15 Movies That Made Audiences Puke, Pass Out, Leave The Theater, Or Die

Have you ever watched a movie that made you physically sick? Perhaps a horror movie was too gory, or a film was shot in a way that caused motion sickness. If you’ve ever gotten ill watching a movie, whatever the reason for it, you’re far from alone. Here are movies that made people sick.

Filmmakers have been making movies that made viewers sick since the beginning of cinema. Luis Buñuel, a surrealist who aimed to shock audiences, made Un Chien Andalou in 1929. The film includes a close up of a razor blade cutting into a woman’s eye. It shocked and appalled audiences, but also created a ton of buzz. In film school circles, Un Chien Andalou is a staple, largely in part due to Buñuel’s shocking razor scene.

Believe it or not, a few of these films may have led to death. A woman in Kansas suffered a fatal heart attack while screening a controversial film on this list. A man from Taiwan had to be rushed to the hospital after suffering a stroke while watching another movie on this list, one that’s currently the highest grossing movie of all time. He died 11 days later, from what his doctor claimed was “over-excitement” from watching the movie.

Check out the stories behind all those films and all the movies that made people pass out and more in the list below.

Photo:  Netflix

The Perfection is a Netflix original about revered cellist Charlotte (Allison Williams) and musical prodigy Lizzie (Logan Browning) and their blossoming friendship. As the two travel through China, Lizzie gets sick. Things escalate from there.

Audiences took to Twitter to warn potential viewers about how disgusting the film is. Some even claimed to have gotten sick themselves after watching the horror. “I rarely get squeamish but holy f*ck the movie The Perfection is making me want to throw up,” said one user.

Photo:  Mars Distribution

Imagine a director purposefully trying to induce panic with the use of sound. It happens a lot more than you would think. In Gaspar Noé’s graphic drama Irréversible (2002), the director used a 27 hertz bass frequency during the first 30 minutes of the film. The frequency cannot be heard by the human ear, but has the ability to induce panic, anxiety, extreme sorrow, and heart palpitations.

Some audience members left the theater after the first half hour of Irréversible, they felt so sick and disoriented.

Photo:  Fox Searchlight Pictures

Forget the fake blood and gore of horror films. Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours (2010), based on the true story of Aron Ralston (James Franco), a mountain climber who got his arm trapped in a canyon in Utah, is about real life survival. Ralston has one way out of a deep canyon: he must amputate his right arm with a pocketknife if he wants to live.

Reports of audience members vomiting, passing out, having seizures, and panic attacks came flooding in from theaters around the world as the film premiered. Wrap contributor John Foote wrote of the amputation scene, “I cannot remember a reaction to a film like this in a very long time, perhaps not since The Exorcist sent audiences scurrying for the doors.”

Photo:  Icon Productions

Mel Gibson’s controversial depiction of the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus forced several movie-goers out of the theater. Roger Ebert said of the 2004 drama, “The movie is 126 minutes long, and I would guess that at least 100 of those minutes, maybe more, are concerned specifically and graphically with the details of the torture and death of Jesus. This is the most violent film I have ever seen.”

The film may have even been responsible for the demise of a Kansas woman. A female spectator reportedly had a fatal heart attack while watching the graphic crucifixion scene. “It was the highest emotional part of the movie,” a spokeswoman for KAKE-TV in Wichita reported. The woman reportedly did not have any existing health problems.

Photo: Warner Bros.

When William Friedkin’s big screen adaptation of The Exorcist hit theaters in 1973, it instantly became a cultural phenomenon and must-see event. The story about a teenage girl who becomes possessed by the devil intrigued both American and international audiences. In New York, anxious spectators stood outside during a blizzard in a line that wrapped around the block.

However, many movie-goers were not prepared for the film’s graphic horror. During a screening in New York, reports claimed several audience members ran from the theater in hysterics, while others fainted or vomited. In fact, word got all the way around the world that the film was having such devastating effect on audience members. By the time The Exorcist opened in the UK, theaters had ambulances waiting outside with stretchers, just in case they were needed.

Photo: Artisan Entertainment

The Blair Witch Project (1999) raked-in an astounding $240 million at the box office on a $22,000 budget. Unfortunately, some of those paying spectators got sick from the movie, not from blood or gore, but the “found footage” mock documentary style. Three actors in the movie used a standard hand-held video camera to shoot the entire film. Most of the shots were shaky; often times, the actors were running with the camera pointed on the ground. Additionally, a lot of the shots were out of focus.

The look and feel of The Blair Witch Project left many in the audience dizzy from motion sickness. There were reports of people vomiting in the aisles. Things got so bad at an AMC Colonial the theater’s managing director had to post a warning; at least one audience member vomited at every showing.

“This past weekend we put up a sign that said the hand-held camera can create motion sickness, and if you’re susceptible to motion sickness you may want to rethink your viewing choice,” she said.

Photo: Miramax Films

Perhaps now, decades later, we’re so used to Quentin Tarantino that the ear amputation scene in Reservoir Dogs wouldn’t be so shocking. But in 1992, we didn’t know Tarantino, and to see Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) dance around to “Stuck in the Middle With You” while tormenting a young cop may have been too much to bear for many spectators. Reports claim several distributors were hesitant to take on the burden of releasing the neo-noir. The scene even caused several many viewers to exit the theater.

