Throughout the history of cinema, there have been loads of gruesome scenes that have shocked audiences around the world. From horrible chainsaw massacres to zombies ripping into someone’s guts to hard to watch torture scenes, the list goes on and on. While many of these films try to go for violence and the shock factor, some forget that quality matters. While looking over this list, I will not only focus on shocking and/or brutal scenes in movies, I am looking at good movies. Sure, I can see Cannibal Holocaust or Human Centipede, but why watch through trash? Some people enjoy watching some bad movies, but I want some substance to the film while I watch people being butchered. Well, some of these movies can universally be agreed upon being good or even excellent. I will admit that I have a love for the Saw franchise which does go downhill, so leave your judgment to yourselves since I have already called myself out. With that said, here are ten shocking and brutal movie moments.
SPOILER WARNING: One last note before the list, some of these films will have spoilers, so be warned!
#10: Baby Driver (2017) (clip via Sony Pictures)
Edgar Wright is one of my favorite filmmakers of all time. From his hilarious Cornetto Trilogy to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, I have loved every movie I have seen from the man. He has never been known to shy away from extreme violence despite the style of humor. In his latest masterpiece, Baby Driver, we see one of the best death scenes from any Edgar Wright film to date. In the film we see our protagonist Baby (Ansel Elgort) take a stand against the criminals he is working for. All has been going downhill, and he wants to escape with his new girlfriend, Deborah (Lily James). During the final heist, Baby drives right for a steel beam that is hanging from the back of a truck, causing Bats (Jamie Foxx) to be impaled. While the events of the movie before this scene are not the level of brutality of Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead, audiences were left to feel this would be tamer in comparison when it comes to the violence. Instead, we are left shocked as Baby makes a drastic decision to brutally wipe out one of his partners.
#9: Hot Fuzz (2007) (clip via Universal Pictures/Rogue Pictures)
Yes, another Edgar Wright classic. The second film in the Cornetto Trilogy parodies that British police force and other British stereotypes that an American like myself do not entirely understand. A more story focuses film in comparison to Shaun of the Dead, Wright gives a hilarious and interesting mystery of this small town. Not a single crime has been committed in years, but a string of mysterious deaths leads Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) to get his partner Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) to discover what is really going on behind the scenes of this odd little town. One of the most memorable scenes involves a piece of a church being pushed off which crushes Tim Messenger’s head. Before his untimely demise, a meeting was set with Tim and Nicholas. Right when Nicholas rushes over to Tim, his head his caved in. Blood, skull, and brain splatter everywhere in glorious fashion. If I could replay one death scene from any movie over and over again, this would be that scene. Seriously, watch this clip and tell me it is not fantastic.
#8: The Thing (1982) (clip via Universal Pictures)
Many of these movies on the list will be horror films, so how can I not mention my favorite horror film of all time? John Carpenter’s The Thing is a tense and brutal masterpiece. With practical effects that hold up to this day, anyone studying film will have to look at the 1982 horror classic. When Dr. Copper (Richard Dysart) attempts to save Norris (Charles Hallahan) by using a defibrillator, everything goes horribly wrong. Norris is the alien’s host and opens up his stomach to bite off the Dr.’s arms. After this already horrific act, Norris turns into a monstrosity that is terrifyingly crafted as one of the most memorable monsters in any horror film to date. Once watching the clip below, you will never get these images out of your head.
#7: Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) (clip via New Line Cinema)
Some may forget that Johnny Depp’s first role was in the original Nightmare on Elm Street. The franchise has been known for creative deaths that leave teens in a bloody mess. With that said, Johnny Depp’s character Glen has a literal bloody mess. While on the phone in his bed, he ends up falling asleep, leaving himself exposed to Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). Glen is then sucked into his own bed then a geyser of blood shoots out, which covers his ceiling and most of his bedroom. Seeing the bloody surprise for the young actor is a classic horror movie death for an already classic movie. Is there a better way to kickstart an acting career than that?
#6: Saw II (2005) (clip via Lionsgate Films)
The Saw franchise has built an incredible amount of ways for people to be butchered. From machines that will crush you to death to merely make people saw off their own feet. Picking one gruesome death in the high body count that this franchise leaves behind is difficult. When going through some of the most memorable deaths, I decided to go with the venus fly trap from the second film. Michael (Noam Jenkins) finds himself in one of Jigsaw’s (Tobin Bell) traps. The device is on a timer which will close causing his skull to be crushed and punctured with the spikes that are inside the mask. He must cut into his own eye to obtain the key to free himself. With self-mutilation alongside a gruesome death from the sadistic contraption, this scene is an excellent representation of this brutal franchise.
