In the collection of disturbing films, you will find many genres, all of which tell genuinely powerful messages. However, there are those movies that are just plain evil and have little to no artistic value and exist solely to make you want to vomit. The exception would be Pier Paolo Passolini's Salo, The 120 Days of Sodom, which exists as an artistic and cinematic treasure by the late Passolini, yet this film is still universally vilified as the most disturbing and utterly vile film ever made.

Blood Sucking Freaks- (1977) US

Dir- Joel Reed
There are those films that are so outrageous that they are considered camp, yet this is not one of them. Also known as The Incredible Torture Show, this title seems more appropriate for this sick film. The setting for this movie is an off-off Broadway Grand Guignol style show. The wicked magician Sardu shocks people with his realistic torture scenes that are not only genuine but also live. The theater is a cover for his group of sadists who enjoy kidnapping and torturing young naked women. Behind the scenes, his assistant Ralphus keeps some caged women cannibals for their evil deeds. Sardu also enjoys using these women as human dartboards and urinals. Whether it is meant as a joke is debatable as these scenes are played on and taken for granted, talk about pure exploitation. The real trick is that the special effects are some of the worst on screen, the blood looks purple and is very glue like (Klingon blood?). The scenes of torture and dismemberment are so fake a nine-year-old could do better. Either way, Blood Sucking Freaks is a sad attempt to attain camp status, and since the movie was made with a small budget it shows. Try sitting through this one more than once.

Buio Omega -(1979) Italy aka Buried Alive aka Blue Holocaust

Dir- Joe D'Amato
Beginning with a voodoo style death of a woman, Buried Alive would set itself up and deliver to its audience what may be the goriest and brutal Italian horror film ever made. We follow a taxidermist who wishes to make his dead lover into a real trophy. Her lover then exhumes her body and removes her entrails in a most graphic and hideous display. A young woman catches him, and she is soon tortured, killed and then chopped up and made into fertilizer. The lover then stuffs her and turns her into a wild taxidermy project for his weird sexual appetite. The film pretty much goes from shocking to very surprising. With its infamous scenes of evisceration, torture, cremation and all out grossness, this movie is only recommended to those with strong stomachs. What may have been an attempt to display necrophiliac passions is instead nothing more than all-out exploitation designed to disgust its audience and set new standards in total vileness.

Caligula- (1980) US

Dir- Tinto Brass
The rise and fall of the notorious Roman Emperor Caligula, showing the violent methods that he employs to gain the throne, and the subsequent insanity of his reign -he gives his horse political office and humiliates and executes anyone who even slightly displeases him. He also sleeps with his sister, marries an infamous prostitute, organizes elaborate orgies and embarks on a fruitless invasion of England before meeting an appropriate end. All of this to show the opulent excess that was common in post-Christ Rome. Produced by Bob Guccione and written by Gore Vidal, both of them seem quite disgusted by the film and have distanced themselves from it. The scenes of wild parties and massive orgies make one cringe in disgust; these were some pretty sick people, and with the very graphic scenes of sodomy and such, it will undoubtedly offend some. There are various versions of the film, ranging from the heavily- edited 90-minute version to the legendary 160-minute hard-core version that leaves nothing to the imagination (though the hard-core scenes were inserted later and did not involve the main cast members). Malcolm McDowell, John Guilgood, and Peter O'Toole tarnish their resumes with this pond scum. The only cool scene is a cool looking decapitation machine that is used to lob off some traitorous heads. Only for those who want to torture themselves.

Combat Shock- (1984)

Dir- Buddy Giovinazzo
Few films are so nihilistic and bleak we are glad not to occupy the world in which it is set. Combat Shock, also known as American Nightmares, is a notorious exploitation piece fixed in a ghetto slum with characters that are even more depressing than those in real life slums. Combat Shock is the sad story of a Vietnam vet living in poverty in the Bronx with his wife and child. Each day is a struggle to survive in the world populated by killer pimps, prostitutes, and drug addicts. To make things worse, the child is not entirely human, having been altered by the effects of Agent Orange on the father. In this sad life, we see little if any comfort. The filmmakers have made no attempt to show any compassion or relief for the characters. They lead such a sad dead-end existence that death is a welcome salvation from the horrors of reality. The only outlet for these poor souls is the world of drugs and violence. Released as an independent film, Combat Shock was cut up in many versions and available in this country by Troma Productions. Troma has released a longer uncut version complete with a mini-interview of the director and its catalog of Troma related stuff. This is not a Troma film; it was independently made and produced before Troma picked up its distribution rights. This is one of those movies that is so raw in its intensity that it makes the nihilism and violence of Taxi Driver look like a Disney film. Remember this next time you feel a little bummed out.

