FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Mar 9, 2006

O death

Are you old enough and/or hip enough to know Bad Company?

Feel like makin' lists! (do do DOOO do do DOOO do do DOOO)
Feel like makin' lists! (do do DOOO do do DOOO do do DOOO)

At the risk of sounding like a complete sociopathic whackjob, today I present to you a list of my favorite slasher deaths. Frankly I feel a bit strange ranking death scenes in terms of "awesomeness", but once you take a gander at my choices you'll get an idea of what I'm talking about. Regular old stabbings and chokings are so blah! I mean, strictly Dullsville, you know? I appreciate those folks who think outside the box when offing their hapless victims. A little creativity goes a long way with yours truly, and thus you won't find any run-of-the-mill butcher knives on this list, homie.

Do I need to add a disclaimer know...death by any means in real life is bad and...umm...don't try these at home? No? Good. Then without further ado, and in no particular order, I give you:


Ah, romance. A bearskin rug, a little wine, a roaring fire...that spells nookie, son! In most cases, anyway. In Happy Birthday to Me, however, the romance only leads to DEATH! Death by MEAT KABOB! Mmm! Now that's tasty!

I discovered American Gothic during my Shocktober! madness, and I totally fell in love with the twisted story of a murderous family living on an island and partying like it's 1929. The highlight for me is undoubtedly the swingset sequence. Franny and Woody, siblings who act as if they're children but are, in fact, not a day under 40, are pushing visitor Rob in a swing:

Whee! Doesn't that look like fun? What a pretty day! The sky and the water are so blue! Life is awesome! Eventually, Woody climbs to the top of the swingset and cuts the rope with an axe...and it's bye bye Rob. Talk about whee!

Friday the 13th Part 3
is a notable entry in the film series because it's the one where Jason dons his infamous hockey mask. It also appeared on the scene during the big 3-D craze of the early 80s- in addition to this movie there was also Amityville 3-D and Jaws 3-D, to name a couple. Filmmakers needed to push the 3-D effects to the max and give the audience good reason to wear those ridiculous paper-and-cellophane glasses the movies required. In Friday 3, characters point alot of things at the camera: pitchforks, spears, yo-yos, even a joint. The best use of 3-D effects in the flick, however, comes when Jason squeezes this poor dude's head until his eyeball pops out and flies directly at the camera. It's still an over-the-top shot when seen today on DVD (in only 2 lousy dimensions), but I remember seeing it at the drive-in while wearing the requisite glasses and the whole place went absolutely crazy.

The last Friday movie I saw in a theatre, Part VIII, is undoubtedly one of the worst entries in the series. It's a big, dull, waterlogged mess of a slasher. I find it tedious and virtually unbearable, really. All is forgiven, however, towards the end when it's Jason vs Cool Kid Boxer in a rooftop punching match! Cool Kid Boxer punches Jason over and over and over, pummeling his head and stomach until Cool Kid's knuckles are all bloody from the effort. Jason takes every blow and doesn't seem to be feeling any effects whatsoever. Cool Kid Boxer wears himself out and can't swing anymore, at which point he taunts Jason with "Take your best shot!" Faster than you can say Pat Benatar, Jason swings...and punches the dude's head clean off. This single shot manages to redeem the other 90 minutes of stinking poop comprising this movie.

So this isn't technically a slasher...but it's in a series of slashers and I love it, so there you go. "I love it"? Wait, doesn't everyone hate Halloween III? Sure they do, but not me, Charlie! Yes, it's a really, really bad movie. Really. Really bad. But it's also one of the finest examples of 'so bad it's good' out there, and because of that I've taken Halloween III into my little ol' heart. Besides, it's got Tom Atkins, and you just can't go wrong with Tom Atkins. This movie does NOT feature Halloween psycho Michael Myers, which is the major problem most people have with it. John Carpenter envisioned a series of Halloween movies that didn't center around Michael Myers, but rather centered around the night itself. I think that's a pretty good idea, but people wanted their beloved Michael back onscreen. And did I mention that Season of the Witch is really bad? Anyway, my favorite moment in a movie filled with favorite moments is what happens to some poor lady in a hotel room. She's screwing around with a Silver Shamrock logo, which has fallen off a mask she bought earlier. The logo looks like it's got a little computer chip on it or something- what could that mean? She starts poking it with a bobby pin, and suddenly...

