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The Best Cinema of Transgression Movies Of All-Time

“What are the best Cinema of Transgression Movies?” We looked at 85 of the top Cinema of Transgression films, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 29 films, all appearing on 2 or more “Best Cinema of Transgression” movie lists, are ranked below by how many times they appear. The remaining 50+ movies, as well as the sources we used, are in alphabetical order on the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



Top 29 Best Cinema of Transgression Movies Ever Made



29 .) Baby Doll (1982) directed by Tessa Hughes-Freeland

	Baby Doll (1982)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB 2
  • MUBI

Tessa Hughes-Freeland’s “Baby Doll” is a tiny slice of cinéma vérité from 1982 about the girls working the now defunct Baby Doll Lounge on Church and White St. in downtown Manhattan. It captures a moment before NYC got sanitized.



28 .) Black Hearts Bleed Red (1992) directed by Jeri Cain Rossi

	Black Hearts Bleed Red (1992)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • MUBI

A stark adaptation of Flannery O’Connor’s short story A Good Man Is Hard To Find.



27 .) Horoscope (1991) directed by Richard Kern

	Horoscope (1991)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • MUBI

Holly Adams plays an attractive but rather repressed young woman. She checks her horoscope, shambles homeward from her dull office job and promptly falls asleep in front of the TV. Two naked young men appear in her living room and begin dancing around for her pleasure.



26 .) Llik Your Idols directed by Angélique Bosio

	Llik Your Idols

Lists It Appears On:

  • MUBI
  • Wikipedia

Discover the New York underground scene during the 80s and throw yourself into an exciting, anarchic and repulsive world that you won’t forget.



25 .) My Nightmare (1993) directed by Richard Kern

	My Nightmare (1993)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • MUBI

The filmmaker Kern and a female subject in a chaotic fast-cut blend of sexual and hypnotic imagery.



24 .) Raw Nerves: A Lacanian Thriller directed by Manuel Delanda

	Raw Nerves: A Lacanian Thriller

Lists It Appears On:

  • MUBI
  • Wikipedia

A noir mostly set in a bathroom stall and stairwell. A private dick trapped in a tight spot. A narrator searching for a way out of the story. Toilet humor and pulp fiction captured in colors like you’ve never seen.



23 .) Sewing Circle (1992) directed by Richard Kern

	Sewing Circle (1992)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • IMDB 2

A woman’s vagina is sewn shut.



22 .) Stigmata directed by Beth B.

	Stigmata

Lists It Appears On:

  • MUBI
  • Wikipedia



21 .) Submit to Me Now (1987) directed by Richard Kern

	Submit to Me Now (1987)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • MUBI

Sadomasochistic images of self-mutilation.



20 .) The Bitches (1992) directed by Richard Kern

	The Bitches (1992)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • MUBI

Two girls are in a sparsely furnished apartment, scantily clad, and being generally unpleasant to each other.



19 .) The Right Side of My Brain (1985) directed by Richard Kern

	The Right Side of My Brain (1985)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • MUBI

The sexual misadventures of a sexually insane girl.



18 .) The Wild World of Lydia Lunch (1983) directed by Nick Zedd

	The Wild World of Lydia Lunch (1983)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • IMDB 2

A filmmaker follows his girlfriend around London with a camera featuring narration from a cassette tape she made for him to break-up the relationship.



17 .) They Eat Scum (1979) directed by Nick Zedd

	They Eat Scum (1979)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • MUBI

The rise, fall and rise of a teen death-rock idol.



16 .) Vortex (1982) directed by Beth B

	Vortex (1982)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • MUBI

A film noirish atmosphere is created to show detective Lunch (a popular underground musician and poet) plow her way through the plans of a corporate businessman who seeks government defense contracts through real “corporate wars” and the manipulation of politicians.



