The Worst Ways to Die in a Horror Film (90-81)

‘Death is the enemy, the first enemy and the last’ says Beric, and it’s true, whenever it comes to what we fear, it always somehow relates to how we wouldn’t like to die. With horror films, you get quite a wide selection of possible demises, but the good thing is you don’t have to worry about 99% of them. In their creativity, they help us deal with the 1% that could actually happen to us, so why not have a look at some more eh?

90. Scratched to death by a mutant twin – Basket Case (1982)

Basket Case is one of those strange B movies that asks a lot for you to suspend your disbelief. Mainly because the killer monster here is the conjoined twin of the film’s hero, named Belial. Might sound scary, but Belial isn’t like most people as he is pretty much just a head with arms.  Basically, he looks like a turd version of Mr Potato Head without the shoes and hat. He gets around by wiggling (I guess you could call it that), killing off the doctors that separated him and his more ‘normal’ brother, Duane. His preferred method of killing is jumping on their heads and giving them a petting with his putty-like arms, and somehow that’s an effective method. It’s silly, but it’s supposed to be so it’s easy to enjoy rather than get too serious about it.

89. Absorbed by the Blob – The Blob (1988)

A lot of people have heard of the original film with Steve Mcqueen, but there was a remake made in the 80’s that surpassed the original for one reason: it showed us exactly the kind of horror a giant lump of jelly could bring to the table. Every death it causes is pretty visceral, thanked mainly due to the amazing special effects which prove to show the kind of pain and torment this gelatinous ooze can cause. One, in particular, has always stuck with me: one of the heroes, Meg finds her friend Pete being assimilated by the blob, she can hear his muffled screaming beneath the pink layers of glob and with one of his arms yet to be included, she tries to pull him free. The arm then plops off and lands on the floor, and we get to see the rest of Brian melt into his new master. It’s a haunting, harrowing scene; one which you won’t soon forget.

88. Shot through the eye with a harpoon – Friday the 13th: Part III (1982)

The first film to have Jason Vorhees don his iconic hockey mask, part three of the Friday franchise upped the ante with its death scenes courtesy of the use of 3-D. I say gimmick because some of the rampage is fun, some of it isn’t. But one that sticks up is the fate of poor Vera – one minute she’s being helpful retrieving someone’s wallet, the next she looks up and there’s Jason Bond, pointing a spear-gun at her. Her confusion is heartbreaking, as before she can fully absorb her plight, she takes a long rod to the eye, and not in the way I’ve heard can be quite liberating.

87. Killed by the worm thing attached to your head – Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

My love for the Hellraiser series is undying, even if the films eventually went to shit. Just like The Terminator series however, it’s one of those special ones that is always going to be revered because it’s immediate sequel is arguably better than the first. One of the reasons Hellbound: Hellraiser II holds up is the addition of Dr Chanard, a mild-mannered brain surgeon who wants to pop into hell to see if what he believes is true – that hell is linked with our minds. He gets his wish but is then betrayed by the skinless lady he’s banging. Pushed into some demon test chamber thingy, he becomes a cenobite – those Cradle of Filth addicts led by Pinhead. (Sorry, this one’s a weird death so I feel like I have to explain the character a little.)

Anyway long story short, he looks all fucked up and basically travels via a worm, tentacle type thing attached to his head which connects him to hell itself. So when Kirsty closes the gate so to speak, Dr  Chanard is once again betrayed by getting the sack and losing half of his head in the process. What a day he must’ve had.

86. Watching your family terrorised by a lunatic dressed like Santa, and then being killed by him – Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

I think this one’s pretty self-explanatory, but I always find the double kills in horror films quite poignant if I dwell on them a bit. It must be really shit; as if your own incoming demise wasn’t enough, you have to witness someone else’s first. So while Billy’s mum is the one I’m talking about, her husband is actually the first to be a part of Santa’s slay. Plus this Santa is not only a murderer but a potential rapist to boot, so I imagine all the magic of Christmas she ever believed in was horribly butchered too.

85. Throwing yourself out of a window and down a long flight of stone steps – The Exorcist (1973)

While Reagan may have a mean streak as one of Satan’s conduits, the body count is pretty limited and tame. Although saying that, Father Karras’ sacrifice, while noble as fuck and not exactly gory, definitely can’t have been pleasant to experience. Bouncing down those bony steps, taking his with as he goes, and it’s not exactly a short flight either. I think what makes this one worse as well, is the fact this (spoiler alert) turns out not to work, Pazuzu punishes him even when he’s in the grave (see Exorcist III – or don’t, it’s okay I guess, Brad Dourif is phenomenal in it though) and it just feels a little bit uncalled for.

84. Pulled into your own bed – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

This one is a great example of what we don’t see being the scarier idea. The famous scene which sees Justin Beiber style Johnny Depp screaming as he’s captured by a Freddy shaped arm, and taken beneath the sheets and eaten (oo-err). No, but it begs a big question because once he disappears, the next thing we see is an ocean of blood spewing from the hole that just swallowed him -so what the fuck happened to him? Who knows, but we know it can’t have been nice considering the amount of blood he apparently lost.

83. Nail through the eye – The Beyond (1981)

Like Dwight Schrute, I believe the eyes are the groin of the face. It’s quite hard to describe the feeling I get when something nasty happens to someone’s eye, but all I know is it sends a chill to my soul. This is another one from Lucio Fulci, the master of dread when it comes to those who love their baby blues, so this one’s another nasty encounter. One positive is that this isn’t the worst fate inflicted on someone in this film, but trust me, there are worst fates than a nail through the eye.

82. Choked by a Frog mask – The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

Another weird one, but this is from a classic Vincent Price film and it’s one made by my motherland so it has that certain quaint charm which allows me to take wacky a bit more seriously. So basically what we have is Vincent Price playing a doctor using the Ten Plagues of Egypt as a model method in the murders of some other doctors who couldn’t save his wife’s life after a car crash. Of course, he isn’t actually God so he has to get a bit creative in his interpretation so the second plague, Frogs, come into play in the form of quite an eerie mask. The mask proceeds to slowly tighten itself around the doctor’s neck, strangling him until he falls down dead. It’s one that you feel bad about because he also just looks kinda silly wearing it.

81. Dismembered by your boyfriend – Evil Dead (1981)

Evil Dead is an incredibly unique series in the sense it started out as a legit scare-fest, and then, when adding a comedic element, made it work to its advantage. The main thing that will keep its legacy intact however, is the brutality of the first film, and I’m not just talking about the gore. Shelley, for instance, gets possessed (which is pretty horrible considering from what we learn, the possessee isn’t exactly having a ball) and is eventually hacked up by her boyfriend, Scotty. It gets pretty graphic, but for me, the truly haunting part of all this is what the demon screams as he takes it apart with an axe: ‘you love her’. There’s just something harrowingly tragic about these young lover’s plights.



Author: diagnosedcinephile

Film critique is love. Film critique is life.

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