16 Gory Death Scenes (and One Honorable Mention)

I always get nostalgic around Halloween time and think about all the fantastic, gory genre films I’ve seen over the course of my 40 years.  Well this year is no different except that I started thinking about the GREATEST death scenes I’ve seen.  My mind was flooded with thousands of grotesque and disturbing images (I should really see someone about that).  So after I sorted through what I consider the best of the best, I compiled my list.  Whenever possible I posted a video of said death scene, but for some I had to settle for pictures.  In some cases (like the MASKHEAD entry below) you’ll see that I couldn’t find either the video or the pic of the scene.  Why?  Because it’s so fucked up and disturbing that no one dares put it up on the internet!!

Enjoy the list (these are in no particular order), and I wanna hear what you favorite horror death scenes are.

Stay Bloody!!!

1.  Intestinal Vomit Scene (CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD)

You’re guaranteed one thing in every Fulci horror flick:  There’s at least 3-4 extremely violent death scenes.  After thinking about all his great offerings I settled on this one.  From the 1st time I saw this scene it was burned in my mind forever.  Viva l’ Fulci!!

2.  Lawn Mower Scene (DEAD ALIVE)

Again; tons of great death scenes in this flick.  But when Lionel Cosgrove picks up the running lawn mower and hacks his way through the crowd of zombies, well I didn’t know whether to be horrified or laugh my ass off.  So I did both.

3.  Bed Puree Scene (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, 1984)

Not just one of my favorite death scenes, but the best death scene in any ELM STREET flick.  When ole Johnny Depp closes his eyes I bet he never knew what awaited him!!

4.  Silver Sphere Chops Up Priest (PHANTASM 2)

Another great flick that has a high solid body count, great story, and great gore.  I’m surprised we haven’t seen some version of the silver sphere on late night TV that can do everything from crush ice to make salsa (sorry for the watermark right in the middle of the following video).

5.  Helicopter Haircut (DAWN OF THE DEAD, 1978)

Lots of great gore in the original DAWN, but the zombie standing on the boxes getting the top of his head sliced off is just a classic.

6.  Captain Rhodes Torn Apart (DAY OF THE DEAD, 1985)

Let’s face it; Captain Rhodes is not a nice man.  Ok, ok; he’s a fucking prick asshole and we all know what happens to the “prick asshole” in zombie films … they die horribly.  Well Rhodes is no exception.  But even in death this douche bag needs to get the final words in (“Choke on ‘em”).  He died as he lived … a total asshole.

7.  Death by 2×4 Strap-On Dildo (MASKHEAD)

If you don’t understand what this scene is about, then break down the above title.  A woman dies by getting railed with a strap-on made out of a 2×4 wooden board.  As you’ll notice I couldn’t find a video or picture of the death scene.  That’s probably a good thing.  No one needs to see that (except me of course).

You’re better off not seeing the actual picture here; trust me!!

8.  Sissors Scene (INSIDE)

Possibly the most intense, brutal, never-lets-up horror film in that last 2 decades!!  The blood starts flowing almost from the 1st frame and doesn’t let up until Le Femme gets what she wants …. by using a pair of scissors.  And I’m sure you all know what she’s after.  Again I couldn’t find a picture or video showing this event.  Go buy this very important and amazing horror flick if you haven’t already.

Le Femme is 1 crazy bitch who gets what she wants!!

9.  Opening Beach and Hospital Scene (DEAD & BURIED)

Not only does this have a great twist at the end that works; not only does this have Robert Englund in it; not only does this have a ton of graphic death scenes in it … but it have a particularly nasty opening scene where a visitor comes to Plotter’s Bluff.  He meets a sexy lil vixen on the beach and then gets the stuffing beat out of him and beat with crowbars and shovels.  THEN he’s tied up, dosed in gasoline, and then lit on fire.  But the poor bastard lives only to have burns on like 98% of his body.  And guess who his nurse is in the hospital?  Yup; the vixen from the beach.  Here’s looking at you kid.

