Every dead body that is not exterminated gets up and kills!
By Chuck Francisco
June 19, 2013 Source: Mania.com
Zombies- still the hot commodity of the horror machine (although possessed children are gaining a strong foot hold). Perhaps one of the reasons we find them so engaging as an audience is the ability to hypothesize various survival scenarios. Where would you go; how would you arm yourself; who would you bring? These are games that can't be played with vampires or werewolves, or rather they seldom seem to be. The requisite head shot to disable them has become a household factoid, with most people assuming they've got what it takes to make it happen. A headshot isn't quite the easy proposition though. Sometime the characters in zombie films fail to connect. Here's a top five list of the most inspired kills perpetrated by zombies upon those poor saps who couldn't sever the head or destroy the brain. Extra points were awarded for grizzly brutality. Video clips are NSFW obviously.
'Dead and Buried' needle magic
While not zombies in the classical Romero style, the townsfolk of Potter's Bluff are the reanimated dead, carrying out brutal, often sadistic murders. None more classic than this needle to the eye sequence on a poor man who'd already been burned all over by the undead. He's so badly wounded that only one of his eyes remains exposed from beneath a mountain of bandages. This is a visceral kill which is damned effective and wince inducing. His eyelid closing around the needle as it's inserted sells the sizzle. Poor Freddy.
Rhodes comes apart in 'Day of the Dead'
Perhaps the least respected of Romero's originally trilogy, 'Day is an important indictment of the military industrial complex which is woven into our country. Captain Rhodes is an appalling human being who embodies the worst of our militaristic mindset, so by the time he reaches his gruesome end the audience is firmly on the side of the zombies. That doesn't mean there's isn't an ounce of sympathy as he's bodily ripped apart by a horde of zeds though. Behind the scenes, Rhodes' guts where comprised of butcher bought pig insides, which apparent reeked something fierce.
Intestinal Regurgitation from 'The Gates of Hell'
So far as I can tell,no good has likely ever come from a priest hanging himself in a graveyard above one of the gates to hell. Opening that gate allows for the dead to walk the earth in this gore soaked Lucio Fulci favorite. This scene may not be as famous as "the drill scene" but it takes the cake for most disgusting in the film. The shock power comes from Fulci's unflinching camera focus as this poor teen literally throws up her intestines. Yuck but at the same time awesome!
Devine Intervention from 'Dead Alive'
It's really difficult to top Father McGruder, a priest who kicks ass for The Lord. Peter Jackson's record setting, blood drenched undead movie is memorable for quite a number of reasons, but this brief zombie Kung Fu interlude is perhaps my favorite. McGruder unloads a bevy of brutal kicks that would impress Bruce Lee, including that wonderful decapitating sweep, but it's all for naught as he's impaled on a statue while mid flying dragon attack. He did it all from the comfort of his silk pajamas. We should all hope to put up such a good fight should a zed outbreak occur. His death is both a surprise and absurdly comical. It's also gory in keeping with the rest of the flick.
The Eye scene from 'Zombie'
If there's one thing that the famous eye scene from Zombie teaches, it's got to be "never try to secure a door made of wooden slats from zombies"; this will only end in tears (if your tear ducts aren't irreparably smushed). This is another stomach churning sequence from zombie maestro Lucio Fulci, which works so well because he is so very patient with the kill. There's nothing abrupt or quick about the gore, which enhances the shock value by orders of magnitude. I know long time zombie fans who still squirm during this sequence despite having seen it dozens of times. The zombie versus shark scene from earlier in the film may be more famous (and arguably cooler since it is a frakking zombie fighting a live shark) but the eye impale moment is the most effective kill of this film.
Do you disagree with my choices or order? Let me know in the comments! See you next Wednesday!
Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Wednesday's Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a co-curator of several repertoire film series at the world famous Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA. You can hear him drop nerd knowledge on weekly podcast You've Got Geek or think him a fool of a Took on Twitter.
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