Death be not proud. Unless you’re a special effects supervisor who finally pulled off a complicated death scene. Then, there’s plenty to be proud of. With death being a familiar enough subject, leave it to Hollywood to up the ante. In various movies throughout the years, filmmakers have given themselves the artistic license to shake things up. Basically, they’ve given death more bells and whistles than it’s used to.
Over the years, horror films especially have capitalized on death, abiding to the credo that “weirder is better.” In fact, just the sheer amount of vegetables that are used as weapons in some of these scenes should convey just how over-the-top some filmmakers are willing to go. So, assuming you can stomach death in a more grotesque nature than most people are accustomed to, dig in and enjoy 15 Weirdest Death Scenes You’ll Ever See.
15. The Wood Chipper – Fargo
At the moment, Fargo is getting exposure as a series on FX, but before it ever took on the small screen, it was an original film from Joel and Ethan Coen. However, different though it may have been, it still clung to the same sort of grim brutality that the TV show adheres to. So, naturally, yes, there is plenty of death — and more specifically, there is plenty of murder.
The most memorable bit of murder happens towards the end of the film, where Peter Stormare’s character is trying to dispose of his partner’s body (originally portrayed by Steve Buscemi, before he was nothing more than a foot from the prop department) in a wood chipper. The sight of a foot being pressed into the blades while blood sprays out of the shredder is simultaneously haunting and, oddly enough, sort of mesmerizing.
14. The Knock-Off Knockout – Jason Takes Manhattan
During a rooftop battle between Jason Voorhees and Vincent Craig Dupree’s Julius, it’s a mostly unbalanced fight. Julius unloads his fists onto Jason’s seemingly helpless zombie body, but it doesn’t amount to much. Physically exhausted, having given the killer everything he’s got, Julius tries to catch his breath and encourages Jason to take his best shot. He’s then punched so hard that his head is knocked clean off his neck. It doesn’t necessarily seem physically logical, but it’s safe to say that logic didn’t play much of a role in this series. Especially this one. That said, it still makes for one of the more classic death scenes in the Friday the 13th franchise.
13. Head Explosion – Scanners
David Cronenberg hardly ever shies away from the macabre. His M.O. has always revolved around showcasing certain elements of brutality front and center, and in doing so, he’s created quite a few classic films in the process. One of those films is Scanners, where science fiction and horror go hand-in-hand.
While most horror films have their “opening kill” scene, Scanners only differed in the sense that it wasn’t your traditional “opening kill.” Instead of pitting two characters on a cat and mouse chase sequence that would ultimately end in death, the characters are sitting down and the atmosphere is professional. It just so happens, however, that one of the psychic “scanners” is too powerful for his own good, and as a result, well…
12. The Shower Scene – Jack Frost
Snowmen aren’t particularly creepy, but screenwriters Michael Cooney and Jeremy Paige thought otherwise. They stripped them of their charm, and in doing so, created the horror slasher, Jack Frost. In the film, the villain, Jack, does his best to continue his murder spree (you see, before he became a snowman, he was an old-fashioned serial killer), but one of the more upsetting/peculiar deaths happens in the shower with Shannon Elizabeth’s Jill.
It’s actually quite disturbing for the fact that the snowman actually rapes her before killing her (a first of its kind, truly), but it’s also one of the scenes that launched this film into cult status, a ranking not typically reserved for films afraid to push boundaries. And even though Jack Frost doesn’t have much going for itself, aside from the killer snowman angle, pushing boundaries isn’t something it’s running short on.
11. Lawnmower Suicide/Lion Suicide – The Happening
M. Night Shyamalan hit a few bumps in his career. Starting off strong with Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense, he tripped down a steady decline, ultimately losing his groove entirely in inexplicably awful efforts like The Last Airbender and The Happening (among others).
