1. Irreversible (2002)
Victim: Random, misidentified club-goer
There really was no contest here, especially considering that this list’s inspiration, the head-bashing elevator scene in Drive was directly influenced by French writer-director Gaspar Noé’s hard-to-watch skull crushing by way of fire extinguisher in the notoriously graphic 2002 film Irreversible. Nicolas Winding Refn, director of Drive called Noé for advice on how to properly stage the ultimate head-smash on film, though, as Refn himself admits, Ryan Gosling’s act is no match for Irreversible’s non-rape calling card.
Told backwards, Irreversible follows the before and after of a horrific rape; as the film begins, we’re at the end of the fiasco, with the victim’s boyfriend (Vincent Cassel) and guy pal, Marcus (Albert Dupontel), seeking out the rapist inside a gay nightclub called La Rectum (Hey, Noé’s never been cited for subtlety). With the camera swirling around, and the dizzying score burrowing holes into the viewer’s ear, the guys forcefully question everyone in sight before finding whom they think is La Tenia, the pimp responsible for the sexual assault.
They find the wrong man, however, though dude still manages to break the boyfriend’s arm and threaten to butt-plug him; that is, until the friend grabs the nearest fire extinguisher and proceeds to turn the supposed Tenia’s head into bloody oatmeal. Each strike of the extinguisher makes a loud, crunching sound; Noé’s camera gets up close and personal with the mangled face. And the viewer is dared to keep watching. Like we said, this shit was no contest.