The Top 13 Kills in Horror Movie History!

By popular demand, I bring you the most requested list since I started doing these things for BD almost a year ago. We all love a good creative kill, and these are–in my opinion–the best of the best. I include the “opinion” caveat as a preemptive response to the inevitable stream of “Hey dude, you forgot to include [BLANK]” comments that is sure to follow. So enjoy, discuss, debate, and don’t forget to visit The Vault of Horror for more of my opinionated commentary!

Top 13 Kills in Horror Movie History

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13. What a Bunch of Cut-Ups!: Ghost Ship (2002)


Perhaps the greatest opening to an entirely unremarkable horror flick ever. A bunch of old-timey party-goers get abruptly vivisected by an improbably taut cable that comes loose aboard a luxury liner. There goes the conga-line.

12. Warning: Falling Chainsaws!: American Psycho (2000)


If you’re a serial killer, and your prey is attempting to escape down a really long apartment building stairwell, you really can’t go wrong by dropping a running chainsaw down on them. You’re bound to hit something vital, just like Huey Lewis-lover Patrick Bateman does.

11. There Will Be Blood…and Ligaments, and Bone Shards…: Saw III (2006)


Despite its reputation for grimness, the original Saw really didn’t have a lot of graphic violence to speak of. The third flick in the series changed all that, heading decidedly into torture porn territory with that poor chap who gets the Stretch Armstrong treatment courtesy of a mechanized rack. Snap, crackle and pop ain’t just for breakfast anymore! (scene at the 3:30 mark)

10. A Head for Horror: Scanners (1981)


When it comes to horror deaths, you have to love the good old exploding head. And the most memorable by far would have to be the classic scene from Cronenberg’s masterpiece, in which that cold-blooded bastard Michael Ironside causes some poor telepath’s cranium to go Hiroshima. This is why I felt no pity when Arnold ripped his arms off in Total Recall. “See you at the party, Richter!”

9. The Ultimate Low Blow: I Spit on Your Grave (1978)


This is a tough one for any guy to watch, but you can’t say the scumbag didn’t deserve it. Our empowered protagonist hunts down the mastermind of her vicious group rape and slices off his twig and berries, allowing the newly gelded gentleman to bleed out slowly over the course of a few hours. That’s what you get for gangbanging Buster Keaton’s granddaughter.

8. Death by Sleeping Bag: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)


Jason has racked up some pretty cool kills over his past 3 trillion movies, but this one is rivaled in coolness only by the liquid nitrogen scene in Jason X. Mr. Voorhees gives this poor horny ditz a wack against a tree like he’s dusting off an Oriental rug. Ouch! (scene at 1:20 mark)

7. A Farewell to Arms: The Thing (1982)


Code blue quickly becomes code red in this mind-bending scene in which the doctor has his forearms bitten off when a giant gaping maw suddenly opens up in the chest cavity of his former colleague. I’ve heard of eyes in the back of your head, but never a mouth in the front of your torso.

6. The Heart of the Matter: Suspiria (1976)


It doesn’t get any more direct than a knife driven straight into an exposed heart. Let alone about 47 times. And then the nutjob hangs the broad too, for good measure. Talk about overkill…

5. Doctor Feelbad: Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)


To call Dr. Chanard’s methods unorthodox would be an understatement: In this scene, he hands a scalpel to a mental patient who’s convinced bugs are crawling all over him. The result? The desperate looney shreds himself as the doctor looks on. Come on now, doc, that’s just lazy!

4. Father Knows Best: City of the Living Dead (1980)


As far as overprotective dads go, this guy takes the cake. When he finds young Bob smokin’ a jay with his precious little girl, he proceeds to perforate his cerebellum with a massive drill, in that slow and agonizing way only Fulci does. Actually, now that I’m the father of a girl, I can’t say I don’t kind of relate…

3. It’s Over, Johnny: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)


Before he was Capt. Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp was a bloody stain on the ceiling, courtesy of one Fred Krueger. This is possibly the most famous of all horror movie kills. Is there really that much blood in the human body? Do we really care?

2. Choke on It!: Day of the Dead (1985)


Of all horror movie baddies, nobody had it coming to him as much as Capt. Rhodes. When a gaggle of hungry pus-bags descend on the megalomaniacal captain for a raucous feeding frenzy, you can’t help but let out a satisfied chuckle. On the menu this evening–fillet of douchebag.

And the number-one kill in horror movie history…

1. Keep an Eye Out: Zombi 2 (1979)


It’s back to Fulci for this nearly unwatchable ocular impalement scene. What can I say, the maestro just has a talent for realizing the most excruciatingly painful ways to die. And this one is a doozy–who among us isn’t squeamish when it comes to the eyes? And there’s just no let-up either–we watch in agonizingly slow detail as the wooden splinter passes through the eyeball and into the brain. No cutaway here, pansies!

For more news and opinions on the world of horror, including the story of a real-life Dexter copycat, a remembrance of Michael Crichton, and a look at the 50 greatest horror movies of all time, check out Brian’s daily blog, The Vault of Horror.

Source: B-D, The Vault of Horror
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  • Megan Payette

    Am I the only one who remembers Ghost Ship?