Words: Asyraf Naqiuddin
While the kids are out trick or treating, this is the perfect time to let your heart get some exercise with films utterly horrifying, they were banned in several countries around the world.
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The Exorcist (1973)
It was believed that paramedics were called to a number of screenings and there were rumours of people who succumbed to heart attack while watching some of this movie’s intense scenes up till today. This film tells of a girl who is possessed by a demon. When her mother seeks help from two priests to get rid of the entity, that’s when things take turn for the worse. Bad language is a given, but the disturbing scenes saw the film being banned from home release in the UK for over a decade.
This Malaysian film is an adaptation surrounding the life of a female pop singer turned shaman Mona Fandey, who brutally murdered a politician in 1993. She was sent to the gallows in November 2001. Other than spine-chilling scenes perfectly played by the cast, Dukun was deemed ‘sensitive’ and the initial release was scheduled in 2006, five years after Mona Fandey’s death, but never released. Fast forward to this year, the film was leaked online in February, which lead to official premiere two months later. The production did enjoy a scary April Fool’s prank that went viral on Malaysian shores – ghostly footage of the woman in red kebaya walking at night as promo. After 12 years of being shelved, the tagline ‘Akhirnya Kita Bertemu’ (Finally, we meet) truly holds its haunting value.
Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
This ‘lost-tape’ concept film is so gory that it’s still banned in 50 countries in 2015. It revolves around a documentary crew filming a tribe of cannibals in the Amazon jungle with horrifying details, including an infamous sequence of a woman impaled on a wooden stake for a crime she didn’t commit. The film looked so real that 10 days after its premiere in Milan, director Ruggero Deodato was charged with obscenity and several counts of murder by the Italian court. To prove the film was fictional and that everything was staged, Deodato had to look for all the actors and present them to the jury to explain that none of them were slaughtered during production. However, several animals were killed on set including a monkey and a turtle.
The Evil Dead (1981)
The production may be on low budget, but this film received rave review from horror author Stephen King and USD29 million when it was released worldwide. The story is about five students who spend their vacation in an isolated cabin in rural Tennessee. Things start to go off the rails when they inadvertently summon demons and end up being possessed to commit violent acts against one another. During its initial release, the film was banned in countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Finland and Chile while the UK banned its home release, deemed ‘number one nasty’ by the British Board of Film. Despite criticisms, The Evil Dead later developed a reputation as one of the most famous cult films to date.
This West German film is so disturbing the name itself suggests it should be banned anywhere around the world. It highlights the story behind necrophilia, a sexual attraction or act involving corpses. In hopes to add spice into their love life, a couple decides to take in a man’s decaying corpse into their apartment decorated with models, pictures of famed killers and jars containing human parts. When they’re not in bed, they would hang their new roommate on the wall and the wife would even go to the extent of reading a love story to him. Be warned that this film is distasteful on so many levels that it should not be watched by anyone. Despite that, it was given a sequel Nekromantik 2 in 1991.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
The film is technically fiction, but it is ‘inspired’ by a real murderer nicknamed Butcher of Plainfield, Edward Theodore Gein or Ed Gein. The film’s winning formula was the non-stop intensity of people trying to escape from being killed by a family of cannibals. There is little to no explicit content at all, so not much could be edited out, so it was simply deemed ‘too extreme’ and slapped with the ban in a number of countries. As for the real murderer, Gein, who died in 1984 aged 77, he confessed to killing two women in the 1950s and had exhumed corpses in his hometown Plainfield, Wisconsin as mementos with their body and skin. He was also obsessed with his dead mother that he kept her room in pristine condition when the rest of the house decayed. It was reported that he had hoped to ‘literally crawl into her skin’.