Criterion's Greatest Gross-Outs

by JustinDW

Created 01/02/13

Edit List

10 films with scenes more repulsive that the average viewer can handle.

  • This cinematic nightmare is so chock full of terrifying sights and sounds you'd think any gore would pale in comparison to the twisted, creepy atmosphere. However, I think genital mutilation is always going to be a reliable source of repulsiveness. So take your pick! Female self-castration with scissors (in extreme close-up) or testicle crushing via firewood (with a bloody climax... literally).

  • Hopefully you don't have a weaker stomach than Udo Kier's pathetic, sickly Dracula, who projectile vomits blood for several minutes straight after making the mistake of feeding on a non-virgin. A close runner up would be the sight of him resorting to lapping up a bloody puddle off the floor, the result of Joe Dallesandro forcibly deflowering (i.e. raping) a teenage girl.

  • This unrelentingly weird and creepy nightmare from the deepest and darkest corner of David Lynch's psyche is like being transported to another planet. Your sense of reality is warped for hours after sitting through it. Once your mind has been twisted and reprogrammed by the sheer dementia of it all, the vile, putrescent finale becomes the kind of experience from which you would normally wake up screaming.

  • In 1960, this film was the most outlandish gorefest ever seen. It has not lost much of its visceral power in over fifty years, and the gruesome imagery that appears onscreen with wild abandon was unsurpassed until a little film from Pittsburgh came along in 1968 and claimed the title for itself. A sequence of still shots showing the deterioration of Edith Scob's face is so effective you can almost smell the gangrenous flesh.

  • This one has so much blood and guts it's hard to pick one scene that's more disgusting than another. The Baron molesting his female creature via her gall bladder? His half-assed attempt to re-attach his severed hand (before chucking it at Little Joe)? Nah, I'm inclined to go with the male creature's extremely impractical method of suicide by self-disembowelment.

  • Do I need to even narrow it down? The coprophagia? The rape? The mutilation? I'd say the feces feast takes the cake for this one. But not by much.

  • This movie has so many genuinely funny moments in the first two-thirds of its running time you almost forget what it's about. When a serial killer and the film crew documenting his exploits invade a home and apparently all take part in the torture and murder of a young couple (whom they have interrupted making love), the horrific footage of the aftermath is a sobering wake up call. The laughs are few and far between after that moment, perhaps as they should be.

  • This brilliant, satirical action/sci-fi epic is full of violence so insanely over-the-top it almost becomes slapstick. Almost. Be it a hapless office worker being blown to smithereens by a giant robot or a hand being blasted apart with a shotgun, there's plenty of grisly violence to satiate the gore aficionados. But it's the post toxic waste demise of Emil that remains seared in my brain. It's one of those rare movie moments that is so shocking you actually can't believe you just saw it.

  • Makavejev's nearly non-stop barrage of everything taboo and perverse is thrown at you faster than your brain can process it. It all winds up making some sort of sense in the end (I think) but it's a rough ride getting there. I can take competitive defecation and urination as a means of foreplay, but the adult baby writhing around in every bodily fluid imaginable is way frigging gross.

  • "I have something I want to play for you." David Cronenberg's masterpiece is full of bizarre, surreal imagery, but none is more shockingly quease-inducing than the moment in which Barry Convex shoves a videotape into the vaginal like orifice in Max Renn's stomach. At that moment one can only wonder, "How the hell did we arrive here?"


  • By Naomi
    November 09, 2013
    06:40 AM

    Irreversible should have been included. A nine minute anal rape scene is no joke. And not to mention the very graphic image of a guy's head being smashed in by a fire extinguisher.
    • By Kerry B.
      November 16, 2013
      02:15 AM

      Not a Criterion edition, though.
  • By oz-rob
    November 09, 2013
    03:58 PM

    Two gross out Scenes come straight to my mind from the films in my C.Collection, The scene in The Insect Woman spine #473,when the incestuous old father sucks the pus out of a large boil on his daughters leg and a scene from Andrei Rublev #34 when the tortured priest has molten liquid poured down his throat as he is dragged off feet first by horse.
  • By JMB
    November 10, 2013
    12:12 AM

