"Oldboy," Spike Lee's remake of the 2003 South Korean original hits theaters this week; and with it, one of the most disturbing, squirm inducing twists ever committed to film. Don't worry, we won't spoil it here though suffice to say for viewers of the original, Lee and company manage to pack the denouement with even more ickiness than even Park Chan-wook imagined.
But this isn't the first time we've been shocked by a totally gross twist at the movies. Here's a look at some of the most disturbing, and in case it wasn't clear, SPOILERS:
The Set-Up: A couple dealing with problems in their marriage decide to adopt a nine-year-old Estonian girl named Esther. She starts killing people, and it turns out...
The Twist: ...She's actually a 33-year-old pedo-prostitute named Leena Klammer. Before that's revealed, she's already tried to seduce her adopted Dad.
Gross-O-Meter: Actress Isabelle Fuhrman was 10 years old when she filmed this. On scale of gross, to totally gross, this rates our highest score, a "Yuck!"
The Set-Up: Vicious killer John Doe is completing his life's work, to recreate the seven deadly sins in human form. He's only got Envy and Wrath left when he turns himself in to detectives Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman.
The Twist: Doe embodies Envy. He wanted Pitt's normal life, so he chopped off Gwyneth Paltrow's head and stuck it in a box, forcing Pitt to kill Doe. Hence, "Wrath." Case closed!
Gross-O-Meter: For a movie that otherwise shows a disturbing amount of gore, the head-in-a-box scene is relatively tasteful. This gets a mildly reserved, "Ew."
The Set-Up: David (Thomas Jane) has been trapped in a mist filled with killer monsters which seems to have consumed the whole world. His car has run out of gas, and he only has four bullets left in his gun. So he kills four other survivors, including his own son, rather than let monsters eat them. He then stands outside in the mist so he himself can die.
The Twist: Except seconds later, the army appears, repelling the mist and the monster invasion. He just killed his own son (and three other people) for no reason.
Gross-O-Meter: Not so much gross as gut-wrenching and horribly uncomfortable to watch. This gets five "Aw, hell no"s out of five.
The Set-Up: Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is hired to investigate a case of infidelity, but it quickly turns into a murder mystery that could have massive ramifications for the entire city of Los Angeles. Along the way, he meets Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway), her sister Katherine, and her very suspicious-seeming father.
The Twist: Katherine is her sister, and her daughter. Though it doesn't exactly have to do with the central murder plot, Evelyn did have a child with her own father.
Gross-O-Meter: Yeah, that nasty. Particularly nasty? Evelyn eventually dies, and her daughter Katherine ends up in the custody of her father. But forget it, readers. It's "Chinatown."
The Set-Up: Two rival magicians try to one-up each other, mainly through a trick where they appear to be in two places at once.
The Twist: There's actually a double twist, pun intended. Christian Bale's magician turns out to have been twins the whole time. Meanwhile, Hugh Jackman achieves the trick by cloning himself, drowning his clones to death and then storing them in the basement of a theater.
Gross-O-Meter: It's the Jackman twist we're focused on here, and the idea that there's hundreds of decomposing Hugh Jackmans somewhere still makes our skin crawl.
The Set-Up: Mickey Rourke is a detective named Harry Angel, investigating the disappearance of a jazz singer named Johnny Favorite. Along the way, he encounters the potentially supernatural murders of Angel's former associates, and sleeps with Favorite's daughter, played by Lisa Bonet.
The Twist: Angel actually is Favorite, but with a different name, face, and amnesia. So he actually slept with his own daughter. Oh, and then he kills her by shooting her through the vagina.
Gross-O-Meter: Seems pretty normal to us JUST KIDDING EW GROSS.
Color Of Night
The Set-Up: Bruce Willis is a color-blind therapist investigating the death of his friend, while carrying on an affair with a girl named Rose (Jane March) who lives in his house. Weirdly, Rose has the same terrible teeth as a 16-year-old boy named Richie in Willis' therapy group.
The Twist: Rose is Richie. The actual Richie (Rose's brother) committed suicide after being molested by a psychiatrist, driving their older brother Dylan to force Rose to pretend to be Richie, ultimately triggering a multiple personality disorder. Also, Willis can't see the color red and he's totally blind to Rose. GET IT?
Gross-O-Meter: If Rose is actually 16 years old? Gross. If not? Not that gross, just weird. Also this movie is terrible.
The Crying Game
The Set-Up: Fergus (Stephen Rea) is an IRA operative who falls in love with the girlfriend of a man he helped kill.
The Twist: She's a dude! As the two are about to make the beast with two backs, it turns out Dil (Jaye Davidson) is actually a man, baby.
Gross-O-Meter: At the time (1992) this may have seemed completely shocking, and yes, in real life you'd probably be pretty surprised. But two decades down the road, there's nothing too jaw-dropping about the idea that there may be transgender males in the world, particularly given some of the other choices above. This gets an, "Eh, not that gross," with a throwback comment from the '90s of "Gnarly!"
"Oldboy" is in theaters everywhere November 27.