Movies that went too far

The movie industry is no stranger to pushing things too far: more explosions, more gunfire, more sex, more gore, and everything else you could possibly add for the sake of capturing the attention of the viewer. We've assembled a group of movies for you to wince at—all with scenes that have become unforgettable for all the wrong reasons.

The Abyss: Everyone was 30 feet underwater for real

Just because your movie takes place 30 feet underwater, doesn't mean you should film 30 feet underwater. But don't tell James Cameron that — he not only submerged his entire Abyss cast that far down, he accompanied them. Then again, Cameron once visited the Mariana Trench, so perhaps he thought 30 feet would be nothing.

If so, he was wrong. According to Time, the crew spent anywhere from 15 to 18 hours a day filming underwater in five-hour chunks thanks to underwater oxygen filling stations. Unfortunately, it took a while to get the pH levels right — until then, crew members suffered hair loss and burnt skin. Landlubbing was little better; since it was wintertime, the only place the cold, shivering crew could accomplish any non-filming business was in a hot tub. Even then, people were constantly cold and sick. That's why some channeled their inner Mad Magazine and took to calling the film The Abuse.

Cameron almost died while filming Abyss. His assistant director forgot to warn him he needed oxygen, and he was rapidly running out of air. He was forced to swim to the surface, at the risk of developing the bends, but was stopped by a safety diver named George, who gave Cameron his back-up regulator to breathe with. Problem was, it was broken — all Cameron got was water. The only reason he's still alive is because he punched George in the face and swam up himself. Needless to say, both George and the assistant director were soon jobless. Also needless to say, Cameron was back working as soon as possible. After all, 30 feet is nothing.

Pink Flamingos: Divine eats real dog poop

Scenes where somebody eats poop are always stomach-churning — even in Caddyshack, where everyone knows the poop is a candy bar, you still try not to eat while watching. Now imagine a scene where the actor is consuming real, actual feces. That's what happened in Pink Flamingos, if you're wondering what movie to avoid on a weak stomach.

The actor is question is drag queen Divine, who stars as Babs Johnson, the "filthiest person alive." At the end of the film, after straight-up executing pretenders to her dirty throne, Babs decides to prove her filthiness by eating dog feces fresh from the pooch's booty. You can go dig up the video if you like, but, you know … why? The scene technically breaks the fourth wall, as the narrator calls Divine "the filthiest actress in the world," which makes sense since the feces was 100 percent legit, warm, and stinky.

The scene became so infamous that it threatened to overshadow everything else Divine did. According to a biography about him written by his mother, Divine routinely encountered people who insisted he was a coprophile who ate poop all the time and who loved to talk about it at parties. In reality, he insisted, he only did it that one time and only because the script told him to. Why he didn't just use fake poo like so many practical jokers, who knows. Probably most viewers would've found that more than filthy enough, but you can't argue with the advertising payoff.

The Adventures of Milo and Otis: Puppies and kittens and sad

The Adventures of Milo and Otis was The Incredible Journey for pug aficionados, and it was downright adorable. The only thing that could harm its precious reputation was the possibility that the animals weren't treated well at all. And unfortunately, according to various long-standing rumors, that might well have been the case.

Nothing has been proven, but it's been alleged that, to film scenes such as Milo the kitten going over a tall waterfall in a tiny box, Otis the puppy fighting a fully-grown bear, or Milo's mother battling a venomous snake, animals were put in grave danger of injury or death. In fact, rumors claim over 20 cats died during filming. Another rumor claims at least one cat had its paw intentionally broken because Milo needed to hobble around for a scene. Such rumors have pervaded the film from the start, though even the American Humane Association admits it's pure speculation for now.

That said, one look at the film and you have to wonder. There's no CGI or robotics, meaning all those stunts were real, as were the animals performing them. It seems like a stretch to believe that a kitten or puppy could pull off such stunts without risking their lives or even losing them. Plus, nowhere in the credits does it say "no animals were harmed." So if you take a walk outside today, to see what you can find today, it might well be a pile of adorable baby pet corpses.

The Shining: Just about any scene featuring Shelley Duvall

Part of what makes The Shining so scary is how scared Shelley Duvall appeared throughout it. She was so convincing as Jack's terrified, victimized wife, you'd swear she was scared out of her wits for real. As it turns out, that's because she was, and Stanley Kubrick made her that way.

According to Duvall herself, via the book The Complete Kubrick, "Stanley pushed me and prodded me further than I've ever been pushed before. It's the most difficult role I've ever had to play." It was so difficult, in fact, that she spent the brunt of her filming time sick from stress. Meanwhile, co-star Jack Nicholson, in the documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life In Pictures, said the insane perfectionist Kubrick made Duvall film the bat scene — where Nicholson went full-on crazy, prompting Duvall's traumatized character to hit him with a baseball bat — a ridiculous 127 times. That meant dealing with Nicholson's craziness while screaming her head off 127 times, and it stressed her out so much that she reportedly discovered her hair falling out in clumps. All that for a five-minute scene that was probably perfect by the second take.

