Today: February 21, 2024

Death Scenes

If Wizzard’s relentlessly cheery I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday, blaring out of every shop, café and restaurant is starting to make you feel a little … shall we say … tense, then Greg Evans has the prefect antidote. A Top Ten of cinema’s strangest, sickest and WTF death scenes. Just don’t say we never get you anything …

Wizzard’s relentlessly cheery I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday, blaring out
of every shop, café and restaurant is starting to make you feel a little …
shall we say … tense, then Greg Evans has the prefect antidote. A Top Ten of
cinema’s strangest, sickest and WTF death scenes. Just don’t say we never get
you anything …


Cinema has always had a fascination with
death. Dying has been presented onscreen in many ways over the decades. Quite
often the more quiet, contemplative films receive their rightful plaudits. The Seventh Seal, The Death of Mr.
and Ikiru are great
examples of films in which deep respect is shown to the death of key
characters. Yet, for all the artistic integrity of those films, the most
memorable movie deaths have always been those which are explosive and
unpredictable. Recently films like Saw and
Hostel have depicted death in
utterly vile and graphic ways. While being condemned, these movies have managed
to find a firm fan following – and this is nothing new. As far back as 1916, DW Griffith was criticised after his
film Intolerance featured all too
realistic scenes of beheadings. During the ‘80s the video nasty controversy saw
the attempt to ban the distribution of certain horror films in the UK. An act
that actually backfired horribly on the BBFC,
as fans sought out these supposedly corrupting films for their own
viewing pleasure. The fact that many of those films are now widely available,
shows that film fans’ obsession with death and gore is unlikely to fizzle away
any time soon. This regular exposure to horrific images has, of course, widely
desensitised audiences, posing a real problem for directors. Not so long ago,
films like A Serbian Film and The Human Centipede, openly attempted
to repulse viewers with their reprehensible storylines. However both were so
disgusting that heavy cuts were imposed by the censors. But there are still
many scenes that did make it off of the editing table and can still leave us
nauseous and quivering in our chairs.

Bill Volume 1
Quentin Tarantino
never been a stranger to blood and guts. The torture scene from Reservoir Dogs remains one of the most
iconic moments of his career. His fourth film, though, saw him go hell for
leather on the gore front. The Bride’s (Uma Thurman) quest for vengeance brings
her to the nightclub of one of her targets, O-Ren (Lucy Liu). Here she does battle with the Crazy
88, an elite death squad made up of 88 members. What follows is an onslaught of
blood and severed limbs that owes a great deal of debt to samurai films like Shogun Assassin. Executed with a visual
flair and an air of absurdity, the Crazy 88 fight remains the one scene from
the Kill Bill series that everyone

(Main Picture)
Before The
Hunger Games,
there was Battle
Upon release in 2000, the general consensus from the Japanese public was
one of outrage and dismay. Compared to the British reaction to A Clockwork Orange, Kinji Fukasaku’s film struck a fiery nerve in
the heart of Japan. This wasn’t only because the film was a critique on
Japanese culture and society. It was also down to the graphic deaths of
seemingly innocent schoolchildren. The film is set in an alternative future,
where adults have lost complete control of kids. The government’s Battle Royale
Act, takes one school class a year and drops them on an island where they are
forced to kill each other. A controversial premise to begin with, this is
heightened by the unforgiving deaths that take place. Incidentally, the first
death is committed by the crazed teacher, who is more than happy to set the

When John Rambo returned in 2008, few could
have anticipated the bloody violence that was introduced to the franchise.
During the ‘80s Rambo was seen as a noble warrior, who had more than his fair
share of demons. Political in its motives, Rambo always managed to say
something interesting about the relationship between war and patriotism. While
keeping those elements, 2008’s Rambo decided to up the ante when it came to the
action. Rambo was slammed by the critics but the fans lapped it up. The
unrelenting and repugnant violence was summed up in one scene where our hero
literally obliterates an entire army with a mounted machine gun. Subtlety was
never Stallone’s forte.

