Top 10 Most Controversial Horror Movie Scenes of All Time



Top 10 Most Controversial Horror Movie Scenes of All Time

VOICE OVER: Matthew Wende WRITTEN BY: Telly Vlachakis
Written by Telly Vlachakis

Horror movies have the unique ability to excited and scare in equal measure, but these steps are not without controversy! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Most Controversial Scenes Ever from Horror Movies! But what will take the top spot on our list? Will it be from The Excorcist, A Serbian Film, or Cannibal Holocaust? Watch to find out!

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Big thanks to ninou78 and Andrew A. Dennison for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Most+Controversial+Horror+Movie+Scenes+Of+All+Time
Grab your crucifix and some holy water. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 most controversial horror movie scenes.

For this list, we’ll be looking at all those controversial horror movie moments that caused audiences to gasp, faint, protest and run out of the theatre. Some of these scenes deal with the climax of a film, so a spoiler alert is now in effect – as is a mature content warning!

#10: The ‘Eucharist’
“mother!” (2017)

Darren Aronofsky is no stranger to disturbing imagery. Don’t believe us? Check out “Requiem for a Dream.” While “Mother!” is more experimental allegory than movie, this did not stop shocked audiences claiming that he went too far. By the time the titular mother finally gives birth, most audiences have caught on to the religious metaphors. Her newborn is ripped from her side, thrown into a crowd, killed in front of us, and then mutilated so that the devoted crowd can all have a piece of his flesh. Is it still over-the-top if it is meant to be symbolic? Our guess is: Yes.

#9: Mutilation
“Antichrist” (2009)

Another director who is used to being accused of going too far, Lars von Trier wanted to share with the world his vision of a relationship unravelling and becoming a monstrous, hideous beast. The performances of Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg were terrifying enough without having their characters endure insane physical pain. Many critics called it unwatchable and controversial, and were clearly thinking of its climax, which includes lots of blood, gore, and a very graphic scene of genital mutilation.

#8: The Actual Human Centipede
“The Human Centipede (First Sequence)” (2009)

Fans watching this now-cult classic cannot claim they did not see this coming. It is in the premise and title. And yet audiences, who thought the idea was so hilariously over-the-top that it will never be depicted on screen, got a shocking little surprise when, after so much build-up, Dr. Heiter revealed his creation. Not knowing how far newcomer director Tom Six was willing to go, moviegoers were treated to graphic details of the human centipede eating up and…passing along the nutrients.

#7: The ‘Last Supper’
“Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom” (1975)

If you thought the previous entry was too vomit-inducing, you’ve probably never heard of this Italian-French classic. Unsurprisingly banned in multiple countries, this tale of Fascist sadists and their debaucheries includes underage sexual abuse, humiliation, scenes of graphic murder and torture and any other form of dehumanizing activity you can think of. Its most notorious scene involves the Fascist leaders forcing their young slaves to enjoy of fancy feast of excrement. We dare you to watch without gagging.

#6: The Shower Scene
“Psycho” (1960)

Probably one of the most iconic scenes in horror cinema history, Hitchcock’s shower scene has been studied, dissected and recreated for decades. The murder of Marion Crane has remained controversial maybe for all the wrong reasons. Audiences at the time were shocked and appalled at the daring amount of nudity and violence depicted in the notorious sequence. It is only upon closer inspection that we realize it was only through careful editing that Hitchcock succeeded in tricking us into thinking we saw any explicit violence or nudity.

#5: Mari’s Rape
“The Last House on the Left” (1972)

A movie so notoriously shocking and gruesome that the promotional material included the famous tagline: “To avoid fainting, keep repeating…it’s only a movie”. Apart from being shot in a way as to make it nauseatingly gritty and realistic, the controversy hit the screen early on in the movie, when Krug and his thugs brutally attack, rape and attempt to kill Mari and her friend Phyllis. Having been banned and heavily censored in many countries, many theatres were accused of splicing out much of this section of the film prior to projecting the movie. It was so heavily and unofficially edited, that truly “uncut” versions of the movie are nearly impossible to find to this day.

#4: Daughter Kills Mother
“Night of the Living Dead” (1968)

Upon release, indie blockbuster “Night of the Living Dead” was criticized by some for having a black leading man, something that earns it acclaim today. Released as it was at the head of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, and released just six months after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the tragic death of Ben in the final scene of the film was considered particularly pertinent. However, the most controversial moment comes when poor Helen Cooper has to witness her little girl Karen die, only to return as a zombie, and kill her husband Harry before she herself is attacked. The brutal death of a mother at the hands of her young child was something audiences in the ‘60s were not used to seeing.

#3: Newborn Porn
“A Serbian Film” (2010)

This movie has it all: all the things you would never want to see or even think about, that is. The story of an aging porn star who joins a mysterious underground film project seems custom-built to find all the ways to get under our skin and make us look away. As if the necrophilia and torture are not enough, the fictional director introduces us to his great big idea! Newborn Porn. And yes, it’s exactly what it sound like.

#2: Spiked
“Cannibal Holocaust” (1980)

One of the most controversial and the most disturbing stories behind this found-footage horror classic, is how the director, Ruggero Deodato, was arrested under suspicion of actually murdering his actors on camera. In the movie’s most iconic, controversial, and disturbing scene, a young naked woman is impaled (through the back of the head and out the mouth) on a spike. It was so realistic, Deodato was accused of making a snuff film, and was forced to prove his innocence. The animal cruelty in the film may have unfortunately been real, but this staged moment was just a little too convincing for movie-goers at the time.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Killing Zombie Kids
“Dawn of the Dead” (1978)

The Finale
“Snuff” (1976)

‘Witch’ Torture

“Witchfinder General” (1968)

#1: Crucifix Masturbation

“The Exorcist” (1973)

With a bevy of controversial and blasphemous moments to choose from, “The Exorcist” has a long history of making audience members faint and/or throw up. Its most notorious moment is arguably when Regan’s poor mother runs into the whirlwind of her daughter’s bedroom, only to find the demonic Pazuzu having turned her little girl into a bloody mess. Shoving a bloody crucifix between her legs, the possessed Regan repulses her mother and all of us viewers, saying some horrific things that we cannot repeat here.