I’ve been watching horror films my entire life and as such I have seen more death scenes than I could every possibly count. Some of them have been quite fun and awesome while others were pretty lame and left a lot to be desired. There are some that really stand out for a number of reasons thanks to the fact that they are interesting or original, but the ones that always had an impact on me were the ones that looked painful as hell. These are the ones that usually aren’t over quickly and cause the character on the receiving end to suffer as much as possible. These are the death scenes that look like they really hurt and have viewers thanking God that it isn’t happening to them.
Join me now as we take a trip looking at some of the most ouch-worthy horror movie deaths ever to grace the silver screen (in my opinion anyway).
Please be aware that there are spoilers throughout so you may want to look away so that certain films aren’t ruined for you.
10. Last Dance (1992)-Someone Spiked My Drink
I actually discussed this one on my Weirdest and Wackiest Death Scenes list a couple of years ago but it made an impression on me so I wanted to include it on this list. Basically the killer drops a handful of fish hooks into one of his unsuspecting victim’s drink at a bar and she ends up downing it (and the fish hooks) a few moments later. Needless to say the fish hooks do quite a number on her throat and she doesn’t live long enough to order another drink. While it isn’t really that graphic or bloody of a scene it always bothered me nonetheless. I don’t want to even imagine what it would feel like to swallow several fish hooks and it makes my throat hurt just thinking about it. I’ve always thought that this was a pretty inventive (and painful) death scene that always makes me cringe no matter how many times I see it. The lesson to be learned here kids? Don’t leave your drink unattended at a bar as someone could slip something even worse than roofies into it.
When I was a kid I remember catching this movie on satellite one night and it really freaked me out. It is full of some pretty cool death scenes (such as the woman having her eyes pecked out by a crow and then being run over by a truck, Meshach Taylor’s character being cut in half with the elevator cable, etc) but the one that always stuck out for me is what happens to Charles (Nicholas Pryor). There is a scene toward the end of the film where he is with Damien’s uncle as they search for Yigael’s Wall (which will prove Damien is in fact the Antichrist) at a train yard. While they are looking for it one of the trains comes along and smacks into poor old Charles (who is pretty much out of his mind with fear at this point), which impales him on its hitch and carries him screaming down the track for a few minutes. The fun isn’t over yet as it keeps going until it clamps onto another train moments later with poor Charles suck in the middle of both of them. The image of Charles practically being stapled between the two trains always bothered me and I am sure that it hurt like a son-of-a-bitch. I never quite looked at trains or train tracks the same way ever again.
8. The Hitcher (1986) -Time for Nash to Split
I have always been a huge fan of The Hitcher (the original, not the crappy remake) and think that it features one of the most painful-and disturbing-deaths of all time and it really bothered me when I first saw it when I was a kid. There is a point where Ryder (played brilliantly by the always awesome Rutger Hauer) abducts Nash (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to screw with protagonist Jim’s head. He ties her up between two trucks and threatens to release the clutch of one of them which would cause it to roll and rip her in half. The cops can’t do a damn thing about it because if they shoot him they know it would cause his foot to slip off the clutch and lead to her horrible death so they just pretty much stand around looking on trying to figure out what to do while a terrified Nash waits for the inevitable to happen. Long story short he ends up taking his foot off the clutch after Jim tries unsuccessfully to talk him into letting her go and the poor thing is torn in two. We don’t actually see it happen but I think that it is a lot more effective that way. I’ve always thought that it was one of the most terrifying deaths to ever take place in a horror film (mostly because Jim and the cops are helpless to do anything to stop it from happening) and for years when I was a kid I worried that somehow I was going to end up in the same situation. Being pulled apart like has got to be one of the most painful ways to go and it’s even worse considering that it happened to such a likable character as Nash.
7. Saw III (2006) – Timothy Gets Twisted
There are a lot of painful death scenes in the Saw series but the one that really takes the cake occurs in the third movie. The scene I’m referring to involves Timothy (Mpho Kaoho) being strapped into a machine that slowly-and painfully-twists his limbs one-by-one until they snap. I’m a hardcore horror fan who loves blood and guts as much as the next person but this one was a little hard for me to watch to be honest. After the poor bastard’s arms and legs have already been slowly twisted, turned, and broken (to the point that bones are sticking out of the skin) it’s time for his neck to be the next recipient. Of course he’s screwed and doesn’t manage to get out of the trap in time and his neck ends up getting slowly snapped like a match stick (which I guess is a good thing in the long run as it finally puts him out of his misery). Of all the things that Jigsaw (and his followers) have done to their victims I think that this was probably the cruelest and without a doubt the most painful.
