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Top 10 Bloody, Disgusting Horror Movie Franchises

by Gary Pullman
fact checked by Darci Heikkinen

If Donatien Alphonse François, the Marquis de Sade, were alive today and wrote film scripts instead of novels, he might have written the screenplays for the ten bloody, disgusting horror movie franchises on this list.

Each of them is exploitative, taking sex and violence to extremes that are both horrific and revolting. These pictures are most definitely not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. Most are also extremely misogynistic, although, in some, women avenge themselves against the brutal attacks, sexual, violent, or both that the movies’ villains perpetrate against them.

One might wonder who would watch such fare. However, the fact that each original film spawned a series of one or more sequels, developing into a franchise suggests that plenty of people have not only enjoyed the first films but have returned to watch others in the series. There’s no doubt that there is an audience for bloody, disgusting horror movie franchises. What this truth implies about their fans is another matter.

Related: 10 Horror Films Based On True Stories

10 Guinea Pig Franchise

Guinea Pig: Devil’s Experiment (1985) – Trailer (HQ)

Director Satoru Ogura’s 1985 Japanese horror movie Guinea Pig: Devil’s Experiment, which showcases the torture of a kidnapped woman, launched the Guinea Pig franchise, a total of six brutal films replete with blood, guts, and gore. According to the horror movie magazine Fangoria, the second installment of the franchise, Guinea Pig 2: Flower of Flesh and Blood (1985), also launched a probe by the U.S. FBI.

Horrified by what he saw and certain that the movie was a genuine snuff film, which shows actual murder, actor Charlie Sheen not only notified the FBI but also gave agents the copy he’d viewed. Both the FBI and the Japanese police had already begun an investigation. At the end of their inquiry, they concluded that Guinea Pig 2 was not the real deal but a simulation of a snuff film, featuring “a guy dressed as a samurai dismembering and disemboweling a young woman.” A British court made the same finding during the trial of a defendant caught importing a copy of the film.

Subsequent films in the series depict similar heinous acts of sadism and murder. Attempted suicide, mutilation, and decapitation are depicted in Guinea Pig 3: Shudder! The Man Who Never Dies (1986). Murder and dismemberment are pictured in Guinea Pig 4: Mermaid in a Manhole (1988). Mutilation, exploding heads, perspiring blood, and the slicing of flesh are on display in Guinea Pig 5: Devil Woman Doctor (1990).[1]

9 Entrails of a Virgin, Entrails of a Beautiful Woman, and Female Inquisitor

Entrails of a Virgin movie reaction and review UW+R

Reviewer James Mudge regards director Kazuo “Gaira” Komizu’s 1986 film Entrails of a Virgin as a misogynistic mix of softcore pornography. It focuses on violence against women and heaping helpings of sex in which female characters are subjected “to awful acts of perversion before they die” at the hands of a thoughtful swamp creature resembling “a guy covered in mud and a little white face paint” who spouts “hilarious and incomprehensible philosophies.”

Despite such unintentional comedy, Entrails makes an effort, at least, to have a plot: after getting lost in the fog-shrouded forest where they’d been shooting a pornographic movie, a film crew holes up in an abandoned building to party and engage in “kinky sex games, humiliation, and a lot of wrestling” before the swamp monster interrupts, killing victims one by one.

Mudge also reviews Entrails of a Beautiful Woman (1986), which, he says, is another slice of softcore sex, misogyny, and violence, “with a penis-headed monster thrown in for good measure.” According to a Horror News review, the franchise’s third installment, Female Inquisitor (1987), also known as Rusted Body: Guts of a Virgin, subjects its female characters to the torturous examinations of an “oversexed female interrogator with a penchant for sadomasochism and torture” who is bent on extorting money from an embezzler.[2]

8 Men Behind the Sun & Its Three Sequels

Men Behind the Sun (1988), directed by T. F. Mou, is about violence, not sex. A TV Tropes review of the film calls it disturbing in its depiction of the Imperial Japanese Army’s Unit 731, which during World War II conducted “medical research and biological/chemical weapon experiments on captive human subjects,” often in nauseating detail. However, the movie’s scenes are not based on historical accounts of the atrocities. Its basis is a serialized novel that ran in a Japanese Communist Party newspaper of “questionable” reliability, and its reputed facts are “dubious.”

