Let’s face it, we’re all pretty desensitized when it comes to on-screen violence, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If anything, it gives the great minds of the horror genre a little more breathing room when plotting their characters’ bloody demises. Really, how can a horror movie be successful if it doesn’t offer at least one new disgusting, terrifying way to die? We’re all at least a little fascinated with death, and horror films offer a fun, safe way to experience the darker side of human nature.
But some movie deaths are so gruesome, so horrifying, they stuck with us long after we left the theater. This week, the Speakeasy ENT staff shares the brutal death scenes that have scarred them for life. “1000 Ways to Die” has nothing on us.
Ripped Apart by Corn Plants, “Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest” | Ross Dickerhoof
For the most part, “Urban Harvest” is laughably over-the-top. But it’s got one genuinely disturbing death scene that I was completely unprepared for. Toward the end of the movie, a character stupidly boldly goes to retrieve the movie’s baddie-destroying MacGuffin and is ensnared by demonic corn plants. Ho-hum. A quick impalement and we’ll move on to the next set piece, right? Nope. He gets corn roots stabbed into his back, face, arms and legs, with blood spraying everywhere and awful squishy sound effects. Eeeuugh.
But wait, there’s more: the tendrils wrap around his neck and pull his head upward, higher, and higher . . . and higher. Flesh tears. Blood spatters. You see his spine, and the veins surrounding it, and the nerves, for God’s sake! I’d laugh at that if it didn’t look so damn painful. This has to be one of the cruelest and most unusual deaths I’ve ever seen in ANY movie, since it’s just plain nasty, even in context of the movie. I don’t think I can ever bring myself to watch this movie again. Not just because it’s bad, but because that… no. Just… no.
Del’s Execution, “The Green Mile” | Jayme Pollock
Now, I don’t know about you, but the thought being put in the electric chair is scary enough. Getting fried alive improperly? Even worse.
“The Green Mile” is a movie about convicted murderers awaiting their executions during a time when electrocution was still an acceptable form of killing convicts. Though not necessarily humane by today’s standards, there was an exact procedure that needed to happen in order for the electrocution to be as “painless” as possible. A wet sponge was meant to be placed on top of the felon’s head so the electricity could surge directly to the brain for an instant death.
Convicted murderer Del has his electrocution sabotaged by ruthless guard Percy Wetmore. This despicable guard does not wet the sponge that is placed on the convict’s head. Instead, with the sponge dry, those witnessing the electrocution are horrified at the sight of a man frying right before their eyes. It takes Del much longer to die than normal. The smell of burning flesh causes witnesses to become physically sick. When I first watched “The Green Mile,” I almost had an anxiety attack. The sound of Del’s screams and sight of his crisping skin will remain with me until I’m old and gray. As much as this movie troubles me when I re-watch it, I would still consider it a masterpiece from the king of horror himself, Stephen King. Though it lacks the supernatural elements of his more popular works, this is one of King’s most terrifying films, if only for the dark reality it shows.
Death by Merman, “Cabin in the Woods” | Meghan Malone
“Cabin in the Woods” is the cinematic mecca of every horror movie death conceived by sick and twisted minds, but none could quite evoke a reevaluation of my life decisions like death from a merman.
Here’s a scenario: I’m a horror film character. I’m backed in a corner, my leg’s broken and my life no longer serves a purpose to the plot. With no hope of escape, I see the merman crawling slowly toward me, so I stand there awaiting my inevitable doom. My thoughts: How lame am I to be killed by a merman? It doesn’t even have a triton. What the hell, Disney? This is why I should never leave my room. All I need is food and the internet. Farewell, fandoms. I will miss you dearly. Oh, and there goes my 12-plus years of education. Useless. Hope my parents can pay back the loans. Shoot, I didn’t even get to finish that pie mom made me this morning…
Suddenly some body part of mine is clamped between the jaws of the oddly-shaped, amphibious creature, and I scream to high, holy heaven as my meat and guts are spewed unceremoniously out of its blowhole. Beautiful. The best part is, I’m probably not even dead yet. Being eaten alive by a merman is the worst kind of death because not only am I being devoured by a merman, but due to its slowness, it allows me time to wallow in regret. There’s nothing like a guilt-inducing conscience to make a horrific passing all the more horrible.
Halloween gets revenge on Mr. Kreeg, “Trick r’ Treat” | Isaac Noland
First of all, “Trick r’ Treat” is a Halloween movie. Not a horror movie.
Tell that to Mr. Kreeg, the quintessential cranky old man of the Anytown, USA suburbs.
See, Kreeg doesn’t like Halloween because it reminds him of a dark act from his past. That secret has come back to haunt and murder him in some of the scariest, most drawn-out sequences ever. Somewhere between the box-cutter to the Achilles and the yard full of flaming jack-o-lanterns, I was convinced that Kreeg’s fate is the worst. Not to mention when the ghost of of slayings-past throws him down a staircase that happens to be covered in candy, glass and razorblades.
Beyond that, Kreeg actually makes the terrible decision to unmask the little devil to reveal a jack-o-lantern skull hybrid with crazy teeth. Kreeg even shoots the thing in the face and blows its hand to bits. Apparently he just pissed it off, because Sam (its name is Sam) proceeds to stab Kreeg some more, break his wrist and generally be a pain in the ass.
Kreeg gets lucky when Sam’s broken lollipop blade killing-blow (band name, called it) doesn’t connect. The ever-playful Sam simply gets up and walks away, leaving a bruised and battered Kreeg to reflect on his mistakes. It’s not really that scary if no one dies.
So all of that pumpkin torture was just foreplay for the real gruesome death scene. In a scene that relates to the aforementioned secret, a mangled Kreeg opens his door to reveal a group of zombified schoolchildren. Is it less scary if he gets ripped apart and devoured in a cartoon panel outro as opposed to live action? No, no it is not.
Please, uh, leave a light on when you leave, okay?
Marcy becomes dog food, “Cabin Fever” | Carina Belles
Guys, I love dogs. Rarely did I worry about being eaten by one. I would also love to take an adorable road trip with my best friends to a quaint little cabin in the woods. Unfortunately, I never will, because Eli Roth ruined my life when he wrote “Cabin Fever.”
“Cabin Fever” is every self-respecting germaphobe’s worst nightmare. Here’s the premise: A group of college kids go on spring break to a secluded cabin in the woods. Instead of having some harmless, alcohol-fueled sexy fun, they all catch a mysterious waterborne flesh-eating virus that causes the skin to peel off in bloody sheets. And that’s just the beginning – if the festering open sores don’t kill you, the savage dog munching on your face probably will.
Which brings us to poor Marcy. All she wants to do is bang Rider Strong (aka “Boy Meets World’s” Shawn Hunter) to distract herself from the misery of being eaten alive by bacteria, and what does she get in return? Absolute hell. During her post-coital shower, she decides to shave her legs… except she ends up ripping her skin off instead of her hair. Note to the squeamish: watch this scene on mute. Disfigured and oozing blood, she pretty much resigns to her fate and lets Eli Roth’s evil dog eat her. Gross. As if I really needed another reason not to shave this winter.
What horror movie death still keeps you up at night? Do you know a more disgusting way to go? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @SpeakeasyENT, we’d love to hear your thoughts.