I Spit On Your Grave- (1980) US

Dir- Meir Zarchi
We find many horror movies that use rape as part of the abuse against women, yet this film goes beyond what we may call normal. Formerly known as Day of the Woman, this sick film would have been buried in the abyss of porno/horror schlock's if it were not for the wonderful lambaste given by some notable film critics. Directed by Meir Zarchi, and shot somewhere in rural New York. The story is about a young woman who moves into a rented house by the lake where she hopes to write a novel. In town, she meets some of the local cretins who harass and pester her, nothing too bad at first. Later they go to her place and bother her even more, OK not too bad. For the next 30-40 minutes, four different men subject us to the brutal beating and rape of the woman, one of whom being a mental defective. When she recovers from her attack, she pulls herself together and seeks out these cretins and disposes of them in different and cruel manners imaginable. With the last death was done the movie just ends. This film is seen by many as a feminist revenge fantasy in that the victim turns on her attackers and gives them what they deserve. Fair enough, but what we see is the young woman using her beauty to seduce and encourage these men as she gives each one his due. It is hard to say what this movie says about rape but we the viewer must ask ourselves what is acceptable punishment and when is it necessary to take the law into our hands. This is one of those films that makes you feel dirty and violated, where is that shower when you need it.

In A Glass Cage- (1986) Spain

Dir- Agusti Villaronga
This Spanish-made film deals with a perverted love between a man and those he had brutalized during the war. Sometime in the early 1950's a former Nazi commandant is forced to live in an iron lung after an accident. Unable to care for him, his wife hires a young man to look after him. Ironically the man is a former prisoner of the commandant whom he had sexually abused and tortured as a child. Even in his sad state, he continues to revel in the memories of the past. This suddenly awakens a passion in the young man who brings in young boys to torture, much to the delight of the commandant. Theirs exists some unhealthy homosexual love/hate relationship between them. The exceptional production values and compelling acting seem to draw the viewer's closer instead of turning them off. This film does rely heavily on pedophilia and homosexual desires to make its point. Not what you would call light and easy viewing.

Kids- (1995) US

Dir- Larry Clark
Watching a male seduce a female is pretty much common on the screen, yet when it is a teenage boy and the prey is a pre-pubescent girl one has to wonder where we are going. With the sexual conquest, young Telly meets up with his pals and rejoices in his latest conquest. Telly calls himself a "Virgin Surgeon" and the young girl was his latest victim. In an age of teen sex and drug use we are pretty much in a state of denial as a culture, maybe it's this reason Kids is such a shocking movie. We are taken on tour in the lives of a group of teens that speak of nothing more than sex, drugs and partying. As a special note, we witness a discussion about sex and what boys and girls look for in giving it up. Here we meet Jennie, a bright and pretty young girl who admits that Telly was her first. Jennie and her promiscuous friend both take an AIDS test and we are shocked to discover that Jennie is HIV positive. So begins her quest to find Telly and tell him. We then find Telly and his pal Casper out in the city, stealing booze, money and buying weed in the park. There we see more of the guys, talking about skateboards, getting laid, smoking joints and eventually beating a dude senseless in the park. The teens eventually go to a party where Telly works over his next conquest, a sweet girl who is naïve enough to believe his bullshit. The teen's party on, getting drunk, laid and eventually passing out on the floor. A distressed Jennie spends the whole movie trying to find Telly and eventually finds her way to the party and catches up to Telly, yet she is too late as Telly has already taken the young girl's virtue. In a sadly, ironic twist, we find Casper raping a passed out Jennie, who is barely able to resist his actions, and unknowingly exposing him to the deadly disease she now has. Kids is a shocking wake call about what is going on with our youth, with the risks out there we as adults have to wonder if the whole world is going to hell. Although most teenage kids are not as morally corrupt as Telly and his friends, we do find many of his type being showcased on our sleazy talk shows. It is sad to believe we have evolved so little beyond wild animals.

