Horror movies that audiences walked out of

Even the most ardent of horror enthusiasts sometimes have to draw the line. In an age in which advancing effects technology has made it possible to depict (and grow desensitized to) incredibly realistic gross-outs, there's still a limit to the amount of guts and gore audiences will watch before they have to throw in the popcorn and walk away. 


This gory flick is about the effect of a bug bite gone very, very wrong on one girl, but it was the audience that really got infected when Bite premiered at the Fantasia International Film Festival. The pic's producers were reportedly prepared in advance for the rampant upset stomachs that would follow—they even passed out barf bags to attendees—so the early exits and people passing out weren't exactly a surprise.

For those who haven't braved the vom-inducing experience, it's about a bachelorette whose celebratory trip to Costa Rica goes way off course when she's bitten by a bug that she thinks is harmless, but turns her into a murderous loon whose body slowly morphs into an insect herself. Reviewers who panned the film chided its illogical homage to David Cronenberg's The Fly, but some still found favor in director Chad Archibald's use of gruesome screen tactics.

The Witch

Critics might have been crazy about this slow-building period pic about a 17th Century family tormented by evil, but some audiences didn't quite appreciate the drawn-out nature of the narrative, which depended less on jump scares than creepy atmosphere and a more traditional—and, for some, flat-out dull—slow-building story. Instead of being sent running by the gore, here it was the bore factor that drove audiences to the exits.

The meticulously historically accurate film by Robert Eggers was lauded by those who could sit through the duller sequences, however, as eerily paralleling some of the dark truths of the witch-hunting colonial era, particularly within the fundamentally religious patriarchal family unit set at the center of the slaughter.


Some Cannes filmgoers got much more than their eyes (or stomachs) could handle in 2016, when Julia Ducournau's Raw presented them with the story of a young vegetarian woman who was hazed into eating raw meat during school—an act of bullying that awakened a dormant flesh fetish sickening enough to send audiences rushing for the exit signs.

Trade reviewers of the pic, however, were impressed by Ducournau's first foray into feature filmmaking—particularly when it came to the nauseating makeup effects. Whether Ducournau's daring debut fits within the usual buffet of slashers or not, it certainly left a taste in everyone's mouth afterward.

The Devil's Rejects

Rob Zombie's sophomore fright feature, a sequel to 2003's The House of 1000 Corpses, relied on the same discomfiting imagery and violence that made its predecessor so utterly disturbing. By turning the notch down just a touch on the slash-and-shock factor in favor of some more emotionally upsetting moments with The Devil's Rejects, Zombie earned praise from a greater number of critics—but still had some moviegoers hitting the door long before the credits rolled.

For those who've yet to see it, the film chronicles the escape of the seemingly soulless Firefly family—Otis (Bill Moseley), Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie), and Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig)—who'd wreaked such hellish havoc in the first pic. Instead of retreating into a quiet, trouble-free new life, the three find a new group of innocents to terrorize. There weren't any carnival-esque attractions to speak of (such as the first film's mutilated fishboy), but the relentless degenerecy of these characters was just as upsetting in movie two.

Evil Dead

The 1981 version of The Evil Dead was troubling enough—any time a tree commits sexual violence on a person, everything else is pretty much a wash. The 2013 remake of the creepy cult favorite showed off some next-level savagery, though, including a moment of possessed self-mutilation of a girl's face (and tongue!) and a lot of vomit spewing, among other debauchery.

Early viewers at the year's SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas got an unexpected live soundtrack addition: the sounds of many feet carrying their owners away from the ultra-graphic brutality. According to Bruce Campbell, who starred in the original series and served as producer on the remake, all the walkouts were considered a win for the team. "That's the sign of a good horror movie," he told Hollywood.com.

The Hills Have Eyes

Alexandre Aja's remake of The Hills Have Eyes, a film about a group of debased desert-dwelling mutants who aim to trap and torment tourists passing through an old nuclear fallout site, was unsettling enough just based on the characters' physical deformities alone. So when one of those crazed cretins sexually abused a teenage girl, it was simply too much and sent some theater patrons sprinting away.

That wasn't the only almost-unwatchable moment in the movie. In another scene, the girl's older sister is forced to breastfeed another monster while her baby is held at gunpoint and her father is burned alive at the stake. Even the dogs of the family fell victim to the barbaric cruelty of these sordid "people," so you know it was bad.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

When the world first met Leatherface in Tobe Hooper's 1974 slaughterfest, the brazen butchery was too gruesome for some audience members to take. The film, in which the power tool-wielding weirdo trapped and decimated an entire group of young friends in ghastly ways, was even banned in several countries and was originally rated X for its grisly violence.

