We’ve all seen them. They’re inescapable. Their headlines draw us like a moth to flame with their promise of economic, streamlined order. “They” are The Listicle. A collection of items in article form, listed, that serve a purpose of unifying themselves within a specific category. Sometimes they’re listed in the order of worst to best…sometimes they piss you off. One thing they all have in common? They exist as one writer’s opinion. Across the web you can find them ranking everything from makeup brushes, wine, adult diapers, and even listicles that detail the various “types” of listicle. It’s enough to make your head spin, Regan style. We endure, however, because we the people need to know! On this site, we feature plenty of cool, thought-provoking “Top 10” and “Best Of” lists. But, what about you hardcore junkies out there who need a serious fix of the overly specific, “no one asked for this” type of information? I got the hit that you seek here on “Listicle of Death.” I’ll be drilling down to find out the best “Deaths by Ice Cream,” or the “Best ‘Oh, No! I’ve Discovered the Killer’s Lair!’ Slasher Film Moments.” Yep…specific.
OBVI NSFW SUBJECT MATTER. Sex and death have been intertwined from the earliest days of horror cinema. Surely, the metaphor of Dracula’s penetrating bite wasn’t lost on audiences of the time. We’ve seen the ties between the two evolve from the metaphorical to the downright explicit over the years, especially present during the Golden Age of sex equals death slasher flicks. But, the fact remains, sex comes in a wide variety-pack of couplings and positions. If you were to base your entire sexual worldview on Hollywood horror, you’d be forgiven for assuming it was all straight-horny teens sneaking off in the middle of a party for a quickie…likely in the missionary position. Blah. So, vanilla. Today, we’re here to celebrate the under-celebrated: the third base bad boy that filmmakers so rarely have the balls to commit to film. Fellati-oh-no you better don’t! Here are the top 5 horror movie moments geared towards those of you with a bit of an oral fixation. Oh, and BTW – strap in, because the puns are going to be flying hot and heavy throughout this edition of “Listicle of Death!”
#5. Hellbent (2004) – Head for a Headhunter
In 2004, on the pages of “Fangoria,” I read about a film coming down the pipeline entitled Hellbent. The ringing endorsement for this flick was that it was the first “gay slasher” film. I couldn’t have been more excited to check it out. Once I did, I felt it was entertaining enough but not revolutionary. Though, it really didn’t have to be. It carries with it the same well-worn plot as countless of its slasher ancestors. It hits the same beats as any Friday the 13th but with homosexual characters. Those characters consist of a group of friends heading out on Halloween for a night of partying and general debauchery. What they don’t know is a super beefed-up sicko dressed as Satan is stalking their hunting grounds, lopping off heads with a sickle. The film opens with the requisite couple getting frisky in the backseat of a car positioned in the middle of a shady public park. Quickly realizing the backseat just isn’t big enough for what the couple is intending to do, one of the hunky himbos leans halfway out the car window to free up some space. As a nice nod to the killer who is, quite literally, a headhunter, the first victim loses his head while, ya know…
Bonus: A very similar scene plays out in the long-wished-for-a-feature-length-version of Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving, one of the faux-trailers made for Rodriguez/Tarantino’s Grindhouse. In this takeoff of holiday-themed slashers from the 80s (not unlike Hellbent…except hetero), a psycho pilgrim is hacking his way through a litany of victims. The “oral” moment comes when Roth himself cameos as a randy lad, practically ripping his trousers off in anticipation of…an extremely grisly beheading.
#4. High Tension (2003) – How’s Your Head?
High Tension is written about a lot (mostly in regards to that ending). The film was an extreme gut punch that featured the type of brutal bloodletting not seen since the heyday of Italian gore-meister Lucio Fulci. In fact, Fulci regular Giannetto De Rossi handled the effects work. It also launched a new wave of French genre cinema that held no punches in its attempt to brutalize the audience. High Tension set the bar pretty high for the films that would follow (Inside, Martyrs). At the heart of Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur’s début is one super fucked up love story. Hence the alternate English title, Switchblade Romance. Granted, that card isn’t dealt until late in the game, but that’s not to say there aren’t romantic flourishes along the way. Take, for instance, this scene where we spot “The Killer” receiving some vigorous oral attention in the driver’s seat of his beat-up killer mobile. Unfortunately, we soon realize his “head” is, explicitly, that. The Killer disposes of the decapitated cranium before pulling off into the sunset.