Perhaps taking
a page from the likes of Tarantino and Scorsese,
Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive
featured brutal but intermittent violence. Ryan Gosling’s cool, composed Driver is one of the most unexpected
heroes of recent times. After incurring the wrath of the local mob, Driver does
everything possible to prevent anything happening to the ones he loves. Even if
this does mean stomping a hit man’s head to pulp. The now infamous elevator
scene perfectly displays the contrast between the tenderness and ferocity that
Drive possesses.

Day Of The Dead
So we come to
the first zombie film on this list. After exploring racism (Night of the Living Dead) and
consumerism (Dawn of the Dead), George
A. Romero’s
next zombie installment looked at our relationship with
science. The remainders of the human race as we know it are locked up in a
military base with a handful of scientists and army officials. Among their
ranks is Captain Rhodes. One of horrors’
great antagonists, Rhodes is unsympathetic and selfish. Fittingly, his
comeuppance suits the character. As he is torn apart by a horde of zombies, he
manages to spit the words “choke on ’em” as hey feast on his innards. Lovely

Kill List
Ben Wheatley’s
horror about two out of depth hit men is, without question, one of the best
films from the genre in recent years. One thing that Kill List was praised for is its unflinching use of tension. After our
two killers apprehend their latest victim, an alleged child abuser, they decide
to inflict pain through the use of a hammer. A lesser film would look away as Neil Maskell goes to work on the
victims head but amazingly the camera stays still as we bare witness to the
truly horrific images. Even YouTube won’t allow this video.

Ichi The Killer
One of the
goriest movies ever made, Ichi the
is a truly sadistic piece of cinema. Director Takashi Miike is no stranger to the sinister side of film. Previous
to this he had made Audition and Visitor Q, two highly controversial and
disturbing movies. With Ichi, he let all the blood and guts hang out.
Literally. Scene after scene sees organs and limbs idly tossed away, as
assassins and mobsters dispense of various individuals. Despite all of this,
one of the most ludicrous scenes sees the reluctant Ichi slice a man completely
in half. Easily dismissed as a trashy piece of CGI, it is still quite a sight
to see someone depart with just one side of their body.

Love him or
hate him, Gaspar Noe is one of cinema’s
current great auteurs. Always willing to push the boundaries of what is
acceptable, Irreversible featured some truly depraved scenes. To an extent, Irreversible is a horror film in which
two men investigate the reason behind the brutal rape of a woman. Set over the
course of one night, the film sees its characters partake in some disgusting
abuses of human nature. None proved more shocking than seeing a man caving
another’s head in with a fire extinguisher. Whilst some similar scenes are just
repulsive, this one proved to be positively scary.

Brain Dead
Before he was
transferring JRR Tolkein to screen, Peter Jackson was a notorious splatter
director. Best known in his homeland of New
, Jackson’s early career saw him make films like Bad Taste and this little gem. Brain Dead sees young Lionel Cosgrove fend off a swarm of
zombies from his hometown. In a peculiar twist, the undead just happen to have
been infected by his mother! Brain Dead is best known for one scene, in which
Lionel takes on a group of zombies with nothing but a lawnmower. 300 gallons of
fake blood was used, making it possibly the goriest zombie carve up in history.
The ensuing scene is a relentless orgy of blood and flailing body parts. We can
only hope The Hobbit delivers more
of the same.

Cannibal Holocaust
After the
world premier of this Italian found footage cannibal/horror film, director Ruggero Deodato was
arrested. He was held on the allegations of making a snuff film. The film was
confiscated and Deodato was charged with murder. Of course no human deaths had
occurred but the realism of the film made it look as if genuine murders had taken
place. Deodato only avoided a lifetime prison sentence after he convinced his
four main actors to appear on an Italian television show. With all alive and
well, Deodato’s name was cleared but the fact that he was accused of being a
murderer in the first place proves how revoltingly grim a movie Cannibal Holocaust is. Still a cause of
controversy to this day, due to its heartless killing of real animals, Cannibal
Holocaust has been both praised and derided by film buffs. Supporters see it as
a serious social commentary that actively questions our views on what is
acceptable. Sceptics though, have dismissed it as hypocritical, racist and just
plain wrong. Whatever your opinion on Cannibal Holocaust there is no denying
that this is a deplorable but believable film, where the deaths almost took a
genuine toll.

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