a hulking monster that lurks behind a locked
door in the lab. The monster gets free- but
the chaos that ensued was not exactly what 1960’s audiences were used to seeing. Its first victim has his arm ripped right
the hell off, the stump leaving a bloody smear on the wall as he collapses. The second, the mad scientist himself, has
a giant chunk bitten out of his neck and spat onto the floor as the lab burns down, killing
everyone in it. This type of shocking violence, coming near
the end of what had been a reasonably conventional sci-fi movie, disturbed audiences and contributed
to the film’s reputation as being “a head” of its time- no pun intended. Ah! La Barbe! (1906) Segundo de Chamon has been called the Spanish George Melies and the most significant Spanish
filmmaker of the silent era. Like Melies, he was a pioneer in camera tricks
and editing techniques, and employed both early and often- to sometimes disturbing effect. In one of his most famous short films, Ah! La Barbe!, also known as The Funny Shave,
a man is jovially preparing to shave when he decides to take a taste of his shaving
cream. This apparently leads to some odd hallucinations,
as he sees a series of grotesque caricatures before him in the mirror, each one freakier
than the last. While the film’s subject doesn’t appear
to be particularly alarmed, it’s safe to say this is not anything we’d ever want
to see in our bathroom mirror in the morning. It takes our hero nearly two full minutes
to snap out of his shaving cream induced stupor and react in the appropriate manner. The Man Who Laughs (1928)
The 1928 film The Man Who Laughs was an American production with a German director famous for
working in that country’s typical Expressionist style It is a romance, and a melodrama, and not
at all a horror film. But its main character, Gwynplaine- although
he’s supposed to be sympathetic- is simply impossible to look at without hearing a small
creaking sound in that part of your brain where nightmares come from. The character is disfigured as a child with
a horrifying, permanent grin, making him sympathetic in the way that the Hunchback of Notre Dame
or the Phantom of the Opera is supposed to be. He works as a circus freak, of course, and
pines for the love of a blind girl before receiving a big inheritance and happily sailing
away to England. Really, that’s it. No terrifying turns of plot, no real horror
elements to the story at all, but, just look at Gwynplaine. Look at him. Obviously, it’s an extremely unsettling
character. It should come as no surprise that the hero
of this little-remembered 1920s melodrama is the obvious inspiration for one of the
most towering villains in all of pop culture. L’Inferno (1911)
The long and storied history of Italian cinema begins with the 1911 film L’Inferno, the
very first Italian feature film ever made. The film raked it in at home and overseas,
grossing $2 million in 1911 money in the United States alone, despite- or maybe because of-
the fact that it’s really freaking disturbing. Even today, the film’s old-timey qualities
tend to enhance the creepy factor rather than diminishing it. It’s based on Dante’s Inferno, and its
depictions of hell- with suicides hanging from trees and demons torturing hopeless souls-
were freaky enough to be reused several times in films as late as 1954. In fact, censors required that the 33 year-old
footage be removed from the 1944 film Go Down, Death because- among other reasons- of a scene
in which a woman’s naked breast is briefly seen, which must also be a cinematic first. L’Inferno showed very early on that people
would pay good money to have the shit scared out of them, and filmmakers around the world
took note. Maniac (1934)
Maniac was directed by Dwain Esper, who was not so much a film director as he was a smart
businessman who knew how to exploit the public’s taste for the strange. Esper worked outside the traditional Hollywood
system, taking his pictures on the road and advertising them with lurid flyers promising
all manner of craziness that was forbidden by the Hays Code in Hollywood films. He bought the rights to the aforementioned
Freaks, and was also responsible for a lot of exploitation dreck with titles like Marihuana:
Weed With Roots In Hell. Produced in 1934, It tells the story of a Vaudeville actor and
sex pervert who murders his doctor and assumes his identity, but the whole film plays as
if it were put together by an actual lunatic. True to its subject matter, it features startling
amounts of partial and actual nudity for a film its age, and features one notoriously
gruesome scene where a live cat has its eyeball popped out, which is thought to be either
a very good special effect or the clever use of a cat with a false eye. The film serves up plenty of psychoanalyzing
