Friday, January 1, 2010

A Decade of Death - The 25 Best Kills of the Past 10 Years

This weekend not only marked the start of a new year, but also of a whole new decade. Before we can move on to a fresh clean slate and ten years of awesome horror movies (hopefully) to come, we must first honor the greats of the decade past. Instead of going the traditional route of naming off my favorites from the 2000's, like most horror bloggers have already beat me to, i've decided instead to share my personal favorite kill scenes of the decade. The beauty of this list is that it will essentially also serve as my favorite films of the decade list, being that all of the movies i'm going to be mentioning are naturally also decade favorites. That being said, there are several films that are not on this list that I consider favorites from the past ten years, they just didn't make the cut for this particular list. I've included those films at the end of this post. But enough of my babbling, you probably want to indulge in some serious bloodshed, am I right? So without further delay, here are my top 25 favorite kill scenes from the past decade of horror! Many spoilers naturally lie ahead, but if you've been a good horror fan for these past 10 years, you've most likely already seen these 25 movies.

25. Nature's Grave - Human Roadkill

Even though this movie is practically a shot by shot recreation of 1978's Long Weekend, I was still completely shocked by this ending and that's why i've gotta give it serious kudos. I knew it was coming, but I did not expect it to be nearly as brutal as it was. And something just seems so poetic about a dude who spent the whole movie fucking around with animals suffering the same fate as many a wild animal and becoming just another piece of roadkill.

24. The Strangers - Double Murder

Many people criticized this ending because it was so anticlimactic - well that's precisely the reason I liked it. After an hour and a half of 'the strangers' tormenting and fucking with their victims, they merely tie them to a chair and stab them a few times. I don't know about you, but that's more powerful and more visceral than anything else I can think of them doing. Remember how effective Bill finally getting killed at the end of Kill Bill Vol. 2 was? That's the same kinda method used here. You know it's coming, you've been waiting for it, and then it just....happens. It's not exciting, but a couple human beings getting killed isn't really supposed to be too exciting, is it?

23. My Bloody Valentine 3D - The Death of a Legend

Always hate to see Tom Atkins die but we can take comfort in the fact that he went out in glorious fashion. And it doesn't get much more glorious than a horror icon's jaw piece flying right into our faces, does it? The CGI shows through when you watch this scene in 2D, but that's alright given the movie was meant to be watched in three dimensions - and this scene really impressed in 3D.

22. High Tension - Decapitated By Dresser

Would pushing a dresser into someone's head completely and cleanly sever their head from their body? That's one for the Mythbusters and quite frankly, I don't really care if it would or not. This is a horror movie afterall and this scene, however unrealistic it may be, kicks ass. It's scenes like this one that make High Tension such a great film, despite it's horrible and unnecessary twist ending.

21. The Last House on the Left - The Parents' Revenge on Francis

There's nothing quite like a good revenge scene and this is a damn good revenge scene. I could not wait until the parents finally gave Krug & Co. what they deserved and I was jumping for joy in my uncomfortable theatre seat as this scene played out. What I like about it is that the parents don't become super human killing machines who know exactly what to do in the horrible situation they're in, like most movies would have them acting. This scene feels so raw and real because it's awkward, it's drawn out, and it's far from a smooth kill. This is probably what two middle aged parents taking revenge on a young dude who just raped their daughter would look like. And as much as I loved the mom biting Weasel's dick off in the original, I just don't buy a mother putting the penis that for all she knows was just inside her daughter into her own mouth, so i'm glad they went a little more realistic for this highly effective remake.

20. Funny Games - The Farber Murders

Funny Games is another shot for shot remake from this decade and i'm glad it was remade for an American audience, being that its message is one tailor fit for us bloodthirsty Americans. There are three kill scenes in the film - dad and son are shot and mom is drowned - and you don't see any of it. That's the beauty of Funny Games and the whole point of Funny Games. The whole movie is a criticism on our fascination with watching people get killed and in turn, it doesn't give the audience the satisfaction - and dare I say excitement - of seeing the victims get killed, which truthfully makes it even more disturbing than if we had seen some special effect. And yes, I do realize that I might sound like a hypocrite by appreciating the message of this movie and yet going ahead and reveling in murder by making a list such as this, but I just think it was so brilliant of Haneke to pull off a disturbing horror film and yet have it at the same time be a commentary against disturbing horror films. It's almost as if he's saying, "Ya wanna watch murder? Ya wanna get off on torture? Well here it is. It's not as exciting or cool as most horror movies make it seem, now is it?" And I gotta say, the movie does kinda make me question why I enjoy watching horrific things on film. But then I get over it.

