Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Trash Pile Top 10: Slasher Deaths

I can't speak for the masses, but there is one main reason I enjoy the Slasher sub-genre; the inventive new methods of disposing victims. There are really only seven to ten different plots in a Slasher film, so that will deter most viewers. The actors are in their late twenties to thirties playing teens, and normally have similar acting range. With that you're left with the special effects, and man oh man do (most) Slasher films bring the latex to the table.

It's hard to pick only ten kills that I find the best. There are many quality moments of carnage, but ten? Well, I'm going to give it a shot.

10. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1985) - Toboggan From Hell
There are so many fantastic moments in 'Silent Night, Deadly Night', but this was one of the best for me. These two kids steal this sled from another group of kids, and they proceed to sled the hill. Little do they know that Billy is going around dressed as Santa killing anyone who he deems naughty. These two hoodlums have an axe awaiting them.

9. Halloween (1978) - Hung Up to Dry
John Carpenter's 'Halloween' is one of the staples of Slasher history. While it wasn't the first to be released, it was the first box office success. By today's standards the death scenes seem tame, Bob's death is iconic. All he wanted to do was get a beer, and ends up getting stabbed in the gut.

8. Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers (1988) - Drugs can kill
The 'Sleepaway Camp' series is one of my favorites. The original has one of the best twist endings of all time, but I love how over-the-top the sequels are. The one liners by the killer, Angela, are some of the funniest in Slasher history. This particular death involves two drugged up sisters who are about to burn up one last time. These puns write themselves, I'm serious.

7. Hatchet (2006) - That's one way to loose your head
Adam Green's 'Hatchet' is one of my favorite horror films of the last few years. I also loved the sequel, maybe more so than the first. The death of the Jim and Shannon Permatteo is phenomenal, and then you see the tongue waggling in the aftermath. Adam Green really knows how to execute his death scenes with hysterical precision.

6. Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood (1988) - Tree Hugging Camper
I love the Friday the 13th series, so it was really hard to come up with just one to put on this list. However, this girl getting slammed into the a tree in her sleeping bag is one of the most brutal, especially the clip shown below, which is in it's uncut form. 'New Blood' was butchered by the MPAA, and apparently Paramount has lost the minutes (!) of deleted gore footage. Here's hoping it's discovered like the 'My Bloody Valentine' footage was back in 2009.

5. Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971) - Speared for Your Pleasure
Outside of Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho' and H.G. Lewis's 'Blood Feast', Mario Bava's 'Twitch of the Death Nerve' is one of the first true slashers. The film tells the tale of a crazed family trying to off one another in gruesome ways to inherit the fortune of a dead relative. The film doesn't hold back, and like many Italian Horror films is very graphic. The death of Duke and Denise may be familiar to some as the same exact death was lifted for 'Friday the 13th Part 2'. The clip below shows the death prior, and then the double impalement.

4. A Nightmare on Elm St. (1984) - Well, that's one way to hit the sheets.
Freddy Krueger has always been one of my favorite slashers since I was a kid. I enjoy all of the films in the series ('Dream Warriors' is my favorite), but Glen's (Johnny Depp) death in the original is by far and away one of the most shocking in the series. Not only does this genuinely good guy get killed, he is apparently shredded to death and his remains are spewed from his bed. Then his parents walk in.

3. The Burning (1981) - Raft Trip to Damnation
I love the Weinstein produced 'The Burning'. While the setting of the summer camp may be a tired one 'The Burning' uses it to his best. Using cabins and the woods to his advantage, the avenging killer Cropsey is best when on the river. The first time I saw this scene I was blown away. The amazing effects by Tom Savini are phenomenal, and these 2:05 of brutality show only some of his amazing talents.

2. The Prowler (1981) - Stabbed in the head, and forked to death.
The one-two punch of Sherry and Carl's deaths in 'The Prowler' is amazingly brutal. Carl's eyes roll back in his head, which is just one of the coolest effects in the movie. The villain isn't done yet, and goes to the shower to stab Sherry in the abdomen with his trusty pitchfork. The movie is one of my favorite slashers, and is criminally unseen.

1. My Bloody Valentine (1981) - Silly girl, that's not how you take a shower.
As you can see, the Slasher films from 1981 are my favorite. 'The Prowler', 'The Burning', and 'Friday the 13th Part 2' are all great flicks. Each offering their own brand of sadistic butchery. Then there is 'My Bloody Valentine'. A film I find to be very unique. The cast is all older, and by that I mean they are cast to meet their actual ages. The setting is also fantastic. The scenes in the mine are very atmospheric, and Director George Mihalka makes use of his cinematographer to put the tension on high.

'My Bloody Valentine' had nearly three solid minutes of violence edited due to issues with the MPAA. It was thought to have been lost until the footage was found, and edited back into the film. I already loved this death prior, but seeing this uncut was a true spectacle. Sylvia is being chased around the men's bath area. The villain, Harry Warden, drops mining suits suspended from the ceiling, corralling her into the shower area. Warden then proceeds to pick Sylvia up by her head, and impales the back of her skull on the showerhead, causing blood and water to spew out of her mouth.

I tried to find the clip for you, but alas Lionsgate Entertainment has removed it from all known video sources. So if you've got an insatiable urge for death, give these movies a chance as they're chock full of awesome special effects, and nubile young (cough) teens.

Honorable mentions: Machete to groin (Just Before Dawn), Frozen Head Smash (Jason X), "Welcome to Prime Time, Bitch!" (Nightmare on Elm St. 3: Dream Warriors), Wheelchair Electrocution (Popcorn), Piercing Kevin Bacon's Neck (Friday the 13th), Bullet through eyeglass (Opera). I'm sure I'll think of more and update as I go.

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