ZZZZAP! She gets shot in the mouth with a fucking laser. It's unexpected, it's ludicrous, and the results are grody to the max. Dude. Gross me out the door.

Speaking of zap (and no, I'm not talking about the American Gladiator, unfortunately), how 'bout that Silent Night, Deadly Night 2, eh? When obnoxious preppy Chip makes a love connection with his car battery (courtesy of psycho Ricky), I get sensation not dissimilar to that I get when I bite into a York Peppermint Patty.

Of course, no discussion of SNDN 2 would be complete without mentioning Ricky's ingenuity as he claims a victim by gettin' Mary Poppins all over the guy's ass...wait, that sounds dirty. Ah, well. He does get...anyway. It's rainin' pain, my friends!

Lordy, lordy is Graduation Day a bad movie. Not good bad...just bad. It was torture to sit through it during Shocktober!, but I will forever and always treasure its one shining moment: ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Football with a Sword Attached. Catching it can be harmful to your health...kinda like catching Ebola. But pointier.


O Angela, my Angela. It was so difficult to choose which demonstration of your handiwork to include in this list. Should I include the cheerleader strung up and dropped from atop a flagpole in Part 3? Or maybe the chick drowned in the outhouse in Part 2...but then there's the Shit Sisters from that movie as well, burned alive, still clutching their bottles of Jack's been tough deciding. Ultimately though, dear Angela, you won me over early on in Sleepaway Camp 3 when you travelled to New York City and stole a garbage truck to run over your victim. And the way you were dressed just like her when you did it so you could take her place at camp? I mean, right down to the wig! That kind of stunt takes time and planning, and you did it, girlfriend. Kudos, Angela. You rock!

And yes, you can totally tell it's a dummy that gets run over. Icing on the cake, my friends...that's just icing on the cake.

There you have it, folks. Those are the deaths that somehow fill me with giddiness, however wrong that may be. I'm not a sicko, I swear. They're just so over-the-top that they make me smile. And now...

That's right! Just for you, I've compiled a bonus mini-list:


I would most sincerely not enjoy being boiled alive like so much human cabbage. It's quite a popular way to off people in slasher movies, though, so I'm worried it might one day happen to me. Just look at these methods, and see if you don't agree:

Boiled in a hydrotherapy tub, courtesy of Michael Myers in Halloween 2:

Boiled amongst the hot dogs*, courtesy of Harry Warden in My Bloody Valentine:

"Boiled" in a vat of dry ice, even if it looks like I'm on the set of a music video for a Power Ballad by some 80s hair band, a la Pranks:

And finally, while the idea of being boiled alive is highly unappealing, I find there's a method of death much less appealing, and it comes courtesy of David Cronenberg's The Brood. I would not- repeat, I would not- like to be bludgeoned to death by screaming, snowsuit-clad mutant dwarves, especially not in front of a room full of kindergarteners. How embarassing.

*Anyone who boils their hotdogs instead of frying or grilling them is a jerk.


warrenzone said...

Some other great boiling 'deaths' - the pervy cook in Sleepaway Camp (badly burned from a HUGE boiling pot) and a scalding in Deep Red that was truly gross.

John Barleycorn said...

Stacie, this list is fantastic! I had a blast reading it - especially since I haven't seen the majority of these decidedly C-Grade films (though I'm uber-curious now) and I can get all the "best parts" without a slot on my Netflix list.

I have to agree about the weirdness of rating death in terms of the level of enjoyment. Yeah, that's sketchy, but I understand. I dig. I'm on your side.

And while I like the head-poppin' death in F13: Part 3, I think the sleeping bag death in Part 7 was far superior.

Also, did we forget a little indie flick from 1960 called Psycho?

(Oh, I'm so dirty.)

Anonymous said...

Favorite deaths?

The Head Shrinker getting his head shrunk inside a Frog Mask in The Abmoniable Dr. Phibes.

The dude that gets squashed into a cube in Dr. Phibes Rises Again.

David Warner's close shave in The Omen.

Lew Ayre's ice hockey mishap in Damien-Omen II.

Sheriff Doofus sticking his head outta the ground to check around in Prophecy. Smooth movie, Ex-Lax.

