15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (2024)

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15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (1)

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (2)

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (3)

By Ajay Aravind , Brian Anderson & Arthur Goyaz

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15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (4)

This list includes descriptions of violent and graphic movie scenes that may be disturbing to some readers.

In horror movies, the gore isn't just blood and guts designed to repulse — on the contrary, it's an effective storytelling device to convey the consequences and brutality of a scene. It's also a beautifully disgusting art form with superstars as important as scream queens and slashers in horror films. Make-up artists like Rick Baker and Tom Savini have taken the genre from cheesy to realistically gory with a chef's kiss.

To a true gore aficionado, the decapitations and disembowelments are just as key to the movie as the plot or casting. CGI can create everything from the fantastic to the mundane, but it still can't generate believable gore. The best goriest movies ever made not only have terrifying, compelling stories, but buckets of practical effects blood and innards.

Updated on June 25, 2024, by Arthur Goyaz: The horror genre is constantly searching for new ways to terrify audiences, and apart from eerie scenarios and jumpscares, excessive violence has proven to be an effective way to shock viewers. This list was updated to add more gory recommendations and reflect CBR's current formatting standards.

15 Bone Tomahawk Delivered One of the Goriest Death Scenes Ever Made

IMDb

7.1

Tomatometer

91%

Metacritic

72

Related

10 Best Horror Movies About Family Trauma, Ranked

Family trauma is one of the most commonly used themes in the horror genre, and it has been the focal point of several fantastic films.

Bone Tomahawk is a great example of a movie that uses gore as a vehicle to embrace horror and escalate tension. Playing out like a standard Western, the film follows an aging sheriff and a group of gunslingers on a rescue mission into the lair of a cannibalistic tribe. Without falling into outdated cliches that depict white men as saviors and native tribes as savages, Bone Tomahawk rejects any moral compass, with "heroes" as unreliable as the mysterious tribe they hunt.

The film is a genuine descent into madness: the closer the characters get to their targets, the closer they get to self-destruction. Bone Tomahawk goes full horror in its latter half, embracing grotesque imagery to paint the dying west red, earning the title of one of the goriest horror movies with a stomach-turning death scene: one in which an innocent man is torn in half by a cannibal's bare hands.

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (6)
Bone Tomahawk

Not Rated

In the dying days of the old west, an elderly sheriff and his posse set out to rescue their town's doctor from cannibalistic cave dwellers.

Director
S. Craig Zahler

Release Date
February 19, 2016

Cast
Kurt Russell , Patrick Wilson , Matthew Fox , Richard Jenkins , Lili Simmons

Runtime
2 Hours 12 Minutes
Main Genre
Western

14 Revenge Has A Promise in Its Title

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (7)

IMDb

6.2

Tomatometer

93%

Metacritic

81

Revenge could've easily gone down the path of cheap shock value with its rape-revenge premise, but this time, there's the sensitive eye of a woman behind the camera. Coralie Fargeat touches the delicate topic with mastery, turning the thriller setup into a harrowing survival horror as a group of men assaults Jen, a young American woman, and leaves her to die in the desert. Fueled by the thrill of retribution, Jen rises from her ashes, and the prey becomes the hunter in a bloody fashion.

Revenge doesn't subject viewers to an unnecessarily graphic sexual assault scene, but when it comes to showing the demise of its perpetrators, the movie turns into a gory ride. In one of the most hard-to-watch sequences in recent memory, a man steps on glass and is unable to move until he proceeds to slowly, painfully remove the shards from his foot. But the icing on the cake goes to Revenge's gory cat-and-mouse finale, when tension mounts to unbelievable extremes in a satisfying payoff.

