The Most Horrific Scenes in Film
This is the second part of the two part Halloween feature, with the previous discussing the most terrifying scenes where I tried to keep you on the track of the psychologically scary scenes, this one is just the complete, horror in your face, gore filled, horrific scenes.
Now I've watched my fair share of horrific scenes in films before, and I do like horrific horrors as much as the psychological horrors, as long as there's a strong story and a reason for them, so expect this list to be just as comprehensive of my viewing as the last.
That doesn't mean that there's not plenty of room for your suggestions too though, so let's kick off with mine.
Before I start though, I should warn you that within this feature are some very adult videos depicting scenes from horror films that are classified as eighteen and over, so if you aren't, don't watch them.
Now the public service announcement is over with, let's get on with the horror!
Hooks ripping apart Larry in Hellraiser
It's not so much the scene of the poor man being ripped apart as the moments before seeing his flesh pierced by numerous fish hooks on chains which are stretching the skin and pulling it in what looks like some very painful points. The whole act looks sheer agony, and the ultimate death a relief, part of the point of the scene.
It does remind me of A Man Called Horse where we saw Richard Harris play a man going through an American Indian ritual of being hung by hooks placed through the skin just beneath the nipples, also think of the similar scene in The Last King of Scotland (Filmstalker review) which is a scene of torture rather than ritual. When I first saw the Richard Harris scene I wasn't old enough to appreciate the pain, now I am and it's horrendous. So imagine that multiple times. I don't know about that but it freaks me out.
The possessed girl in The Exorcist stabs herself with the cross
This can be deemed a disgusting and horrifying scene for a number of reasons. Let's head to the main one though and forget the religious ones for the moment. The entire act is painful to even imagine as the brutal force of the stabbing motion is horrifying.
There's also an added level though, and that's the age of the girl and act involved. To a degree that adds to the repulsion and the scene is made more horrific by the brutalisation of a sexual act with a young girl using an iconic religious item.
Blood and gore are one thing, but add these extra levels and the scene is horrific.
The head on a stick in Wolf Creek (Filmstalker review)
This is one of the most horrific scenes on the list, and one of the most recent. Wolf Creek is a superb film that really does scare multiple times, what about the scene where the woman is looking into the building watching the man about to torture her friend, but being unable to do anything. Scary stuff, and terrifying too, but the most horrific moment is undoubtedly the head on a stick moment.
The lead woman is standing, terrified, and from behind the man appears with his huge hunting knife, slides it in her back, twists, and cracks her spine. She falls to the floor now unable to move, but perfectly alive and conscious, then the way the man talks to the woman you just know that the abuse is about to start and there's absolutely nothing she's going able to do about it. That scene not only scares me and terrifies me, but the promise of the torture and abuse to come really do raise it to the horrific category.
The nailing torture scene in The Serpent and the Rainbow
I don't know if there's much to say about this one, but being a man and seeing the torture scene of having a nail driven through your scrotum is enough to make it into the horrific category for me. Mind you, if you aren't horrified by that there's always the scene of being buried in a coffin alive, and not just that but being buried after being forced to take a drug that you believe may make you into zombie, or at the very least make everyone believe you're dead and bury you. The idea that you were going to be dug up during the night and made into a slave to serve the person who put you there is equally horrifying. Still, the torture scene is the one that gets my vote.
People melting into each other in Society
This article made me think of the film Society, a film that apparently seems pretty normal for the most part but has this underlying feeling of something not being right, something off-kilter with the family, and finally, when we see it, it's one of the most horrific things I've seen happen outside of films that don't have much depth and just go for the complete shock factor. Here, most of the horror comes from the bizarre scenes of people melting into each other, and melting into other shapes themselves. However there was a big part of the horror of this when the boy witnesses the rest of his family merging together in a very sexual way, and suddenly the odd behaviour from the rest of the film makes sense, and it is horrific.
The needles in the eyes in Audition (Ôdishon)
This is a superb film that a lot of people miss the point on and harp on about the ending violence, but I think it compounds the message of the film really well, and delivers a strong message. However talking about the most terrifying and horrific aspects of the film most people will talk about the foot and the piano wire moment, not me though. The terrifying aspect is being unable to do anything as someone tortures you, but the horrific aspect, at least for me, is the moment of those needles being slowly pushed into the man's eyes, and that terrible phrase, "Kiri kiri kiri kiri kiri kiri!".
The woman on the spike in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the original
Another impaling scene, and again a lot of the horror here is in the mind, hinted at and not really shown, and for me this horrific scene revealed itself when I watched it when I was about thirteen, and the entire film scared the living crap out of me. However, brush the old man bleeding finger sucking scene to the side, and the sledgehammer blow to the head with the reflex kicking against the metal floor over the doorstep, put those to the side and the scene that I find the most horrific is the meat hook and the following freezer scene. A woman is picked up by Leatherface and dropped onto a meat hook, and she's still alive, screaming and twisting and turning.
