This is gonna be tricky. When I decided to do a top ten list of decapitations, I realized that of the hundreds that are out there preserved on celluloid, I will inevitably miss some. So, I have put this list together of the ones that have stuck in my mind. These may not be your favorites, but they are some of the ones that have had the most impact on me. Here’s just a sample of some of my fave’s.
I’m a huge fan of Tom Savini. In this 1980 movie, Tom’s penchant for gore and splatter is pretty clear. Disco Boy is making out with his girlfriend in the front seat of the car when the girlfriend spots Frank. Frank has problems. Frank has mommy issues and likes to scalp women. Disco Boy hits the headlights that illuminate Frank and his 12 gauge shotgun. He leaps onto the hood of the car and in slow motion blasts straight through the windshield, vaporizing Disco Boy’s head. Not one to waste a good effect, we see the head shot from a couple of different angles. All the better to see the bone, brain and gore!
2. Wrong Turn 4.
In a word: brilliant. This scene has layers of violence that culminate in a fantastic, well executed kill scene. Our favorite in-bred family is back in another installment of the franchise and they apparently want to step up the gore. Previous installments were apparently a little too pansy. Barbed wire plays a large factor in these movies. In fact, it played a role in the second death in the original. However, this time it’s used as a garrotte and a hangman’s rope. Poor Claire gets hoisted off her feet with a strand of barbed wire. The cannibals are sitting on a balcony overhead, pulling Claire’s struggling body towards them. The more she struggles, the more the wire bites into her flash. Kyle attempts to save her, but only succeeds in adding more weight. Dumb idea. The waterfall of blood continues as the wire cuts deeper and deeper. Eventually, her head just comes off and she drops to the ground.
3. Deadly friend.
This has to be one of the most innocuous weapons ever. Really? a basketball? Wes Craven is one of my favorite directors and this is why. Words can’t describe how great this scene is. The funky little dance afterwards is icing on the cake.
4. High Tension.
This one wins huge style points. A serial killer breaks into the home where Marie is staying and starts to kill everyone. At least he was polite enough to ring the doorbell. The father has his head jammed between two staircase rails, unable to move. The serial killer then uses a bookcase to push his head off. Kind of barbaric, right?
5. Cigarette Burns.
This comes from Season 1 of the Masters of Horror series. Directed by John Carpenter, it’s a one hour movie about a guy looking for a rare print of a movie so evil that anyone who watches it descends into a uncontrollable psychotic frenzy. During his quest, Kirby Sweetman comes across a group of people who have information about the movie. These people are pretty nasty. Finding himself tied to a chair, he is forced to watch the decapitation of the cab driver who brought him there. It isn’t quick, like a Voorhees kill. It involves much chopping.
Death by shovel. That’s what happens when you start nosing around in other people’s re-animation experiments, Professor. Herbert is getting pretty close to getting this figured out. Coincidentally, he needs a corpse. In cowardly fashion, he sneaks up from behind and brains the Professor with the business end of a shovel. While prone on the ground, wondering what the hell just happened, Herbert snugs the blade end under Professor’s chin and gets diggin’.
7. The Toxic Avenger.
Sometimes boundaries need to be pushed. Is is wrong to run down a child on his bike? Would it be wrong to stop and back up over his head? Some would say yes. Not this band of thugs and psychotics. Not to worry, Toxie sorts them out.
8. Friday the 13th Part 5.
Junior is doing laps around the house on his motorcycle, all freaked out after getting a serious beat-down by Joey from the halfway house. We’re getting fed up with his incessant yelling. So is Jason. So he cuts Junior’s head off with a meat cleaver. Then just to show us how much he hates rednecks, he butchers Junior’s mom as she’s “fixin’ some stew”.
9. The Toxic Avenger.
Troma Productions have come up with some terrific B movie material over the years. One of my favorites has to be the original Toxic Avenger. Over the top violence and splatter is what drives these people. On his mission of revenge, Toxie goes to the gym to settle the score with one of his wrong doers. . . .who happens to be lying down working his legs. Toxie flips him over, pulls up the weights one handed and slides his head into the path of the weights. A few rapid cuts add some humour to the scene. Frightened face . . .suspended weights . . .frightened face . . .suspended weights. Squish.
10. Friday the 13th part 8.
Jason leaves the camp and takes Manhattan. Weak. Sorry, I love the series, but this one is a fail. Julius should be able to put up a decent fight as a boxer, no? After all, he isn’t some sobbing girl who keeps falling down as she tries to run away. Julius attempts to spar with Jason but after wearing himself out flailing and punching, Jason takes his best shot. Julius’ head comes clean off.