17 Movies That Literally Made People Pass Out
These films are so scary, so shocking, or so gross that they've made audiences feel physically ill.
We've all suffered through movies that we found hard to watch—whether because they were too scary, too gross, or simply too stressful. But it's one thing to watch a film through your fingers, and another to become physically ill because of whatever is happening onscreen. Believe it or not, however, the latter is a very real possibility: There have been numerous documented cases of movies that have made people pass out, get sick to their stomachs, or worse. Read on for 17 of the most notable examples, and for more films that have left a lasting impression, revisit The Scariest Movies '90s Kids Can't Forget.
Read the original article on Best Life.
The Exorcist (1973)
In many ways, The Exorcist feels as scary now as it did nearly 50 years ago. But nothing quite compares to the way audiences reacted at the time: Contemporary news reports discussed viewers fainting and crying at the film, per The AV Club. And for a movie that even Stephen King couldn't make it all the way through, discover The One Horror Film Stephen King Was Too Scared to Finish.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
The Blair Witch Project was seriously unnerving to audiences in 1999, particularly those who weren't familiar with the found footage genre, and weren't clear on how real the whole thing was. But the handheld camera footage was distressing in a different way. As The Globe and Mail reports, "Wobbly camera work in the low-budget horror film was disorienting enough to cause some audience members to throw up."
127 Hours (2010)
Even if you know the true story 127 Hours is based on, watching James Franco's trapped hiker amputate his arm is severely unpleasant. For some viewers, it was simply too much. In 2010, HuffPost collected some of the stories of the most extreme audience reactions, noting, "127 Hours has gotten audiences fainting, vomiting and worse in numbers unseen since The Exorcist." And for more fun content delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Avatar was an overwhelming cinematic experience, and not always a pleasant one for audience members. In a piece for NPR, Maria Godoy said that Avatar made her sick, and that she wasn't alone. As Godoy wrote, "Reports of people suffering headaches, dizziness, eye fatigue and other visual discomforts from 3D viewing have grown alongside the use of 3D technology itself."
Pulp Fiction (1994)
If you've seen Pulp Fiction, you can probably guess the moment that sent certain audience members over the edge. In a 25th anniversary piece on the hypodermic-needle-to-the-heart scene published in 2019, USA Today reported, "At the movie's New York Film Festival premiere, one viewer was so shocked by the moment that he fainted, forcing the screening to be halted." And for more films that caught audiences off-guard, check out these Movies With Shocking Twist Endings We're Still Not Over.
The incredibly controversial film Irréversible has provoked dramatic reactions among viewers, thanks to its relentlessly brutal violence, including a graphic extended scene of sexual assault. Per BBC News, at the Cannes Film Festival premiere, 250 people walked out, but that's not all: "Fire wardens had to administer oxygen to 20 people who fainted during the film."
The Walk (2015)
If you suffer from vertigo, The Walk is not the movie for you. Based on the true story of high-wire artist Philippe Petit, the film is basically designed to make you feel sick. As the New York Post delicately put it when the movie was released, "The Walk is so realistic people are throwing up in theaters." And for more films that got people's hearts racing, These Are the Scariest Horror Movies of All Time, According to Science.
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Mel Gibson's film about the final 12 hours in the life of Jesus did not sit well with some viewers, who had a tough time with the explicit depiction of torture. According to a 2004 CNN report, a woman suffered a heart attack and died during the film's graphic crucifixion scene.
It's hard to top the thrill of the chestburster scene from the original Alien, but Prometheus still had audiences on the edge of their seats with Noomi Rapace's Elizabeth Shaw performing surgery on herself to remove an alien from her stomach. According to The Courier Mail, watching the harrowing moment "resulted in a boy being rushed to hospital after suffering a seizure."
If you're watching a cannibal horror film, you probably know what to expect—but that doesn't mean you know exactly how you'll react. At a midnight screening of Raw at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2016, IndieWire reports that multiple audience members passed out, requiring the paramedics to be called. And for more recent horror worth watching, This Is the Best Horror Film of 2020, According to Critics.
Saw III (2006)
Frankly, any one of the Saw movies might make squeamish viewers feel a little sick, but the brain surgery scene in Saw III proved particularly nauseating. Per a 2006 BBC News article, "Staff at a UK cinema have had to call emergency services three times in one night because of a spate of people passing out during horror film Saw III."
Incredibles 2 (2018)
What harm could a family film like Incredibles 2 cause? Unfortunately, quite a bit. The New York Times reported that the movie caused a man to get "lightheaded and dizzy in the theater" before suffering seizures. Theaters ended up issuing seizure warnings, noting that the use of strobe lights in Incredibles 2 could induce seizures in those with photosensitive epilepsy.
The horror film Freaks has been the subject of various controversies in the almost 90 years since its initial release. But the most shocking claim against it happened following an early test screening: A woman sued MGM, alleging that the horrifying content of the movie caused her to have a miscarriage, per The Guardian.
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
As in Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs has one notorious scene almost guaranteed to prompt a visceral response from audiences. Tarantino has spoken about people being unable to handle the movie's depiction of torture, but one of the most notable walkouts came from a filmmaker known for scaring audiences himself. In a 2011 interview with The Wall Street Journal, the late Wes Craven said he walked out of Reservoir Dogs because he "[couldn't] take it," to the delight of Tarantino.
Goodnight Mommy (2014)
Goodnight Mommy is a deeply disturbing Austrian horror film with some scenes of extreme violence. In a 2015 interview with IndieWire, co-director Severin Fiala said, "Two people fainted. That’s the best compliment we’ve had so far."
At a midnight screening of the anthology horror film V/H/S during 2012's Sundance Film Festival, one moviegoer passed out, Deadline reported. The site added, "I’m told the guy who passed out–during the first particularly gruesome scene–was embarrassed and didn’t want to leave but was encouraged to by his girlfriend."
There are plenty of shockingly violent moments in the French thriller Revenge, but one scene—in which a character tries to remove a shard of glass—is almost impossible to sit through. As The Globe and Mail notes, people passing out at TIFF's midnight screenings is nothing new. (See the earlier entry for Raw.) Nevertheless, it's still worth noting that Revenge made at least one audience member feel "unwell" enough to require medical attention. And if you can't get enough scares, dive into The 50 Best Horror Films of All Time, According to Critics.