The 8 Most Brilliant Kills In Famous Slasher Movies
What's your favorite scary movie? See what I did there? I quoted an arguably scary movie. Well, a self-aware wank of a scary movie that started a trend of too-cute cliche films that were constantly winking at themselves to the point where every character ended up with pinkeye, but you see what I mean. Anyway, as a huge fan of scary movies myself, and a huge fan of writing (it helps me pay for malt liquor!), I thought I might try my hand at writing a scary movie. But what manner of scary movie? A slasher!
I chose to write a slasher movie because, as a niche in the horror genre, it seems like it was played out in the early 1980s. Every good slasher you can name is either from that time or was clearly inspired by what came out at that time -- most notably Friday The 13th and Halloween. Is there any way I could breathe new life into the genre? Well, you could always read the screenplay yourself and see what you think. It's right here!
Now, all shilling aside, I'm of the belief that a slasher is made or broken solely on its kills. The killer has to be creative but not too outrageous. Did I succeed in mine? I hope so. These films, which have what I consider the be-all and end-all of perfect slasher movie kills, certainly did. Many have tried, but these kills kicked major ass, even if they don't get a lot of love.
Sleeping Bag Beatdown
I think Jason Vorhees has killed roughly the population of Vermont across all of his films, and that seems extreme at best. Every attempt to stop Jason has failed miserably. The closest anyone came to pulling it off was cryogenic freezing -- which amounted to nothing, since not only did they thaw him out and make him stronger, but the filmmakers also just went ahead and kept making movies about him set in the present anyway. He's been to hell and space now; all that's left is Detroit, and maybe North Korea.
Of all the ways Jason has murdered people across his films -- of which there are exactly 417 now -- the all-time best is this one. The sleeping bag beating.
People might tell you that Jason's greatest kill is the liquid nitrogen kill from Jason X, in which he freezes a woman's face and then shatters it. That cannot be his greatest kill, and this isn't even an objective argument, because it takes place in Jason X. The one in space. I mean, seriously. Get fucked, space sequels.
The Kevin Baconator
Sticking with Friday The 13th, this is probably one of the greatest death scenes ever put to film, and 50 percent of that is just because it's Kevin Bacon. How often do you see Kevin Bacon die on film? Not so often at all. Not in Footloose, that's for sure. Imagine if the climax of that film had been a burst aorta right in the middle of a rousing Don Henley number, with everyone standing around in shock and horror as Bacon clutches his chest and just collapses, his face contorted in a mask of rock 'n' roll anguish.
Anyway, you might not think this kill is so impressive at first glance, but consider what you're seeing here. First, the killer is not preternatural ogre-man Jason -- it's his middle-aged, albeit unstable mommy. Despite this, she has the ability to force an arrow straight up through a mattress and a Kevin Bacon in one power thrust. No jabbing which made him scratch his neck as though being bit by bed bugs or anything. How much space is even under that bed, anyway? She's using skills that the Bride used in Kill Bill to escape that damn coffin. This is really impressive when you think about it.
The Reverse Bear Trap
It seems like Saw should be included on this list somewhere, but I had to tread carefully. This series really mirrors the Scary Movie franchise, in that the higher the sequel number, the more likely it is that what you're watching is complete garbage.
Saw had a lot of imaginative killing going on, but for the most part, I have to discount it from this list for impracticality. I don't want to tell potential serial killers how to do their jobs, but this level of elaborate engineering, machining, and plotting which even Machiavelli would consider ostentatious is kind of hard to swallow. Like, maybe you could do it for one or two guys, but how many people have those movies offed now? Does everyone need to die in a satanic mashup of an H.R. Giger doodle and the board game Mousetrap?
Despite my reservations, I'll include the reverse bear trap as a series favorite, because the damn thing keeps showing up in Saw movies and really looked like it had promise, but they kept cockblocking it. That girl in the second movie escapes just in time, and then another dude escapes, and then finally someone does get offed by it, and even if the movie wasn't up to the standards of the first couple, just look at that thing. What the hell?
The Raft Massacre
The Burning is a pretty cool camp slasher from the early '80s. In this clip from the film, you may recognize a young Fisher Stevens, who went full racist to play Steve Guttenberg's sidekick in Short Circuit and then presumably had other acting jobs, about which I know nothing.
The Burning is about a camp where some asshats light the groundskeeper on fire as a prank, because pranks in the 1980s were just devastating. Anyway, the victim doesn't take kindly to this, and returns some years later to just murder everyone. Because what else can a burn victim do with his time? Read?
