Why it is disturbing: It is a pathological look at suburban middle-class family life. It is the most absurd Western excesses of today’s Japan; the mother, who is caught in the act of performing a striptease for her father-in-law’s office buddies one evening, she also makes a suit of armor out of pots and pans and the son ties the family dog to a homemade crossbow. Along the way, every dark fear one might ever have harbored about family life is thoroughly confirmed.
Why it is disturbing: Ichi the Killer is probably the most well known choice on the list. Ichi can turn a room full of people into sushi in about thirty seconds. This film is about killing for the sake of killing, by those who love doing it with a sexual passion. Rape, torture, murder, gore and general brutality are relentless traits of this movie. It makes no apologies for what it is and dares you to eject it from your DVD player.
Why it is disturbing: A twin brother who was abandoned at birth, shoves his brother Yukio down into a well, while sleeping with his brothers wife. His pension for anarchy is not such a bad thing here, as the story isn’t laid out that simple. There’s something here to be said about the true nature of human beings. This is a very strange and disturbing film.
Why it is disturbing: The only movie on the list I have actually regretted watching, and will never post a review on the website. All of these people are sick to the core of their souls. The father is a TV reporter who videotapes himself having sex with his prostitute daughter. His teenage son whips and beats his mother, who also works as a prostitute in order to support her heroin habit.
Why it is disturbing: In Pinocchio, being a human boy was the wish and honesty the test. In Maid-Droid, true love is the wish and knowing the difference between sex and love is the test. There is a machine serial rapist that is at large, which begs the question, can a machine have a soul? Yep, Maid-Droid goes from a child friendly, sad hearted love story, to a soft core porno in a matter of seconds.
Why it is disturbing: Gozu’s bizarre imagery is gratuitous. A dog is murdered quite graphically, waiters who wear black bras beneath their white shirts, and cow-headed demons! Oh, and I am just giving you the PG description version.
Why it is disturbing: The torture scenes really are quite disturbing – a scene that sees a man have his foot literally battered away from his leg is a particular highlight in that respect. A little girl blinded with hot iron and then thrown out on the street to become a beggar, is just another bad example. The worst, is an abused prostitute having her baby ripped out and then forced back to work where customers get to abuse her while she is dying.
Why it is disturbing: Audition is a slow boil of disturbing creepiness that crescendoes into a brutal third act. It is this juxtaposition of horror and innocence, love and hate, revenge and desire, that draws the viewer further into the darkness that is the soul of the abused and the unloved. Not for the squeamish, faint of heart or anyone who is afraid of needles. Deeper, deeper..deeper.
Why it is disturbing: Strange Circus deals with child physical, sexual and emotional abuse in the most in your face manner possible. A little girl is forced by her own father to watch sexual acts through a peephole. The movie gets darker and darker with every scene and through the whole thing you get the feeling that your watching a nightmare on screen. Decapitated limbs, incestuous lovemaking, and blood-soaked walls squeeze deep within the story’s convoluted and utterly unnerving nature. This film is an acquired taste, cerebral in nature, and not for everyone.
Why it is disturbing: This was a fairly easy choice for number 1. Because, quite simply, there is no plot. It is the king of torture porn. Violence for violence sake. Get it? When watching, you get sweep with a feeling of guilt and the uncomfortable feeling will consume you when you realize what you are watching. How it had a theatrical run, I’ll never understand.
If anyone can watch all 10 of these films, consider yourself the man with the iron stomach. Feel free to recommend films I may have missed or create your own top 10 below in the comment section. Thanks for reading!