13 Zombie Flesh Eaters Brought the Zombie Genre Back To Its Origins

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (8)

IMDb

6.8

Tomatometer

41%

Metacritic

54

It's difficult to talk about the goriest horror movies without mentioning Lucio Fulci at least once. The Giallo filmmaker was known for his mercilessly long, graphic gory scenes. Fulci's determination to depict unimaginable pain perfectly fit the growing zombie genre in the 70s, and Zombie Flesh Eaters pays tribute to the roots of zombie mythology. In the film, a young woman looking for her missing father ends up on a remote island with an American journalist. They soon discover that the place is afflicted by a curse that's causing the dead to rise.

Zombie Flesh Eaters depicts zombies as supernatural creatures, delving into the unknown through a tropical nightmare. The attention to detail in the creatures' makeup is unparalleled, resulting in some of the most grotesque zombies ever put onscreen. The sight of the monsters is already gory enough -- with limbs rotting and falling apart, and maggots crawling all over their faces -- but Fulcio also delivers a range of horrifying horror deaths. There's one scene, in particular, featuring a woman having her eye gouged out by splintered wood that will stick with viewers for a long time.

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (9)
Zombie (1979)

R

Director
Lucio Fulci

Release Date
July 18, 1980

Cast
Tisa Farrow , Ian McCulloch , Richard Johnson , Al Cliver , Auretta Gay , Stefania D'Amario , Olga Karlatos , Ugo Bologna

Runtime
91 Minutes
Main Genre
Horror

12 Martyrs Featured Extreme Scenes of Torture

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (10)

IMDb

7.0

Tomatometer

65%

Metacritic

N/A

The premise of Martyrs is simple and cruel: how much can a person endure to feel unimaginable pain, get a glimpse of what awaits them in death, and come back to tell the story? That's the goal of the deranged cult that kidnaps Lucie. After she escapes, she stumbles upon an old childhood friend and sets out on a quest for revenge.

Martyrs' reputation precedes it: 99 minutes of extreme torture and graphic violence, resulting in one of the goriest movies ever. Released at the height of the New French Extremity, a film movement known for its disturbing imagery and psychologically charged violence, Martyrs channels all its rage against humanity in a narrative devoid of hope or salvation.

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (11)
Martyrs

R

A young woman's quest for revenge against the people who kidnapped and tormented her as a child leads her and a friend, who is also a victim of child abuse, on a terrifying journey into a living hell of depravity.

Director
Pascal Laugier

Release Date
September 3, 2008

Cast
Mylène Jampanoï , Morjana Alaoui

Runtime
99 minutes
Main Genre
Horror

11 The Sadness Broke All the Boundaries of Graphic Violence

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (12)

IMDb

6.4

Tomatometer

89%

Metacritic

68

One of the greatest horror movies of the past five years, The Sadness offers a fresh take on the overdone zombie genre. The movie revolves around a couple trying to reunite in Taipei amid a chaotic outbreak. Those infected with the mysterious disease will begin to cry, then give in to their most violent impulses in a chain of depravity and ghastly sadism.

The Sadness does a great job of establishing tension through anticipation of violence, constantly challenging viewers to look away from the screen. Great practical effects make for genuinely horrifying imagery, including people having boiling water poured over their heads and a bloody subway massacre.

10 Cannibal Holocaust Caused A Lot Of Controversy Upon Release

IMDb

5.8

Tomatometer

67%

Metacritic

22/100

Related

How Cannibal Holocaust Led to the Film's Director Being Charged With Murder

Infamous for its depiction of brutal violence, Cannibal Holocaust was so controversial upon release that it almost landed its director in jail.

Long before The Blair Witch Project ignited a wave of found footage horror films, Cannibal Holocaust was doing it with grotesque precision. The 1980 Italian horror movie may be the first found footage film, and even if it's not, it ranks as one of the best. It also has the first on-screen castration, which is one of the many reasons the director, Ruggero Deodato, was arrested on obscenity charges upon the film's release.

