Think all movies supply safe, mainstream entertainment? Not this collection of 10 scandalous selections guaranteed to stir up trouble.
Sex, violence, and religion. What do these things have in common -- and no, we aren't using this hot button triptych as the basis for some punchline. In fact, it's safe to say that anytime one of these concepts is used in a motion picture -- subtlety or shockingly -- eyebrows will be raised. Now imagine going overboard in the depiction of same, or skirting censorship and the possibility of blasphemy to make a critical comment on each (or all). At this point, you're wandering into the realm of the sense(less), a place where freaks are curious, yellow and the cook, the thief, his wife and her lover are as thick and human centipede thieves. It's the world of the shocker, the controversial work of art that envisions a crucifix in a beaker of urine or a skinless human body preserved and positioned as sculpture.
Ever since Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler (soon to be known as Hedy Lamar) bared her naked breasts in the Czechoslovakian film Ecstasy, the artform known as film has been dealing with the creative desire to push envelopes and broach taboos. Sometimes, it's shock for shock's sake (as in the eyeball slice from Un Chien Andalou). In other instances, the meaning is so unfathomable that even the most daring audience member leaves their scratching their head (as in E. Elias Merhige's surreal Begotten). From the Mondo movies to the various examples of gore (Bloodsucking Freaks) and gratuity (do we really need a 10-minute rape scene, Irreversible?), cinema seems to thrive on a good PR problem.
With that in mind, here is a list of what we think are the 10 most shocking and/or controversial films ever made. While they may not pack the same punch today, they were definitely shit stirrers at the time, beginning with one of the most infamous...