and purports to be some kind of cautionary tale, as if it weren’t giving its audience
exactly what they came to see. Haxan (1922)
The 1922 Danish film Haxan, subtitled Witchcraft Through the Ages, is a visual masterwork for
its time. Presented as a documentary, it puts forth
the idea that the Salem witches were suffering from mental illness, but this is neither here
nor there; when the film segues away from its informational portions and into its vignettes,
that’s when the unadulterated horror takes over. Director Benjamin Christensen portrays a truly
terrifying Satan who lures women from their beds in the middle of the night; there are
also depictions of torture, grave robbing and full-on nudity, though more of the artistic
than gratuitous type. It was all enough to earn the film a ban in
the United States, although it was highly acclaimed in Denmark and Sweden, and was the
most expensive Scandinavian production of that time. Some of its more disturbing footage would
be recycled for later low budget exploitation productions, such as the aforementioned Maniac. Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)
While she is not exactly a household name, the experimental films of Maya Deren influenced
a legion of Hollywood filmmakers. She boldly embraced any and all techniques
that would serve her vision, and her films are notable for pioneering techniques like
jump cuts, superimposition, multiple exposures and slow motion. Perhaps her best known short film, 1943’s
Meshes of the Afternoon is a masterpiece of ominous mood and circular narrative whose
influence on film in general is plain. Our heroine, Deren herself, is having a very
weird day. Events seem to keep repeating themselves,
things in her home keep moving around, and then there’s the matter of the black-cloaked
man with a mirror for a face. The short’s unprecedented use of bizarre
camera angles and its droning, percussive and unnerving soundtrack add to the entire
hallucinatory experience. Deren’s intent was to create a visual representation
of devastating psychological issues, and it’s safe to say she succeeded. While few are familiar with this piece, film
scholars acknowledge its impact; in 2015, the BBC cited it as the 40th greatest American
film- of any kind- ever made. Eyes Without a Face (1960)
Among horror fans, the 1960 French-Italian film Eyes Without a Face is legendary. Released the same year as Alfred Hitchcock’s
Psycho, Eyes Without a Face barely passed European censors due to its subject matter
and received an edited release in the US. It’s the story of a mad doctor who is obsessed
with finding his disfigured daughter a new face, even if the donors are less than willing. This 1960 film literally shows, with unflinching
detail, the surgical removal of a young woman’s face– and that’s not even the creepiest
part. The daughter is forced to wear a mask to hide
her disfigurement, and its proto-Michael Myers blankness is absolutely transfixing, and not
in a good or comfortable way. Of course, when we actually do get a look
at her under the mask, it is not any better at all. Despite a lukewarm reception upon release,
the film has come to be considered a masterpiece and its influence on other filmmakers has
been substantial. John Carpenter has acknowledged that Michael
Myers’ look was inspired by the film, John Woo largely copied the face transplant sequence
for his film Face/Off, and yes- Billy Idol also cited it as the inspiration for his hit
song of the same name. Un Chien Andalou (1929)
Un Chien Andalou was produced by the Spanish filmmaker Luis Bunuel and famed artist Salvador
Dali. As one might expect from any work in which
Dali is involved, it does not make a hell of a lot of sense. There is no actual plot; title cards jump
from “eight years later” to “around three in the morning” to “sixteen years
ago” with nothing seeming to change very much. The film is punctuated throughout with odd
and disturbing imagery, such as a shot of a woman prodding at a severed hand with a
cane, but it is the film’s opening sequence that earns it its place among the most disturbing
things one could ever hope to see. A man idly fiddles with a razor, contemplating
the moon. Suddenly, there’s a woman sitting in a chair. She stares ahead dispassionately, not even
flinching as the man slices open her eyeball, and the camera lingers as its insides spill
out. There were many theories as to how this effect
was achieved, but Bunuel eventually disclosed that used a dead calf, shaving its skin down
to make it appear as human as possible. Notes between the director and Dali revealed
that the film contains “No idea or image that might lend itself to a rational explanation
of any kind”, and that “nothing in the film symbolizes anything”.