The plot involves a group of filmmakers who disappear in the Amazon rainforest while making a documentary on an indigenous tribe of cannibals. The story unfolds when their canisters of shot footage are recovered, showing them being systematically hunted, killed, and devoured by the tribe. This film is actually pretty sick and caused a lot of controversy when it was released, mostly because the gore footage is frighteningly realistic.

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (14)
Cannibal Holocaust

During a rescue mission into the Amazon rainforest, a professor stumbles across lost film shot by a missing documentary crew.

Director
Ruggero Deodato

Release Date
June 21, 1985

Cast
Robert Kerman , Francesca Ciardi , Perry Pirkanen , Luca Barbareschi

Writers
Gianfranco Clerici , Giorgio Stegani

Runtime
95 minutes
Main Genre
Horror

9 Re-Animator Was Originally Given An X-Rating

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (15)

IMDb

7.2

Tomatometer

94%

Metacritic

73/100

Horror master H.P. Lovecraft's stories are often moody pieces with incomprehensible terrors that don't translate well to film, with very few exceptions. As such, the 1985 film Re-Animator, based on a Lovecraft novellette, handled the transition brilliantly. It was made even better with solid gore and some of the most imaginative uses of a decapitated head ever filmed.

The simple story of a scientist who develops a serum to bring the dead back to life gets complicated and bloody when the reanimated corpses become violent zombies. This movie was so chock-full of disgusting and deviant gore that it was originally given an X-rating. The unrated version was far more popular than an R-rated cut because the fandom clearly appreciates good gore.

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (16)
Re-Animator

Unrated

Re-Animator follows Herbert West, a medical student who has developed a serum that can reanimate dead tissues. When he enrolls at a New England university, his experiments lead to horrifying results, unleashing chaos and raising ethical questions as he seeks to overcome death itself.

Director
Stuart Gordon

Release Date
October 18, 1985

Cast
Jeffrey Combs , Bruce Abbott , Robert Sampson , David Gale , Barbara Crampton

Runtime
84 Minutes
Main Genre
Horror

8 House Of 1000 Corpses Is A Tribute To 1970s Exploitation Movies

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (17)

IMDb

6.0

Tomatometer

21%

Metacritic

31/100

Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses is a loving tribute to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the violent exploitation films of the early 1970s. Critics that panned it as derivative missed the point that it was an homage and the fact that it added to the genre. The gore in particular was both fresh and cleverly twisted. Despite its weak critical ratings, House of 1000 Corpses has since become a classic cult movie.

It's not so much that the film has swimming pools of blood, but rather the brutal way the gore is utilized throughout. The group of friends who happen upon the Firefly family homestead are tortured and killed in extremely violent and disturbing ways. The terrifying aura is further accentuated by an amazing collection of creepy and original killers.

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (18)
House of 1000 Corpses

Two young couples traveling across the backwoods of Texas searching for urban legends of murder end up as prisoners of a bizarre and sad*stic backwater family of serial killers.

Release Date
April 11, 2003

Director
Rob Zombie

Cast
Sid Haig , Bill Moseley , Sheri Moon Zombie , Rainn Wilson

7 Hostel Was One Of The First Films To Be Labeled "Torture p*rn"

IMDb

5.9

Tomatometer

59%

Metacritic

55/100

Related

The Terrifyingly Real-Life Inspiration for Eli Roth's Hostel

The trailer for Eli Roth's Hostel ends on a curious note, claiming it's inspired by true events. But does the disclaimer hold any truth?

Eli Roth's 2005 horror film, Hostel, was the first to be labeled "torture p*rn" for its graphic depictions of human suffering and mutilation. The J-Splatter film Ichi the Killer, released in 2001, was retroactively added to the sub-genre, but the Japanese import was a tongue-in-cheek black comedy, while Hostel was as serious as torture-induced cardiac arrest.

Not only was the violence too realistic for comfort, but the film's concept of a place where rich people pay to torture and kill people seemed terrifyingly plausible. The 1976 splatter film, Blood Sucking Freaks, had a similar theme of kidnap and torture for entertainment, but it was relatively obscure, whereas Hostel was a box office smash that brought pseudo-snuff movies to a mainstream audience.