Laboratory Of The Devil- (1990) China aka Men Behind The Sun 2

Dir- Godfrey Ho
As if one movie about the Japanese Hell Camp Unit 731 were not enough we have a sequel to a film which almost opened most people's eyes to the atrocities committed by the Japanese Army. In the spring of 1945, Japan established a secret base in Manchuria, Housing Unit 731, where many innocent Chinese, Korean, and Mongolian people were killed in grotesque experiments. An idealistic young doctor, Morishima, is horrified by the experiments being performed in the camp, and when his fiancé arrives disguised as a Chinese prisoner, he sets out to liberate the camp. A "sequel" to the notorious "Men Behind the Sun," this film pulls no punches when it comes to delivering the shocks!

Last House On The Left- (1972) US

Dir- Wes Craven
Wes Craven has made a name for himself as a leading director in the horror genre with such notable films as A Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Serpent and the Rainbow. His directorial debut will always remain one of the most perverse and vile films to be seen as a horror classic. Joined by Sean Cunningham (Friday the 13th), Craven used Ingmar Bergman's Virgin Spring as a loose guide in this film that has two young girls out for a good time meeting up with a trio of murderers. The gang brutalizes, rapes and murders both girls. Afterward, the trio somehow finds their way back to the house of one of the girls and when caught face a wrath far worse than anything committed by the trio. This film is a powerful look at revenge and the day-to-day violence with which we have become blind to. What also adds to the film's shock value is that it was a shoestring budget with a cast of unknown actors, making it feel more like a documentary than an exploitation slasher flick. The film also features a cruel murder at the hands of the mother who uses the Lorena Bobbit technique of fellatio (Ouch!!!). Usually, a piece of cheap exploitation like this would be hidden away or fall into the abyss of rental hell, yet with Craven's reputation and a surprisingly positive review by none other than Roger Ebert (I kid you not, this is a personal favorite of the critic). The Last House on the Left has found itself to be a milestone of splatter flicks and as one of the most disturbing revenge films made.

Love Me Deadly- (1972) USA

Dir- Jacques Lacerte
Mary Wilcox is a breathtaking woman who has a bizarre habit; she loves kissing corpses. Although not as strongly intense as the viler Nekromantik, Love Me Deadly is still a sick film. In the course of her merriment, Wilcox encounters a mortician who invites her into his cult of necrophiliacs. We are then witness to scenes of corpse groping and all out orgies with the dead. It is the mortician who is the real sicko, inviting prostitutes of both sexes over so he can embalm them alive. Wilcox eventually pursues and kills the mortician by stabbing him. The film has all the look and feels of the standard slasher flick, yet it has some unique touches that set it apart from the slasher flicks. A sick film in content and nature we must appreciate that necrophilia films are rare and not too common.

Luther The Geek- (1990)

Dir- Carlton Albright
As a young boy, Luther sneaks into a carnival and watches as men harass a circus geek, a guy who bites the heads off chickens and drinks their blood. In the crazed frenzy, Luther bites his lip and finds himself enjoying the taste of blood. So impressed is the boy he grows up and begins to imitate the circus, geek. Years later the young man goes about murdering town locals. After he is imprisoned a bleeding heart parole trainee decides to free him against the wishes of the board. While he was imprisoned, he fashioned a pair of steel teeth to replace his busted teeth and uses them to bite his victims. After his release, the geek hides out in a barn and terrorizes a mother and her visiting daughter (Stacy Haiduk) until the showdown. The film is best remembered for its lack of dialogue; there are minutes of silence with no one speaking except for Luther's insane chicken clucking. That's right; the killer cluck's like a chicken. Not much of a film as the plot pretty much consists of his clucking and the sheer boredom between his few murders. There is one big saving grace; the real highlight comes with the nude scenes of the very voluptuous Stacy Haiduk, very much made the video worth the rental.

