Saturday, 7 July 2012


One common element to any horror story tends to be the one about death. More often than not, death plays a key role in horror, because horror is the one place were death can go all out. The most grisly, horrible aspects of death can be explored in great detail here, especially the themes of violent death. It's the one kind of death we find unacceptable, because it breaks the natural law and shows us our frailty can be taken from us by someone else. This is why murder and suicide are the hardest to live with for the survivors. They can't see death in a peaceful light because the violence that took their loved one has scarred them, leaving them with a monstrous image of death.

And we horror fans LOVE watching a good violent death. We love it no matter who gets it. We have a sick fascination with death. No matter how you try to rationalize it away, genre's within horror like torture porn and slashers prove my point. Death is fascinating, and violent death, even more so.

So I thought it would be fun to make a list out of my top 10 favourite grisly deaths in horror. No one does death quite like horror does. Horror goes that extra dark mile to show you just how terrible it would be to die in X way.


10: Shooting

The reason why shooting is so low on the list as it is the least horrific of the deaths. Anyone can get shot, in real life or horror. Using guns in creative ways sometimes happens in horror, and can be rather entertaining. But to be killed by a gunshot usually just spares you a more grisly death later. It still deserves a place of honor here because guns can leave people in chunks, especially if you use something like a shotgun.

9: Beheading

I am not one of those people who has a fear of beheading, so for me, this is lower on the list. It's my personal tastes I am judging deaths on after all. But I know people who would have this as their top scariest death. The idea of having your head removed forcibly is by no means a pleasant idea. But it is very final and quick. Lop someone's head off and you know they are gone. Sometimes people make this one a funny death to watch too! When heads bounce like they are balloons filled with air or squirt cartoonish levels of blood, it just takes me out of the moment.

8: Stabbing, Slicing, Cutting

By no means is this a clean way to die, or an easy death, but I put it lower on the list because it's seen quite a lot in horror. It's a personal way to kill someone, with a lot of variety. From slicing someone's throat with a razor, to stabbing the living shit out of them, horror has been using this old stand by for years. The first slasher was named such after this practice. And if you are lucky, you might actually live from the experience if your stab wounds are superficial. You're not gonna live from a beheading, believe me.

7: Asphyxiation

This one is a little more brutal to me, as it can be done by hanging, suffocation, choking and more. One death that sticks out in my mind is the one in Black Christmas, where the killer uses a plastic bag to suffocate his victim. The image left behind of the girl's face frozen in gasping horror is gruesome. Cutting off someone's air supply is a sure way to slowly, and terribly, kill your victim.

6: Beaten To A Pulp/Crushed

This is not a practical way to kill someone by any means, but it is messy. Whether it's accidental, done with weapons of some kind, or just using your bare hands, killing someone by making them goo takes away their  identity. You are literally turning them from a human into mush, making them unrecognizable to the audience.  A good make up effects person can make this look horrific, but if done wrong, this can be one of the most laughable deaths. 

5: Dismemberment

This one is kind of like being beaten down or crushed, except you can still have more human parts left behind. A killer may chop up a victim into pieces, or just gut them like a fish, leaving them as half a torso or legless. Loosing limbs can suck hard, especially if your not quite dead yet and can't get medical attention any time soon. Can you imagine loosing your lower half and just lie there, bleeding out from the missing half of your waist? 

4: Devouring

This one happens a lot in cannibal and zombie films. In zombie films, you get smothered by a pack of them, and they tear you to bits while they eat you. Mouths bite your neck, your arms, your legs, any part they can get at, and sometimes they use their hands to tear into open wounds and gut out your innards. This can be a slow death too, and horrifying, as you watch your killers feast on you. We are meat after all. And meat is damn tasty. 

3: Drowning

I am not too fond of drowning myself as a way to die. Whether held down by the killer, or just unable to reach the surface, drowning is a horrible way to go. Forget about what creatures may lurk in the deep, as that fear can be covered by being devoured. But to think you can't get enough air, and water fills your lungs as you gasp and struggle...*shivers* If you've ever nearly drowned you know this horror.

2: Dragged to Hell/Underworld/Etc

Depending how this is done, this death can be the most entertaining, terrible, and down-right scary ever. It's the fear of the unknown, killing us. This one can be done very creatively, that's why it's so high up on the list. If done right, you can make it a spectacular show for the audience, and give them new things to fear. Opened a puzzle box lately and got dragged to hell by cenobites, who torture your soul for shits and giggles? Yeah, not a way I wanna go either. I'd probably try to escape like Frank did.

1: Death By Plague

Why is this so high up on my list? Because it's a faceless horror. There is no bad guy, unless you count how asshole-ish humans get when faced with a plague. To be slowly eaten alive by a virus, or transformed into a monster, or loose your fucking mind to some contagion, is just the worst fucking thing imaginable to me.  I don't consider this natural either, because usually in horror this is dealt with to the extreme horrific ideal. I'd rather fill a shot gun with rock salt and shoot myself in the face then be slowly eaten away with some T virus or something. Ick.

And that's my list gang. Let me know what you think in the comments! Let's talk about death!


  1. Being burnt alive can't be too good. Witchfinder General and Silent Hill spring to mind.

    Also I thought death by breaking lots of bones as in Final Destination 5 was a pretty nasty way to go.

  2. Ah yesss fire. Forgot fire. I'd probably put it higher on the list too as fire is a slow, painful kind of death. Would not want to be burned alive myself.

    As for breaking bones, that can fit in crushing deaths. Bones tend to break a lot when being crushed. ;)

  3. I go with 7, asphyxiation. Hard for me to watch people with plasic bags over the heads, makes it hard for me to breathe.
    Have you seen the Spanish home-invasion movie KIDNAPPED? My goodness, it starts with a guy who wakes up and realizes he has a plastic bag over his head and his hands bound behind his back - HORRIBLE!!!

  4. No I have no seen that! *scribbles it on the list* That does sound horrible!


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