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (20)
Hostel

R

Three backpackers head to a Slovak city that promises to meet their hedonistic expectations, with no idea of the hell that awaits them.

Release Date
September 17, 2005

Director
Eli Roth
Main Genre
Horror

Runtime
1 hour 34 minutes

6 Terrifier Puts The Slashing Back Into The Slasher Genre

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (21)

IMDb

5.6

Tomatometer

55%

Metacritic

N/A

The slasher genre got pretty stale, and more sadly, bloodless with the success of films like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Released in 2016, the neo-classic Terrifier put the slashing back into slashers as well as the blood and gore. It also introduced the first franchise-worthy killer in a long time with Art the Clown.

The gore in Terrifier, as well as its 2022 sequel Terrifier 2, is nothing short of spectacular, but the kills are also refreshingly innovative. Most movie slashers have a signature weapon, like Leatherface's chainsaw or Freddy's razor glove, but Art the Clown has a literal bag of tricks full of killing implements. He's just as comfortable sawing a person in half as he is eating a victim's face or shredding them to bits with a bladed cat o' nine tails.

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (22)
Terrifier

Slasher

Horror

On Halloween night, Tara Heyes finds herself as the obsession of a sad*stic murderer known as Art the Clown.

Release Date
March 15, 2018

Director
Damien Leone

Cast
Jenna Kanell , David Howard Thornton

5 Evil Dead 2 Is Even More Violent Than Its Predecessor

IMDb

7.7

Tomatometer

88%

Metacritic

72/100

Related

10 Best Horror Movies With the Most Remakes

Some of the greatest horror movies have spawned multiple reboots because their stories are so timeless, including Godzilla and Phantom of the Opera.

The cult masterpiece The Evil Dead had so much disturbing blood and gore that it received an X rating and ended up being released without a rating. The 1987 sequel/remake had even more gore and violence, which led to the same fate of being theatrically released in its unrated version. Director Sam Raimi was contractually obligated to turn in an R-rated film, but splatter-fever got the best of him and Evil Dead 2 was awash in bloody carnage.

Film distributor DEG estimated that editing the film to a rated-R cut would leave it with a running time of just 62 minutes, so they never bothered to submit it to the MPAA and formed a shell company to release it in theaters without an official rating. The final version ran 84 minutes, which is on the short end for a feature, but at least 22 of those minutes are too violent and bloody to earn an R rating, which is two severed thumbs up for fans of gore.

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (24)
Evil Dead 2

R

Comedy

Horror

Fantasy

The lone survivor of an onslaught of flesh-possessing spirits holes up in a cabin with a group of strangers while the demons continue their attack.

Release Date
March 13, 1987

Director
Sam Raimi

Runtime
84 minutes

Cast
Bruce Campbell , Sarah Berry , Dan Hicks , Kassie Wesley DePaiva

Production Company
Renaissance Pictures

4 Pieces Doesn't Scrimp On Gore Despite Its Low Budget

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (25)

IMDb

6.0

Tomatometer

43%

Metacritic

68/100

The first splatter film ever made was Herschell Gordon Lewis' 1963 gore-fest Blood Feast. The plot involved a guy who killed and dismembered women to piece together a suitable body to bring an Egyptian Goddess back to life. The underrated slasher, Pieces, released in 1982, had a similar theme in which a frenzied killer uses his female victims' body parts to complete a human "jigsaw puzzle" of his murdered mother.

Pieces is a seriously low-budget affair, but producers didn't scrimp on the gore effects. In the opening sequence, a young boy brutally murders his mother, and there has never been a more graphic axe-to-the-head scene in a horror movie. The rest of the film doesn't disappoint either, with gratuitous chainsaw decapitations and power tool dismemberments scattered throughout.