One of the scenes that got to audiences most frequently was the moment when a girl named Pam (Teri McMinn) was strung up on a meathook and made to watch as her friend was sliced and diced by Leatherface's trusty title weapon. It was still popular enough to earn several sequels and a reboot series, despite those reactions—and yes, the meathook made its way into the new generation as well.

Ôdishon (Audition)

When this 1999 Japanese torture thriller debuted at the Rotterdam Film Festival, it won director Miike Takashi some of the festival's most prestigious prizes and impressed and inspired fellow horror auteurs like Eli Roth, John Landis, and Rob Zombie. The movie's hyper-realistic violence was too difficult to endure for some audience members, though, and one woman was even quoted to scream at the director, "You're evil!" during the screening.

It wasn't just the needly eye-gouging and piano wire foot amputations that made the pic such a squirmy event—it was also the fact that the tone took such a drastic turn for the worse in its third act, after the widowed Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) discovered that the woman he auditioned—hence, the title—to be his new wife, Asami (Eihi Shiina), had a twisted history of inflicting pain on people, up to and including making a prisoner eat her upchuck. So … yeah.

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom

This 1975 Pier Paolo Pasolini pic still finds its way on almost every best/worst list of the genre, even decades after its release, because it was an especially graphic depiction of the nightmarish scenario that might unfold for a group of children who'd been abducted by fascists and Nazis in war-torn Europe. From mutilation to rape to the forced consumption of excrement, the most unimaginable horrors were realized in this commonly walked-out-of film.


The film, which is regarded favorably by critics, was inspired by some of the darkest literary works of all time, including Dante's Divine Comedy, and seems to explore the depths of inhumanity presented in the existentialist take on the nature of human evil presented in the Marquis de Sade's Justine.

The Human Centipede

There was enough of an audience interest in the sick experimentation of the fictional Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser) in Tom Six's The Human Centipede to justify two sequels and a spoof. But for some who braved the theaters to witness what happens when a surgeon stitches together three living humans' digestive systems, from mouth to rear, in consecutive sequence, they couldn't bear to stick around and see what came out at the end.

The so-called "First Sequence" was largely inspired by the notoriously diabolical work of Josef Mengele at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, but the director also said he came up with his sinister plot after watching the news. "I saw a child molester on television, and I said, 'They should stitch the guy with his mouth to the ass of a very fat truck driver. It would be a really good punishment for him.' Then I thought, 'That's a cool idea for a film,'" Six once explained.

Trouble Every Day

Not everyone has a taste for sexual cannibalism, and the massive walkouts and festival booing Claire Denis' unrated 2001 horror-drama Trouble Every Day received are proof. The movie introduces an American couple honeymooning in Paris, the husband of which is really on a mission to track down the wife of a fellow doctor he'd been obsessed with.

What he finds when he does locate the couple is that the woman has a habit of seducing men and eating them, thereby living out her darkest desires in explicit visual detail. The movie wasn't meant to be such a seat-emptier, as Denis herself once said, "I don't set out to shock. That's not my way of doing things. I don't think it's explicit. And the cannibalism? It is how a kiss becomes a bite." Intentional or not, there were many who hightailed it before the fin of this French film due to its vivid visual sex and sadism.


This 1979 take on the titular Roman emperor, whose notorious sexual appetite and penchant for cruelty marked his tyrannical reign and prompted his eventual assassination, was so exceedingly violent that even famed reviewer Roger Ebert took leave of it early.

In his scathing review, which was so harsh that he feared it might entice audiences to check it out simply because they "simply cannot believe any film could be this vile," he noted that he wasn't alone in his decision to vacate the premises. "Some of those people were walking out of the [theater] before I did … others were sitting, depressed, in the lobby." Ebert's assessment was echoed by many of his peers, as the film was consistently slammed by even those who did manage to stick through its full two-and-a-half hour runtime.


Pascal Laugier's 2008 revenge horror is widely regarded as one of the most unsparingly violent movies ever made. The film, which follows two young women on a maniacal payback mission to hunt down their former abusers, featured several scenes of extreme depravity and sent many audience members packing along the way.

One of the most willfully provocative moments in the film happens when a woman is discovered with a mask nailed into her head which, when removed, takes her scalp off with it. It's a moment that exalts the magic of movie-making while prompting revulsion even in viewers with a relatively strong constitution. Gross doesn't even begin to describe it.


This unrated Turkish fantasy-horror flick featured a group of police officers who inadvertently waltzed through a door to hell…and left many moviegoers heading right out of the theater. The macabre movie was relatively well-received by critics who savored all its devilish delights, but during its debut, there were walkouts galore. Writer-director Can Evernol admitted, "the last few minutes were a bit much for them."

Whether it was the nightmarish bloodbath, the philosophical overtures of the demonic beings, the scenes of grotesque dismemberment, or even the sadomasochistic sexual violence, there were a plethora of disgusting moments to be seen (and fled from) in this ghastly pic.