6. Dead Snow (2009) -Vegard Goes to Pieces
I have to be honest and admit that I was a little disappointed in Dead Snow. Everyone who saw it before me made it sound like it was one of the greatest horror movies of all time but I was a little let down when I finally saw it (I think I may have had my expectations up so high there was no way in hell it was ever going to live up to them). However, I did think that it did have some pretty awesome death scenes, and the one that really stands out for me when it comes to being painful has to be what happens to poor old Vegard. The guy has the shit beaten out of him several times by the zombies and just goes through Hell in general during the movie but keeps getting back up until toward the end when he is finally taken out for good. He is stabbed several times by a handful of zombies who then proceed to each grab one of his limbs (and his head) and pull. Of course his head, arms, and legs are all liberated from him body in a glorious shower of blood as a result. I was really expecting Vegard to make it out alive considering all he goes through and was surprised that he died in such a graphic and painful manner. It’s a very cool scene and all but damn…that had to hurt.
5. Intruder (1989) -Fun with Band Saws and Box Crushers
I love Intruder and think that it is one of the best-and most underrated- slasher films of all time. It is a fun little horror flick with a great premise, an excellent cast, and some kick ass death scenes. It was hard to narrow it down to just one so I decided to talk about two of the death scenes that take place that are particularly painful-looking. One involves a guy having his head stuck in a band saw and getting the top part of his head and face cut off as a result. I was surprised by how brutal his death was and thought that it rocked on every possible level. The other involves another head injury related death as another character has his head totally destroyed by one of those huge machines that supermarkets use to crush empty cardboard boxes. Both deaths are gory are hell and probably some of the most painful looking head injuries I’ve personally ever seen on film.
4. Zombie (1979) (AKA Zombi 2)-Eye Meets Splinter
I think that Zombie is a wonderful movie for a number of reasons. Not only does it have some amazing-looking zombies and an unforgettably cool scene where a zombie fights a shark but it also has one of the most famous (or is that infamous?) and painful death scenes of all time. Fans of the movie know which scene I’m talking about but if you haven’t seen it let’s just say that it involves a woman’s eye and a big ass piece of splintered wood. Blood, puss, and gooey eye juices ensue and I can’t watch this scene without my eyes watering. It’s an awesome and wickedly creative death scene and I guarantee that you’ll feel the need to rub your eyes after you see it. Eye injuries have always bothered me and this one is definitely the grand champion of them all.
3. Hatchet (2006) -Jenna’s having a Really Bad Day
There are so many excellent and painful death scenes in Hatchet that I didn’t know exactly which one to focus on at first. After thinking about it for a moment and trying to decide which death would probably hurt the most I came to the conclusion that Jenna (Joleigh Fioreavanti) probably gets the worst of it in the long run. Not only does she get her jaw (and most of the bottom half of her pretty face) completely annihilated by a gas-powered belt sander at the hands of Victor Crowley but she is also painfully impaled on the handle of a shovel just a few seconds later. While none of Crowley’s victims get off easily by any stretch of the imagination Jenna’s death looks like it would probably hurt the most out of all of them (though the woman having her jaw ripped off by hand earlier in the movie is a very close second).
2. Hellraiser (1987) -Frank gets Hooked
Imagine having several sharp hooks attached to long metal chains sink into your skin and then having them tear you to pieces seconds later. Doesn’t sound like a very good time, does it? Then imagine what Frank thought when he had to go through it twice during this movie. Talk about ouch.
1. The Mangler (1995) -An Old Lady Gets Folded
I’ll admit that the movie based on the Stephen King short story is pretty lame by all accounts but it has without a doubt probably the most painful and gruesome death scene that I’ve ever seen. It involves an old lady that gets sucked into a demonic industrial folding machine early into the movie and she is slowly and painfully folded and crushed to death seconds later. It’s a pretty graphic and disturbing scene and seeing her get methodically pulverized inch by inch while several of her co-workers stand around watching helplessly unable to do anything to help her really bothers me every time I watch it. It is a horrible and extremely agonizing way to go and it definitely wouldn’t be the way that I would want to die. Just knowing that she is still alive for most of it as she is being crushed makes me feel a little nauseous to be honest, and I can’t think of a more horrifying and painful way to go.
There you go folks, my list of the most painful horror move death scenes. Please let me know what you think and feel free to add your own to the list!
Sleepaway Camp-Stung to death by bees
Sleepaway Camp 3-Snorting drain cleaner laced cocaine
Friday the 13th part 7-Sleepingbag slammed into a tree
Hatchet 2-Tony Todd gets his skin ripped off
High Tension-Dad gets his head knocked off