Splatter. Gore. Severed limbs. There’s really nothing like a bit of blood-soaked ultra-violence to take a horror film up a nasty notch.
The king of it, of course, was Peter Jackson, who made it an art-from in his early filmmaking days in New Zealand. And now Kiwi splatter-fest ‘Deathgasm’ follows in its bloody footsteps.
The film, about a heavy metal band who accidentally summons an ancient evil force, is packed with more gore, guts and DIY tools to the face than you could shake an eviscerated intestine at.
To celebrate all its bloody glory, here’s a rundown of the greatest and goriest kills ever in horror.
“Choke on ‘em!” – Day Of The Dead (1985)
George A. Romero’s overlooked three-quel does something few others have achieved – it makes the living dead genuinely sympathetic. So it’s all the more satisfying when zombie tormentor and general douche Captain Rhodes (Joseph Pilato) is mercilessly torn apart. His request for them to choke on his innards falls on deaf (or should that be dead?) ears. The definite zombie feast.
Johnny’s Dead – A Nightmare On Elm St (1984)
Considering most of his career choices of late, Johnny Depp might occasionally wish his bed would swallow him up. What he wouldn’t want is to be spewed back over the ceiling like a great dirty river of blood – as happens when Freddy Kruger gets his razored hands on young Johnny.
“Sweet axe skills” – Deathgasm (2015)
Under attack from a demonic creature from hell, two nerds are saved by ass-kicker Medina (Kimberly Crossman), who hacks the creature’s head into two bloody halves with her axe. When it comes to a bit of topnotch gore, you really can’t go wrong with an axe.
You’re Twisting My Melon, Man – Saw III (2006)
The ‘Saw’ series offered up some of the most creatively gore-tastic kills ever. This is our personal favourite, which sees Timothy Young (Mpho Koaho) punished for his reckless driving by being locked in Jigsaw’s ‘rack’ – a particularly nasty contraption that twists his limbs until literal breaking point. If that’s not bad enough, it turns out the rack’s a real head-turner too…
“Clear!” – The Thing (1982)
A pinnacle of 1980s gore and effects, the (bloody) money shot from ‘The Thing’ comes as Dr Cooper (Richard Dysart) uses the chest defibrillator to try and revive Norris (Charles Hallahan) – only for Norris’ chest to open and bite his arms right off, in the way that shape-shifting alien mimic life-forms tend to. Still a benchmark for how a bit of well-placed gore has the power to shock.
Eye-Popping Stuff – Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)
What is it about eyeballs? They’re the thing guaranteed to make everyone revolt in disgust, but filmmakers just can’t help popping, slashing, or tearing them out. This moment is the most notorious of them all, as a zombie grabs this poor woman’s head and impales it on a splinter of wood – eyeball first, naturally.
Hooked On A Felling – Hellraiser (1987)
It’s no surprise Clive Barker’s dark exploration of pain, pleasure, and S&M-loving demons has its share of flesh-tearing gore. Frank (Sean Chapman) is not only a liar and philanderer, but he also feeds on the blood of others to restore his human form (after the Cenobites reduce him to muscle and tissue – long story). Hard luck, then, that once he becomes human again, the Cenobites rips him to pieces with these sinister hooks. Kinky.
Gruesome Gardening – Braindead (1992)
This early Peter Jackson film really set the bar for Kiwi splatter. And by bar, we mean severed limb, trail of intestines, or whatever else was leftover from this grisly scene. Not so much a kill as a massacre, mild-mannered Lionel picks up a lawnmower to carve up a horde of bloodthirsty zombies – making one of the most stomach-churningly brilliant moments in horror history.
Liotta’s Last Supper – Hannibal (2001)
Say what you will about ‘Hannibal’ – because let’s be honest, it was a poor second course after the brilliance of ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ – but this climatic scene is enough to put you off your dinner. Ray Liotta’s crooked official is doped and tied to a chair, while everyone’s favourite cannibal cracks opens up his skull and feeds him his own brains. Tasty stuff for gorehounds.
Bending Over Backwards – Final Destination 5 (2011)
There are plenty to choose from in the increasingly ridiculous ‘Final Destination’ series – with all sorts of skewerings, road accidents, and decapitations – but this gymnastics session gone very, very wrong is the pick of the bunch. One of those that makes the whole cinema wince and go, “Owwwwww”.
‘Deathgasm’ is on DVD & Blu-ray from 29 February.
Picture credit: New Zealand Film Commission, Twisted Pictures, New Line Cinema, Laurel Entertainment Inc., Universal, Rivdel Films, Variety Film Production