Jun 27, 2014

13 Awesome Horror Head Traumas

Article By: Sean Abley

One of the best things about horror movies is getting grossed out. Like, blood and guts and gore (you know you love it). Thus, we present to you 13 awesome examples of disgustingly awesome things happening to people’s heads.

1. Scanners (1981)

Of course we have to start with the best head explosion ever committed to celluloid. Dick Smith provided the prosthetic head, and a shotgun was used to mind-expanding effect. And for the record, because he rarely gets credit, Louis Del Grande is the actor who loses his head for Michael Ironside.

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2. Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

This 3-D entry in the series gifts us with the third best kill in the entire franchise (Number One - Jason’s death in Friday the 13th 4: The Final Chapter; Number Two – Face frozen in liquid nitrogen then shattered in Jason X). Actor-turned-chiropractor Paul Kratka’s eyeball-popping demise is also one of the best uses of 3-D in cinema (prior to Jackass 3D).

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3. Black Sunday AKA The Mask of Satan (1960)

As per interviews with both, director Mario Bava and leading lady Barbara Steele battled it out on the set of Black Sunday, but the war was worth it for this genius directorial debut (and very early appearance by Steele). Don’t let the black and white fool you – this is a vicious flick that was banned in the UK for eight years after its release. In this clip, which opens the film, Satan’s mask is in full effect.

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4. The Fly 2 (1989)

The sepia-toned slow boil of David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly is replaced by shiny laboratory lights and super gross death scenes in this sequel.  Director Chris Walas (responsible for the creature effects in Cronenberg’s remake) and four screenwriters (Mick Garris, Frank Darabont, Jim and Ken Wheat) kill off Geena Davis’s stand-in in the first five minutes, then serve up Eric Stoltz and Daphne Zuniga as the new fly super couple. As for head trauma, check out the guy who can’t move faster than an elevator. (Bonus acid-to-face death in this clip!)

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5. City of the Living Dead AKA The Gates of Hell (1980)

We love Italian horror! While The Gates of Hell doesn’t exactly fit into the giallo genre, it still has all the exquisitely graphic death scenes we’ve come to expect from a virtuoso like Lucio Fulci. A priest kills himself, the gates of Hell open, and sh*t gets real… real fast. One of Fulci’s more famous kills involves a really big drill…

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6. Maniac (1980)

This William Lustig sleazefest (and we mean that as a compliment) is beloved by multiple generations of horror fans, despite the almost nonexistent plot and nonstop misogyny. The late Joe Spinell cowrote the screenplay for himself, and Lustig, one of the few directors that truly understands what “grindhouse” means, gives him all the room he needs to create his most iconic film performance. With scalpings so realistic it feels like watching autopsy footage, Maniac is part of the Tom Savini canon of films that are so real, they hurt. The finale is gutwrenching (literally), but this moment makes you feel as if you’ve actually seen someone killed. So – awesome!

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7. Midnight Meat Train (2008)

After you learn why meat is being transported at midnight on the train, you’ll wonder why the kills had to be so horrific. But thankfully before then you get to enjoy them for what they are in this floptastic, yet visually stylish, adaptation of Clive Barker’s short story of the same name. The pros and cons of whether a film with the name Midnight Meat Train was unfairly withheld from a large theatrical release is still debated where horror geeks hang out. But there’s no denying this is a great triple kill. (Three heads suffer trauma!)

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8. Chopping Mall (1986)

The original title of this Jim Wynorski classic was Killbots, and considering there isn’t a lot of chopping going on that might have been a better title. Oh, who are we kidding – Chopping Mall is an awesome title! Suzee Slater is featured in one of the best smash cuts in horror movie history.

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9. Galaxy of Terror (1981)

For those of us that grew up with Erin Moran on Happy Days, her appearance and gruesome death in this Roger Corman sci-fi horror opus was quite shocking. The fact that she was, at the time, the most bankable name in the film, yet didn’t live until the end, also confounded our expectations. One of many sci-fi horror flicks of the time, Galaxy of Terror benefitted from HBO’s change in 1981 to a 24-hour programming schedule, allowing them to screen the film approximately a billion times. 

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10. The Toxic Avenger (1984)

So apparently we’re all doing trigger warnings these days, so if you’ve been bullied by ne’er-do-wells threatening to run you down with their car, keep moving. Nothing to see here. But for those that are team “Run That Kid Down,” here’s a fun clip that’s everything you would expect from a Troma film.

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11. Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (2010)

Let’s face it – By this point in the series (the last of seven films), we didn’t want anyone to get out of those traps! What fun was that? The one possible exception was Jigsaw’s wife, Jill (Betsy Russell). We love that the filmmakers brought Russell out of retirement, she said all the right things in interviews, and she digs her fans. And we sort of sympathize with Jill, even though she’s bad. So this death seems a bit mean-spirited…but also awesome.

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12. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

Finally, FINALLY someone does the right thing in a Halloween movie! Actually, Jamie Lee Curtis’s “Laurie” does many right things in this smart entry in the franchise. A direct sequel to Halloween II, this post-Scream effort has its final girl (actually, now a final woman) keep one step ahead of Michael Myers by using her brain and her brawn. Curtis is fantastic in what should have been the final entry in the franchise (and her unceremonious death in Halloween: Resurrection is quite disrespectful in our opinion). In this clip, she does what we’ve all been shouting at the final girls to do for 20-plus years.

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13. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Now that it’s just us close friends here in the privacy of a listicle on the internet, can we all admit that Tom Savini’s work on this one particular effect is… less than realistic? Not that we don’t love it! We do! And Savini is our god, absolutely. But seriously, that’s a fivehead on Jim Krut (aka Helicopter Zombie) if we’ve ever seen one. But regardless of how fake the purple skinned, shoebox headed zombie looks in the scene, we all cheer as it plays out because we adore Dawn of the Dead, flaws and all.

What other memorable horror head traumas traumatized you? Tell us all about it on our Facebook page and on Twitter using #Friday13!

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