Rev up the chainsaw and prepare for some carnage because there are bucket loads of fun to had in Hollywood. The horror genre is positively dripping in blood. While those boys from Scream may tell you it’s just corn syrup and food coloring, having fake blood splashed across cinema screens still doesn’t keep some viewers from feeling woozy.
One run-in with the horror these movies have on offer: razor-sharp piranhas, Jigsaw traps, and the obligatory creepy forest cabin will offer up more blood than many horror franchises spill in a lifetime. We’re talking quantity, not quality here.
Lay down the tarp, get out the Vanish Oxi Action, and prepare yourselves for a blood-soaked bonanza of 15 Bloodiest Horror Movies Of All Time.
15. A Nightmare On Elm Street
As we look back on Robert Englund’s formative performance as Freddy Krueger, it oozes with ‘80s cheese and everything is a bit loveably lame. However, one scene above all sticks out as making A Nightmare on Elm Street a film that’s tough to beat in the blood and horror stakes, even today.
Eagle-eyed fans will have spotted a young Johnny Depp as Nancy’s potential BF Glen, but thanks to the nightmare-stalking child-killer, Glen wasn’t long for this world. The bedroom scene of Glen’s demise offers one hell of a way to go, as the gloved Freddy pulls him into the bed and sprays out a fountain of blood afterward.
Pioneering for its time, Wes Craven was reportedly inspired by Kubrick’s The Shining but wanted to go one step further. Building a rotating set, the crew were suspended upside down as 80 gallons of water and red paint poured from the ceiling. It was a one shot take, with Craven and his crew inside the room. According to the documentary Never Sleep Again, the weight of the water caused the set to spin on its axis, blowing the power and trapping the crew upside down in the perilous situation – well, it was worth the sacrifice. Johnny Depp and Elm Street have a lot to thank Glen’s death scene for.
14. House Of 1000 Corpses
Rob Zombie may be known for a good splatter-fest, but his work on 2003’s House of 1000 Corpses is something else entirely. Following the madcap Firefly Family, Zombie spins the tired hillbilly trope on its head with a light-hearted version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
A group of stranded teens are sold the legend of Dr. Satan, a disturbed doctor who butchered his patients, before taking a trip on a “realistic” fairground ride to tell his gory history. Sid Haig excels as the lunatic clown Captain Spaulding, but the real horror only begins in the final third of the film.
The vomit-inducing gore factor is offset by the fact that all our main cast are subjected to the horrors of Dr. Satan’s lair while dressed as fluffy bunny rabbits – there is a crazy dark humor of seeing the teens witness the horror of live operations before their eyes while dressed as household pets.
With controversial scenes of dissection, foul language, and even masturbation, the film was so violent that it was originally shelved after filming wrapped in 2000. Zombie managed to re-purchase the rights and sell it to Lionsgate, but even that didn’t stop a slew of damning reviews.
13. Hatchet III
Wait, there were three of these? While Adam Green’s Hatchet series never really moved into the mainstream of Freddy or Jigsaw, Kane Hodder’s performance as swamp-dwelling Victor Crowley didn’t pull any punches (just organs) in Hatchet III. The first two films had contained a “Who’s Who” of horror stars past, but despite a cameo from Sid Haig, the third entry seemed to be running out of ideas. Their answer: throw buckets of blood at it.
Set on an island literally covered with entrails, the kills are imaginative, shocking, and blood-soaked. It is mainly unnamed cops who are ripe for the offing, meaning that we don’t really care. However, with dispatch not just carried out by the titular hatchet, it’s one hell of a gruesome runtime.
A one-eyed officer having his head carved in two, only to see the brain plop out onto the floor, someone being physically ripped in half, or everyone’s favorite – having your head blown apart by a defibrillator. Hatchet III by most accounts is a horrendous film, but when you look at its kills, it is actually “bloody” fantastic.
The red stuff flows from scene one in 1976’s Carrie, leaving behind a legacy as one of the best horror films out there, and a great adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. Sissy Spacek was wonderfully awkward as the blood-soaked lead, while the film will be remembered for one scene in particular – those poor lil’ piggies. Carrie’s prom scene, where buckets of pig’s blood are dumped over her by school bullies, goes down as one of the most memorable horror scenes out there. The poor girl never saw it coming, and neither did the audience.
Although the “pigs’ blood” was just a mix of karo syrup and food coloring, that doesn’t make Spacek’s dedication to the role any less impressive. Taking days to films and wanting to keep the continuity, Spacek refused to change her clothes and actually slept in her bloody prom outfit until filming the scene had wrapped… three days later.
Spacek was also reportedly willing to have the crew pour real blood over her to keep the scene’s authenticity. She is damn lucky it was Brian De Palma directing and not Stanley Kubrick – he probably would have donated the blood himself.
11. ABCs Of Death 2
Everyone loves a good horror anthology, but the ABCs of Death series is often overlooked. Taking 26 different directors and giving them each a letter of the alphabet to weave their horror magic over is an inspired idea. 2012’s first ABCs of Death was a good first attempt, but for real horror, head to its 2014 sequel.
