Some movies make you laugh, some make you think, some make you cry. Some make you want to get in the shower and scrub every last inch of yourself clean just so you can feel human again.
Every horror director seeks to give their audience a good scare and leave them with a few lingering images that will keep them up at night, but a few take their films to an entirely different level. In this list we’re taking a closer look at the films that make you feel gross for even wanting to watch them in the first place. These movies are more than just a slideshow of gory make up effects, instead their overall stories and the depraved characters that inhabit them are what leave you feeling physically and emotionally dirty long after the film has ended.
Here is our list of the 15 Horror Movies That Make You Want To Take A Shower.
15. The Devil’s Rejects
A sequel to House of 1,000 Corpses, both movies follow the Firefly family as they slay unsuspecting victims and elude capture from law enforcement. Though both films were written and directed by Rob Zombie, the two vary wildly in tone. While Corpses is a blood-soaked, over the top send-up to 70s slasher films, The Devil’s Rejects has a grittier, more realistic feel. It was Zombie’s intention to make his characters less cartoonish, which makes the violence they carry out that much more disturbing.
The film received an NC-17 rating a whopping seven times by the MPAA. To receive an R-rating two minutes of footage had to be cut from the motel scene, where the Firefly family mercilessly torments members of a traveling folk band. This scene, which comes very early in the film’s run, is easily the hardest to watch. But all the violence aside, the filthy characters alone – who spend the entire film covered in blood, mud and sweat – are already enough to make you want to invest in a new new loofah.
Four friends venture into the wilderness for a canoeing trip down the Cahulawasse River and end up fighting for survival against the elements and a gang of savages. Though Deliverance isn’t your typical horror movie, the film has its fair share of horrific scenes that are captured with an unnerving sense of realism.
The film’s famous dueling banjo sequence foreshadows the events to come, where the four city-dwellers are eventually pitted against the backwoods locals. Deliverance is also known for its infamous rape scene, which was captured in a single take so the actors wouldn’t have to endure the experience twice. After surviving the attack, the four friends agree that they will never tell anyone what actually happened on their trip, and as an audience member you can’t help but feel the weight of what the characters had to endure long after the movie is over.
Two men wake up chained to the pipes in a filthy bathroom and are forced to play a “game” for their survival. They eventually discover that their captor is the sadistic Jigsaw Killer, who seeks to inspire his victims with a new appreciation for life by testing their will to live. The two men are eventually faced with cutting off their own limbs if they ever want to escape.
Despite mostly negative reviews, Saw was a massive hit at the box office and went on to spawn one of the most successful horror franchises of all time. However, unlike many of its sequels, the original film relied less on gore to freak out its audience and it was able to establish an overall feeling of dread with its dilapidated setting and abrasive lighting. Director James Wan had to work on a relatively small budget and had only 18 days to film the entire movie. Arguably, this only added to the film’s already gritty atmosphere.
Today, you’d be hard pressed to find someone that doesn’t know what’s in the box during this film’s final scene – but that doesn’t make it any less disturbing. Seven follows two homicide detectives, played by Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, who are on the trail of a twisted serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his calling card.
Seven features one grotesque crime scene after the next – from a morbidly obese man who’s forced to eat himself to death, to a model who chooses to overdose after her face is disfigured. However, the most abhorrent scene by far comes when the two detectives stumble onto the “sloth” murder scene, where they find the corpse of a man who’s been kept strapped to his bed for an entire year. Oh wait, the corpse is still alive!
11. Wrong Turn
While on his way to a business meeting, Chris Flynn gets into a car accident on a back road in the West Virginian mountains. It turns out that the five college students from the other vehicle had already broken down after one of their tires were punctured by a conveniently placed piece of barbed wire. While two of the students, Evan and Francine, wait with the cars, the other four attempt to find help. When they enter an isolated cabin in hopes of finding a phone, they stumble onto a stash of human remains. Just as the four are about to flee the scene, three mutant cannibals return to the cabin with the already murdered Francine in tow, and they’re forced to hide and watch as their friend is devoured right before their eyes.
