Pychological Terror
These films draw energy in showcasing the real life and the genuine terror that we all fear and work against. These are the films that win Oscar's hands down and pretty much will stay in your mind, making you cringe with shock and displeasure. Unlike the other films on this list, these are the mainstream classics that showcase what Hollywood is capable of and are outstanding films in their right.

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Dir- Stanley Kubrick
Four hooligans out for real good time in Britain of the future, a little fast driving and some fun times as the four loot and steal from their hapless victims. Stanley Kubrick weaves a compelling tale of government control and violence against society as we see the fate of the criminal becoming a victim of the society he once terrorized. Alex leads the villainous Droogs, dressed in white with black derbies they drive fast, party hard and mess with anyone who gets in their way. That is until Alex is arrested and conditioned by the government to fear violence, but what happens when one is trained to repulse violent behavior and becomes helpless to those he once terrorized. Kubrick's cautionary tale is every bit as frightening today as it was three decades ago, the fear of violence and government intervention only add to the terror of what we as a society may be awaiting. A Clockwork Orange is filled with nightmarish scenes of violence and is even more terrifying in today's world as it once was. Can a society control violence through fear or is the real solution too scary to consider.

Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1972)

Dir- Werner Herzog
Just when is a journey a crusade for glory and when is its pure insanity. Werner Herzog's compelling tale of religious zeal and imperialism is brought to the screen with the dynamic Klaus Kinski portraying the half-crazed Don Lope de Aguirre. During the 16th century, Aguirre is a conquistador leading a group of soldiers and priests in search of the fabled city of El Dorado. During the journeys, he faces personal and outside pressure to the mission and finds his men are odds with his desire to achieve glory. As loyalty to the crown and his authority fade each person must decide with whom they swear their true allegiance to. As with many of the films by Herzog the struggles seen onscreen were not too far from those off camera. Rumors of fights between him and Kinski were commonplace, and the problems with the difficult location shooting only make this powerful film even more remarkable.

Black Swan (2010)

Dir- Darren Aronofsky

Deliverance (1972)

Dir- John Boorman
Ok, you know the drill "Squeal like a pig," but have you seen the film. From the Banjo boy to the violent showdown John Boorman's tale of survival and camaraderie is a tale that few would forget, and many would talk about. Four friends take a journey up the Snake River for a little river rafting and male bonding.They are in for the ride of their life as they fall victim to the local redneck weirdo's and their country ways. Four powerful performances by the top-notch cast add the realism as the infamous scene comes and goes with as much shocking detail as a police strip search. It is the aftermath that sets the stage as the four men must fight their way out of danger and survive the very elements that made them come.

El Topo (1970)

Dir- Alejandro Jodorowsky

Freaks (1932)

Dir- Tod Browning

Funny Games (1997)

Dir- Michael Haneke

Hard Candy (2005)

Dir- David Slade

Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

Dir- John McNaughton

Holy Mountain (1973)

Dir- Alejandro Jodorowsky

Johnny Got His Gun (1971)

Dir- Dalton Trumbo
Timothy Bottom stars as the most severely wounded soldier of the First World War in this weird adaptation of Dalton Trumbo's famous anti-war novel. An American soldier has lost both of his arms, his legs, and his entire face. He spends most of the movie lying on his back with some bag over his face in a military hospital. The army assumes he is a vegetable and is keeping him alive for experimental reasons. But in reality, Bottoms is fully conscious, only unable to communicate because he lacks eyes, a mouth, limbs, and ears. The middle section of the film shifts from the hospital scenes, which are all filmed in grainy black and white, to flashbacks of Bottom's life, shot in color. We also get to see several very odd dream sequences, including a section where Bottom's character meets Jesus, as played by a long-haired Donald Sutherland (!). At the end of the movie, Bottom finally figures out a way to communicate. He taps Morse Code on his pillow, and a nurse alerts several officers, one of whom communicates back by tapping Morse Code on Bottom's forehead (the only part of his face still intact). Bottom's wants to die. The army won't let him. A nurse later removes his breathing tube, but an officer puts it back. Unbelievably depressing. This movie will give nightmares to the most hardline Rambo-loving war hound. Metallica used images from this incredibly disturbing flick for their "One" video.

Machinist (2004)

Dir- Brad Anderson

Midnight Express (1978)

Dir- Alan Parker
Now you have heard the stories about Turkish prisons, well apparently dope smuggler Billy Hayes hasn't. Early on Midnight Express sets a breathtaking tone as the sound of a heartbeat pulsates while he is taping the drugs to his body and when airport authorities apprehend him. The tension mounts as he is interrogated and held at gunpoint like a terrorist carrying a bomb when it is revealed he is carrying dope he is immediately imprisoned. Arrested by Turkish authorities for drug smuggling, he is then sentenced to life in prison and discovers the horrors that await him are beyond description. As his family is working to get him released, he is subjected to cruel punishment, brutal rapes, personal humiliation, and such dehumanizing mistreatment it is shocking to learn these events are based on a true story. Unlike other prison films where the protagonist is either innocent or overcharged we have to remember that he is indeed guilty of the crime and his lesson should be learned. Just what is the extent of punishment when human rights are ignored and how much can one man take when escape is an option all too tempting. Midnight Express is such a dark film filled with powerful imagery one cannot avoid feeling the pain suffered at the hands of Hayes. Now let's get off Turkish prisons. Man, oh man I think any film about Turkish prisons should get an NC-17

Pi (1998)

Dir- Darren Aronofsky

Repulsion (1965)

Dir- Roman Polanski

Santa Sangre (1989)

Dir- Alejandro Jodorowsky
Picture a movie that crosses Psycho with Freaks, and adds a little Fellini for cosmetic charm. The gifted Mexican director Alejandro Jodorowsky brings forth yet another typical trip into genuine horror. We meet a young man named Fenix, who is confined to a mental hospital and through a series of flashbacks we are witnesses to many brutal events. His parents were circus performers, his mother an aerialist and his father a tattooed strongman. His mother was also the leader of a religious cult that worshiped a limbless saint; the saint was a poor woman who attacked by a man and had her arms severed. The blood of this saint is "Santa Sangre," holy blood, and is collected in a pool in a church that is scheduled to be bulldozed. Fenix is close to a young mute girl named Alma, the two share a special bond, and it is his relationship with her that he can handle the problems with his family. Later we witness a horrible event transpire, his mother sees his father having an affair with another carnival performer, and she tracks them down and attacks the woman and fatally injures her husband. During the assault she loses her limbs, much like the saint, she worships. All of this is supposed to have happened years before but did it transpire. We return to Fenix at the asylum, and he is met by his limbless mother who uses him as her "Limbs" in a series of gruesome murders and acts of revenge. We also find a grown up Alma wandering the streets looking for Fenix; she may be the only person who can bring him to reality. Along the way we are witnessed to a multitude of images and powerful scenes that may or may not be real, all the while we must consider that we may be seeing the delusions of a mental patient. Like his earlier work, El Topo, Santa Sangre is a powerful and violent film that does not follow standard conventions. Its style is unique and wildly imaginative. Director Alejandro Jodorowsky has again created another wild ride in the weird world of Mexican horror. Available in NC-17 and a toned down R version.