Ranging from ravenous badgers, right the way through to having your neck hacked off with a blunt axe, ABCs of Death 2 starts with “A for Amateur” and ends with “Z for Zygote.” It’s a stomach-churning take on the horror anthology – imagine Creepshow on Acid.
There is a bloody smorgasbord along the way, such as a prostitute stabbing a screwdriver through someone’s neck in “V is for Vacation,” or the incomprehensible horror of stop-motion “D is for Deloused.” Ironically, it is Chris Nash’s “Z” segment that offers the most violent of ends. As a woman staves off her unborn child’s arrival in an isolated cabin, the fetus grows to full-size inside her. Deciding it wants out, the child pushes inside its mother, forcing out blood, bones, and vital organs, to wear her like a human suit.
10. Freddy Vs. Jason
The second (and final) inclusion of Englund’s pizza-faced killer may seem like an odd choice, but with an actual “blood bath” scene, Freddy vs. Jason had to make the cut.
Using over 300 gallons of fake blood, Freddy vs. Jason combined the killing sprees of two of cinema’s biggest boogeymen with oodles of blood-spurting fountains – even Freddy gets a bloody bye-bye. The film starts with the usual Friday the 13th-style kills like a machete through a tree or being folded in half in a bed (ouch), before moving into its nightmarish Freddy kills.
There is the peak of Kelly Rowland’s acting career when she has her nose ripped from her face, and the machete-wielding rave scene massacre; however, the film’s bloodiest death doesn’t even happen in real time. Zack Ward’s character torments his brother Mark in a bath filled with blood in a flashback of his suicide off-screen, while Mark eventually gets an equally grisly goodbye as the blood-soaked bathroom also becomes his tomb thanks to Freddy.
It is time to go a little continental with Xavier Gens and his French frightener Frontier(s). While it may not be particularly original, if you could ever call a horror film a “must watch,” then Frontier(s) is right up there, with is ultra-gory romp through the French countryside. As a group of young thieves escape with a bag of money during political rioting, they don’t realize their horror is just beginning. Abandoned mines, Nazi memorabilia, and filthy pig pens give an even grittier feels to this indie horror.
A rundown inn becomes their hideaway, but the hillbilly family of Neo-Nazi cannibals have other ideas in mind. Gore may be implied rather than shown at points, but the use of shotguns, pliers, and an axe still mean there is plenty of blood flowing down the drains. While the acting isn’t particularly great, and Frontier(s) doesn’t know if it wants to be a heist film, political commentary, or torture porn, if you like seeing pregnant woman impale Nazis on circular saws, roll on up!
8. Evil Dead (2013)
Where most remakes pale in comparison to their predecessors, 2013’s Evil Dead was a refreshing take on 1981’s film, and actually didn’t make us miss Bruce Campbell (too much). Gone was the usual “smoke weed get laid” plot point, replaced with heroin addiction and a group of friends coming together.
The “Don’t take drugs” mantra dispensed with, the film more than makes up for tired stereotypes of other franchises with pure horror– and that post-credits cameo for fans of the Sam Raimi era. Pus, bone fragments, and flying brains are the ingredients in this the cocktail of horror, making it nothing short of a miracle that Evil Dead managed to scrape by with an R rating.
Serving like a love letter to Raimi’s original, Fede Alvarez crams the film with blood and guts without making it feel forced. While it may not be as slapstick as the first franchise, there is still a bubble of humor over proceedings. Where else in a film can one man be slashed with glass, plugged with a dirty syringe, impaled by nails, whacked with a crowbar, and stabbed in the heart, while still taking so long to die?
7. The Cabin In The Woods
Sticking with the cabin theme, where Evil Dead was subtle in its lunacy, The Cabin in the Woods threw out the rulebook on what made sensible cinema. Perhaps Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon had been smoking some of the weed that our horror movie clichéd teens took with them to the cabin, but somehow it worked.
Written like a puzzle, The Cabin in the Woods wrote pretty much every horror reference imaginable into its feature, meaning that everyone from werewolf to zombie fans left the theater happy, and there was still time for the all-important blood sacrifice.
It would have been far too easy to replicate the popularity of forest horrors like Cabin Fever and Wrong Turn, but The Cabin in the Woods really stepped it up with the second half. The final five minutes, and inclusion of Sigourney Weaver, is one of the biggest twists out there, but well worth it. The film is beautifully summed up by the scene of the lift doors opening to the carnage of blood and monsters as zombies feast on lab technicians – bravo!
Returning to France for another dose of rouge fluid; Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs is heralded by some as one of the most influential horror films of the 21st Century. There were the usual reports of people vomiting or fainting in the aisles after the film aired, but didn’t they say the same about The Exorcist? The Telegraph advises you not to see it, while Time Out called Martyrs a “Baroque ‘torture porn’ hope-sapper.”
There is no denying that the torture scenes of Martyrs rightly earn it a place on this list and will have you taking showers instead of baths from now on.
The English language remake generated lukewarm reviews for its watered-down violence, whereas the original was unadulterated horror. Being flayed alive may be one thing, but the real horror of Martyrs is the bath scene where Anna finds a failed experiment. With a cruel helmet bolted to the girl’s head, Anna removes it but takes half her skull along for the ride. The makeup and SFX on Martyrs make it almost too hard to watch at times, but that still won’t stop you!