Wrong Turn is no doubt a throwback to a number of classic horror films that you’ll see further down the list. But no matter how many movies steal the concept, a family of in-bred cannibals will never not be terrifying. The gory cannibal scenes are already enough to leave you wanting to bathe yourself, and if not, you can always check out one of the five sequels that this 2003 film has to offer.
10. Men Behind the Sun
This 1988 Chinese horror film was meant to depict the atrocities carried out by the Japanese army during WWII. The film follows Chinese and Russian prisoners of war who are taken to Unit 731, where the Japanese were secretly trying to find a highly contagious strain of the bubonic plague that can be weaponized.
Men Behind the Sun has no shortage of disturbing experiments and “medical” procedures. The director, Tun Fei Mou, maintains that the film is historically accurate, but many believe that the exploitation of the film trumps any sort of political message. If you’re still thinking of checking this movie out you should know that real cadavers were used during a number of the film’s graphic scenes. And even though there was no special effects department in Hong Kong at the time of filming, we can’t help but think that the director could’ve came up with another plan before he decided to utilize real human remains. You’ve been warned.
9. The Hills Have Eyes
A major success for horror director Wes Craven, this 1977 movie was made on a $230,000 budget, but brought in over $25 million at the box office. In fact, the budget was so small that Craven had to borrow cameras from a famous California pornographer to shoot the film. Ironically, The Hills Have Eyes originally received an X-rating, which would have landed it on the adult film circuit, but Craven cut footage from a number of brutal scenes to secure an R-rating. The graininess of the film only adds another layer of filth to a movie about a cannibalistic tribe living in the Nevada desert.
While on a road trip to California, the Carter family takes a detour (never a good idea) through a nuclear testing zone where their vehicle (inevitably) breaks down. The horror beings when one of the family dogs makes a run for the hills, where it is later found mutilated. Instead of using a dummy dog, an already deceased dog was purchased from a local vet, further adding to the authenticity of the scene and ultimately the audiences’ nausea.
This Japanese horror flick was directed by Takashi Miike who went on to make the highly controversial and hyper violent Ichi the Killer a few years later. Audition is unrecognizable as a horror movie throughout its entire first half as it centers around a widowed man who stages a fake audition in an attempt to find a new wife. The man ultimately becomes smitten with Asami, despite the fact that none of her reference end up checking out. When Asami’s true intentions are revealed the violence she carries out is far beyond that of revenge, and many believe that the film is a critique on Japanese culture, which has historically underestimated its women.
The film is well known for its climactic torture scenes which inspired a record number of walkouts when it showed at the Rotterdam Film Festival. During its Swiss premier, an audience member even passed out while watching the film and had to be taken to the emergency room. For these reasons alone, we don’t recommend watching Audition by yourself.
7. The Evil Dead
In light of the new season of the horror-comedy Ash Vs. Evil Dead it may be hard to remember just how dirty and disturbing the original 1981 film actually was. Even though he was working on a shoe-string budget, director Sam Raimi was able to create a number of unsettling practical effects for his story about a group of college kids tormented by malevolent forces.
The cast and crew spent the entire 12 weeks of shooting actually living in the cabin featured in the film. Since many of them had to go days without shower, it’s no wonder that the film was able to maintain its grimy feel. Many of the actors became bruised and bloodied while filming the action scenes, and Bruce Campbell has even said that it took him hours to clean the fake blood off his body. In fact, the conditions became so poor toward the end of the shoot that they resorted to burning the furniture inside the cabin in order to stay warm. But the discomfort of the cast and crew ultimately paid off, and The Evil Dead continues to gross out audiences today.
A man brings home a corpse for him and his girlfriend to enjoy in bed. However, the woman eventually begins to enjoy the corpse more than her real live boyfriend. The concept itself sounds darkly humorous – a satirically look at long term relationships perhaps. But when you stretch the idea into a feature length film the humor quickly wears thin and you are left watching a truly unsettling film.
Protagonist Rob Schmadtke works for a company that removes bodies from public areas, which provides the couple with endless opportunities to satisfy their bizarre urges. That is, until Rob gets fired. Believe it or not, the film takes an even worse turn after his girlfriend runs off with the corpse and Rob is left trying to find new ways to satisfy himself. Many horror films feature sex and death, but Nekromantik takes the formula to an entirely new level. The film will no doubt leave you feeling filthy for days, and that’s putting it lightly.