All things being equal, this scene isn't any more or less great than numerous others. It's the subtext I appreciate. It's what's not being said. First, this guy was just lying in a canoe. For how long? How long was he willing to stay in that canoe for this kill to pay off? There was no guarantee that anyone was going to find it, and no guarantee that it would be kids from the camp if anyone did. Also, notice the looming when he raises his shears for that first kill. So he just goes vertical, he stands up in the boat (carefully, so as not to tip over), and the kids in the other raft are just blown away ... And then, does he board their raft or stay in his canoe? It's very hard to tell, but their self-defense and/or self-preservation instincts suck so much ass that they almost deserve to die. Couldn't the last victim have jumped off and tried to swim?
Despite the number of sequels that have been squeezed out of the Freddy Kreuger character, I was never really into the character or the movies with any sort of dedication, mostly because I thought Freddy was a really goofy fella. Generally, you never say that about undead, horribly burned serial child killers. Despite the goofiness of Freddy, he did pull off the odd clever kill, and probably the best of the bunch came in the first movie, when he offed Jack Sparrow.
Everyone loves reminiscing about how Johnny Depp was in this movie, and I guess I just did right there. There's not much else to say about it. Except that his death involves being sucked into a mattress hole and then juiced like a plum. Seriously, it looks like he's wrung free of about half a pool's worth of blood. Like he was drained dry, given a transfusion, drained again, and then filled and drained maybe three more times. It was a rough as shit day for Johnny Depp.
Why is this superior to most Freddy kills? Consider that Kane Hodder, who played Jason in several Friday The 13th movies, as well as the killer from Hatchet and even Leatherface once, is about 6'2" tall and probably weighs about 250 lbs. Robert Englund, who plays Freddy, was maybe 5'9" and probably 175 lbs or so. Being killed by Freddy is like being killed by the copy guy from Staples, or Ross from Friends. If he's actually, physically in the room, it makes the kill less impressive, because he's like your feisty sister with bad skin and a handful of steak knives. Better that he doesn't show up at all if he really wants to impress.
Michael Myers is probably my favorite movie slasher, but only in the first two Halloween movies. The sequels range from OK to things you should cover in poo and burn. And I will not speak of the Rob Zombie remakes, though I have it on good authority that some people watch them on purpose. Intentionally. Not as a joke. I prefer to think that Rob Zombie has only directed one movie: The Devil's Rejects. His career is stellar.
Anyway, as far as Michael Myers goes, he's an exceptional slasher because what the hell is wrong with him? No one knows. Even the psychiatrist in charge of him for the bulk of his life has no damn clue what his deal is beyond "evil." Who needs a motive or anything, anyway? Best to just be insane. Motives have all this backstory and conditions and blah. If your motive is "I like things that are stabbed, I dislike things that aren't stabbed" it makes the whole movie flow a lot more smoothly.
This death may seem simple at first, but appreciate the beauty of it. Myers was just in that closet, in his crazy-ass mask, waiting. Just a-waiting. And when someone finally shows up, the dude lifts him right off the ground (with one hand, mind you), then pins him to the wall with a knife. I know that I just said Michael Myers is insane, but that's fucking insane. And then he eyeballs him for a moment when it's done, as if to say "Look at this goddamn crazy thing I just did. The guys as the hospital would shit their gowns over this one."
This is probably one of the most uncomfortable kills you'll ever see. It was filmed in that way that simply implies what's happening, because it's a bit too intense for anything outside of a snuff film to actually show -- the hot curler in the lady spot. Audiences have a much more visceral reaction to kills that are done in such a violently violating way. The rape parallels make it a kill taken to the next level. You want to cross your legs and make that face you make when you think of someone putting a hot curling iron inside of you.
This is from Sleepaway Camp, and if you haven't seen it, then you're really doing yourself a disservice, because this movie is shithouse rat crazy -- especially the payoff at the end.
You're probably familiar with this one. Hannibal was a very popular movie, and this scene in particular is pretty much unforgettable. But I feel like it's being lauded (or hated) for all the wrong reasons. If you're not familiar, basically what happens is that Anthony Hopkins has taken Ray Liotta hostage, drugged him, performed surgery on him, and is now removing portions of the man's brain to cook and eat. He even gives Ray a taste.
Can you even begin to process the utter, elaborate lunacy of this entire scene? He has the top of the man's skull off, and he cooks a piece of his brain over a hibachi with some shallots and caper berries. What exactly is Lecter's diagnosis? What kind of crazy moves you not only to eat a person, but also to prepare said meal with caper berries? Do you even know where to buy caper berries? What preposterous planning had to go into this one, single kill? They're at Ray Liotta's place in this scene. You know that man didn't have caper berries on hand. Lecter literally had to go to the supermarket well in advance of this, risking his freedom and all his plans, to buy shallots and white wine and caper berries. He probably had to buy that ridiculous little hibachi, too. And some kind of bone saw, since there's no way he used a scalpel. All so that he could prepare Ray Liotta's brain later in the evening. That's a special kind of insane.
Now go read Kill Face and tell me those aren't some killer, over-the-top death scenes!
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