19. The Descent - Fed To The Creatures

Sure Juno accidently stuck an ice axe in her friend's neck (and then left her to die) and sure Juno was fucking Sarah's husband and sure Juno is the reason the gals ended up in the cave in the first place, but she did deserve this treatment? My vote is for yes. I didn't like her one bit and I enjoyed seeing her get what she deserved. Rather than just killing Juno herself, Sarah renders her unable to move and then lets the creatures feast on her - now that's what I call revenge.

18. Freddy vs Jason - Fred Loses His Head

Ok, so Freddy doesn't actually die per se in this scene, but I gotta give huge props to this movie for not only sticking Freddy's own arm through his chest but also for having a chick cut his head clean off with Jason's machete. Totally did not expect that. As i've said a million times in the past, how anyone can not get serious entertainment out of this fun ride of a movie is beyond me. It's got Freddy and Jason and they're kicking the shit out of each other - what the fuck is not to love?!

17. Midnight Meat Train - I'd Say Sam Had a Better Year...

Being that i'm strongly against kill scenes that are heavily reliant on CGI, you might be wondering why this scene made the cut. Yes, there's a lot of CGI in Meat Train and yes, it's incredibly noticeable, but it works for the movie. The film is so stylish and the gore so unique and different from any we've ever seen before and the CGI only enhances that otherwordly quality. What would probably look stupid and fake in any other movie comes off looking stylish and kickass in MMT and the image of Ted Raimi getting his eyes bashed out of his skull will be forever ingrained in my brain.

16. Frontier(s) - Head Shot

I'm still not sure how I feel about this movie - it's got its ups and its downs - but I can't deny that it's got some incredibly memorable kill scenes. Case in point, the Scanners-esque head explosion you see depicted above. Yes, that bloody stump was a man's head just a split second prior, before it was greeted by a shotgun blast. On second thought, this movie kicks ass.

15. Saw 3 - The Rack

This list would not be complete without a torture scene from one of the Saw flicks and as I racked my brain for the most memorable kill from the franchise, The Rack is the first thing that came to mind. How fitting, eh? For my money, it's the most painful and hard to watch kill from the entire franchise and if I had to pick one Jigsaw device to not be strapped into, it'd be this one.

14. Hostel - The Most Satisying Ending Ever

Now this is how you end a fuckin movie. Everyone who deserved to get killed does get killed by the time the end credits of Hostel roll and it's one of the reasons I love the movie so much. It's just so damn satisfying and no stone is left unturned.

13. The Hills Have Eyes - All American Revenge

Alexandre Aja makes his second appearance on the list, which proves that despite the awfulness that was Mirrors, Aja was an important figure in this decade's world of horror. Being that he gave us both High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes, i'm gonna go ahead and excuse him for Mirrors. Hills is one of the better remakes of all time and the total 360 of Doug's character from anti-gun nerd to king of all mutant killers was epic to watch play out. While most filmmakers would have Doug merely stick a knife in Pluto and then walk away, Aja made sure to give the audience what they wanted and deserved - complete with a kickass western theme to cap it off.

12. 30 Days of Night - Decapitation of the Decade

A while back I named this scene the best decapitation scene of all time and I still stick by that. While most cinema decapitations are depicted as single clean blows, 30 Days had the balls to show how it would probably really go down - and it aint too pretty.

11. Wrong Turn 2 - An Idol Cut In Two

Now this is how you begin a fuckin' movie! From the moment I saw American Idol's Kimberly Caldwell split in half by the business end of a giant axe, I knew I was in store for one hell of a movie. Thankfully, the rest of the movie did not dissapoint.

10. Inside - A Mother's Worst Nightmare

Inside was one of the more memorably violent movies of the decade and with an ending like this, how could you forget it? It's not a perfect movie but you've gotta give serious props to any movie that graphically shows a pregnant woman getting her stomach cut open and having her baby ripped out of her. Hey by the way, the pregnant woman getting her baby excised from her womb is the sister of Johnny Depp's wife, Vanessa Paradis. Wonder what Depp thinks of this flick!

9. Trick 'r Treat - My My...

You don't see the actual kill in this scene, but so what? As I said in my review of the flick, this is the best werewolf transformation scene since American Werewolf in London and it's a perfect example of how music can really make a scene. I'll likely never be able to hear Sweet Dreams again and not think of this scene.