No wonder Duvall so eagerly accepted roles like Olive Oyl in Popeye afterward. It's way less stressful to watch Robin Williams eat spinach and go "ah-guh-guh-guh-guh-guh-guh" 127 times.

Old Boy: Hammer time

Let's get one thing straight: when we're talking about Old Boy, we're referring to Park Chan-wook's timeless, jaw-dropping film, not that godawful Spike Lee remake. For those unfamiliar with the Korean revenge flick, a deadbeat, alcoholic dad gets abducted and locked in a tiny hotel room for 15 years straight with no rhyme or reason as to why he was brought there. The room only had a sink, an unseated toilet, a small TV with a busted antennae, and a small bed. Protagonist Oh Dae-su was fed the same food (fried dumplings) three times a day throughout the entire duration as well. You'd best believe that he was out for revenge after being randomly set free. Upon finding one of the people hired to keep him in confinement, he extracted his revenge with the claw end of a hammer…one tooth at a time. This was light years beyond your worst trip to the dentist.

Fight Club: The Batman treatment

David Fincher's Fight Club from 1999 had its fair share of scenes that went too far. It spliced single frames of man junk into various parts of the movie, and its underground fights had just enough meat-smacking oomph to them that viewers felt every blow. Edward Norton's unnamed, everyman protagonist had a lot of pent-up rage against the world that he was finally starting to let trickle out after learning the ways of the travelling soap salesman, Tyler Durden. During one point of the movie, Norton's character got into a fight with an unnamed member of their crew. This character, played by Jared Leto and referred to as "Angel Face" in the movie's credits, got his face pounded into oblivion by Norton, going well beyond the established rules of Fight Club. Norton's fists bashing into poor Angel Face's once-pristine visage until it was a bloody pulp of bruises and broken teeth left viewers stupefied by the narrator's sadistic, relentless assault.

Human Centipede: All of it

If you're unfamiliar with the premise of The Human Centipede, a quick Google image search should be able to convey the sick experiments done by the film's maniacal villain. Three tourists get drugged and imprisoned by a mad German scientist/surgeon (you never really see any sane ones in movies, do you?) who hopes to create a new life form by sewing people together. Der Doktor stitches them together in succession from mouth-to-butt, with the hopes that they form one single digestive tract. It's just as abhorrent and barf-worthy as you'd expect. Just to save you the horror of actually watching this thing, here's the ending: the people at the front and end of the line both die, leaving the girl sewn in the middle of the centipede stuck to her horrible fate. This entire experiment is brought to you by a movie that simply went too far. Bleh.

Last Tango In Paris: Butter scene

The "butter scene" in Last Tango In Paris is hard enough to watch as is: Marlon Brando, angered that Maria Schneider's character wants to end their affair, attempts to rape her using a stick of butter for lube. She kills him for his actions, but that doesn't make the scene any less disturbing. It becomes far more skeezy, however, once you realize the scene was all too real.

As Schneider herself had claimed for years (and director Bernardo Bertolucci admitted in 2013, two years after Schneider died), that butter-rape scene was not in the original script. While plenty of movies feature script deviations, this one wasn't discussed with Schneider at all. Brando and Bertolucci created it on their own, and didn't tell Schneider until minutes before they were ready to shoot. She had no time to say no, and judging by what she's said in the years since, she absolutely would have. Her screaming and crying during the scene was 100 percent real, and even though Brando didn't actually do anything sexual, she still says she felt "a little raped."

It didn't help that neither Brando nor Bertolucci apologized to her afterward, probably because neither thought anything was wrong. Brando assured her, before shooting the scene, "It's just a movie," while Bertolucci felt guilty-yet-proud, saying, "I wanted her reaction as a girl, not as an actress. I wanted her to react humiliated." Mission accomplished, at the low, low cost of all human decency and respect.

Dead Alive: Your inner self

Before Peter Jackson became a household name with the Lord of the Rings, he directed a series of low budget (but successful) B-movies and horror flicks. The most noteworthy of his earlier films would have to be Braindead, which was released in North America as Dead Alive. This splatter flick focused on a man whose mother gets bitten by a Sumatran Rat-Monkey. Spiraling out from his now-zombie mother, Lionel's town becomes infested by an undead plague. Lionel goes to absurd lengths to save himself and his girlfriend from the decaying, cannibal horde. As gross, macabre, and fun Dead Alive is, its most messed up part would have to be when the zombie baby Selwyn rips its way out of the face of a poor victim at Lionel's house. Go ahead and use your imagination to figure out how the decaying baby got in there.