Simon MacCorkindale getting swallowed whole by the shark - then crushed by its throat muscles - in Jaws 3-D.

Jason buying it in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. (The build-up to it wasn't all that bad, either.)

Rhodes in Day of the Dead.

The kid getting squashed in Maximum Overdrive.

Mom getting her head lopped off by the elevator in Final Destination 2. (One thing I have noticed about the FD movies, the first "accidental death" is usually has the longest set-up and pay-off.

I'm a guy - I microwave my hot dogs.

Anonymous said...

Hallowe'en 3: Season Of The Witch is awesome. You can't argue with druid toymakers and robot assistants in my book. Throw in a nastily catchy jingle and some creepy-crawlies and I'm happy as a pig in muck.

Other notable deaths:
The head-through the TV in NOES 3.
The decapitation by sideboard in Haute Tension
Kevin Bacon's post-coital reverse tracheotomy in the original Friday the 13th

Steve said...

I find most of the death scenes in the Final Destination series, especially the the first one to be refreshing(?). I remember seeing it in the theater and finally excited that someone with an imagination wrote the death scenes.

Speaking of great Friday the 13th scenes, in one of the older ones (sorry, forget) there is the tent scene. If you forget, let me set it up for you, guy and girl enjoying teenage promiscuity in a tent, girl on top, Jason finds them and slices the girl in half with a road sign pole while she is on top of the guy.

And one of my favorite scenes in Maximum Overdrive is the freaked out Pop (soda, Coke) machine that starts spitting out and gunning down the Little League team. Classic.

Stacie Ponder said...

Damn, guys...I can't believe I left out the boiling from Sleepaway Camp and the sleeping bag from F13-VII! Good calls.

You guys have all listed good stuff, actually. I haven't seen Maximum Overdrive in forever...probably for a reason! But that Coke machine...yeah, priceless.

Glad I'm not alone in this!

Chris Hopper said...

I have to say Friday the 13th 3 is probably my all time favorite slasher. Thank you for pointing out the head crushing scene. I think my favorite death scene in the movie, though, is right after he finds his mask. "You dropped your wallet!" I love that one. You were also right about part 8. It was actually the last one that could even really be considered to have camp value. Most notably due to the scene you speak of.

I am also a huge fan of the first three Halloween movies. I think part three is a really under rated film. I love that jingle! Thanks for making such a cool list!

Anonymous said...

Yup, sleeping bag in Friday VII and Jaws 3 (that one truly disturbed me).

I also dug the cockroach dream in Nightmare on Elm Street 4, but is that really a slasher?

Death by dishes in Tourist Trap is pretty good too...

Oh yeah, not super unusual but when that kid gets cut in half by the window in Supernatural, it's sooooo gross!

Another great list!

Amanda By Night

Jesse Hammer said...

Ah, crap. Somebody beat me to the Jason Voorhees, sleeping bag-against-the-tree whack. That rules, hands down.

M said...

For some reason my favorite death is during the prom's blood bath in Carrie: Carrie sends a table crashing against a teacher, and the point of impact is her waist. The woman is killed instantly, cut in half and her torso falls with a thud on the table. I "believed" her death, you know? I thought it was totally convincing.

Anonymous said...

The lawyer getting cut in half VERTICALLY in 'Thirteen Ghosts'. Terrible, terrible movie, but hey... DEAD lawyers! IT was great the way one half of the body slides down the glass and you see the other half still standing, and the eyeballs are still moving! Soooo gross!!!!

Jason Adams said...

Oh Stacie. I love your twisted brain so, so very much. ;-) I don't know how I'd never read this post before, but I should've known you'd have beaten and bettered my Thursday's Ways Not To Die series. I have to do some serious schlock-marathon'ing to catch up with you.

Unknown said...

Friday 3-D was awesome, another great 3-D moment was when Harold was picking the clothesline pole off the ground and looks right at the camera and sticks the pole out at the audience.
I too appreciate Halloween III
One of my favorite Friday deaths is when Horseshack from Welcome Back Kotter has his heart ripped out by Jason in Friday VI.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love the raft scene from "The Burning", if only for sheer volume!

Oh, yeah, and I liked the post-hole digger from "Behind the Mask". (Anyone who disagrees with me can go boil a hot dog.)