When it came to horror, a genre he’s proven himself to be well-suited in, Shyamalan may as well have went haywire when he made The Happening. He concocted death scenes that were borderline (or, let’s be honest, entirely) laughable, but went especially wild with the lawnmower suicide and the lion suicide. In the former, someone lays down in his lawn and lets his lawnmower ride directly over him, shredding him into bits. The latter has a man entering a lion’s den at a zoo, literally feeding himself to the pride. While both of these scenes might seem scary in theory, they ultimately just reek of gory sketch comedy.
10. The Severed Penis – Piranha 3D
If Piranha 3D is remembered for anything, it’s Jerry O’Connell’s severed penis floating towards the screen in 3D after a disappointed piranha spits it out. This happens as a result of O’Connell’s Derrick having the entire bottom half of his body eaten to the bone by those titular maneaters. While this attack doesn’t kill him right away (the film really wants this guy to suffer for as long as humanly possible), he eventually loses enough blood to do away with him for good.
Director Alexandre Aja has tackled gory horror before (High Tension is particularly gory), but he really outdid himself with this one. The horror genre has always been adept at brutally killing off sleazy characters, but this kill gives all the others a run for their money.
9. Stabbed with a Corn on the Cob – Sleepwalkers
Stephen King may be the master of horror, but as we’ve seen in numerous adaptations of his work over the years, that title doesn’t translate particularly well to film. The Shining proved to be a horror classic (though the film adaptation took several liberties with the source material) and Pet Sematary was effective in parts, but overall, his horror works better on the page.
This is especially true with Sleepwalkers, which, ironically, was based on a story that was never published. Though the film is weird enough on its own account, there is an especially bizarre death scene that involves a corn on the cob, a side dish that has been largely considered safe up until this point in the history books. We had no reason to fear the cob, but this movie taught audiences that when a knife isn’t available, corn can serve as a suitable substitute. Doesn’t seem physically logical, but this is a movie about cat people, so… logic was clearly checked at the door.
8. Face Pop – Total Recall
Most of the action flicks that Arnold Schwarzenegger has starred in are a lot weirder than some audiences might remember. Total Recall, in particular, was one of the crazier films the action star ever appeared in. It’s fun and creative and a genuine classic, but more than anything, it’s downright bizarre.
So, with that being said, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that it has its fair share of weird death scenes. At the end of the film, Ronny Cox’s Cohaagen finally meets his maker by way of Mars’ atmosphere. It’s grotesque, it’s unsettling, and at the same time, it’s pretty brilliant. Now, if only the Total Recall remake could have even attempted to measure up to the beloved insanity of its predecessor, maybe remakes wouldn’t have quite as poor a reputation as the one they’ve given themselves.
7. Broken Architecture Through The Head – Hot Fuzz
Hot Fuzz is a buddy-cop movie, so why is its gore level cranked up to 11? Well, you can thank writer/director Edgar Wright for that. Jumping off the success of Shaun of the Dead and crafting the second entry in his Three Flavors Cornetto trilogy, Wright paid homage to the best (or at least most classic) examples of action set pieces. In between, however, he coated the film in sudden bursts of blood and gore, a running theme in the trilogy that definitely helped set them apart from the pack.
In Hot Fuzz, Simon Pegg’s Nicholas Angel is trying to solve a series of crimes and, during what ought to have been a stress-free day at the fair, he happens upon a murder right before his very eyes. A broken church spire is shoved off the building, then falls pointed-end-first into the head of local editor, Tim Messenger, resulting into possibly one of the most unexpectedly gory scenes in film history.
6. Force-Fed – A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
Freddy Krueger rarely loses his creativity when it comes to killing his victims. He hops inside their nightmares and probes their innermost thoughts, conjuring up some deeply personal kill method that in some way relates to the victim at hand. In A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, his weapon of choice is a doll. In a scene that is as gruesome as it is weird, Freddy slices the doll open, exposing actual blood and guts. He then force-feeds his victim with said guts, causing her to choke to death in her waking life.