Irreversible: Nine minutes too many

It's near-impossible to film a non-disturbing rape scene, and Irreversible didn't even try. On the contrary, the film seemingly set out to make the most graphic, cringe-worthy rape scene imaginable.

At the start of the film, Monica Bellucci's character is raped and her assailant is murdered. The rest of the film — provided you can stomach any more — is the story told backward, like a ridiculously difficult-to-watch Memento. The rape itself, while obviously scripted and fictional, is among the most harrowing ever put to film. Even Bellucci herself admitted (via the Scottish Record and Daily) she can't watch it. "When I see [it] on screen, I can't handle it. I turn my eyes away," she claimed. It's not because she was tricked into doing it, a la Last Tango In Paris. It's simply because the scene is that disturbing, not to mention long. The filmed version goes nine minutes, but previous takes went as long as 12.

The film's reception was almost unanimously negative (one critic likened it to "having someone rest their dirtiest finger on the back of your throat"), and over 200 people walked out of its showing at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival), but Bellucci is proud of the scene. Irreversible's director, Gaspar Noe, is too. He argued, "[The rape] has to be as powerful as it can be, to be disgusting enough, to be useful. If you do a movie with a rape and don't show it, you hide the point." He made his point, many times over.

The Exorcist: Pleasing Pazuzu

William Friedkin's groundbreaking horror film broke barriers and introduced a new kind of terror that moviegoers were simply not ready for. The genre up to that point was relatively tame on graphic imagery, but Linda Blair's portrayal of 12-year-old Regan MacNeil's possession by the demon Pazuzu was unlike anything fans had ever seen. Little Regan's various stages of transformation and torture were both vivid and terrifying. We'll never forget her flopping around her bed in gravity-defying ways, the 360 degree head rotation, the medical tests, the projectile vomit, the message carved into her stomach from the innocent soul held captive by Pazuzu, and that bone-chilling climax. The scientific and psychological approaches towards treating Regan's symptoms showcased the medical world's own horrific ways of treating mental disorders, which wove a sterile-but-horrid dichotomy to the supernatural manifestations of Regan's satanic affliction. And yet, all of it paled in comparison to the most shocking and controversial part of The Exorcist…that crucifix scene. Regan's mom can attest to that.

A Serbian Film: Just don't watch it, seriously

A Serbian Film is filled to the brim with scenes that are better off forgotten. It tells the story of a near-retired porn star who is at the end of his rope financially and decides to film some kind of artsy fartsy film that he wasn't used to making. For some reason, the art film's creators needed a man of his "talents," and it isn't until he reaches the set when you find out why. The art project is actually a snuff film filled with scenes of pedophilia, necrophilia, rape, and all kinds of horrific things no one should ever get any kind of enjoyment out of watching, or filming. Director and writer Srdan Spasojevic claims the film's controversial and sexual violence is a symbolism of the Serbian people's horrific mistreatment by their government. Spasojevic also claims he wanted to create the opposite of the dull, predictable, and uninspired flicks made by his countrymen. Unfortunately, the rest of the world didn't care for this graphic metaphor or the director's reasoning, as it has been banned in multiple countries and pulled from the shelves of most major movie retailers.

The Saw Series: Every Jigsaw trap ever

The Saw movie series has a fairly simple premise where the victims of a demented serial killer are put in sadistic situations where they must cause extreme bodily harm to themselves in order to survive an otherwise fatal encounter. The first film's climax is the simplest of these impossible predicaments: two men are chained to a sturdy pipe by their ankles and must use hacksaws to cut through their legs in order to escape before being locked in the room indefinitely…where they'd starve to death (there's a whole subplot to them being there, but who cares). This starts a trend of elaborate, over-the-top sequences of gore-or-death scenarios happening through far too many sequels, where unfortunate people must mutilate themselves onscreen and endure extreme lengths of pain in order to live. It's torture porn at its worst.

Antichrist: Stabbing in the woods

Danish director Lars Trier is accustomed to controversy with the likes of Melancholia and Nymphomaniac. But his movie Antichrist is the project that pushed viewers to the very brink of their sanity. Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg portray a couple who mourn the loss of their toddler, who fell to his death while they were getting hot and heavy in the bedroom. The father is a therapist who decides to help his tramautized lover by taking her to a cabin in the woods (because that always turns out well). The two engage in forceful lovemaking and all kinds of sadomasochistic encounters, and the mother ultimately goes off the deep end. Gainsbourg's character tortures herself and her lover in all kinds of ballsy, appalling ways, but the part that'll make you cry occurs when Dafoe's crown jewels get smashed to bits by a giant block of wood. And yes, things actually do get worse from that point forward.