ByStephen Hampton, writer at
Lover of horror and 80's divas.
Stephen Hampton

Some films makes us laugh, some films make us cry and some films make us vomit. Well, I've never actually vomited from watching a film before, although some have made me feel a little queasy. Just the other week there were reports of fainting and vomiting in the French cannibal film called Raw that is doing the rounds in festival circuits. Some conspiracists think that it's all done for publicity, but I thought that it'd be fun to look at some films that have reportedly made people collapse in the aisle, either from gruesome gore effects or just pure terror. You'd better put that sandwich down before we begin!

7. Psycho

Despite more graphic films hitting the screens in 1960 such as Eyes Without A Face and Peeping Tom, it seems that some audience members were still unprepared for the relenting terror of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Nowadays, you can find more blood in an episode of Midsomer Murders, but we must remember that those poor, repressed, '60s teens had barely seen an ankle on the big screen, nevermind a schizophrenic knife-wielding murderer. Reports suggest that audience members were running out of the cinema screaming while even wussier ones fainted. We're not sure what scenes sent them out in a frenzy, but I'm guessing that it'd be the enduring shower shock.

6. 127 Hours

Apparently, at least 13 people reportedly fainted and others were even vomiting in the aisles at screenings of Danny Boyle's claustrophobic survival flick. There are no prizes for guessing the particular scene that made audiences chuck up their popcorn. Even for hardened, desensitized viewers, the arm amputation scene is stomach-churning and graphic stuff — particularly when James Franco cuts into a nerve! The film is also no easy ride if you suffer from claustrophobia as it's basically 90 minutes of watching a guy with his arm jammed under a rock. So it's no surprise that a load of grannies would rock up to the cinema, unprepared for the gore and end up collapsed in the aisles reaching for gas and air. Oscar-nominated films don't have blood in them, do they, Mabel?

5. Pink Flamingos

King of sleaze, John Waters's infamous underground film still has the power to make people vomit, even now. It's no surprise that Pink Flamingos made audiences chuck up their guts, because that's exactly what the film is designed to do. The narrative concerns people competing for the filthiest woman award, which is just an excuse to showcase some seriously gross stunts. Some cinemas even had novelty "Pink Phlegmingo" sick bags for audience members when it was originally released. It's a film designed to shock, and things don't get much more vomit-inducing than watching drag queen Divine eating dog poo off the street. It's a tacky, vile and disturbing slice of exploitation.

4. V/H/S

Similarly to Raw, there were reports of people getting up and fainting during the second half of this found footage anthology. That was probably due to motion sickness though, as there's nothing all that gruesome or shocking in any of the segments. It is however a very kinetic and dizzying film to watch due to the constant shaking of the camera. It's enough to make anyone pass out! Those suffering from motion sickness should definitely stay clear of found footage movies altogether, and probably the recent Sharlto Copley-starring action film Hardcore Henry.

3. Saw III

There were reports of at least three separate incidents where an ambulance was called to UK cinemas due to the graphic imagery presented in Saw III. It's no surprise really, as the Saw films contain some of the most cringe-inducing gore effects in mainstream cinema. I'd argue that the third installment is the goriest of the series though, with Jigsaw on death's door yet still managing to set up some sick traps for people's enlightenment (and our twisted entertainment). It's difficult to predict which part of the film encouraged the fainting though. My money's on either the gory brain surgery scene or the unforgettable limb-twisting rack trap.

2. Irreversible

It just wouldn't be right if Cannes didn't have people walking out of films in anger or repulsion, and Gaspar Noé's infamous Irreversible has to hold the record for the most walk-outs ever. Apparently 250 people left before the credits rolled and 20 of those people needed oxygen. It's a tough film to watch though, as it tells the story of rape and revenge in reverse, starting with the violent vengeance and ending with the events that led to them. It opens with the camera dizzyingly floating around a sordid nightclub for 10 minutes accompanied by a low-frequency score designed to make you feel ill. The scene ends with a man getting his face bashed in with a fire extinguisher and we're forced to study every single gory detail. If that didn't make people walk out, then the horrifying 10-minute rape scene surely did.

1. The Exorcist

Perhaps the granddaddy of them all, The Exorcist caused a media storm upon its release, with countless reports of people fainting, throwing up and running out of the theater doors, screaming. Sensitive 1973 audiences just weren't ready to see a little girl masturbating with a crucifix or projectile vomiting all over a priest. Many cinemas ended up having ambulances parked outside in case another viewer dropped. You just can't buy that sort of publicity! Over 40 years later, The Exorcist is still making people scream. The extraordinary special effects and phenomenal acting makes this an ageless classic of horror.

Don't worry, you can put the sick bag down now. Though, if you haven't felt sick yet, maybe the video below is enough to send you over the edge:

Has any movie made you have an extreme physical reaction? Let us all know in the comments below.


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