40 Disturbing Movie Scenes

Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)

The Scene: A zombie smashes through a splintering wooden door to grab Paola (Olga Karlatos) and pulls her towards it.

Look Away When: Paola's eye is gouged out by a wood splinter.

BBFC Reaction: Nearly 2 minutes cut - including the eye gouge - in 1979, but ended up on the Video Nasties list anyway. Finally released uncut in 2005.

Misery (1990)

The Scene: Crazed fan Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) ties novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan) to a bed and pulls out a sledgehammer.

Look Away When: She 'hobbles' him by smashing his kneecaps.

BBFC Reaction: Not only uncut, but Bates won an Oscar. Still disturbing, though.

American History X (1998)

The Scene: Neo-Nazi Derek (Edward Norton) punishes a black man who tried to steal his truck, and makes him put his mouth on the curb.

Look Away When: Derek stamps on the man's head.

BBFC Reaction: Uncut...although given the film's notorious editing history, with director Tony Kaye bundled out of the editing suite by Norton, who knows how far the scene might have gone?

Murder-Set-Pieces (2004)

The Scene: Serial killer 'The Photographer' rapes and murders yet another victim.

Look Away When: The victim's hysterical, bloodstained child cradles her dead mother's body.

BBFC Reaction: Banned outright, both for its sustained link between sex and violence and for the youth of several victims.

Videodrome (1982)

The Scene: TV station owner Max Renn (James Woods) begins hallucinating after being exposed to signals from hardcore show Videodrome.

Look Away When: He inserts his hand into a vagina-like wound that appears in his stomach.

BBFC Reaction: No cuts from the censor, although invariably the version that's submitted is the U.S. R-rated, rather than the uncut/unrated version available on R1.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

The Scene: Pam attempts to escape a remote farmhouse from psycho Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen), but he catches her.

Look Away When: He impales her on a meathook.

BBFC Reaction: Officially banned between 1975 and 1999, although various city councils - notably Camden in 1998 - allowed it to be played anyway.

Switchblade Romance (2003)

The Scene: Alex (Maiwenn Le Besco), fleeing from a psycho killer, flags down a car.

Look Away When: The killer disembowels the driver with a concrete saw.

BBFC Reaction: The Board kept its switchblade away from this one.

Scarface (1982)

The Scene: When a drug deal goes wrong, Tony Montana (Al Pacino) has to watch his Colombian enemies take a chainsaw to his friend Angel.

Cover Your Ears When: The Colombian boss orders, "Now the leg."

BBFC Reaction: De Palma famously won a battle to get a R rating, and then smuggled in his unapproved cut anyway. No such luck in the UK; until 1994 the chainsaw sequence was slightly cut despite being largely implied.

Man Bites Dog (1992)

The Scene: While being filmed for a documentary, serial killer Benoit breaks into a house and rapes a woman.

Look Away When: He invites the documentary film crew to join in... and they do so.

BBFC Reaction: Passed uncut. It's a reflection of our own taste for voyeurism, so we had to see it.

I Spit On Your Grave (1978)

The Scene: After surviving a gang rape, Jennifer (Camille Keaton) comes face-to-face with leader Johnny.

Look Away When: She severs his penis with a knife.

BBFC Reaction: Banned under the Video Nasties list, and heavily cut when finally released in 2001. Several minutes have since been reinstated or, in places, reframed, although the 2010 release is still short by 2:54.

Incidentally, the imminent remake has also fallen foul of the censor, with 43 seconds of cuts. So it isn't only A Serbian Film that continues cinema's tradition of disturbance.