Vintage Scares #7: Movies That Make You Want to Take a Shower

Ever watched a movie so raunchy and foul that you felt like you needed to take a shower afterward? I mean the kind of movie that requires an entire bar of Neutrogena and some steel wool to wash off the sin from exposure to such a horrible piece of filth. I mean the kind of movie that requires that you watch something on TV innocent and pure like Highway to Heaven or Scooby Doo immediately afterward because you can't just go to sleep with this vile horror show floating around your subconscious.

I'm not talking about porn. Who cares about porn - that's just skank having sexual relations. I'm talking about taboo breaking, grubby, grindhouse trash from the 1970's. These movies knew no boundaries of good taste, and their only purpose was to shock and repulse. Here's some examples of my personal encounters with grindhouse at its worst (or best, depending on your perspective).

1. I Spit On Your Grave (1978)

On the one hand, it's a great revenge movie: Camille Keaton gets even with her attackers in a big way. On the other hand, the first half of the movie basically feels like a snuff film as we are forced to watch her get repeatedly sexually assaulted. I think if you are not slightly disturbed by this film, it may be time for some self-reflection.

2. Henry: A Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

There's movies like Se7en which put audiences on the trail of a serial killer, and then there's movies like this one that put audiences in smack dab in the living room of a serial killer. Suffice it to say, it's kind of a sick feeling to sit in Henry Lee Lucas' Barcalounger for an hour and a half.

3. Satan's Blood, AKA Escalofrío (1978)
I can handle Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist, but straight up satanism gives me the creeps. Satanic rituals, creepy dolls, demonic orgies, rape, murder, possession,... might want to have some holy water on hand. Even Alister Crowley would've been offended by this one. (image via Killer Kittens)

4. The Devil's Rejects (2005)
I've recently rewatched this and found it to be not too bad. No doubt, it's pretty rough at times, but IMHO it's not as horrific as your average 1970's grindhouse film. That being said, I have to include this one because of the circumstances in which I saw it: an office party. To celebrate an accomplishment, the people at work decided we could watch a film - and some idiot chose this one. I cannot emphasize this enough: THIS WAS THE MOST UNCOMFORTABLE TWO HOURS OF MY ENTIRE LIFE.

I could name some others, but I'll stop there. I still have not gathered up enough stupidity to watch the notorious Cannibal Holocaust, and probably never will. I'm curious what movies left some of you with a particularly sick aftertaste. Leave a comment.


  1. I've seen Grave, Henry, and Rejects, and agree with you on all of them. Part of me now feels left out that I haven't seen Satan's Blood...

    I can't think of any other shower-worthy films I've seen, but I know of some that I don't plan to watch, based on what I've heard:
    * Cannibal Holocaust (yep)
    * Chaos
    * Irreversible
    * Martyrs
    * Inside

  2. Pier Pablo Pasolini's SALO: THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM is the most soul crushing movie of all time. I saw it years ago at the Nuart in LA and there were walk outs among the hard core punks in attendance.

  3. My list would include...

    1. Last House On The Left (1972) - (Wes Craven's first one, and probably most disturbing)
    2 Begotten (1990) - (Very disturbing silent film)
    3. Kids (1995) - (Pukefest)
    4. The Wicker Man (1973) - (Although I really like this movie, it's just the ending really gets you!)
    5. Caligula (1979) - (Just because Peter O'Toole is in it doesn't mean it's good.)

  4. I've seen a lot of perverted crap but the only one that immediately comes to mind as shower-worthy was ERASERHEAD! A young friend of mine just last week told me she'd heard of this film CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and could I get a copy for her. I can...but I said no just on its rep.

  5. You should visit Rich at fourfour.typepad.com. He's an expert and a connoisseur of this stuff.

  6. "Natural Born Killers" did it for me personally. Especially the scene with Rodney Dangerfield.

