Yet another article rescued from the gaping hole that was once Blumhouse.com
One of my favorite topics to write about is how horror infiltrates the non-genre aspects of pop culture. The genre we love is so subversive and niche, and there’s always a bit of a secret thrill that comes when a “regular” movie or TV show acknowledges it, even dabbling in it a little bit. And if there’s one element where non-horror films get closest to the macabre, it’s gore. Violence isn’t confined to just the scary side of the genre world, and sometimes an otherwise more family-friendly film will bust out a killer death scene (pun absolutely intended) that makes you feel like you’ve suddenly been dunked into an Eli Roth movie. Here are some of the most memorable, gory moments in non-horror history.
The Nazi Face Melt in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
Let’s begin with a classic. The Steven Spielberg family adventure movie RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK has haunted the memories of every young child who has watched it. The movie is an attention-grabber, so kids’ eyes will be glued to the screen by the finale where the Nazis open the coveted Ark of the Covenant, failing to heed the warning not to look directly at it. As any and all children watch with undivided attention, Nazis are hit with lasers, their heads explode, and then… that guy’s face melts clean off! RAIDERS has you under its spell, so there’s nothing you can do but sit in saucer-eyed horror, staring at the no-holds-barred gore that has abruptly elbowed its way into your movie.
The Courtyard Smackdown in RIKI-OH: THE STORY OF RICKY
Martial arts movies aren’t normally known for their extravagant gore, but RIKI-OH is a special case. A top-to-bottom giddy gorefest, you could throw a dart at any random scene in the film and hit a gruesomely bloody death. But in my mind it’s hard to ignore this courtyard battle, where a man attempts to strangle Ricky with his own intestines. When your action movie has shades of ANTHROPOPHAGUS, you have my undivided attention.
The Toxic Waste Bath in ROBOCOP
ROBOCOP, being a Paul Verhoeven film, never shies away from being a hard R, but the brutal, howling death of the character of Emile is particularly harrowing. After being inundated with toxic waste (in 80’s movies toxic waste was about as common on city streets as Starbucks), Emile comes flailing into the road, skin sloughing off his body, where he’s hit by a car and explodes into a fine pink mist. This is the movie that birthed a thousand horror fans, even if the plot was decidedly in the action milieu.
If you haven’t seen Logan yet, go rectify that immediately. Drawing confidence from the success of DEADPOOL, the third Wolverine film leans into its R-rating [SPOILERS], depicting unbridled carnage and mayhem in the gritty near future. The whole movie is chock full of incredible, lurid kills that pack a punch, but the scene I’ve chosen to highlight takes place in an Oklahoma City casino, where Wolverine fights through a psychic barrier in slow motion to painstakingly dispatch a series of evil goons, sending his claws on a bloody journey through their skulls. [END SPOILERS] No clip for this one. Go see it in theaters. Right now.
The Motel Bathroom in DRIVE
Nicolas Winding Refn’s DRIVE is a slow-moving, deliberate film, but it’s punctuated with swift blasts of violence that are even more startling when contrasted with the film’s quiet grandeur. It really drives home the point of how brutal and ugly violence is, but in no scene more so than the one where Christina Hendricks gets her head burst open in a motel bathroom with a gunshot effect straight out of MANIAC. If a non-horror movie can remind you of Tom Savini, it’s probably a good’un.