The movie Raintree County (1957), starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift had a profound effect on me.  I think it was the first ‘grown-up’ movie I ever saw. My mother was besotted with Liz Taylor, especially by her violet eyes. We lived in  rural Tasmania  and  there was no-one to babysit, but Mum was  determined to see Raintree County. My siblings and  were taken along;  which meant five people stuffed into the front of a utility. I was the youngest, nine years old.

Presumably Mum convinced herself that we were too young to  understand and would nod off.  Well I was awake alright! The movie  was all about madness and swamps, and scarred me for life. I have never been able to watch it since. Recently I found the  newspaper ad for it on Trove;

Elizabeth Taylor - my mother's idol.
Elizabeth Taylor – my mother’s idol.
Raintree County, one of the movies that affected me deeply.


Deliverance (1972) This was the first movie I ever watched with my then boyfriend, Rob.  Our  relationship had a happy outcome and continues to this day, but  hearing  Dueling Banjos  is still enough to make me shudder.


The composer  successfully sued the producers for using his work without permission, despite  the film pushing  the recording to No.2 on the US  charts. Serves them bloody right! I’m sure everyone knows what happened to the four friends on their canoeing trip in the backwoods of America. Oh dear, poor Bobby in that ghastly rape scene.


Funny Games (1997) – An Austrian film written and directed by Michael Haneke and starring Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Muhe, and Arno Frisch.


I watched this psychological horror film late one night. I was all by myself, which was a huge mistake. The only reason I kept watching was that I hoped everything  would turn out alright in the end. It didn’t, not by a long shot.  I won’t give away the plot, but if anyone knocks on my door and asks to borrow some eggs I will faint, or  slam the door and call the police.


I don’t watch  disturbing  movies now….oh, unless inadvertently.  A good friend told me to see Life is Beautiful without explaining what it was about. It’s the only time I have ever wept in a movie. No doubt this was because it depicted the struggle between pure love and absolute inhumanity.  I was still crying when the lights came up, but so were other people, so I didn’t feel so bad.


This has to be the Alfred  Hitchcock movie Birds, based on a short story by one of  my heroines, Daphne du Maurier. My sister came home and told me all about it when I was about 14.  Her version was even scarier  than Hitchcock’s. Oddly enough I am still passionate about birds.

The Birds, one of the movies that terrified me.

I asked my friend Yvonne what her most disturbing movie was and she said,  ‘If you mean disturbing but decent, as opposed to sick horror…it would be Winter’s Bone.‘    (Yvonne is an amateur film critic, who once went to Hollywood with the famous TV personality Bill Collins)  I looked  up Winter’s Bone, and I can see what she means.


I suspect the movies Wolf Creek and The Shining would have appeared in this blog, but I turned them off pretty quick.  Oh, and A Beautiful Mind starring Russell Crowe was  disturbing because  it truly did  ‘mess with the mind.’

What are the most disturbing movies you have seen?  Would love  to hear from you, but remember to complete the anti-spam sum below the comment  box before  pressing SUBMIT.

  1. My brother took me to see Sinbad the sailor, when I was about 5 yrs old.. and I remember screaming when a woman got branded with a hot iron. I couldn’t watch the rest of the movie. I still do not watch any horror movies. I did have occasion many years ago to speak on the phone for about an hour with Tippy Hedren – the actress in ” The Birds”. What a lovely woman.

    • Pauline

      Well, I have to ask. What on earth was the occasion that led you to speak to Tippy Hedren for an hour??

  2. For me, it has to be The Elephant Man. Haunting, for more than one reason. It’s music and probably because I saw it when I was about 8 years old. Even today I shudder at the thought of watching it. I own a copy of it, but am yet to brave the TV screen with it.

    • Pauline

      Thanks for your contribution Sarah. It just shows how impressionable we are as youngsters doesn’t it? Can understand why The Elephant Man would affect you so strongly.

  3. I’m with you Pauline in respect of The Birds. Hate it when they assemble on a telegraph pole and I can’t abide pet birds fluttering round me. My auntie had a budgie that was allowed to fly round the house [shudder].
    Day of the Triffids – went to the cinema with a boyfriend but spent most of the evening on the floor behind the seat in front so I couldn’t see the screen.
    I try to avoid any film that I know to include horror/violence, even war films like Saving Private Ryan. Don’t mind a good weepie like Steel Magnolias.

    • Pauline

      It’s a good job you don’t live here Christine, with our giant yellow tailed, black cockatoos etc.I remember reading the Day of the Triffids and yes, the movie would be very unsettling!

  4. So funny reading this. I was out the other night and felt like I was in a scene from Hitchcock’s The Birds. Birds were going crazy in the trees and it was just so creepy!

    • Pauline

      I don’t really like horror movies June….or books in the genre. Could never watch The Shining, and threw the book away before it got to the really horrible parts!

      • I’m not a fan of horror either, but Hitchcock is the master of suspense so did see this movie the Birds once. It was just strange and you never really found out what happened with those birds and why they went so crazy.

        • Pauline

          Sorry, called you Jen for some reason! Old age I suspect. Hitchcock was definitely the the master. I prefer psychological horror to the chainsaw, hack em up style!

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