So it’s been a little while since I covered this and I’m not sure why. I live and breathe for horror films and making a list of the worst deaths I’ve seen over my many years of watching them is always super fun – let’s just chalk it up to a wank 2018.
So, in the immortal words of Dr. Watson: “Let’s crack on then.”
80. Have your brain chomped on by a drug worm – Brain Damage (1988)
Brain Damage is a rare find when it comes to horror films. On the one hand, it’s gruesome, gory, debauched with an original monster based around quite a horrifying concept. On the other, it’s funny, tragic, with that same monster also being incredibly charming.
It’s the story of Bryan who is forced to become a brain mule for a small, worm-like creature named Aylmer who speaks softly and provides Bryan with a frequent supply of a highly addictive, hallucinogenic drug which he injects directly into his host’s brain. What’s strange is how friendly Aylmer appears; he speaks softly with a jovial tone which never breaks, even when he’s annoyed.
However, he also likes to eat brains and over the course of the film, Bryan unwillingly shares a murderous symbiotic relationship with his new phallic friend who keeps him kooky with his blue fluid.
I could talk for a while about this film, as well as the deaths involved including a particularly wacky segment where Bryan unzips his fly and Aylmer shoots straight out and into a woman’s mouth. But there’s another which sticks out to me because it shows us how terrifying this (up until now) charming little guy really is.
A security guard happens upon Bryan during one of his trips and out pops Aylmer, who latches himself onto the poor guy’s forehead, drilling his way through the skull slowly where he chews through the guy’s brain until he can’t fight back anymore. The sheer shock and panic on the guard combined with the tenacity of Aylmer make this an oddly harrowing scene.
79. Becoming an old man’s living doll – Deranged (1974)
There were many films based around the crimes of killer Ed Gein: Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre & Silence of the Lambs. However, in my mind, the one which is the most gritty and realistic portrayal of a fragile mind slipping beyond the pale into murderous madness is the very underrated, and much unknown film, Deranged.
Ezra is a weak shell of a man, solely devoted to the care of his ailing, sexist mother who between the lines of her controversial views, cares for him deeply in return. She dies, which spirals the frail man-boy into a frenzy of murder and grave robbing, all to create his ideal home life.
It should be said that the added subtitle of this film is ‘Confessions of a Necrophile’ so you can kind of guess what he also likes to get up to. Now, this is no Nekromantik, we don’t get any actual corpse shagging, it’s all implied. There is, however, the fate of poor Mary Ransum.
After stumbling upon his mother and two friends taxidermied in a bedroom with Ezra in his very own lady mask, she awakens in a wardrobe in her undies and is groped by him at the dinner table. It’s an uncomfortable scene, to say the least. Aside from the fact she’s being stranger dangered, it’s happening while three corpses watch. It should also be said that the film’s grainy 70’s look makes you feel like you can smell that room, and by god, I wouldn’t recommend anyone watch this while they eat.
So the death; Mary tricks Ezra, escapes her bonds and makes a run for it. That is until he beats her to death with a femur bone. A bit macabre yes, but not especially gory, however, wouldn’t it be grim knowing you weren’t just about to die, but you were also about to join the dinner party of the dead.
78. Dying over and over again in an endless loop – The Endless (2017)
The Endless is an odd entry to this series because overall, it’s a pretty odd film. While very much being cemented in the horror genre (being that it’s a Lovecraftian story through and through), nothing scary really happens, it’s not gory and it’s actually kind of boring.
And yet, it’s been dubbed a “horror masterpiece” for its original plot, acting and cinematography for which I cannot argue against, those three ingredients are at their highest quality for an independent film.
It’s a slow burner for an acquired taste, one which I don’t have. Dig this: we have two brothers who years ago, seemingly escape an eccentric community (cult) who base their beliefs in some kind of local extraterrestrial behaviour. Without giving too much away, they’re kind of right but it’s a more sinister force at work who can manipulate time. It affects people differently, but one poor guy now spends eternity in a ten-second loop of his own death and is very aware it’s happening, all for the amusement of an unknown entity.
77. Eaten by a giant ant – Them (1954)
The atomic age of sci-fi cinema was an odd one. Full of rubber monsters big and small, we have a library crammed with giant animals, invaders from space and experiments gone wrong. With so many titles, it’s a shame they aren’t loads of truly great films, aside from those with camp value.
One exception to this for me though is the brilliant, Them, which is the story of one of the oldest feuds of all time, man vs ant. I should say these ants are huge which is a good twist when you think about it. I mean, how often have we trampled on those tiny dudes, and now, how the turn tables. What makes this film really stand out is that while the image of giant rubber ants attacking people sounds hilarious, the way they’re built up offscreen is actually quite chilling and they don’t mess around when they are on screen. These big bastards are pissed and rather than flail around like many other monsters of the same age, they’re ready to mow down anyone in their way.
What a way to go eh?
76. Melted into flesh custard by acidic pies – Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)
This is a great film. It’s incredibly unique in its ability to marry comedy with horror and when you think about it, using the circus for this is perfect. After all, circuses are meant to be places of laughter yet many of us wouldn’t go near one for the sheer horror of them. Clowns go a long way to turn people off so it makes sense they would be the villains, but they can’t just kill people because where’s the fun, right? So, this film includes balloon animals hunting people, flesh-eating popcorn and killer shadow puppets. It’s this kind of silliness that really works to its advantage because it’s ultimately done with horror in mind. For instance, a near-death we get involves one of the titular ‘klowns’ luring a child away from her mother in order to beat her to death with an oversized mallet.
It’s a film which somehow makes all of these things quite chilling, and one that sticks with me for some reason is the death of a security guard (they never fare well apparently). Just doing his job, he stumbles upon the insane klown posse who brandish throwing pies, which he straight away laughs off. Bad move because they’re thrown and within seconds he’s reduced to a steaming pile of custard covered body matter, which the smallest of the group then garnishes with a big ol’ cherry.