Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Top 10 Film Decapitations!

Who doesn't love a good old fashioned decapitation? In cinema of course. Those who feel it is in poor taste to celebrate beheading's so closely after the recent Canadian Greyhound Bus story, I suggest you turn your heads, no pun intended, away from your computer screens right now. I don't support the removing of heads of human beings, I merely support the removal of heads of human beings in the cinema. Now that we've gotten that out of the way...

When I decided to make this list I thought I might have trouble coming up with 10 decapitations worthy of making a top 10 list but boy was I wrong. I ended up with almost 30 scenes that I had to whittle down, and it was not easy. I aimed for decaps in any genre of film, but I soon realized horror pretty much dominated the arena of such brutality. In fact I really can't think of a non horror film wherein a dude loses his head. God bless horror. But anyway, here's what I came up with...

The Top 10 Film Decapitations!

#10 - Freddy Meets Machete - Freddy vs Jason (2003)

It pains me to include this one on the list, as I tend to shed a few tears whenever I watch the above scene. In fact it's hard to type right now as my eyes are a bit watery, but bear with me. Thankfully however, Freddy does not die from this scene. Just a minor flesh wound. This isn't so much an amazing decapitation scene as it is an epic one. That's god damn Freddy Krueger getting his head chopped off. I never thought I would see the day.

#9 - Divine Intervention - Dead Alive (1992)

Only in a horror film can you see someone literally kick the head off of another human being. In this case, its a priest doing the kicking, which makes this scene even more memorable. After yelling out the words every zombie fears, "I kick ass for the lord!", the ole priest goes to town on a few zombies, ripping and tearing them limb from limb and eventually booting the head of this one clean off. If there's any football teams out there who need a good kicker, look no further.

#8 - Neck-less Endangerment - Re-Animator (1985)

Dr. Hill wants to steal the infamous Herbert West's secrets for re-animating human beings. He even threatens to have him locked up. West is, of course, gonna have none of that. So he bonks the John Kerry lookalike over the head with a shovel and proceeds to jab him in the neck...repeatedly...with the business end, thus severing Hill's head and the rest is horror movie history. That severed head goes on to become quite the hit with the ladies, if ya know what I mean. Shovel to the neck, not the most pleasant way to meet your end.

#7 - Zom-b-heading - Day of the Dead (1985)

A top ten list of this kind would not be complete without a George Romero film. I was torn between several different scenes from his films, but this is the one that had the most impact on me. The screams and disgustingly hideous noises which come out of this man are what sets this one apart from all other beheadings. Watching it again, it should perhaps be higher on the list.

#6 - A Little Hack Here, A Little Hack There - Masters of Horror : Cigarette Burns (2005)

This one comes from John Carpenter's season one Masters of Horror episode. It remains the most shocking and visceral scene from the entire series for me. What got to me was how brutal and realistic this one was. In most horror films, we see a quick swift chop with a machete and the head goes flying off. This is pretty much what i'd imagine a real beheading would look like. Slow and painful.

#5 - Death By Dresser - High Tension (2003)

Sure, this scene is a bit silly and unrealstic, but i'll be damned if it's not awesome. The most clever use of a dresser i've certaintly ever seen. I'm still wondering if this would really work. At the very least it'd snap your neck. Mythbusters, if you ever do a horror film episode, test this one out.

#4 - Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like An Voor-hee - Friday the 13th Part 8 : Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Thanks to Youtube's Haiduc2121 for the video

There were several Jason kill candidates to be on this list. I was torn between this one and the triple beheading in Part 6, but I had to cut it down. Sorry Jason, ya undead sack of shit. This scene made it on the list for sheer hilarity. This black dude thinks he can take down Voorhee's with his boxing skills. Only fooling himself. Jason lets the dude beat on him for a good minute, thus tiring him out and then the dude makes the mistake of telling Jason to "take your best shot." Jason's best shot is, of course, a lot more impactful then that of most. The head crash lands into a dumpster. Goooooooooal. Why we've never seen Jason and Tyson duke it out in the ring, i'll never know.