Although the picture may not be based on facts, it prompted three others, Laboratory of the Devil, Narrow Escape, and Black Sun: The Nanking Massacre, each of which portrays additional atrocities and Japanese war crimes, including the removal of a well-developed fetus from the belly of a pregnant woman, the beheading of a man, and a number of bloody, disgusting experiments.[3]

7 Hostel I, II, and III

Hostel (2005) ORIGINAL TRAILER [HD 1080p]

Owen Gleiberman sees a trend in recent horror films that is reflected in Eli Roth’s 2005 Hostel. Sadism, long a mainstay of the genre, he states in his film review, has become just about horror’s only element. He adds that “the fear of death [is] replaced by the fear of torture—a fate worse than death.” Hence, the movie’s meat hook, power drill, and other instruments of torture.

The victims, captured tourists, are mutilated for fun by those who delight in such entertainment. They are willing to pay $25,000 for the pleasure of killing the hapless captives by whatever means pleases the clients. If the movie has a message, Gleiberman suggests, it may be that “a society ruled by the profit of illicit desire” has created a nightmare.

It seems safe to say that Mark Kermode is not a fan of Hostel II (2007). In his review of the film, published in The Guardian, he labels Eli Roth’s 2007 movie “infantile tripe.” The picture, set in a “Slovakian torture camp,” features a trio of female characters who, Kermode notes, “are due to be sliced and diced by loathsome misogynist[ic] businessmen” while sadists, also women, enjoy the spectacle of the victims’ torment. The whole affair is a disaster, Kermode suggests, as he offers a bit of parting advice to the filmmakers: “Oh, do grow up.”

As the franchise continued, it devolved instead of evolving, Chris Nashawaty suggests in his review of Hostel III (2011). Nashawaty attributes the decline in the franchise’s third installment to its change of setting, “from grimy Eastern Europe, where life is cheap,” to Las Vegas, and the change in the franchise’s director, from Eli Roth to Scott Spiegel. The result of these miscalculations, he adds, is that a movie that wants to be “The Hangover with a body count” is, instead “just a bloody mess.”[4]

6 Angel Guts Franchise


Roman porno, or “romance porno,” saved Nikkatsu when Japan’s oldest film studio faced financial ruin, says Jim McLennan, in his Film Blitz review of the five-film franchise produced between 1978 and 1994. Inspired by Takashii Ishii’s manga comic book Tenshi No Harawata (also known as Angel Guts), the series involves a woman, Nami, who, despite sharing the name with the series’ later films, “is not the same character in each film.” A victim both of physical violence and rape, she suffers the consequences of the crimes throughout the films.

The differences in the character seem to stem from the fact that four directors were involved in the making of the five films. If the disturbing series can be said to have a theme, McLennan agrees with Artmagic’s contention that the Angel Guts series can be seen as “a tribute to the courage of [a] violated woman in a world of male violence.”[5]

5 Red Room and Red Room 2

Shin akai misshitsu (heya) Red Room 1999 Trailer

Daisuke Yamanouchi’s Red Room (1999) has a simple premise: four candidates for a million-dollar prize compete against one another to become the survivor of the escalating torture they impose on each other inside a locked room. Dave Jackson, who reviewed the movie for the Mondo Exploito website, found that, initially, the torments challenged the players’ personal limits. Soon, however, the characters began to experience sexual humiliation, degradation, and physical pain. The action, he adds, although perverse, was offset to some degree by the movie’s “absurdity and unabashed goofiness.”

The 2000 sequel, Red Room 2, offered more of the same. Although reviewer Alex Davis had not seen Red Room, he found the sequel less gory than its predecessor is said to have been. He was surprised, he said, that “many of the tasks were more based on psychological than physical torture,” the movie mixing physical pain and trauma with sexual abuse. What intrigued him most, Davis recalls, was the strategy of the players, as he sought to anticipate “who will win, who will form allegiances,…and what will they do.”[6]

4 Freeway and Freeway II: Confessions of a Trickbaby

FREEWAY (1996) | Official Trailer | HD

Directed by Matthew Bright and starring Kiefer Sutherland, Reese Witherspoon, and Brooke Shields, among others, the 1996 movie Freeway, inspired by the fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood,” is not typical of most of the films on this list. The others were shot on low budgets and featured casts and crews that are not on Hollywood’s A-list.