10.  Human Beef Jerky Scene (TRAILER PARK OF TERROR)

This was a really fun horror flick with great makeup and special f/x, a great story, and a great overall feel.  Then suddenly we get to this scene where one of the locals demonstrates how he makes beef jerky … using another human being.  The scene was way more brutal and nasty and disturbing than anything else in the flick, and that’s why it’s stuck in my head and made this list.  Sorry no video, but see this flick; it’s worth your time.

11.  Wire Tether (Ghost Ship)

I know, I know.  What the fuck is this flick doing on my list?  Now come on; we all know the movie as a whole really fucking blows … I mean it sucks out loud.  Its so shitty that I’m surprised Janeane Garofalo wasn’t in it!!  But let’s face it; the scene with the wire cutting through a crowded dance floor was worth sitting through this steaming pile (and let’s not forget about the implied forced pedophilia).  It’s a shame the rest of the movie didn’t keep up the energy from this scene.

12.  Splinter in the Eye (ZOMBI)

I don’t think this scene needs any explanation.  This is Fulci’s 2nd showing on this list and we all know why!!

13.  Blood Pressure Test Scene (DAWN OF THE DEAD, 1978)

Perhaps the dumbest death scene on this list but I absolutely love it.  In the midst of a horde of flesh eating, hungry zombies attacking, Pedro decides to sit down and check his blood pressure.  It’s so random and ridiculous that this scene has always stuck in my mind.  If you wanna fast forward, the “blood pressure test” starts at the 2:47 mark on this clip.

14.  Head Exploding Scene (SCANNERS)

Again; I’m sure this one needs no introduction.  Enjoy.

15.  Open Wide Scene (HATCHET)

When I first saw this scene (hell, the entire movie) my jaw dropped and I knew immediately that I had found a modern day classic and a huge genre talent in Adam Green.  Aahhh Victor Crowley … may your blood lust never die down.

16.  Cheeky Face-Off Scene (LAID TO REST)

This is another modern day classic film that spawned another huge genre talent (Robert Hall).  Lots of great gory death scenes, but this one is my favorite from this flick, and one of my all time favs PERIOD.


This, as you all know, is my favorite horror film from the past 20 years.  Easily.  The scene where Anna is strapped into the contraption and flipped over is just a brutal scene.  We’re still not sure what’s gonna happen.  Then the guy sticks the knife into her and we see her gasp in pain.  We watch as he slices up her back.  The look on Anna’s face is one of both pure pain and shock from that pain.  Mercifully the scene fades.

I get chills just looking at this picture!!

I get chills just looking at this picture!!

This gets a “special mention” because Anna, even after being skinned alive, DOESN’T FUCKING DIE.  That’s right; she lives after BEING SKINNED ALIVE.  Oh my fucking god.  And because this list is about the greatest DEATH scenes, Anna doesn’t technically qualify.  Below is a montage of gore scenes from MARTYRS.  If you wanna skip to the “skinned alive” scene, go to the 6:48 mark.

Extra Bonus:  DAY OF THE DEAD Outtake:

I don’t remember this scene happening exactly like this!!

29 Responses to “16 Gory Death Scenes (and One Honorable Mention)”
  1. Bill says:

    Good stuff, some of my all-time faves here – one I remember really affecting me, at the time (but fairly tame 25 years on) is the machete chop to the balls of the guy walking on his hands in Friday the 13th (I wanna say pt 3????). Also a huge fan of the beheading by dresser in Haute Tension


    • Aahhh yes; the old Jersey Jockstrap (referring to the machete to the upside down guy’s nut sack). I think the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise has overall better, more fun kills than the HALLOWEEN & NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchises.

      Damn Bill …. if I would have thought about the decapitation scene you mention from HAUTE TENSION, it would have totally made my list (and thereby changing it to a Top 17 list … it originated as a Top 10 list).