Over the course of his series, Freddy Krueger has pulled off some strange stunts, but this one takes the cake. Then again, there are other kills that certainly stand a chance at rivaling it (the video game death in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, the TV-to-the-face death in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, and the comic book death in The Dream Child, to name a few). He’s a special kind of serial killer.
5. Ripping Face – Mirrors
Mirrors wasn’t the potential horror classic that its trailer hinted at. In fact, the best part of the movie was the highlight of the trailer itself, pitting Amy Smart’s Angie against her reflection. Her reflection grabs hold of both the top and bottom of her mouth, and then proceeds to pull them apart in opposite directions. Angie has no other choice but to suffer through her face being completely ripped in half. It’s gory brilliance, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s one of the more peculiar death scenes put on film.
Director Alexandre Aja is showing up for the second time on this list, proving yet again that he’s clearly trying to make a name for himself in the film industry; a name that isn’t exactly trying to win over any members of the MPAA.
4. Pam – Death Proof
In Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, Kurt Russell plays a villainous stuntman (aptly named Stuntman Mike) who kills people in his car. Well, technically speaking, his car kills people, but that’s beside the point. Offering Rose McGowan’s Pam a ride home from the bar, he explains to her that his car is safe because it’s “100 percent death proof,” however he later specifies to her, once she’s about five seconds away from the end of her life, that it’s only death proof if you’re sitting in the driver seat (otherwise, you end up looking like this).
There isn’t any supernatural force at the helm, just one sadistic stuntman with a hankering for roadkill. Only, the roadkill he prefers is the kind riding shotgun in his death machine. The violence is a random and unexpected outburst from the seemingly charming stunt double — unless you knew going in that this was a Tarantino film, of course.
3. Knife To The Forehead – Scream 4
The Scream series has dished out some wicked kills over the years, but few have been quite as strange as the one experienced by Anthony Anderson’s Detective Perkins in Scream 4. While he’s playing watchdog in front of the Roberts residence, he witnesses his partner die by way of a knife to the spine, but then takes that same knife to the forehead before he even has time to assess the situation.
However, he doesn’t go down quickly. With blood spilling out of the knife wound in the center of his forehead, he exits the car and stumbles down the road a bit while Ghostface watches curiously. He swings, he yells, and then just before he falls to his death, he references an earlier conversation, shouting, “F*** Bruce Willis!”
2. The Burning – The Wicker Man
The Wicker Man is an odd mystery, but a mystery all the same. Edward Woodward’s Sergeant Howie spends the movie playing detective on a small island, all the while unaware of his ultimate fate — a fate that is only slightly less weird than the Nicolas Cage remake released a few decades later.
In the final act, he discovers that he is going to be used as a human sacrifice, and is promptly locked inside a giant wooden statue (the titular Wicker Man). The death itself is strange enough on its own, but the weird factor is heightened even more once you’ve seen the Nicolas Cage version. His performance is so over-the-top that the film has become a sort of accidental comedy, making the finale just as freaky, but in its own unique, Cage-y sort of way. For your double-dose of weird, try watching these two back-to-back. If you think you have it in you.
1. Body Explosion – Big Trouble in Little China
Describing Big Trouble in Little China to people isn’t a simple feat, and neither is trying to explain the film’s physics. At the end of the adventure, once the main antagonist, Lo Pan, has been killed, it sends an emotional shockwave through one of his righthand men, Carter Wong’s Thunder. Instead of seeking revenge by fighting to the death or even simply reacting like a normal human and being sad or something, he becomes so consumed by anger that it literally, physically makes him pop.
His body begins to expand, filling up with so much air that he ends up exploding. John Carpenter was clearly having a lot of fun with this movie, but how he ever managed to sell this scene with a straight face in anyone’s guess. There are weird movie deaths, and then there’s Big Trouble in Little China’s angry human balloon explosion movie death. If nothing else, it’s a sequence that certainly stands on its own — no matter how little sense it might make.
Surely there are dozens of other bizarre movie deaths that could have found themselves on our list. Sound off with your favorites in the comments!