15 .) Where Evil Dwells directed by David Wojnarowicz & Tommy Turner

	Where Evil Dwells

Lists It Appears On:

  • MUBI
  • Wikipedia

Loosely based on an infamous 1984 Long Island murder case involving Satan-worshiping, teenage drug freaks (Knights of the Black Circle), David Wojnarowicz and Tommy Turner’s Where Evil Dwells is a low-budget D.I.Y. movie that walks the jagged lines between splatter flick, experimental film and transgressive art. The original footage was destroyed in a fire and the only footage that survived is this 28 minute preview that was put together for the Downtown New York Film Festival in 1985. ×



14 .) Why Do You Exist directed by Nick Zedd

	Why Do You Exist

Lists It Appears On:

  • MUBI
  • Wikipedia



13 .) X Is Y (1990) directed by Richard Kern

	X Is Y (1990)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • MUBI

Experimental film consisting of images of young women handling automatic handguns and rifles.



12 .) Black Box (1979) directed by Beth B

	Black Box (1979)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • IMDB 2
  • MUBI

A man is tortured by his girlfriend and then locked inside a black box.



11 .) Blank City (2010) directed by Celine Danhier

	Blank City (2010)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • MUBI
  • Wikipedia

In the years before Ronald Reagan took office, Manhattan was in ruins. But true art has never come from comfort, and it was precisely those dire circumstances that inspired artists like Jim Jarmusch, Lizzy Borden, and Amos Poe to produce some of their best works. Taking their cues from punk rock and new wave music, these young maverick filmmakers confronted viewers with a stark reality that stood in powerful contrast to the escapist product being churned out by Hollywood. ×



10 .) Fingered (1988) directed by Richard Kern

	Fingered (1988)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • IMDB 2
  • MUBI

One of Richard Kern’s most ambitious works is Fingered (1986), whose sarcastic disclaimer says “although it is not our sole intention to shock, insult, or irritate, you have been warned that we are catering only to our own preferences as members of the sexual minority.”



9 .) Mommy Mommy Where’s My Brain (1986) directed by Jon Moritsugu

	Mommy Mommy Where's My Brain (1986)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • MUBI
  • Wikipedia

Part AC/DC, part Jacques Derrida. An experimental film made as a response to the critical theory aspects of the filmmakers degree and academic film criticism.



8 .) Submit to Me (1985) directed by Richard Kern

	Submit to Me (1985)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • IMDB 2
  • MUBI

Oddballs dancing, leering at camera, guy shaving a nontraditional part of his body and man ripping his own throat out, woman stabbing herself to death.



7 .) The Bogus Man (1980) directed by Nick Zedd

	The Bogus Man (1980)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • IMDB 2
  • MUBI

A look at a conspiracy involving the United States president.



6 .) The Offenders (1980) directed by Beth B

	The Offenders (1980)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • IMDB 2
  • MUBI

A punk savage satire about a kidnapping.



5 .) Thrust in Me (1985) directed by Richard Kern

	Thrust in Me (1985)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • IMDB
  • IMDB 2

Zedd plays dual roles in this short-film as a street-wandering guy and a suicidal female.



4 .) War Is Menstrual Envy (1992) directed by Nick Zedd

	War Is Menstrual Envy (1992)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • IMDB 2
  • MUBI

Set in a post-apocalyptic future, the story finds a handful of ragged survivors attempting to communicate with dolphins, while another cadre of survivors have made it their crusade to destroy all the world’s religions.



3 .) Wrecked on Cannibal Island (1986) directed by Casandra Stark

	Wrecked on Cannibal Island (1986)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • MUBI
  • Wikipedia

Casandra and Natz pose as a couple locked in a domestic dispute documenting the futility of human relationships and the pointlessness of love.



2 .) You Killed Me First (1985) directed by Richard Kern

	You Killed Me First (1985)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • MUBI
  • Wikipedia

A girl (Lung leg) bristles at the religious directives of her parents, asserting her right to personhood outside demure hairstyles and turkey dinners, constructing voodoo dolls and entertaining other manners of dark drawing in her dank emo-den. When confronted with the humanity and hypocrisy of her tormentors, the young antihero vanquishes their belief systems (and bodies) asserting, “You killed me first!”



1 .) Nymphomania (1994) directed by Tessa Hughes-Freeland

	Nymphomania (1994)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • IMDB 2
  • MUBI
  • Wikipedia

A film exploring the nature of sex and gender roles. Nymph, a fairy, walks and dances through a woodland before being pursued by Pan, an evil spirit.