100 comments

  1. I wish they wouldn't use "letsread" or any other mechanical typereader for the narration. The mispronunciations are off-putting. Great documentary, otherwise.

  2. I am so underwhelmed. You can't have a title like that and go on to list 10 meh movies. Maybe I've been desensitized by horror movies, but most of these movies' horror game is really weak.

  3. When people die from being terrorized because of Alfred Hitchcock's movies but I just die out of laughter XD
    (They are just cringy and maybe a tiny bit creepy, but mostly just weird and funny to me lol) 😂😂

  4. Wtf??? @blamitonjorge
    How can you mention "The Man Who laughs" at #7 at that… and dare not mention the lengendary Conrad Veidt……???? Who played the main character… You gotta be kidding me…..

  5. …… I actually remember watching the second one when I was about six…… I thought the living brain was a l'il hokie, but it was fun to try to figure out how they blocked her body out in long shots. And Freaks, well jeez, I wuz one in the sixties so naturally they had to play it at the midnight flicks to a drug-induced crowd who were mostly occupied batting around huge blow-up paisley balloons, …. but I digress…… The one I still remember was Horrors of the Black Museum 1959…….. in one of the opening scenes, the beautiful girl (there is always a beautiful girl!) receives a package at the door…… she opens it and finds a pair of binoculars…. seems like there was a note attached that read something like, look out the window and find me with the binoculars… so, she picks 'em up, raises them to her eyes, and sharp steel spikes shoot out the lenses…… I'd describe more but, that's when I started watching the movie upside down and turned around backwards in my seat, looking through legs, ready to block it all out whenever the creepy music would start again………..

  6. Its funny how people was so terrified of what they did not understand in those days of old.. I was sat in the A&E waiting room the other day with a broken foot & I saw much worse than anything just shown here & that was just the nursing staff..LOL

  7. Why would you post up a video of movies many of us haven't seen containing footage and voiceover descriptions of how they end? For your analytics, I now have to click away at 1:49 for fear of having any of the remaining 9 movies spoiled for me 🙁

    You ought to warn us that there are massive spoilers ahead….like spoilers that show you the actual ending 🙁

  8. Johnny Eck, the “human torso” in Freaks, lived down the street from my mothers family in Baltimore. My great grandmother actually took care of John and his brother when they were young. My mom remembers meeting him often when she was a child.

  9. "The Man Who Laughs" was a beautiful, powerful film. Horror or not, go and see it!

    (But really, Jered Leto? He's not even laughing!)

  10. Only one movie my whole life ever gave me nightmares. I went to the movies with my cousins and brother as a small child. We saw The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus.  [AKA Eyes without a face] It left a lasting impression.

  11. you guys are A.I.s. 'voooduhville'??? Alfred Hitch-HOX' ???… ai or outta work Soviet Sleeper agents….cool vid tho.
    Comrade….

  12. Ahh god damnit I mindlessly clicked this video and watches 4 minutes of the video without knowing that the lights are off and its night time and just realized that I got scared and tucked my head in my blanket 🙁

  13. This list was creepy. I will never find those movies, but I'll just stick to romantic comedies, because I prefer romcoms, and I get easily scared. Especially by spiders.

  14. Salo: 100 Days of Sodom is an old movie, no effing way to make that one now. I'd totally watch it tho. Just don't let Eli Roth make it -_-

  15. "The Man Who Laughs" is clearly where Bob Kane got the idea for the Joker. And he stole the idea of Batman from Bill Finger. What a thief.

  16. I thought I heard you say, "Hollywood has never stopped trying to improve it's capacity to lower minds". Oh, "blow our minds".

  17. That's why there is a spanish reference from The Simpsons in the latin american translation when Mr. Burns says I'VE SEEN MORE ORDER AND CORDINANCE IN A BUÑUEL'S MOVIE.

  18. Why is it that the ones with the worst imaginable speech impediments are the most eager ones to do voice-overs? (The very first guy doing the intro.)

    A head of its time – no pun intended. Seriously?

    Who the heck is Alfred Hitch-hock?

  19. Fresks is a Masterpeice.. I highly recommend it. It isnt a garbage fest like most films in the later part of the 20th century til the present. AMC. has often shown this classic. with restored ending. Enjoy True Cineophiles.

  20. "Movies too disturbing for the mainstream"

    shows a movie where a guy eats shaving cream and lightly hallucinates

  21. "Sympathetic in way the hunchback of Noter Daym… or the phantomath'opera is supposed to BE."
    Did that guy have a stiff drink before recording his voiceover?

  22. Very much enjoyed this video. Makes me regret NOT BUYING "Freaks" when Border's Books was still in business. Bought "The Last Temptation of Christ" instead. That's like a difference of 95% vs. 100% —
    Isn't it?

  23. What about “Rosemary’s baby” it got taken out of theaters

  24. Did you actually watch thr film "Freaks" the premise of thr film is not at all what you have stated . Watch it again !! You definately go it wrong.

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