8. House of Wax - The Moment We've All Been Waiting For...

Say what ya want about House of Wax, but I dug it. How can you not dig Paris Hilton getting killed in such a brutal way? Everyone seems to bash the movie for having Paris in it but what most of those people don't realize is that she was only put in the movie so that we could all see her get killed. Isn't that what we all wanted? In the span of a few years we got to watch Paris get fucked and get murdered - not too shabby, if ya ask me.

7. Death Proof - The Tables Have Turned

Is there anything better than seeing hot chicks kick dudes asses? The empowered female is a recurring theme in Tarantino's work and what better way to end a movie about a guy fucking with a bunch of girls than by having those girls mercilessly beat the shit out of that guy then snap his neck with a well placed boot heel? Russ Meyer would've been proud. Again, the addition of a great song, April March's 'Chick Habit', really enhances the scene.

6. Hostel : Part 2 - Blood Bathory

Lets face it, there's two main things we look for in our horror films - tits and gore. This scene beautifully combines both and results in one of the sexiest kill scenes of all time.

5. The Mist - A Desperate Act

Most shocking ending of the decade? Most depressing ending of the decade? Without question. It took serious balls to film this scene and i'm quite frankly shocked that this ending was allowed to be shown in theatres. Sure you don't actually see any of the kills, but boy do you feel them. The fact that it was all for naught makes this scene infinitely powerful and shocking.

4. American Psycho - Hip To Be Square

Whether you're of the mind that the events of the film were all in Bateman's head or whether you choose to believe he really did kill all those people, it doesn't change the fact that this is one of the most iconic scenes of the decade. From Bale's wild dancing to his waxing poetic about Huey Lewis and the News, I don't think anyone will disagree that this is one of the most entertaining murders ever put on film.

3. Hatchet - Jaws of Life

In a movie laden with some of the most brutal kills in the past ten years, it might seem hard to pick the most brutal of the bunch, but this scene has always stood out for me. The wagging tongue added in at the end as well as the slight of hand which makes it look like it goes down without a single cut solidify this as one of the most badass effects scenes in recent memory. This is why we watch horror and this is why I have such love for Adam Green.

2. Let The Right One In - Love To The Rescue

This was initially #1 on the list and though I changed that, i'm gonna go ahead and call this and the next scene a tie. When you first witness this scene, you have absolutely no idea what is going on above water and that's the beauty of it. The decision to film the ending entirely underwater and not see any of what was going on above water was an absolute stroke of genius, as was this entire movie. Even if we're talking best scenes of all time and not just of this decade, this scene would still be on the list and would still be in such a high position. Same goes for number one...

1. The Devil's Rejects - End of the Road

If you would've told me that Rob Zombie was going to have Freebird play over the final minutes of this movie, I would've said that was a cliche and lame idea - and I would've eaten my words in a big big way. We had all heard the song a million times, to the point that we probably would've been fine with never hearing it again, but this movie somehow made it fresh again and made me look at the song in a way that I never had before. Much like Trick 'r Treat and Sweet Dreams, I will never be able to hear this song again and not think of Baby, Captain Spaulding, and Otis getting gunned down. And despite the fact that they were a couple of dirtbag serial killers, I can't help but get emotional every time I think about the scene or even hear the song. It's a truly beautiful and haunting scene that will likely never be topped.

Other favorite films from the decade that it pained me to not include : The Orphanage, May, Drag Me To Hell, Orphan, Dawn of the Dead, REC, Planet Terror, Slither, Bubba Ho-Tep, Splinter, Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Cabin Fever, Grace, Deadgirl, Martyrs, Eden Lake, and Wolf Creek. If you're wondering why Audition hasn't been mentioned once in this post, it's because, though it hit the states in 2000, it was first released in the tail end of 1999 and I decided it just wouldn't be right to include it.

Agree with any of this? Disagree with all of it? Feel like I left out an incredibly awesome kill scene? Pissed off that Paris Hilton made an appearance on the list? Leave a comment and let your thoughts be known!


Wings said...

A truly awesome list, dude! I couln't have picked any better.

I also LOVE that you give props to MBV3D, Freddy vs Jason and House of Wax. These movies get bad raps, and all they do is give us horror entertainment at its best.

Kudos! Great kick-off for the new decade!

James said...

Interesting list, Johnny. You made me reminisce about a few old favourites here - and alerted me to a few titles I still need to check out. So, thanks! Truth be told, I wasn't even aware that Long Weekend had been remade...

