Controversial films are bound to raise eyebrows. Some filmmakers like to push the limits and make sex, violence, images and ideas in their films so explicit, spine-chilling and radical that censors consider such films over the top. Therefore it is not surprising that such films have been banned in various markets; some still remain banned in certain countries long after their release.
Often, these filmmakers showed great vision, artistic integrity and craftsmanship in their works. Looking at such films right now, it is not hard to see why some of them were way ahead of their time. Such genre-defining works are worthy of the frequent revisiting and applause they enjoy. Meanwhile, other films have been made just for the sake of shocking people, not bothering to show a single merit. Repugnant as they are, their reputation makes them impossible to ignore.
The motion picture is one of the greatest inventions of human beings ― in a dark theater, a film often gives people a feast like no other. A good film unleashes intense emotional or intellectual response ― people can be amused, horrified or shocked, or spurred into thought by what they see.
The ten films on the list below are very good at shocking people. It can be quite an experience to watch them in whatever way you like.
I Spit on Your Grave, 1978, U.S.
Take a look at the promo poster saying "this woman has just cut, chopped, broken and burned five men beyond recognition…" and you may get an idea of what this rape and revenge film, also known as "Day of the Woman" is about. The notorious film written and directed by Meir Zarchi caused controversy due to its lengthy gang-rape scene and graphic violence. Zarchi did not only find it very hard to find a distributor after finishing the film but also saw it had been completely banned in many countries such as Ireland, Norway and Iceland on the grounds that it "glorified violence against women". He edited and submitted the film to the Motion Picture Association of America several times before gaining approval to show the film in the US.
Film critics trashed the film with overwhelming negative reviews. Some argued that the rape scenes were offensive and the film did not show any sympathy to the victim. Roger Ebert in a 1980 review dismissed the film as "a vile pile of garbage" without a single merit, adding that "attending it was one of the most depressing experiences of my life."
Zarchi responded to these criticisms by explaining he was inspired to make the film after helping a young woman who was raped. He also defended his film, saying it was not exploitative and the graphic violence was a necessary part of the story.