The 50+ Additional Best Cinema of Transgression Films



# Movie Director Lists
30 Belladonna (1989) Beth B IMDB
31 Blutsfreundschaft (2009)   Medium
32 Death Valley 69   MUBI
33 Die toten Körper der Lebenden (2007)   Medium
34 Donauleichen (2005)   Medium
35 Ecstasy in Entropy (1999) Nick Zedd IMDB
36 Electra Elf: The Beginning Parts One & Two (2005 Video) Nick Zedd IMDB
37 Elf Panties: The Movie (2001 Video) Nick Zedd IMDB
38 G Man (1978) Beth B IMDB 2
39 Geek Maggot Bingo or The Freak from Suckweasel Mountain (1983) Nick Zedd IMDB
40 Go to Hell (1986) David Rutsala IMDB
41 Goo (1991 Video) Ray Agony IMDB
42 Goodbye 42nd Street (1986) Richard Kern IMDB
43 Guerillere Talks (1978) Vivienne Dick IMDB 2
44 Heroin   MUBI
45 I Hate You Now (1985) Richard Kern IMDB
46 I Was a Quality of Life Violation (2004) Nick Zedd IMDB
47 Incontinence: A Diarrhetic Flow of Mismatches (1978) Manuel De Landa IMDB
48 King Blank (1983) Michael Oblowitz IMDB 2
49 King Kongs Tränen (2010)   Medium
50 King of Sex (1986) Richard Kern IMDB
51 Kiss Me Goodbye (1986) Nick Zedd IMDB
52 Letters to Dad   MUBI
53 Lord of the Cockrings (2002 Video) Nick Zedd IMDB
54 Manhattan Love Suicides (1985) Richard Kern IMDB
55 Minus Zero (1979) Michael Oblowitz IMDB 2
56 Money Love   MUBI
57 Mörderschwestern (2011)   Medium
58 Mutable Fire (1984) Bradley Eros IMDB
59 Nazi (1991) Richard Kern IMDB
60 Pierce (1990) Richard Kern IMDB
61 Police State (1987) Nick Zedd IMDB
62 Red Spirit Lake   MUBI
63 Salvation!: Have You Said Your Prayers Today? (1987) Beth B IMDB
64 School of Shame (1984) Nick Zedd IMDB
65 Smiling Faces Tell Lies (1995) Nick Zedd IMDB
66 Sonic Youth Feat. Lydia Lunch: Death Valley 69 (1986 Video) Judith Barry IMDB
67 Sonic Youth: Scooter + Jinx (Moneylove) (1990 Video) Richard Kern IMDB
68 Stray Dogs (1985) Richard Kern IMDB
69 The Adventures of Electra Elf (2005–2010) Noel Dinneen IMDB
70 The Evil Cameraman (1990) Richard Kern IMDB
71 The Manhattan Love Suicides   MUBI
72 The Sewing Circle   MUBI
73 The Trap Door (1980) Beth B IMDB
74 Tom Thumb in the Land of the Giants (1999) Nick Zedd IMDB
75 Totem of the Depraved (1983) Ela Troyano IMDB
76 Tumble (1991) Richard Kern IMDB
77 Two Small Bodies (1993) Beth B IMDB
78 Underground U.S.A Eric Mitchell IMDB 2
79 Visiting Desire (1996) Beth B IMDB
80 We Are Not to Blame (1989) Casandra Stark IMDB
81 Woman at the Wheel (1985) Richard Kern IMDB
82 Worm Movie (1985) Lung Leg IMDB
83 You Are Not I (1981) Sara Driver IMDB 2
84 Zombie Hunger (1984) Richard Kern IMDB
85 Zombie Hunger 2 (1984) Richard Kern IMDB


5 Best Cinema of Transgression Film Sources/Lists



Source Article
IMDB Cinema of Transgression
IMDB 2 Cinema of Transgression
Medium The cultural implications and backdrop of the Transgressive Cinema of …
MUBI Cinema of Transgression
Wikipedia Cinema of Transgression

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