5. Piranha 3D
Some films add gore for sheer horror effect, while some add it for a laugh. 2010’s Piranha 3D definitely falls into the second camp as a horde of razor-toothed fish attack tits and teens during Spring Break. Just like Snakes on a Plane stuck a middle finger to its critics, Piranha 3D did that to its 1978 predecessor.
The film plods along with nothing new to report until, bam, that lake scene. The Omaha Beach scene from Saving Private Ryan has nothing on Piranha 3D’s lake shore massacre, where 90% of the cast and extras are culled in one glorious shower of blood. Seeing naked teens chewed up like they fell in a Nutribullet is a shocking contrast to the film’s otherwise chipper backdrop of Summer Lovin’.
There was so much blood– 7,500 gallons to be exact– that a gas tanker off-screen pumped the liquid underneath the actors into the lake. With talent like Christopher Lloyd, Ving Rhames, and bizarrely and briefly, Richard Dreyfuss, Piranha 3D rightly deserves the praise it gets – it was just a shame they had to make that Hoff-filled sequel.
4. Hostel: Part II
Eli Roth shocked and scared us with his original Hostel, but not wanting to be outdone by his first attempt, the second adventure plumbed the grossest depth of blood-soaked scenes. Having a Japanese girl get her eye blowtorched out in Part I seems like an episode of The Care Bears when it comes to Hostel: Part II. The second film obviously wanted to up its gore, and having Richard Burgi devoured by dogs, while his Desperate Housewives cast mate Roger Bart has his genitals ripped off is certainly one way to do it.
However, Part II will be remembered for yet another bloodbath– and one scene which looks like a Lush Cosmetics party gone wrong. As one of The Elite Hunting patrons lies in a decadent bathtub scene, it is obvious that Heather Matarazzo’s Lorna isn’t going to be the final girl. Mrs. Bathory” swings the scythe and gets off on the situation; it is one of horror’s most visceral scenes. In case you didn’t already know, Hostel: Part II is not one you want to watch with the parents.
3. Cannibal Holocaust
It is one of the most troubling films in cinematic history, and 1980’s Cannibal Holocaust was a little too close to the bone for some. Preceding The Blair Witch Project by two decades, Holocaust rules the found footage genre as a group of filmmakers head deep into the Amazonian rainforest. People were so convinced that the events were true that director Ruggero Deodato found himself in custody until he could prove that the cast and crew were actually still all alive. Graphic nudity, the obvious cannibalism scenes, and realistic rape all tick the boxes for one of the bloodiest films out there.
Seeing various corpses impaled end to end is bad enough, but when you see a man get his penis chopped off in front of your eyes, it is enough to make half the population wince in pain. The blood factor is doubled when you later learn that a turtle, a monkey, and a pig were among the real-life victims of the film when slaughtered on set – it means that Deodato’s film is still banned in several countries today.
Cannibal Holocaust contains some of the most disturbing imagery you are ever likely to see in a film, and although you know that the violence is fake, you still can’t shake the uncomfortable feeling of watching the film, even 37 years later.
2. Saw IV
Lionsgate’s Saw films became synonymous with bloody traps, carrying on long after Hostel shut its doors. The decision to bring Tobin Bell’s engineering serial killer back for an eighth round will divide audiences, but there is no denying that Jigsaw ruled the blood battles of Hollywood. Across the first seven films, no less than 52 people lost their lives thanks to the Jigsaw legacy, but some got it worse than others. It is hard to pick out which of the Saw films had the bloodiest body count, but by hair’s breadth, it was IV in 2009.
The fourth film also marked a turning point. The films cared (a lot) less about the character development and a lot more about the most outlandish ways it could kill off the next batch. From the very first scene of Art having his mouth sewn shut, Saw IV went on to have some truly horrible moments: Brenda the pimp having her scalp ripped off, the obese rapist being dismembered by the blades in the motel, or John Kramer’s graphic autopsy.
1. Dead Alive
Before Peter Jackson was taking the Hobbits to Mordor, he was tickling our bloody bone with over 1,000 gallons of the fake stuff. Not only was Dead Alive (also known as Braindead) pouring with blood, it was damn funny too, earning the title of the “goriest splatter film in history.” To this day it remains unbeaten, and it probably never will – the landscape of horror would be a lesser place without Mr. Jackson’s contribution.
The stars of the piece are the comedy duo of Timothy Balme as Lionel Cosgrove and Elizabeth Moody as his mother Vera. Where many films had tackled “zombies” before, Dead Alive had Lionel keeping them a secret to save embarrassment. Rabid monkeys and people giving birth out of theirface are nothing because you only need one word to sum up Dead Alive, and that is “lawnmower.”
For the final scene, as Lionel “mows” through the town’s undead, it was reported that around 300 liters of blood were pumped out of the lawnmower a minute. Dead Alive will have you never looking at your mother or the garden in the same way again.
Do you have the stomach for these bloody horror movies? Sound off in the comments!
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