Despite its dark comedy, the movie contains elements both of horror and suspense. Joe Leydon, who reviewed the picture for Variety, characterized it as roadkill, an apt description of the plot: psychiatrist Bob Wolverton, who represents the wolf, is a serial killer, while 16-year-old Vanessa is Little Red Riding Hood. After Vanessa shoots and robs her would-be killer, she steals his car, but he survives his wounds. Lots of gore ensues.

Overall, the sequel, Freeway II: Confessions of a Trickbaby (1999), was not well-received. Also directed by Bright, it is based on another fairy tale, “Hansel and Gretel.” Freeway II struck reviewer Jason Korsner as “perhaps the most gratuitously violent and vulgar road-movie imaginable.”

In place of Gretel, we have White Girl (Natasha Lyonne), a teen who’s imprisoned for 25 years for armed robbery. She and her cellmate, lesbian lifer Cyclona (Maria Caledonio), a mass murderer, escape together, only to run into the movie’s version of Hansel, Sister Gomez (Vincent Gallo), a transwoman nun. Lots of gore ensues.[7]

3 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Franchise

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – Original Trailer (4K)

An insane family of Texas cannibals, one of whom, Leatherface, wears a mask made of human skin and wields a chainsaw as his weapon of choice—could a horror movie be any more bizarre? Despite—or perhaps because of—its gore, Tobe Hooper’s ghastly The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) engendered eight additional movies, the last of which (to date, anyway) was released in 2022. Fans of the franchise don’t seem to be able to get enough of the series’ madness, mayhem, guts, and gore.

Reviewing the picture for The Guardian, Derek Malcolm found the first film “a quite formidable piece of directorial artifice, a horror comic brought to the screen with frenetic energy and life.” In particular, he found the scene where the chainsaw-wielding villain pursues an escaped girl “a first-class piece of sweat-inducing cinema.” If the movie is “morally retrograde,” that’s all right, Malcolm suggests, pointing out, so are nightmares.

Unlike his colleague, Chris Peachment, in reviewing the series’ first film for Time Out, found Hooper’s movie a misogynistic exploitation of women “about as subtle as having your leg sawed off without anesthetic…notable only for taking woman-in-jeopardy about as far as she can go.” In general, however, the movie was well-received by both critics and audiences alike, as the enterprise of making eight more installments of the franchise seems to indicate.[8]

2 Saw Franchise

Saw (2004) Official Trailer #1 – James Wan Movie

In 2004, James Wan’s Saw was released to revolt and terrify thousands of moviegoers and earn over a hundred million dollars worldwide. The movie earned mixed results from critics. Those who favored the film described it as having a compelling mystery and a satisfying ending (Trace Thurman) and a sure charm (Shaun Monroe); as “fine and dandy nonsense” (Matt Soergel); and as “impressively loathsome and extravagantly twisted” (Peter Bradshaw).

Others dismissed the picture as “cruelly empty and infantile” (David Germain); as having “more high concepts stuffed into its 100 minutes than it can handle” (Mike Goodridge); as “bloody sick” (Derek Malcolm); and as “dumber than a box of rocks” (Scott Tobias).

While the franchise certainly isn’t for everyone and has its faults (several critics consider the movies that followed the initial one of the series to be badly flawed), the fact that there are nine installments and that the franchise has kept audiences on the edges of their seats all the way to the present (the last installment to date was released in 2021) suggests that the franchise works for quite a few others.[9]

1 Nekromantic and Nekromantic 2

Nekromantik (1987) Trailer

Directed by Jörg Buttgereit, Nekromantic is about a woman who becomes smitten with a corpse her boyfriend Bob has brought home, preferring the cadaver to Bob himself. Ironically, Buttgereit made the movie to protest government censorship. However, it was the sequel, Nekromantic 2 (1991), that German authorities banned, confiscating it in a Munich theater, before raiding Buttgereit’s home, trying to destroy the negative and seeking to charge him with glorifying violence, a very serious allegation.

Buttgereit believes that the authorities took such actions against the sequel rather than the first film because, when he released Nekromantic in 1987, they had no idea who he was. However, when they saw that he intended to persist in making controversial movies, they decided to take these actions. Fortunately for the director, an art historian interpreted Nekromantic 2 as “a metaphor for East Germany,” and a judge who’d viewed the movie accepted this view, lifting the ban.[10]

fact checked by Darci Heikkinen