Best wishes for 2010.

Bjornabo said...

Could not agree more with your number 1 pick. The movies is great, and the song is my all time favorite song.

I also love our number 3 pick. Not a big fan of mr. Bale but in AP he was GREAT.

I might be one of the only people in the world who did not "love" Let the Right One in. It was not a bad movie, but not the masterpiece that everyone else say it is. The "kill scene" was ok, but the second greatest of the decade? No way.

Adam Barnick said...

This list is great! I like that it's more about the full impact of the scene most of the time (especially 2 and 1). Agreed, the beheading in 30 Days of Night is really freaking savage. Wasn't crazy about the film, but that was some seriously nasty, dark business.

Zacery Nova said...

I've seen almost all these films! And I agree wholeheartedly with your list.

Michael said...

Good list. What? No Passion of the Christ?

Seriously though, good list. First kill that came to my mind was the opening scene of Irreversible. I'm desensitized, sure, but that makes me want to look away everytime.

Kinderscares said...

The ending of The Mist was depressing as hell...but I saw it coming (and might have inadvertently spoiled it for everyone around me by predicting it out loud...whoops)

This is an awesome list!

the jaded viewer said...

Awesome list dude. Nice little twist on the decade list. Good kill scenes throughout.

That Hatchet kill scene is Crowley-tastic

kindertrauma said...

Love this list!-Unk

oducerproducer said...

Think i may have the top 4 the same.

Quanthor said...

Solid list, Johnny!

The only one I didn't like was the 'The Mist'. I thought that ending was stupid and improbable. Replace that with the opening of 'Ghost Ship' and you got yourself an undisputable kick ass list!

EyeloveMetal said...

Great list man!

Emily said...

I remain pretty disdainful of Midnight Meat Train. You do make a point about the stylized CGI, but I was so disappointed and bored by this film that I guess I forgot any of the kills.

I'd also agree that you hit the most painful death in the Saw series, although the head smash of a man I once had in 12" doll form in Part IV wins my vote for coolest.

And lastly, I totally agree with your take on The Strangers. If you put Ils aside, The Strangers is a pretty damn effective film and earns its ending. Plus, bonus points for being shot in that sharp and haunting sunlight.

Sauceman said...

great list...cant think of any scenes that deserved a spot over these....cant wait to see what 2010 brings!

Cat said...

I feel the same way you do about House of Wax. I really do like it, in fact I just got it on blu-ray. The good thing about a lot of people not liking this movie is I only paid 10 dollars for it!

Andre said...

I'm with Emily on Midnight Meat Train and the Strangers!

And I just watched Wrong Turn 2 last night and totally agree with that pick- it was pretty wow-tastic.

I'm kind of over The Devil's Rejects though- and wish Martyrs was somewhere on this list! I don't know which one I would pick though...probably the morning shot gun door bell surprise.

But awesome list! Good to read a different kind of best of the decade list for sure!

wiec? said...

an exhaustive and through list!

probably the best "decade in review" list I've read these last few weeks. very commendable job!

Funktion said...

Christian Bale in American Psycho is definitely one of my favorites on this list.
Excellent round up, I gotta check out Trick 'r Treat

The Frog Queen said...

Wow, this list just reminds me why I love reading your blog. Great picks, could not agree with you more. (thank for including Midnight Meat Train in there....makes me feel less silly for actually likeing that movie :D )


Anonymous said...

Nice post & nice blog. I love both.

Chris Hallock said...

Yes! Great list! Starting the new year off with a slash, hack, and bang!

That dresser kill in High Tension doesn't get enough love!

I also totally agree with the pool massacre in Let the Right One In being ranked very highly.

Nachtvlinders said...

Awesome list.
I agree with most of them, although my order would be different :)

Fred [The Wolf] said...

Damn this list is incredible. Love all the choices here. And I'm so glad The Devil's Rejects is number 1. I remember watching that scene and feeling my eyes begin to water. They were sons of bitches, but I felt bad for them for some reason. I agree - "Freebird" always reminds me of that ending. Still Zombie's best work in my opinion. Here's hoping the new decade gives us great stuff as well.

B-Movie Becky said...

OOOO! Fun post! Man...we're sick. :D Anyway, great compilation. I agree with most, but the funny thing is, two of them would have ended up on my worst deaths list (Death Proof, Let the Right One In). Haha. I'm with you on FvJ. I was surprised to find so many people against that movie when I started blogging.