Top 10 Torture Porn Movies that mentally scarred an entire generation of moviegoers

Taking a break from jump scares, creepy haunted houses and supernatural beasts, Hollywood embraced the concept of torture porn in the early noughties and mentally scarred an entire generation of moviegoers as a result.

10. The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

In the sequel to House of 1000 Corpses, the Firefly clan are ambushed at their isolated home by Sheriff Wydell and a squad of armed men guns blazing. Only Otis and his sister, Baby, manage to escape the barrage of bullets unharmed. Hiding out in a backwater motel, the wanted siblings wait to rendezvous with their errant father, Captain Spaulding, killing whoever happens to stand in their way. Hell, there’s nothing that brings a family closer together than brutal killings.

9. Antichrist (2009)

After the tragic death of their child, a married couple head to a cabin in the woods as a form of loss therapy. Once there, the wife becomes more unhinged and starts perpetrating sexual violence on her husband and herself. Never to do things by half measures, filmmaker Lars Von Trier managed to create an artistic torture porn flick which is so disturbing you’ll never look at a pair of scissors in the same way again.


8. The Human Centipede (2009)

During a stopover in Germany in the middle of a carefree roadtrip through Europe, two American girls find themselves alone at night when their car breaks down in the woods. Searching for help at a nearby villa, they are wooed into the clutches of a deranged retired surgeon who explains his mad scientific vision to his captives’ utter horror. They are to be the subjects of his sick lifetime fantasy: to be the first to connect three people to create a “human centipede”.

7. Cube (1997)

In this claustrophobic sci-fi debut from Canadian director Vincenzo Natali, seven strangers are plucked out of their daily lives and placed mysteriously in a deadly rubix cube where each room could be hiding a deadly trap. They all agree they must find their way out using their combined skills to solve complex mathematical questions. A mix of thriller and psychodrama, some of the inventive deaths featured in this low budget flick helped it gain cult status.

6. A Serbian Film (2010)

A Serbian Film follows a financially struggling former porn star who agrees to participate in an art film, only to discover that he has been drafted into a snuff film. Some of the scenes of violence in A Serbian Film are so intense that the movie warranted an investigation by the Serbian state for crime against sexual morals and crime related to the protection of minors. The film also went on to be banned in numerous countries including Spain, Finland, Portugal, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and Norway.

5. Final Destination (2000)

Although it doesn’t technically belong to the subgenre of torture porn, there’s something about the slow build up and crazy deaths of the Final Destination series that it deserves a special mention. Each instalment follows the same basic concept – a group of individuals avoid being killed in a freak accident and find themselves being stalked by Death as they are hunted down one at a time during their borrowed time. When it comes to blood, guts and craziness, these films never fail to deliver.

4. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

A New York University professor returns from a rescue mission to the Amazon rainforest with the footage shot by a lost team of documentarians who were making a film about the area’s local cannibal tribes. Posited as a found-footage exercise, this controversial picture supposedly showed footage from a missing team’s last days within an Amazonian jungle. What starts out as an all-access project meant to cover the cannibalistic tribe’s everyday practices quickly descends into the systematic killing of the documentarians. Still one of the most controversial horror movies ever made, Cannibal Holocaust helped give torture porn the grisly reputation it thoroughly deserves.

3. Hostel (2005)

Three backpackers head to a Slovakian city which promises to meet their hedonistic expectations, with no idea of the hell that awaits them. Eli Roth’s Hostel was so successful that many on the tourism board felt that it would discourage overseas vacations altogether – particularly in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, where the film is mostly set. What sets this horror film apart from others is the fact that the protagonists being terrorized are male; a distinct difference from typical horror movies in which females are the victims. With stomach churning torture scenes, this is a must watch for any fans of the genre.

2. Martyrs (2008)

A young woman’s quest for revenge against the people who kidnapped and tormented her as a child leads her and a friend, who is also a victim of child abuse, on a terrifying journey into a living hell of depravity. To say this one stays with you is putting it mildly. This is the kind of film you have to work your way up to and, even then, you sort of dread watching it because it’s reputation precedes it. At first, it does come off as violence for violence’s sake, but there is indeed a method to the madness, which will only make sense at the end. Well, kind of.

1. Saw (2004)

Saw is arguably the movie which launched the subgenre of torture porn in earnest, even if it’s not the first one in the modern sense. Starting life as a short film, Saw was successfully picked up to be expanded into a feature length movie and was eventually such a huge hit it launched a full-on franchise; spawning another six films. Obsessed with teaching his victims the value of life, a deranged and sadistic serial killer by the name of Jigsaw abducts the morally wayward. Once captured, they must face impossible choices in a horrific game of survival. The victims must fight to win their lives back – or die trying. What makes this franchise so thrilling and amazing is the extents in which the victims push themselves to survive, and the horrific, obscure ways they are tortured.