But here’s something totally shocking. Wes Craven, the man behind horror franchises like Scream and Nightmare on Elm Street (and also Last House on the Left , one of the most notoriously disturbing films of all time) could not handle Reservoir Dogs . In an interview with The Wall Street Journal , the famed writer/director admitted:

I have a hard time with torture; I mean, I walked out on Reservoir Dogs ! I saw it at a film festival, and when I was out in the lobby, this kid came pounding out of the shadows and said, “You’re Wes Craven, right?” I said yeah, and he said, “and you’re leaving because you can’t take it?” I said yeah, and he said, “I just scared Wes Craven!” It was Quentin Tarantino, and I didn’t know who he was at that time. But I just don’t like watching [that].


Photo: Focus Features

Raw (2016), a French-language film about a vegetarian who develops a taste for human flesh, took home the FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes Film Festival in the spring of 2016. The award generated a ton of buzz, and horror fans clamored to see the movie. It was screened during a midnight showing in Toronto in September, 2016, and turned out to be more than some audience members could handle. Paramedics were called in response to several people passing out due to the film’s graphic cannibalism scenes.

Think you could stomach Raw? Think again. Associate Screen Anarchy editor Shelagh Rowan-Legg wrote of the film: “Horror film fans might think themselves (as I have) desensitised to violence and gore. But the effects team have done such as remarkable job, with torn flesh, bites, and blood, that I frequently found myself shielding my eyes; if only I could have shielded my ears as well, as the sounds effects team deserves equal credit.”

Photo: TriStar Pictures

Don’t look down! Director Robert Zemeckis brought the 1974 true story of Philippe Petit’s high wire walk between New York’s Twin Towers to the silver screen in 2015. The 3D journey, artistically and exactingly filmed to make the audience feel like they were 110 stories up, was so realistic it made people dizzy. Some got so nauseous they vomited.

“The last 20 minutes of the film I had to look away a couple of times because of the sensation of the height. I felt a little bit queasy. I felt nervous. It was a tingling sensation and some anxiety,” said Denise Widman, who is board director of the Boston Jewish Film Festival.

               Photo: 20th Century FoxJames Cameron’s Academy Award-winning, groundbreaking-special-effects-3D-epic Avatar (2009) looks spectacular. But sometimes those amazing effects have negative psychical side effects. Many who watched Avatar in 3D reportedly experienced motion sickness, dizziness, headaches, and nausea.

A 42-year-old man in Taiwan reportedly felt sick watching the movie and later passed. His doctor said, “Over-excitement from watching the movie triggered his symptoms.” The man had a history of high blood pressure, and suffered a stroke while watching the movie. By the time paramedics got him to the hospital, he had lost consciousness. He perished 11 days later.

Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Tod Browning cast actual circus performers with varying deformities (conjoined twins, limbless people, bearded lady) for his 1932 horror movie Freaks. The film turned out to be a little too grotesque for some audience members to handle. Several people could not bear to watch the movie, and had to leave the theater.

A pregnant woman who screened the original version of Freaks sued MGM, claiming the movie forced her to miscarry. The studio was coerced into making several cuts, resulting in a final running time of 60 minutes. Browning’s film suffered from the negative press and was banned in several countries. The director’s career was also ruined. Freaks has since become a hit with counter-culture cinema fans.

Photo: 20th Century Fox

For a lot of movies on this list, it’s about that one scene pushing audiences to the brink. In Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), it was the chestburster scene. For prequel Prometheus (2010), it’s the Cesarean scene, in which Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) performs robot-assisted surgery on herself to rid her body of an alien baby.

Most of the chatter surrounding the scene featured the usual fainting or nausea spells. However, a teenage boy in Australia suffered a seizure and was rushed to the hospital after the scene. Scott was reportedly asked to cut the scene from the film so it could receive a PG-13 rating instead of an R-Rating. He obviously opted to keep it, and it’s probably a good thing, because it created a ton of buzz.

Photo: Nordisk Film Distribution

Danish director Lars Von Trier has a storied history of making films for reasons other than entertainment. During a screening of his 2009 experimental horror drama Antichrist at the Cannes Festival, four people fainted. Some call the movie, starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a married couple grieving the loss of their son, “torture p*rn.” It has been banned in France due to protests from a Catholic group.

Antichrist is widely regarded as one of the most shocking films in the history of the Cannes Film Festival. One critic called it “an abomination.” Another said it was “easily one of the biggest debacles in Cannes Film Festival history and the complete meltdown of a major film artist in a way that invites comparisons to the sinking of the Titanic.”

Photo: Paramount Pictures

It may not seem so shocking now, but in 1960, it was unheard of to off the star half-way through a movie. Alfred Hitchcock shocked audiences when Hollywood A-List actress Janet Leigh is slain by Norman Bates’s “mother” while taking a shower at the Bates Motel. Stories spread that the shock caused many audience members to faint or even vomit.

Those reports are unconfirmed, but not necessarily untrue. Hitchcock was a smart man, who knew the controversy would spark ticket sales. He started a policy forbidding anyone from entering the theater after the film began, to make sure audiences would continue to see what the fuss was about. The film caused a new kind of phobia, however, a fear of taking showers. In 2000, Janet Leigh claimed to still have a fear of the shower.


Photo: TIFF

Revenge made its debut at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. It immediately achieved notoriety, and not just for its no-holds-barred depiction of a furious woman taking out the men who wronged her.

During the film’s midnight screening, a man suffered a seizure, apparently triggered by a graphic scene of a character removing a shard of glass from his foot. Paramedics were called, and the attendee made a full recovery.

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