30 of the most controversial films of all time

These movies have taboo storylines, graphic sex scenes, and gruesome violence

Freaks (1932)

30 of the most controversial films of all time 1

Freaks is considered one of the most controversial films of all time because the entire Hollywood community was shocked when it was revealed that director Tod Browning insisted on casting real circus performers with deformities for the film. And even though the movie was significantly cut from 90 minutes to 64 minutes after test-screening audience found it too harsh and grotesque, the final cut of the film still ended up getting banned in some countries at the time of its release.

Though Freaks received critical backlash upon its initial theatrical run, several critics, in retrospect, wrote that the movie actually presents a sympathetic depiction of its sideshow characters rather than an exploitative one. Renowned film critic Andrew Sarris even declared Freaks as one of the “most compassionate” ever made.

Loosely based on Tod Robbin’s 1923 short story Spurs, Freaks follows trapeze artist Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova) who joins a group of carnival sideshow performers with a plan to seduce and murder the troupe’s circus midget Hans (Harry Earles) to gain his inheritance and run off with her lover, strong man Hercules (Henry Victor). When Hans and his fellow performers discover what’s going on, they band together and carry out a brutal revenge that leaves Cleopatra and Hercules knowing what it truly means to be a freak.

Interesting facts about BTS
  • The group name, “BTS” stands for the Korean expression Bangtan Sonyeondan which translates to “Bulletproof Boy Scouts”. Band member J-Hope said that they chose this name because it represents BTS’s desire “to block out stereotypes, criticisms, and expectations that aim on adolescents like bullets.” But that isn’t the only meaning behind the name. In 2017, BTS said, as part of their new brand identity, that their name would also stand for Beyond the Scene” which extended their name to mean “growing youth BTS who is going beyond the realities they are facing, and going forward.”
  • BTS was originally intended to be a hip-hop group, similar to YG Entertainment’s 1TYM. This was because Big Hit Entertainment CEO Bang Si-hyuk met with RM and was very impressed by his rapping talents. However, Bang Si-hyuk changed his mind and decided that today’s youth needed “a hero who can lend them a shoulder to lean on, even without speaking a single word.”
  • BTS has said that all of the following musicians have inspired their music; Post Malone, Eminem, Seo Taiji and Boys, Nas, Kanye West, Drake, Charlie Puth, Danger, and Queen.
  • The band’s first English-language single, “Dynamite”, was released on August 21st. Its video broke the YouTube record for the most viewed music video premiere, grabbing the attention of three million viewers, and it set a new record for the most viewed video on the first day of release. “Dynamite” is also the first music video on YouTube to surpass 100 million views in less than one day.
  • BTS has been often labeled as “easily the biggest and most successful name in K-pop in the world” that can “do things no other name in their genre can.” Time magazine has gone as far as calling them the “Princes of Pop.”