#3. Piranha 3DD (2012) – Fillet o’ Fellatio
“Josh cut off his penis, because something came out of my vagina.” Very matter of fact words spoken in an equally matter of fact way. Such a line is par for the course in the over the top world of John Gulager’s killer fish sequel, Piranha 3DD. Gulager takes all the tongue in cheek humor and jaw-dropping gore from Alexander Aja’s original and cranks it up to a Spinal Tap eleven. Needless to say, it’s not for everyone. The humor is purely juvenile, but as a viewing among friends and a round of drinks (which is how I initially saw the film), there are several uproarious moments to be had. The beat that landed the film on this list begins with your typical generic, Hollywood-missionary action, only it quickly escalates. A misguided skinny dip session in piranha-infested waters leads to a stray fishy burrowing itself…erm, inside Shelby (Katrina Bowden). It decides to relieve itself from her insides during the inopportune act of said “missionary.” It’s Jean-Luc Bilodeau’s Josh that takes the brunt of the razor-toothed piranha’s wrath as it latches on to his man-bits, where it stays for a prolonged, extremely graphic scene.
#2. Masters of Horror: Jenifer (2005) – Watch the Teeth
Masters of Horror was an incredibly short-lived anthology show spearheaded by horror historian and established director in his own right, Mick Garris. Each episode brought in a different “Master,” provided them with complete creative freedom, and $1 million to produce an hour-long film for air on Showtime. Infamously, Takashi Miike’s episode, “Imprint,” was completely rejected and only released here in the states on DVD. The Maestro, Dario Argento, didn’t have as hard a time with the content of his story “Jenifer,” but several cuts were required before the episode was allowed to broadcast. Unsurprisingly, as you’re reading this list now, both cuts revolved around oral sex. Jenifer is a beautiful creature with the face of a monster. Men find themselves uncontrollably attracted to her, and she leaps from one man’s life to the next, draining them of their willpower and sanity before moving on to the next chump. In the extremely vicious ending of this tale, Jenifer gets her claws into a teenage virgin. Frank (Steven Weber) uncovers the mysterious being hunched over, drenched in blood, making a meal of the poor kid’s genitals. The KNB effects work is top-notch and truly stomach churning. However, part of the excised material apparently revolved around footage showing the offending member being ripped off and devoured in all its lip-smacking glory. Yum.
SIDENOTE: This is quite possibly the only film in Dario’s career to deal with sexuality in such an explicit way. Yes, Stendhal Syndrome deals with the subject in an aggressive and psychological manner, but “Jenifer” places the material within the realm of sexual body horror. As effective as this episode is, it makes one wonder what would have become of Argento further exploring these themes.
Wes Craven’s directorial début The Last House on the Left was a self-described rip-off of Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring. Be that as it may, Craven still brought his own gritty, nihilistic, early career style to this hard to watch rape-revenge nasty. After a gang of deviant miscreants unknowingly set-in for the night at the parents’ home of one of the girls who they just viciously tortured and killed, vengeance becomes the focus for the quiet suburban mom and dad who decide to take the law into their own hands. Mama hen, Estelle, kicks off the explosion of violence that closes out the film. She lures one of the creeps, Weasel, out by the lake, drops to her knees, and seductively begins performing fellatio. Before Weasel can really begin to enjoy himself, Estelle chomps down on Weasel’s weasel (sorry, too easy) and rips it free from his body with her bare teeth. It’s a super cringe-inducing moment that has gone down in horror history, all without any complicated effects work. The scene is mostly suggested, but you feel it all the same. I’ll never forget seeing this for the first time on a darkened VHS (where the day-for-night photography was super unforgiving) and having to rewind the moment a couple of times to make sure I, in fact, saw what I thought I’d seen.
Interestingly, Last House is the only film on this list pre-2000s. Oral sex always has been one of the proverbial taboos, and it’s clear that in the beginnings of his career, Craven wasn’t afraid of breaking them.