Men Behind The Sun- (1988) China

Dir- Tun Fei Mou
War was never free of cruelty and in many ways shows just how inhumane we can be towards one another. Many know of the cruel and brutal crimes that were committed by the Nazis, but very few are aware of similar atrocities that were perpetrated by the Japanese. The exploits of one particular hell camp are the focus of this obscure Chinese film. Man Behind the Sun lists very few credits save the director and producer, not that anyone would care to have their name soiled by this sick movie. The film centers on the Japanese Medical Squadron 731 based in Manchu. The scientists of 731 used prisoners in hideous experiments designed to test human limits in the fields of pain and human endurance. The plot of the movie offers little outside portraying these cruel and shocking experiments in a documentary style all in very graphic detail. By showcasing these acts, one is lead down a wicked Hell on Earth. Almost none the characters are given any sympathy or shown pity, one, in particular, a young boy, the only person you are allowed to develop sympathy for is injected with a plague and before your eyes dies a fast and painful death. The next scene shows his body being cut open and his organs being put in jars. The camera never seems to ignore any gory detail and being that this is based on a true story one wonders just how much of this sick display is accurate. The fact that anyone would want to remind us of this cruelty only shows that almost anything is fair game in the movie industry. Aka Squadron 731, aka Men Behind the Sun

Nekromantik- (1989) Germany

Dir- Jorg Buttgereit
Necrophilia is universally seen to be unacceptable and grotesque. This might help to explain why so few movies have been made on this subject. The German film Nekromantik by Jorg Buttgereit is considered by many to be the most offensive and disgusting movie ever made. The plot alone is enough to turn off most horror fans. In the beginning, we see a young couple brutally killed in a car crash; it is here that we are introduced to Rob, the ambulance driver. It seems that Rob has a habit of collecting body parts and corpses from accident scenes to show off to his wife. It seems the young couple has a dull sex life and to put new spice into their love life they use these body parts in their sex act. Well, Rob brings home a corpse and the couple goes crazy over it, having a gruesome threesome. The corpse is so decayed that the penis withers off and Rob cuts a broom handle to replace it. Well, would you believe that the young woman decides to leave Rob, taking the corpse with her! The remaining scenes show Rob unsuccessfully trying to find sexual pleasure with another woman; he even resorts to prostitutes. Poor Rob cannot reach a proper climax; he then murders these women to become sexually aroused. Ultimately this leads to his suicide, an ironic ode to necrophilia. This film is so utterly vile it is a literal abyss of nihilism with little to please the viewer except for some decent special effects that make the film even more unwatchable. A must see for those who dare as this is pretty intense stuff and is not intended for your average horror audience. An equally vile sequel was released 1991.

Nekromantik 2- (1991) Germany

Dir- Jorg Buttgereit
Poor Rob, he couldn't hold onto his girlfriend, and she ran off with their stiff. Well, after Rob offed himself he did just do what was need to get her back. We find a lovely and sexy grave robber skulking around the cemetery; it is his beloved former lover, and she finds new life in Rob's dead. This shocking and very sick journey into one woman's wild sexual desire is made even more bizarre when we find her torn between two lovers, one alive and the other dead. This highly anticipated sequel to Jörg Buttgereit's Nekromantik was directed and produced by Buttgereit himself and was immediately seized by German authorities during its premiere. Even more graphic and disgusting then the original Nekromantik 2 does the rare job of outgrossing its original film.

Salo, 120 Days Of Sodom- (1977) Italy

Dir- Pier Paolo Pasolini
The Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini was known for controversial material, and the last film he directed was easily his most vile. Salo is a modern adaptation of the works of the Marquis de Sade. Set in Fascist Italy during World War II, Salo is the story of a group of perverted fascists who indulge in their demented desires and prey upon a panel of adolescents. They are stripped, dehumanized and told not to pray or engage in normal sexual urges. Violations of the rules result in swift and painful punishment followed by a cruel and prolonged execution. Pasolini has made this movie more of an homage to Sadism then he has in trying to condemn it as if he is attempting to show us visually how disgusting de Sade was in print. The Fascists engage in every perverted and disgusting manner that their imagination can bring forth. If Pasolini was trying to show us the sick parallel between de Sade and these fascists, he is relishing in their depravity than he is in trying to condemn them. The film is full of sodomy and rape, both heterosexual and homosexual. The audience is also subjected to such disgusting scenes as people being forced to eat cooked feces, razor blades and urinating on one another. We also see the prisoners praying on one another as each transgression leads them to their ultimate and final act of punishment. Whatever Pasolini is trying to say about fascists and de Sade is not clear, but Salo is so deep in its filth that we are forced almost to choke over its content. It is well filmed, and each scene of torture is shown in full color and shocking detail.