  2. autumnforest says:

    That was awesome! I hope you do something like this each year!


  3. Deggsy says:

    Sweet list, Scott, especially as I haven’t seem some of the examples you gave, thus adding them to my Wish List 🙂
    If I wanted to add to the list, I might add David Warner getting decapitated by the glass pane in The Omen; a nude Linnea Quigley being eaten by a bunch of old zombies in a rainy graveyard in Return of the Living Dead; Andrew Robinson torn to pieces by the Cenobites in Hellraiser; and maybe that doctor who got his arms bit off by the shapeshifter in John Carpenter’s The Thing…

    Anyhoo, keep up the good work!


    • I love your quick list Deggsy!! I’m feeling I let everyone down by not having a scene from Carpenter’s THE THING, and the doctor getting his arms chewed off would have been the scene!! 🙂

      All your suggestions are great … I’ll never get the image out of my head of Robinson’s face/body basically exploding at the end of HELLRAISER. Great stuff!!


  4. emilyi says:

    Funny, I queued Ghost Ship up on Instant Watch just to see that death scene that I heard so much about. it’s kickass, but ever since Cube did the ‘body pieces falling off via CGI,’ I feel like EVERYONE with a computer throws it in (Final Destination 2, Resident Evil, Drive-Thru, etc). Still, neat. Great list.

    A few of my faves:
    Debbie’s cockroach transformation in Nightmare 4.
    The spider scene in The Beyond
    Death-by-dodgeball in Fear No Evil
    The dad’s doll transformation in Dolls


    • I agree; the “body-pieces-falling-off” has become like a sub-genre since CUBE did it first (I’m pretty sure they did it first, but I am right now stoned on Ny-Quil).

      The spider scene from THE BEYOND just missed my list. If they were a little more realistic looking it would have definitely made the list. “Death by dodgeball” … haven’t we all feared this at one point in out youth?? LOL


  5. Eleanor says:

    Great list! I was glad to see some of George’s moments made the cut. I remember being 4 years old and watching “Dawn of the Dead” with my dad – he said, “Hey, Elmo, watch this!” when the zombie approached the helicopter. It’s been one of my favorite movies – and I won’t check my blood pressure – ever since.


    • I saw the original DAWN OF THE DEAD when I was 7 … I love your early start!!

      That blood pressure scene still cracks me up every time. It’s so random and pointless!!! There’s zombies all around you and they’re cutting off your escape. What do you do? Well why not strap yourself into a blood pressure machine and check yourself out!!


  6. Goregirl says:

    Some really great choices! Eye shit freaks me out which is why I love seeing Dead and Buried on the list!

    Ghost Ship is indeed a shitty piece of shit, I loathed it, but you are right, the wire scene is pretty awesome.

    Speaking of random gross scenes…I watched a nunsploitation film called Flavia The Heretic which wasn’t all that exploitative and in fact really only has two gore scenes (unless you count a horse castration…which I don’t). I gotta tell ya…it has one of the meatiest scenes from an early 70’s flick I’ve come upon. They slash Flavia’s archilles tendon (ouch! right) and then they make a nice clean cut around the entire ankle and then pull up her skin like a tube sock. I really can’t do it justice, but It is far more graphic than I expect from this period. Gross!! But pretty damn nifty too!


    • I figured you might like that list GoreGirl!! 🙂 I love the needle in the eye in DEAD & BURIED, but no one can film an eye-gouging scene like the master himself, Lucio Fulci!!! I think GHOST SHIP fooled us all with that opening scene of a luxury ship full of people getting massacred. How could a film with such a strong and bad ass opening end up sucking so hard???

      I remember that scene from FLAVIA THE HERETIC!! I saw that one a long time ago and thought the same thing you expressed: that achilles scene seemed a little extreme for the time FLAVIA was made in. But that was pretty much the only scene that was interesting in the film!!


  7. Demian says:

    Great list! I have nothin to add!


