Its fair to say if horror movies didn’t have a death of some kind, it’d be a fairly pointless film experience. But what exactly makes a good death scene? Is it a twisted sense of humour, a good old fashioned jump scare, or simply bucket loads of blood?
The following list contains all of the above, each memorable and surprising for their own unique reasons, but all of them are masterclasses of the macabre. A special countdown needs special attention, so you may notice our usual Top 5 has now doubled in size (Although we could’ve easily increased this one to fifty!).
Now on to the countdown!
Death of a Psychotherapist – Candyman (1992)
There’s something about the ‘hook for a hand’ villain in this film that just gets under your skin, and nowhere is that expression taken more literally than this scene where Virginia’s psychotherapist gets opened up like a tin of tuna. Its surprising and shocking in equal measure, but what really gets the blood pumping are the realistic sound effects we hear as The Candyman carries out his handiwork.
TIME OF DEATH: 0:19
Blood Shower – Evil Dead II (1987)
Director Sam Rami and his legendary leading man Bruce Campbell are masters of comedy horror, due in no small part to the over the top violence they implement to often hilarious effect in their films. Its a trick they’re still having fun with on TV in Ash Vs. Evil Dead, but this gloriously gory scene in the classic Evil Dead II is still the most memorable that springs to mind, if only because it paved the way for the bloodletting that would follow.
TIME OF DEATH: 2:15
Jennings Loses His Head – The Omen (1976)
They say bad things happen in threes, The Omen takes this rule to disturbing new levels. Having already witnessed a hanging and an impalement, we watch in horror as a characters head is lobbed off by a rogue pane of glass. What makes the scene especially memorable is the use of slow motion, which stretches out the moment to almost comical lengths, as Jennings head completes more somersault rotations than an Olympic diver, before making a messy landing.
TIME OF DEATH: 0:05
Quint Carks It – Jaws (1975)
Now this one is hard to watch, because as we all know, Quint is one of the great characters in cinema; a straight talking tough guy who you want to see make it through to the end. Sadly however, Bruce wants him some man flesh, and someones gotta die in order to keep the stakes raised in the final act of Spielberg’s suspense filled thrill ride. It may not be considered gory by todays standards, but Robert Shaw does a great job of selling just how painful and traumatic such an event would be. I don’t know about you, but this probably isn’t how I’d want to go.
TIME OF DEATH: 0:33
Mounted By Machete – Halloween (1978)
‘The Shape’ claims his fair share of victims throughout the Halloween series (94 to be exact); some of them gory, others just plain silly, but nothing will beat the initial shock of his first killing spree in John Carpenter’s game changing original. Every kill in Halloween is dolled out with masterful precision, to the point where you know something is coming, but are still somehow shocked when the moment comes. The slaying of Bob may be gruesome, but its the way in which Meyers appears to take pride in his kill that unsettles most. Never has a gentle tilt of the head looked so creepy.
TIME OF DEATH: 1:04