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A Look Back at Some Gruesome Death Scenes



The movie death scene is a time-honored tradition and over the course of the past century or so of moviemaking, there are certain scenes that stick out in the head of every movie fan. Last year, Alexandre Aja’s Mirrors featured a memorable “Jaw-Dropping” death scene with Amy Smart. With that movie hitting DVD and Blu-ray on January 13th (order it here), we thought it was a good time to go through a list of some Bloody Death Scenes.

A Few Random Gruesome Death Scenes

Personally, I think the idea of a definitive list of the best death scenes is a preposterous endeavor when you consider that what affects each personal in particular is unique based on their experiences. For instance, while blood and guts doesn’t generally bother me, I must admit to being particularly quesy about anything involving eyes. As such, no eye scenes will be included on the list that follows. With these thoughts in mind, here is a list of some of personal favorites, along with a few classic fan faves peppered in to round out the list.

Mirrors: Jaw Scene

Leading off the list is Amy Smart’s Jaw seperating demise from Mirrors

The Omen: Decapitation

By today’s standards, this bloodless `70s decapitation is pretty tame, but you gotta have some respect for the forebearers. For a mainstream American release in the `70s, this was pretty shocking stuff. Besides that, does anyone think this scene may have been an early influence on the Final Destination series?

Suspiria: Glass Ceiling Death

In my humble opinion, this film is Argento’s best work and this death sequence is an artful masterpiece. Just Goblin’s score alone is enough to give you goosebumps. David Gordon Green’s proposed remake is certainly an interesting prospect, but could a modern interpretation ever live up?

Alien: Stomach Birth

One of the great classic scenes in movie history, I took some heat back in high school for featuring this scene in a reel of clips during a presentation highlighting the “Best `70s Movie Moments.” Today, everyone knows what’s coming whether they’ve already seen it or just been told what’s about to happen, but for sheer shock value back in 1979, this one was unmatched. It also helps that this is one of the greatest movies of all time.

The Thing: Stomach Arm Snack

Carpenter takes the Alien stomach birth scene to the next level in this nauseating little scene from the `80s classic. Coupled with The Howling, the countless classic scenes in The Thing are further proof that Rob Bottin has earned the right to be mentioned in the same breath with FX poster children Stan Winston and Rick Baker.

A Nightmare on Elm Street: Tina’s Ceiling Death

As a big fan of the Elm Street series, I am understandably biased towards Freddy’s resume of kills. Depp’s blood-gushing bed death is also good, but for me nothing tops Tina’s brutal slaying as she is dragged across the upside down room and flung down onto the bed to splatter blood on too-cool-for-school Rod Lane.

Dead Alive (Brain Dead): Death by Lawnmower

Watching this scene almost 17 years ago, did anyone think this guy would be the one to finally do the Lord of the Rings series justice? Creative and brutal all at once, this graphic mass mauling from Dead Alive (or Braindead) is fun because it is soooo over the top. Now if only Peter Jackson would use his “king of the world” status to direct the biggest budget brutal horror sequel of all time…

Jason X: Adrienne Cryogenic Freeze Death

Jason Voorhees and his mommy killed so many in so many great ways, how do you pick just one? The sleeping bag, the arrow through Kevin Bacon’s throat, the girl split in half mid-coitus? I always kind of liked the head being flung into the garbage can basketball-style in the otherwise dismal Jason Takes Manhattan, but I digress. My choice for the list is the cryogenic freeze death from Jason X. Once again, sometimes simplicity says it best. Plus, you gotta admit, this is kinda clever compared to the usual slasher sharp object bludgeoning. And yes, I look forward to your rants below lampooning my choice…

Final Destination 2: Plate Glass Death

Much like the Saw series, Final Destination has so many creative death scenes that it’s hard to pick just one. The plate glass death is my personal favorite because it’s so simple and brutal. That and any time you have the balls to kill a kid you get extra points in my book.

Saw II: Death Mask

Okay, I lied, one eye scene. I can stomach this one because he never actually does the deed. Picking a best death scene from Saw is tricky, both because there are so many and because they aren’t necessarily so much great death scenes as great set-ups for death. It’s more about the psychological question of “What would you do?” than the final moment when the trap actually does its thing.

Bonus Picks

The following are a few personal faves that probably don’t fall under the standard criteria for gruesome death scenes. For one reason or another, these are scenes that affected me personally and have stuck with me over the years.

Fargo: Wood Chipper Scene

The Coens have never directed a horror movie, but it’s fun to imagine the possibilities should they ever choose to do so. Over the course of their impressive career, this directing duo has crafted a few classic death scenes, but Peter Stormare’s Wood Chipper disposal of Steve Buscemi is a classic.

RoboCop: ED 209 Boardroom Shooting

For whatever reason, this scene has always stuck with me as particularly disturbing. Poor Kenny, just some office lacky chosen from a demonstration by a heartless CEO and he winds up turned into swiss cheese by a malfunctioning hunk of metal.

This Youtube clip repeats the shooting a few times for those of you that haven’t satisfied their blood lust the first time around.


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