    "Night ad Fog" might be a good contender for this list. It's a documentary about the Nazi concentration camps. throughout the film we are subjected to photographs of the horrible things that happened there such as piles of rotting corpses an headless bodies. you know, the real deal. we're not looking at corn syrup and latex here. "Flesh for Frankenstein also has the distinction of being a Video Nasty.
  • By Stroszek
    November 11, 2013
    03:10 PM

    Decent list. I would add "In the Realm of the Senses" on this list. I would of said "W.R. Mysteries of the Organism", but I found that one to be more hilarious than grossed out.
  • By AM
    November 17, 2013
    11:07 AM

    No Cannibal Holocaust or Nekromantik ?
    • By AM
      November 17, 2013
      09:06 PM

      Although I guess these are not Criterion releases.
  • By Noah Abner Bowen
    November 19, 2013
    03:42 PM

    Excellent list. I must say though, having read through the comments, that I am rather surprised by the level of immaturity expressed, by some, in the criticism of the author's choices. His summary for each film very well explains the reason for selection. Criterion is a "continuing series of important classic and contemporary films", essentially a growing library, or anthology, if you will, of cinematic ART. Each film is disturbing in its own unique way: physically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually.
  • By Daniel W.
    November 23, 2013
    07:53 PM

    I always found Salo more of a petty film than gross out film. Its politically ineffective, horribly acted, and on a visual level it's really ugly. Antichirst was really tough. I liked Lars von Trier's earlier movies up to Breaking the Waves, but now... he kinda sucks (seriously Nymphomaniac looks awful). Robocop is just a lot of fun, and Man Bites Dog had a brilliant concept, but it was more shocking than funny.
  • By Chris Barry
    December 06, 2013
    02:39 PM

    I think the "tar and feather" scene in The Naked Prey is not only a gross out but highly disturbing.
  • By Christopher M Curcio
    December 10, 2013
    01:18 PM

    Ken Russell's "The Devils" should definitely bee on this list. Unfortunately, it's not a Criterion release--but it should be.
  • By Peter_Wilson
    December 23, 2013
    10:51 PM

    This is about as nicely a list as one can put together about a gross subject. Btw if you find some time check out my lists.
  • By KimRN
    January 01, 2014
    03:44 AM

    I started watching AntiChrist tonight, got too distracted with New Year's events but I cant wait to finish it.
  • By Matt
    January 03, 2014
    12:47 PM

    Fun list! Sweet Movie should be WAY higher though!! :P
  • By Jared
    January 07, 2014
    06:44 PM

    The scene in Ingmar Bergman's Cries and Whispers where Karin inserts the piece of glass into her vagina is gross out worthy, though the film is not. Oh and (as hard as one might try) who can forget In the Realm of the Senses?
  • By Peter_Wilson
    January 15, 2014
    10:14 AM

    Justin DW I've got a new list, Your Favorite Criterion Edition, which is a compilation of members single favorite edition along with there comment on the film. Thought you might like to participate.
  • By Ben
    January 17, 2014
    02:56 PM

    How about the brains with cords killing relentlessly in Fiend Without a Face???
  • By scorpion83
    February 24, 2014
    02:14 AM

    In The Realm Of The Senses and Fat Girl
  • By hoytereden
    February 24, 2014
    08:50 PM

    How about Criterion's Laserdisc release of Pink Flamingos? The ending still makes my stomach flip-flop.
  • By ALVideoholic
    March 13, 2014
    12:38 PM

    An interesting, although great, list. You "hit the nail on the head" with Nos., 1, and 8-10 (I admit I haven't seen either Blood for Dracula or Flesh for Frankenstein - OOP and pricey). In regard to comments by others, I loved In the Realm of the Senses (watch it frequently), and don't really find it "gross"; Fat Girl was sad; and, Fiend without a Face was hilarious. Also, I agree with Matt, Sweet Movie should be higher on the list - that was one weird, in-your-face wild ride (and, I don't want to watch it again, ever).
  • By Max_Fischer
    July 11, 2014
    04:15 PM

    Nice List, as someone who seems to be able to watch the goriest of films without looking away, I'm surprised I've only seen two of the entries (The Ice Storm, and Robocop). Also Fat Girl would be a deserving edition
  • By Chad J.
    July 21, 2014
    04:22 PM

    "Seconds" (1966) includes shots of an actual rhinoplasty operation.