#5: The Hateful Eight (2015) (Weinstein Company)
While not one of Tarantino’s best films, just about all of his work is still better than most filmmakers in Hollywood. In his last film, The Hateful Eight, there is one scene in particular that is bloody and hilarious. To me, the poisoned coffee is one of the funniest scenes in any film that Tarantino is done. With multiple characters being killed off by some poisoned coffee which causes them to vomit blood until they finally die. The scene is brutal and has the perfect dark humor that any fan of Tarantino would be looking forward to when going into the theater. Right before Sheriff Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) takes a sip of the steaming hot coffee, we see John Ruth (Kurt Russel) vomit blood all over the table that he is sitting at. Everyone stops to look with confusion and horror as John continues to vomit more blood. O.B. (James Parks) also vomits blood then falling to the floor. John realizes that Daisy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) poisoned the coffee. John savagely beats Daisy and vomits blood all over her face, my favorite part of the whole scene. Even though the film may not be in my top favorites of Tarantino films, this scene is easily one of my favorites.
#4: Mother! (2017) (clip via Paramount Pictures)
One of the most divisive movies of 2016 was Mother!. The film is a psychological thriller that will leave audiences amazed or be wishing that they got a refund. A lot of publicity surrounded around a controversial scene in which a baby is brutally torn apart. The mother (Jennifer Lawrence) is beaten then has her baby taken away by the fanatic crowd who are obsessed with her child and husband (Javier Bardem). As she tries to fight through the crowd, she sees her baby die. The scene is quick, so it is hard to see in detail the death of the child. What you do see is when the mother gets to the front of the crowd to find the remains of her baby. Ripped entirely apart and not much left of her child. Out of movies that came out last year, this film is one of the most divisive due to its ambiguously told story along with this gruesome scene.
#3: Green Room (2015) (clip via A24)
With a premise that sounds a bit ridiculous and silly, Green Room is an intense and brutal movie that horror and thriller fans would love to go see. If you love a great build-up of intensity and extreme violence, then this movie is for you. A rock band goes to a venue in which they discover is run by Neo-Nazis. As the band attempt to leave they uncover a murder that has taken place in the green room. The band gets trapped in there and has a standoff against the Neo-Nazis. In one scene, Pat’s (Anton Yelchin) hand almost gets cut off when he puts it through the door where the Nazi leader Darcy (Patrick Stewart) and his men are standing. Pat’s hand is barely hanging on to him, and the pain is felt through Anton’s fantastic performance. It is difficult to even look at the insane detail in this low budget thriller has to offer. While the work on the violence is excellently done, it is too good to look at because everything is so brutal throughout the entire movie.
#2: Sicario (2015) (clip via Columbia Pictures)
Sicario gives a grim look at the drug cartels, more specifically the ones that infest Mexico. In the first scene, we see Kate (Emily Blunt) and her team storm a house in Arizona. When all of the suspects are killed or arrested, they discover something horrific. When initially hoping to save hostages, they find dozens of bodies wrapped in plastic inside of the walls. Every room and hallway has dozens of dead bodies stuffed inside of the walls. While this is the least bloody and gory entry on this list, it still is a shocking and terrifying scene that sets the stage for the rest of the film. If only the sequel Sicario: Day of the Saldado was able to make the same intelligent and brutal impact that the first film was able to accomplish.
#1: Alien (1979) (clip via 20th Century Fox)
One of the best and classic horror sci-fi movies of all time is Alien. The scene that we all know and love is the infamous chestburster. Kane (John Hurt) sits down with his crew after having an alien creature wrapped around his face, and all seems perfectly normal since that incident. In a horrific turn of events, he starts to feel some pain. After struggling and convulsing on the table, his crew tries to hold him down and help. Then the alien’s next form bursts out of his chest. The team his splattered with blood and the creature manages to escape to finally grow into the iconic Xenomorph. Some trivia to put out there which makes this scene even better is that the cast had no idea what would happen. The terror on everyone’s facing, and the ear-piercing screams are all genuine. Ridley Scott truly terrified his cast just like he did to his audience back in 1979. Now we can look back on one of the best horror films of all time along with this iconic scene that is one of the greatest scenes in cinema history.
Now, how about that brutal list for you sadists out there? I hope some of these films are new to you or you never managed to go see them. Get out there and check out anything on this list that you have never seen before, there is bound to be something. What did you think of my selection? Do you have any favorite shocking or violent scenes from your favorite movies? Be sure to comment down below anything that comes to your mind.
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