    One that I haven't had the courage to watch yet is "Men Behind the Sun" (1988), aka "Hei tai yang 731". It is about experiements the Japanese army performed on Chinese and Russian WW II prisoners. Everything from hyperbaric chambers to liquid nitrogen freezing of appendages. Throw in a little biological warfare and you have yourself a movie. I would imagine you would need a shower and a lobotomy after this one.

  7. I'm a wimp, I felt that way after Tropic Thunder. Not because of the blood, just the language and stupidity.

  8. David Lynch's "Wild at Heart" has always held a huge creepy factor with me. Never been able to stay & watch the ending.

    Most disgusting film ever made?
    That "dis-honor" goes to..."Visitor Q"hands down...

  9. I wish I could unwatch I Spit On Your Grave. That one gave me the heebie jeebies. .

  10. Have to echo a previous comment and say the original "Last House on the Left". I felt so wrong after having watched that.

  11. film father - I haven't seen any of the movies on your list. Although, I will probably look them up in a moment (out of sheer morbid curiosity).

    buzz- I will have to look up SALO as well. Sounds rough.

    atom kid- I'd have to agree with LHOTL - about as nihilistic and depressing as they come. I forgot about KIDS, that was awful - which reminds me of a couple similar movies: Gummo and Bully.

    Booksteve- Eraserhead didn't really make me want to take a shower. But I'd have to say it was a sick and surreal nightmare.

    frank- thanks for the recommendation, I'll have to check it out (although I'm a tad scared)

    Hitch- The Rodney Dangerfield scene was pathetic and sad. I've heard Rodney didn't really get that he was not in a comedy and was really doing something revolting. As far as that other movie you mention - holy crap, that sounds dreadful.

    retro hound- There is that scene in Tropic Thunder where Stiller is holding a decapitated head and licks it. But I agree, it was insanely stupid. "Don't ever go full retard"

    viva- I actually like Wild at Heart, although I can see how it would creep you out. I though Mulholland Drive by Lynch was even creepier. I haven't seen Visitor Q - I'll have to look that one up.

    Todd - The I Spit on Your Grave DVD should come with a free bottle of Scotch to wash away the pain.

    wings- LHOTL was indeed sick. I'm curious about the remake, whether it was just as twisted.

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  13. "Looking for Mr.Goodbar",which I saw on cable tv in 1979 when I was 17. The ending still rates as one of the most depressing of all times IMO.

    Though it may be off topic for the post I still feel that for sheer second hand embarrassment nothing tops "Heartbeeps" with Andy Kaufman.

  14. Martyrs. Actually, it's a brilliant piece of filmmaking that gives you a lot of think about.

    And it's genuinely terrifying and unrelentingly brutal.

  15. Seen clips of Last House On The Left, Cannibal Holocaust & I Spit On Your Grave and that was enough. I will never watch any of those films. Devil's Rejects I turned off after ten minutes, like, who am I meant to empathize with here? One that sort of counts is Soldier Blue, an otherwise jolly little western that, for most of it's running time is almost a rom com, then literally in the last ten minutes, suddenly does a giant U-Turn and becomes a horrendous rape / bloodfest massacre / Vietnam allegory.
    But the absolute worst is Man Bites Dog, an alleged black comedy where, like Henry & Devil's Rejects, you're supposed to be on the side of the killer as he merrily rapes & tortures his way around Belgium. Genuinely revolting.

  16. Not too long ago I sat for a little living room double feature of Cannibal Holocaust and Basket Case. My exact words after watching CH was "I feel icky." Having said that, there is one scene in Basket Case that probably disturbed me more than any single scene in Cannibal Holocaust.

  17. Yes to I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE. Absolutely awful movie. LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (original) should've made the list as well.

  18. "Nothing But Trouble". Not scary, just wrong.

  19. Yeah, Last House on the Left and Kids for sure.

    The one that really got me was a collection of short films by Richard Kern. It contained a video for Sonic Youth that was pretty horrific and a short called the Sewing Circle that I'll never be able to get out of my head.

  20. I would definitely nominate Evils of the Night (1985). After years of refusing to appear in Gilligan's Island-related projects, because she wanted to be known for doing other things, Tina Louise shows us what those other things can be. Yeah. Right.

