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Top 10 Non-Horror Films That Will Haunt You

Top 10 Non-Horror Films That Will Haunt You

5. “A Clockwork Orange”


5. A Clockwork Orange

Since this is a list for Non-Horror films, I needed an example of the extreme discomfort I felt when I first watched the dinner scene in the original “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” The “Singin’ in the Rain” and brainwash scenes in Stanley Kubrik’s masterpiece “A Clockwork Orange” are the closest by comparison. Beautifully crafted, the film gives you chills from the opening shot and narration by Alex (Malcolm McDowell), but two particular scenes keep me from watching it during my leisure time. The song “Singin’ in the Rain” has forever been ruined for me because of a scene where Alex and his crew sing it while preparing, in a haunting relaxed manner, to rape a woman. It keeps you squeamish and forces you to shake your head the entire time. The other scene, Alex’s brainwashing, is constructed with genius editing and excellent sound design. It will have you grinding your teeth and grimacing at the disturbing and difficult nature of the sequence. The rest of the movie is just as brilliant and harrowing, but these two scenes are the first to pop into my head when I brush past it on Netflix.

4. “Four Months, Three Weeks, and Two Days”


4. Four Months, Three Weeks, and Two Days

Want a story about a woman who finds out she’s pregnant and confides in her best friend for help with finding an independent abortionist? Yeah, you got it right here. If you’ve never seen an abortion and do not want to witness one, then please do not watch this film. And the abortion isn’t the only aspect that makes this film haunting. The emotional journey these two women go through, complete with having to perform sexual favors for the abortionist, only seems to calm down after the protagonist Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) throws her aborted baby into a dumpster. If what I just said doesn’t sound so bad, then be my guest and watch it. You’ll experience a beautiful piece of cinema that every film student should watch, but you’ll be scarred. Not because of what happens in the film, but because of realizing people have actually done this, meaning they felt so trapped in a corner that they were forced to take such extreme measures to keep their lives “normal.” Haunting.

3. “Alice”


3. Alice

Jan Svankmajer’s surrealistic take on “Alice in Wonderland” leaves you contemplating all your opinions on the original cartoon. Svankmajer takes it to a different level here, using various techniques with sound, Claymation and puppetry to create a nightmare. The entire film makes you feel yucky and uncomfortable, but one particular scene turns the nauseous knot in my stomach and makes me snap my hands over my ears. In the scene, Alice finds a small cardboard house, which rumbles and shakes while an ear-shattering baby’s cry rings throughout the entire scene. Eventually the cardboard house grows into a larger size, and the baby throws chinaware and cookware at Alice, who tries glimpse inside. All this time, that same ear-shattering baby cry rings out. Mix it with all the clattering and shattering of the cookware, you receive a monstrosity of sound waves that ring in the sour pit of your stomach. It’s a brilliant film, but this scene, and this scene alone, keeps me away.

2. “Requiem for a Dream”


2. Requiem for a Dream

Darren Aronofsky is one of my favorite directors, but this film leaves me more depressed than “Mystic River” does. Aronofsky’s masterpiece centered on addiction will not leave you happy. There are bright moments for the characters when things seem to be looking up, but it quickly turns into a long spiral down into the mysterious world of drugs, addiction and love. Emotions run high throughout the film, and this needs to be credited to all the wonderful performances by the cast, including a surprise outing by Marlon Waynes. But when I say emotions run high, I mean with the utmost intensity that continues to drain you after the credits are over. One sequence in particular hits you hard, which I’m sure Aronofsky intended. It’s the final montage where you witness the characters hit rock bottom. The perfect editing to the astonishing soundtrack keeps turning the dial of intensity until you’re absolutely drained, just like the characters themselves. It is a sequence all film students should study, but its harrowing images and gut-wrenching emotions keep me to only watching this film once a year.

1. “Elephant”


1. Elephant

Part of Gus Van Sant’s “Death” series, “Elephant” has garnered the name, “The Columbine Shooting Movie.” It’s not a direct re-telling of that terrible day, but the story and events revolve around a school shooting that is no doubt based on the Columbine Shooting. “Elephant” has such mystery and complex ambience that you really don’t know what you’re feeling by the end of it. You feel sick, confused, bewildered, blessed, and sorrowful, which all add up to a weird, deep sensation. So many elements make this film an enigma, and all I can tell you is to go watch it. That’s it. The subject matter is intense, so it’s not for the faint of heart. After my first viewing, I was filled with such horror and confusion that I restarted it immediately and paid attention to every detail, only finishing with the same exact emotions. It could be connected to several factors, probably because I grew up in middle school and high school when these events happened, but it’s the only film where I don’t know why it absolutely terrifies me. “Halloween,” “Jeepers Creeper,” “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” are easy when it comes to defining my terror, but “Elephant” is a mysterious, important and magnificent piece of cinema that leaves me in a dark pool of wonder. I do highly suggest watching this film, but I also highly suggest you prepare yourself because this film will tattoo your soul with sickness, confusion, bewilderment, blessings, and sorrow.

What are some of your most disturbing non-horror films?

About The Author


Seeing "Stand By Me" at the age of 6 solidified Matt's ambition to be a part of the entertainment industry. After growing up in Northern Virginia, studying film at Old Dominion University and rising from intern to Stage Manager at a Dinner Theater, Matt found himself at a speed bump in his life and wanting to express himself in more of a substantial way than calling a cue or flying a line every night. This need for creative expression pushed him to take on the challenge of getting a Master's Degree, which sent him on a year-long endeavor that seemed to throw obstacles and setbacks from every direction. But now, Matt is a screenwriter with a Master's of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a passion for film, video games and professional wrestling, looking to keep the ambitious 6-year-old inside of him alive by entertaining the world through various forms of entertainment.

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Eric Pace

I still need to see 10, 6, 4 and 1. 1 in particular I’ve been meaning to watch.

Matthew Brunhofer

#1 really is unforgettable, man. I’m still in awe of how good/mysterious it is, and I haven’t seen it in a few years.

Eric Pace

I know it’s apart of Gus Van Sant’s trilogy of death or something .

Matthew Brunhofer

Yeah, I need to check out the other two films.







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