#3 - Oh-Man - The Omen (1976)

I have to admit, while an awful film, the beheading scene in the Omen remake was pretty awesome, but it really wasn't a contest as to which of the two Omen beheadings (original or remake) would make the list. This scene is all the more badass given the fact that this movie was made in 1976. Could you imagine seeing this brutality back then? It must have been shocking. The way it was filmed was brilliant, with the several quick cuts showing the head being chopped a few times, making it appear even more gruesome. In a chilling but nonetheless interesting fact, the special effects man behind this scene was involved in a head on car crash not long after and his passenger was cut in half. Gives me the willies just thinking about it.

#2 - Mouthing Off - Hatchet (2006)

I remember when this scene was premiered at a convention I went to some years back. I hadn't even heard of Hatchet yet but they showed a few clips, this one being one of them. The audience reaction was so great that they rewound the entire clip and played it all over again for the benefit of us sick motherfuckers. Not a decapitation in the traditional sense, but how could I not include this. Keep your eye out for the wagging tongue.

#1 - Gotta Do What Ya Gotta Do - 30 Days of Night (2007)

I was quite surprised by the fact that out of all the classic horror films that have been made, it was a film from 2007 that holds the prestige of being my favorite on screen decapitation. Bravo. This one is so realistic and sickening that my jaw literally hit the floor when I first saw it. It is infinetly more brutal given the fact that the guy was Josh Hartnett's friend. He was turning into a vampire and he had no choice but to dispatch him. Not one. Not two. But three axe shots to the neck did the job. Did Hartnett have to go that far with the brutality? Perhaps not. But cut him some slack. He just got done filming The Black Dahlia and he had a lot of pent up frustration to let out due to appearing in such hogwash.

That about wraps it up. I hope you enjoyed all the beautiful beheadings. Leave me comments and let me know your favorite cinema decapitations! And remember kids, just cause you saw it in the movies doesn't mean you can go out and do it.


Ms☆Go said...


No bug-wing-head-poppers from Starship Troopers?!!

I call re-count!!

Anonymous said...

Stiffler's shrapnel top-jaw beheading from Final Destination certainly warrants another look! Dude gets owned!

Anonymous said...

Cool list. My favourites are-

1. Transformers- Optimus Prime beheads Bonecrusher with his arm blade.

2. Star Wars: AOTC- Mace Windu beheads Jango Fett with his lightsabre.

3. Highlander: The Source- The Guardian uses Zie's own sword to take his head.

4. Highlander: Endgame- Duncan flips over Kell's head and then takes it with his katana.

5 & 6. Dracula 2001- Simon takes Marcus's head with a curved blade and later takes Solina's with a pair of shears.

7 & 8. Blade- Blade beheads three vampires with his boomerang weapon and later takes Quinn's head with a wire hidden in his belt.

9. Blade 2- Blade again uses his belt-wire to decapitate a vamp, this time taking his place on a motorcycle as he burns away.

10. The Matrix Reloaded- Neo decapitates Smith (in possessed human body).

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with us?...I don't like the path we are going down on. We shouldn't enjoy any of this...
I want to hide away.

Anonymous said...

Where is Killer Klowns From Outer Space. One year before Jason punched a dudes head into a dumpster for being told to take his best shot, a biker got his head puched into a trash can after asking "What are you going to do, knock my block off?"

John said...

There was serious contemplation as to whether or not to use Jason Takes Manhattan or Killer Klowns for the head punch off. Looking back, I think Killer Klowns would've actually been the better choice.

The Warfreak said...


I liked Angela Lansbury's head getting lobbed off and shattering like glass in The Company of Wolves.

Johnny said...

Still haven't seen that movie. I suppose I should!

Isaac said...

well i read this post yesterday and the omen decapitation made me want to watch the film. the original one of course. and really i didnt like it. it wasnt bad or anything just nothing special for me. but the decapitation scene is friggin awesome.
probably my favorite decapitation of ever now.

Anonymous said...

conan the barbarian (spoiler)

end scene where conan lops off thulsa doom's head with a sword (james earl jones) is awesome!

Ty said...

Nice list.

Anonymous said...

I love the last 3 and the last one in particular is just too cool man! thanks for sharing them :)