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The 10 Most Disturbing Moments from Stanley Kubrick Movies

Stanley Kubrick Moments
Warner Bros.

Movie directors the world over owe a debt to master filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, whose meticulously crafted — and at times, deeply disturbing — films like ‘The Shining,’ ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ have kept critics and fans shivering in the years since his death in 1999.

One thing Kubrick had a particularly good handle on was freaking people out. So we’ve dissected his greatest works and uncovered the 15 most mind-blowingly disturbing moments. (And unless you work in at the Stanley Kubrick Research Center for Disturbing Cinematic Moments, a place we just made up, it’s safe to say some of these clips could be considered NSFW.)


10

'2001: A Space Odyssey' - Hal refuses to open the spaceship’s pod bay doors

 
 
 

'2001: A Space Odyssey' is a slow burn, best watched under the influence of something sticky and green (gummy bears, of course). Hearing a deadpan-voiced robot -- with a touch of sarcasm in his tone -- mouthing off to an astronaut that has commanded him to do something is, at first, a little funny, but when he continues to refuse, the moment becomes almost suffocating. And good luck getting the line "I can't do that, Dave" out of your nightmares.

9

'Dr. Strangelove' - Major T.J. King Kong riding the bomb

 
 
 

There’s something awfully spooky (and downright hilarious) about watching a grown man riding a 10-ton bomb like a buckin’ bronco while cackling the whole way down. Every time we see this scene we think of George W. Bush, WMDs and the debacle in Iraq. Oh, did we mention this movie came out in 1964? Basically what we're saying is Kubrick could see into the future.

8

'A Clockwork Orange' - Alex's "cure" makes him kneel and lick some guy's boot

 
 
 

There's something exceedingly sick about watching a grown man do something as depraved as licking another person's boot. And director Stanley Kubrick's masterful camera angles just make this scene from 'A Clockwork Orange' sting even more. Watch as Alex, who can no longer control himself, has to basically clean off some guy's leather. Yuck.

7

'Eyes Wide Shut' - Nicole Kidman drop trou, goes to the bathroom

 
 
 

Kubrick's last movie, 'Eyes Wide Shut,' is chock-full of disturbo scenes -- including this very scene. It's safe to say you can probably thank Kubrick for the scene in 'The Paperboy' where Nicole relieves herself on Zac Efron. Perhaps it's better if future filmmakers ignore certain aspects of Kubrick's filmography. (Instead of the NSFW 'Eyes Wide Shut' video clip, we’re giving you a conceptual version. See below.)

6

'Eyes Wide Shut' - The costume shop scene

 
 
 

Stanley Kubrick had an eye for random acts of absurdity. When Tom Cruise walks into the costume shop late-night to find a mask for the ball, he’s also walking into a really, really effed-up scene that includes a half-naked Leelee Sobieski, two Japanese men in drag and a raging bearded guy in a bathrobe. It's almost like a psycho-sexual outtake from ‘The Big Lebowski.’

5

'The Shining' - Dick Hallorann gets axe-murdered

 
 
 

In those last few minutes of 'The Shining,' you can basically cut through the tension with a knife. So when the would-be hero, Overlook chef Dick Hallorann -- played by Scatman Crothers, who went on to voice Autobot Jazz in the 'Transformers' cartoon -- slowly enters the hotel, you're really hoping he can do some damage before all hell breaks loose. Then, in the blink of an axe, everything changes. To quote from 1986's 'Transformers: The Movie,' Hallorann basically says, "Bah-weep-Graaaaagnah wheep ni ni bong" to his maker.

4

'A Clockwork Orange' - Cat lady is murdered by giant ceramic...

 
 
 

Every time we take a gander at 'A Clockwork Orange,' we're surprised at how difficult it is to watch -- there are graphic murders, rape scenes, and lots of absurdly unsexual nudity paired with weirdo futuristic garb and Wendy Carlos' creepy synth-classical score. This scene in particular strikes us as really messed up, in that the Yoga-instructor cat lady gets murdered from a point-of-view angle by a giant ceramic dildo. What a terrible way to go, even by the standards of murders in Kubrick films.

3

'Spartacus' - Roadway lined with crucified men

 
 
 

We can only gather that when the brains behind 'Monty Python's Life of Brian' were putting together their sketch for 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,' they had this horrid scene from Stanley Kubrick's 'Spartacus' in mind, which features crucified men lining the streets.

2

'The Shining' - Twin girls appear at end of hallway

 
 
 

This scene from 'The Shining' is so iconic at this point, it shouldn't really make our skin crawl, but it does anyhow. Except for clowns, there's nothing creepier than twin British-accented girls, wearing the same dress, speaking in unison and then appearing hacked up in a blood-smeared hotel hallway. It's almost as if you take the place of little Danny Torrance on his Hot Wheels, your hands trying desperately to hide your eyes.

1

‘Full Metal Jacket’ - Private Pyle flips out in the bathroom with a loaded rifle

 
 
 

Why is the most disturbing scene in Kubrick's filmography? Because it's the most heartbreakingly realistic and least stylized moment he's ever pulled off on film. Plus, it forever cemented Vincent D’Onofrio as one of the creepiest actors in Hollywood. (Remember when he played the bug in 'Men In Black'? Typecasting at its finest.)

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