5. The Descent
You don’t even need to watch the movie – just looking at the photo alone is already enough to make you turn on the shower. By the photo alone you might think that The Descent is dripping from wall-to-wall with gore, but the movie is surprisingly well paced, and it’s almost an entire hour before anyone in the story actually meets their demise.
The title not only refers to the six female characters descending down a cave on a spelunking expedition, it also refers to their descent into madness when a group of bloodthirsty creatures begins hunting them down following a cave in. After a few skirmishes with the “crawlers,” one of the woman wakes up in a den of animal carcasses and is eventually chased into a pool of blood.
After its release, The Descent was one of the most critically acclaimed horror movies of the 2000s. It effectively keeps all of its supernatural elements for the second half of the story, and the film continues to develop its characters as their expedition goes from bad to worse. After watching, you’d be surprised at how dirty you feel not just because of what the “crawlers” do to the women, but what the women end up doing to each other.
4. Last House on the Left
This 1972 exploitation film follows two teenage girls, Mari and Phyllis, who are tortured and assaulted by a gang of recently escaped convicts. After the girls are murdered the gang seeks shelter in a nearby house, which, unbeknownst to them, is owned by Mari’s parents. As if there wasn’t already enough torture in the film, the audience is subjected to the bloody revenge that Mari’s parents carry out on the convicts.
The Last House on the Left is the second film by Wes Craven on this list, so it’s fair to say that Craven has no qualms with making his audience feel dirty – after all, he began his career directing adult films. After its release, the film was highly controversial for its excessive violence despite a number of scenes already being removed for its release. In fact, some people were so appalled by the film that a few original copies of the movie were even stolen and burned.
3. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Known for its horrific death scenes and relentless violence, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has gone on to become one of the highest grossing horror franchises of all time. However, if you go back and actually watch the 1974 film that started it all, there’s surprisingly little gore within the movie and in fact the director was originally hoping for a PG rating! Despite the lack of blood the film still has a plethora of unsettling scenes and an overall grimy atmosphere.
Directed by Tobe Hooper, the movie is considered one of the original slasher films of the 1970s. Like many of its sequels, the story follows a group of friends who fall victim to a family of backwoods cannibals, including the iconic chainsaw-wielding Leatherface. The scene where Sally, one of the kidnapped girls, is forced to have dinner with the deranged family is already enough to make your skin crawl.
2. I Spit On Your Grave
Not many people can stomach this 1978 exploitation horror film, and it’s no wonder why. With over 30 minutes of its run time committed to depicting horrific rape scenes, I Spit on Your Grave continues to be one of the most controversial movies ever made. The film follows short story writer, Jennifer Hills, who rents an isolated cabin to work on her first novel. However, she is eventually taunted and attacked by four local men, and after she pieces herself back together Jennifer seeks bloody revenge on her attackers.
Released under the original title Day of the Woman, the director originally had to distribute the film himself when no one else would. While some critics claim the film ultimately reaches a feminist platform, others have called the film an act against humanity itself. Unfortunately, one of the film’s most disturbing scenes (which we can’t describe here) takes place in the bathtub, so be prepared to never enjoy another bubble bath as long as you live.
1. Cannibal Holocaust
Decades before The Blair Witch Project, Cannibal Holocaust pioneered what we now refer to as a “found footage” movie. Directed by Ruggero Deodato, the movie was largely filmed in the Amazon rainforest using mostly inexperienced actors along with real indigenous tribes. The story follows a rescue mission that ends up recovering the lost footage from a crew that disappeared while documenting the forest’s cannibalistic tribes, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happened to them.
The deaths and torture scenes captured in Cannibal Holocaust were so realistic that many people thought the movie was real. This lead to the film being banned in a a number of countries, along with the director having to prove that the actors were still alive so he could avoid being jailed! Even though the actors deaths were staged, the film remains highly controversial for featuring real animals being killed on screen. (Unfortunately, PETA wouldn’t be founded until the following year.) Knowing that these deaths are real will no doubt leave you feeling dirty long after the film has ended, so we sat through the entire movie so you wouldn’t have to.
So what horror movies leave you feeling dirty for days? Let us know in the comments.