  8. shamgaranath says:

    I always liked the stabbing scenes in Opera. Also I liked the decapitation in The Omen. Also, there was the body separation scene in Cut and Run. I also liked the plate glass in Thirteen Ghosts and the lasers in Resident Evil.

    But great list. I love all the Fulci moments.


    • CUT AND RUN ….. is that the Deodato flick? Man I haven’t seen that one in years. I don’t even remember the body separation scene.

      Argento has so many great kill scenes: the chick in the sunlight in SUSPIRIA; the slow motion decapitation in FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET; and way too many more to list. But I agree with ya Justin; the stabbing scenes in OPERA are fantastic. OPERA is actually one of my favorite Argento flicks.


  9. W.L. says:

    Awesome list! There was only a couple I haven’t seen and they are now in the Netflix queue. Of the ones I’ve seen they all definitely belong on this list. Hopefully someday one of our films will be worthy of a list like this.


  10. l3pr3chaun says:

    Great list amigo but I must admit I was a bit amazed that this one did not make the list:


    • Honesty Bill; after I posted my list I realized I could have easily done a “30 Best” list!! I didn’t have anything from Dario Argento; I left out the above HELLRAISER scene; and I even forgot to put on the “death by tumors” scene from VIDEODROME!! There’s always next year!!


      • l3pr3chaun says:

        I feel you. I also started thinking about it and came up with 50 scenes that are all worthy. I do like your acknowledgement of “Martyrs”. That was sooo intense and just cuts me to the core every time I have viewed it.


      • By no means do I think my list is complete!! I came up with the topic and those scenes were the 1st ones to pop up in my mind.

        Everytime I think of MARTYRS I still get chills up and down my spine!!


  11. Sigh, I have to agree that the only decent scene in Ghost Ship is the wire scene. When I went to see it, I was like,
    “Holy S**t!! This movie is going to rock!!” I was sadly mistaken.
    I recently saw the remake of Day of the Dead…Captain Rhodes is killed off within less than 30 minutes in. Say what???? He’s the main antagonist of the original! His death scene is epic, legendary, and he’s already dead???? UGH!!! I want my $5.00 back Wal-Mart!!!!
    Great list
    Dreaded Dreams
    Petunia Scareum


    • Deggsy says:

      Oh, *that* so-called remake. Why they even bothered to make any connection with the original (wait, I know why, to ride on Romero’s coattails). Apart from the scene in the hospital where the zombies reanimate and are running and crawling on the ceiling, which reminded me of some nightmarish sequence from an Italian zombie gut cruncher, the movie was such a waste of time. Mena Suvari didn’t even flash us!
      You spent $5.00 on it, Petunia? That was about half their budget 🙂


      • I said it all below on the DAY “remake” Deggsy ….. but you’re absolutely right; they were totally just trying to cash in on Romero’s original trilogy. The “remake” was total garbage. I’d rather watch Courtney Love french kiss Ben Affleck.


    • Thanks Petunia. The opening of GHOST SHIT (eerrr, SHIP) fooled us all. How could you have such a kick ass, violent beginning followed by such a shitty movie? Makes no sense.

      I’m so sorry you bought the DAY OF THE DEAD remake. I wish my review would have saved you $5. That one easily makes my top 3 list of “Worst Remakes”!! And the “spidermen” zombies crawling on the ceiling???? What the fuck??? I don’t think that started off as a remake; my theory is that the studio had this shitty zombie script and after the success of the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake they decided to cash in, do some minor re-writes on that shitty script and call it a DAY remake. I hated every fucking second of that flick …. Bub was a vegetarian??? A VEGA-FUCKING-TARIAN????


  12. eazy says:

    that splinter through the eye was harsh. damm


Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] but come on; this is also a great scene.  I even listed this in my recent Halloween list of the 16 Greatest Horror Death Scenes.  What makes this scene so goddamn good is that it was unexpected.  SCANNERS, directed by David […]


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