Later, when others arrive in the room, the hook is bare and I think it was some noise from the freezer that caused them to open it, and as it opens the woman leaps forward out of it, even now, still alive. Now that's horrific. Not just the act of being hung on the meat hook and not being able to stop it coming through your chest, but the fact that she's still alive, and still alive later when she's been placed in the freezer for who knows how long.
The rape sequence in Irréversible
This is horrific on a whole different level, and comparing it to the opening scenes and the fire extinguisher shows two very different sides to horror. The fire extinguisher scene is brutal and immediately impacting on the audience in a violent and head-on way, but for me the rape scene is the most horrific in psychological terms. Instead of using cuts or pulling away from what happens, the camera remains static and shows every single moment. What's more is that Monica Belluci gives a stunning performance and really makes you believe that she's so terrified and in so much pain. Overall this is the most horrific scene of the film, because we are forced to watch something so utterly disturbing and something that has so often been a taboo in film.
The blood draining scene in Hostel: Part II (Filmstalker review)
What builds this scene is the fact that the woman isn't so strong and is built up as the weak and innocent one, and we're shown her strapped upside down, being moved into place above a large bath in what looks like a medieval dungeon. Already it's terrifying, but the horrific moment comes when we see the older woman lie beneath her in the bath and scrape her flesh with a very sharp scythe like tool, it's clear at this point what's going to happen and the tension is terrible, right up until her throat is cut and the blood pours onto the woman beneath. The scene really is one of the most horrific of the Hostel films.
The acidic vomit of The Fly
Okay, the film is a little older and the effects are a little dated, but the whole idea of the scene is pretty horrific. Without having seen anything like this prior to the moment, the creature spews acidic vomit onto the hands of the man who has come to confront Brundle, and if that scene isn't horrific enough, the man's hands begin to melt and he's left with guey, bloody, stumps. Even thinking about it now, and considering I haven't seen the film in a very long time, I can conjure up the shocking images.
The knife scene in Saving Private Ryan
Here's one of the most shocking scenes in this list because of the powerful realism involved in the moment. A Nazi soldier surprises an American in a deserted room, pins him to the ground and they struggle with a knife. The Nazi soldier manages to get on top in the struggle, turns the knife around and is winning the fight to push it towards the soldier, what makes this struggle worse is the iconic nature of it as the soldier is Jewish, but the Nazi is stronger and the knife is getting closer to his chest. It's not just the shock and terror on the face of the soldier, but it's the fact that his friend is outside the door, frozen with terror, and unable to enter the room, and if he did...
Watching that battle with the two of them and then seeing the American lose the battle is terrifying, all the more for the performance of the moment by Adam Goldberg.
The fast cut images of the video playback in Event Horizon
The dream sequences in Event Horizon are superbly edited, showing you just enough visuals and letting you hear enough sound to see that there's something horrific happening, but never giving you too much to realise what's just happened. It's like glimpses that your mind puts together after seeing them, a bit like a Transformers or Bourne fight scene, but with horror. For me the power of these scenes are in the fact that we don't see everything, that there's just enough given to you to allow you to make up your own level of horror out of it, but then if you do slow the scenes down you get to see the horror that you thought you made up.
The final murder scene in Don't Look Now
I don't want to give anything away, but the final murder scene in this film is one of the most realistic murder scenes I'd seen when I first watched this film, and that wasn't too long ago. It made a real lasting impression on me, and the actor involved carries it superbly. Of course it helps that the whole closing scene knocks you totally off kilter and before the murder happens, and it's quite shocking.
The suicide in The Dead Zone
Remember this Stephen King adaptation? One of the best films we've seen made from his stories, perhaps the best, and it contains one of the most horrific scenes of them all. When the killer decides to kill himself in his bathroom and picks up those scissors you might be mistakenly thinking that he's going to be cutting his wrists, oh no, it's much worse than that. Slowly he places the scissors in an open position, facing upwards lodged on the bath taps, puts his hands behind his head, and opens his mouth, the points of the scissors pointing towards his nose and the his upper palette. The realisation and the next second is horrific.
The shaving scene in Cabin Fever
The whole premise of the film is horrific, let's be honest, a disease that has your skin flailing off of your body for no reason is pretty disgusting, especially when you see it happening. The scariest scene though is when a lovely girl is sitting in the bath and begins to shave her legs, and she's not really paying attention as she's doing it, so the first time it strips some skin from her legs she doesn't see, but what's worse than that is she runs the safety razor across her legs again, running over the already stripped and bleeding sections. Oh that scene made me cringe.
The kerbing in American History X
Another scene that you might think is a little away from the horrific, but for those of you who have watched it will really understand this one, the anger that the main character, who is a complete racist in the true sense of the word, shows just what he's capable of and how far he'll go. When he shoots two black men outside his house. One is still alive and he drags him up to the pavement, makes him open his mouth, put it over the kerb. He stands over him, raises his foot in the air and then powers it down onto his head and cut. That's a powerful scene that goes to show just how violent and insanely racist the man is. That's a really horrific scene.
So those are my picks of the horrific scenes (how many times have I said horrific?!) that I can pick out of my viewing experience. Do they match yours? Any you disagree with? What are the scenes in film that you think are the most horrific?