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (26)
Pieces (1982)

Not Rated

A frustrated Boston detective searches for the maniac responsible for mutilating a number of university coeds.

Director
Juan Piquer Simón

Release Date
September 23, 1983

Cast
Christopher George , Lynda Day George , Frank Braña , Edmund Purdom , Ian Serra , Paul L. Smith , Jack Taylor , Gérard Tichy

Writers
Dick Randall , Roberto Loyola , Juan Piquer Simón

Runtime
85 Minutes

3 The Thing Is One Of The Greatest Horror Movies Ever Made

IMDb

8.2

Tomatometer

84%

Metacritic

57/100

John Carpenter's sci-fi/horror classic The Thing was a commercial failure in its 1982 release but has since grown into a genuine cult phenomenon. The movie is definitely scary and was tragically underrated. However, the reason it has grown in popularity is because it was a benchmark for practical effects, portraying some of the most innovative gore of all time.

The plot revolves around a parasitic alien invader that infects biological life forms and replicates the host. If it is discovered before it fully replicates, it bursts out of the host in bloody and terrifying ways. Academy Award-winning make-up artist Rob Bottin, who has worked on everything from Star Wars to Game of Thrones, outdid himself by creating a visceral range of horrifying and gory mutations.

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (27)
The Thing (1982)

R

Horror

Science Fiction

Mystery

A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.

Release Date
June 25, 1982
Director
John Carpenter

Cast
Kurt Russell , Keith David , wilford brimley , Richard Masur , T.K. Carter , David Clennon

Runtime
1 hour 49 minutes

2 Braindead Was Peter Jackson's Attempt At Making Splatter Films

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (28)

IMDb

7.5

Tomatometer

89%

Metacritic

54/100

Most people are unaware that, before Peter Jackson made the Lord of the Rings trilogy, he got his start making low-budget splatter films. His first, Bad Taste, had some delightfully sickening moments, but that was just a warm-up for the avalanche of carnage he unleashed in his 1992 zombie epic, Braindead. Released as Dead Alive in North America, the film sought to answer the question of whether it was possible to outdo the comic gore of Evil Dead 2.

The answer was a resounding yes, as the movie packed more wholesale splatter per frame than any movie before or since. The scene in which protagonist Lionel fights off a horde of the undead with a running lawnmower alone hits the top gore quotient for a movie. Despite oozing blood from all orifices, the film's brutality and violence were considered so lighthearted that it never ran into X-rating or banning issues like the Evil Dead films.

1 Dawn Of The Dead Improved Upon The Original In Every Possible Way

IMDb

7.8

Tomatometer

91%

Metacritic

71/100

Related

10 Best Underrated Zombie Movies, Ranked

Zombie movies come in all types, with classics like Dawn of the Dead getting the most attention. But what are some underrated zombie movies?

Dawn of the Dead was George A. Romero's follow-up to his zombie masterpiece, Night of the Living Dead, and improved upon the original in every conceivable way. The story was more compelling, the zombies were more terrifying, and the practical effects were gorier. In fact, the 1978 film is the gold standard for gore, establishing splatter make-up effects as a visually shocking art form.

Before Tom Savini's innovative work on the film, the concept of gore was blood dripping off a mannequin arm or a paper mache head rolling down a hill. Savini was able to create effects that looked realistic and horrifying. Most people have never seen a head blown off by a gun, a zombie taking a chuck out of someone's neck, or a human evisceration, but those things in Dawn of the Dead looked like what most would imagine they would be.

15 Of The Goriest Movies Ever Made (30)
Dawn of the Dead

Horror

Thriller

A nurse, a policeman, a young married couple, a salesman and other survivors of a worldwide plague that is producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies, take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall.

Release Date
May 24, 1979

Director
George A. Romero

Cast
David Emge , Ken Foree , Scott H. Reiniger , Gaylen Ross

Runtime
127 Minutes
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