    Boxing Helena was pretty awful, too.

  21. I'm not sure what my list would be. I'll have to think about that. I agree with your choices.

  22. Salo was disgusting. I DID take a shower after watching that.
    Vulgar. Actually turned that one off
    Men Behind the Sun
    Mermaid in the Manhole. Almost made me puke.

  23. doug- Couldn't agree more with Mr. Goodbar. I find it interesting this movie has still not made it to DVD!

    PMMF - Martyrs? Haven't heard of this one. Man, I guess I need to get with it!

    pete- excellent comment. I have actually heard of Man Bites Dog, but haven't yet summoned up enough courage to watch it. There's something about these revolting cinematic trainwrecks that conjures up my morbid curiosity.

    linday- I haven't seen Basket Case since I was in high school, so I'm curious what that part was that disturbed you so much.

    metalmisfit- Yeah, I think LHOTL should've definitely made the list. I'm going to have to rent the remake to see if it even comes close. Rue Morgue magazine actually said it was better than the original!

    anonymous- Nothing but Trouble was a kind of awful that the mind quakes just trying to comprehend the extent of its awfulness. How was this ever made?

    Shawn- I remember a long time ago seeing a Sonic Youth video for the song Death Valley 69, and it disturbed the shit out of me. I wonder if that's the one you're talking about.

    Total Toyz- Dude, this is what makes this all worthwhile. I will be getting Evils of the Night ASAFP. No way a Tina Louise horror movie is going under my radar!

    Christoff- Mermaid in the Manhole? What the hell is that about? Never heard of it, but I'm oddly intrigued by the title.

  24. Honestly, i scared to see the images...

  25. Total Toyz- Dude, this is what makes this all worthwhile. I will be getting Evils of the Night ASAFP. No way a Tina Louise horror movie is going under my radar!

    Why do I feel as if I've just caused a train wreck? (And did I mention Julie Newmar is in it too?)

  26. The Cell (or maybe just "Cell") - this movie starring Jennifer Lopez that has lots of child abuse scenes. Walked out on it.

  27. Lindsay, I know the exact scene you mean, and you're right.

    My list:

    *Happiness (ick, ick, ick)
    *Beyond the Wall of Sleep (what a waste of William Sanderson!)
    *Patch Adams

  28. Nazisploitation films always do that to me. The Gestapo's Last Orgy is the worst of all. makes me feel gross just thinking about it.

  29. Mermaid in a Manhole, from the Guinea Pig series. Very sick stuff:


  30. I have yet to see I Spit on Your Grave despite my interest in exploitation cinema. I liked Henry although I felt the actor (Michael Rooker?) was too well build and even a little too average looking to potray Henry Lee Lucas, but the guy who did Otis was right on.

    I did not like Devil's rejects as much as House of 1000 Corpses and feel it will be a one time watch, while House I ahve seen 4 or 5 times. The Satan film is certainly dwon my alley and I will consider your tough words a recommendation for a Uranium Cafe feature.

    I hope you do more stuff like this.


  31. I agree with Salo, that was probably the most disgusting movie I've ever seen. Not sure why someone even made that film. It still disturbs me, 15 years after I first saw it. I can't even believe that the parents of the kids in the film allowed them to do it.

    A more recent film that was truly vulgar was "Closer" with Jude Law, Clive Owen, Natalie Portman, and Julia Roberts. I never understood what Vulgar meant until I saw this film. Gross and yuck come to mind. I wish I could have washed my brain clean after seeing that one.

    Lastly, another disgusting and stupid movie was "Starbooty" with RuPaul. Some friends thought it would be a lark to see this one. Ugh and more Ugh.

  32. Mel Gibson's "The Patriot".

    Heck, ANYTHING by Mel, at this point.

  33. AnonymousMay 26, 2011

    Last House On Dead End Street.Super grubby disturbing movie Saw this at a drive-in in Florida 1977...and I was the only car there! Extra creepy.