Look out, it’s an incredibly high-velocity basketball!
Movie audiences have become more sophisticated. It’s pretty difficult to shock even the most jaded viewer. While past audiences were wowed when somebody punched out a horse in a western, they’ve come to demand a little more these days when excessive force usually seen within the confines of a police precinct, is doled out on screen.
Since the Motion Picture Association of America started doling out R-ratings, many different weapons have been used to dispatch people whose story arc has come to a close.
Backing over someone with your car is almost quaint. Even the tools of the tree surgeon trade have become passé, as why risk industrial deafness or emptying out your half liter tank so the town virgin can escape the whir?
Horror movie victims have been clubbed with barbwire mace, choked, maimed, burned, detonated, halved, drowned, sliced, diced and crumpled (Airbags don’t save lives when they’re deployed at the bottom of a cliff). Perhaps worse: they’ve been targeted with these 13 Unique Horror Movie Weapons.
1. Outboard Motor: Zombie Holocaust / The Mutilator
Calling a movie Zombie Holocaust is a surefire way to ensure it never gets within two time zones of Cannes.
A spinning propeller meant a closed casket for Pat Roach in Raiders of the Lost Ark. However, the human touch and immediacy of an outboard motor separated from the boat added a certain je ne sais quoi to Zombie Holocaust and The Mutilator.
In Zombie Holocaust our heroes fend off marauding zombies on the beach. Now, beaches or bucolic settings are fine for landscape painters, but in a horror film, you’re better off in an urban environment even if you need a police escort to leave your apartment.
In The Mutilator, a homicidal maniac exacting revenge over the accidental death of his wife, dispatches a victim by the shed of a beachfront condo. The guy stands there as the propeller carves into his torso (perhaps amazed by the incredible upper body strength required for such a feat).
2. Television Set: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Never has the notion of television being responsible for killing brain cells been so graphically rendered as in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Henry, a serial killer, and Otis, his incestuous redneck friend (not a pair you’d want to double date), get fed up with the lousy reception of Otis’s crappy TV. They go to buy a new one, but the owner of the pawn shop/electronics store tells them they can only afford a lousy black-and-white model. And then he decides to get lippy, which is a decision he will come to regret for the next few, final and horribly painful moments of his life.
Henry stabs him with a soldering iron and then in a surprisingly inspired choice of murder weapon, he crowns the mouthy store owner with one of his own sets. And then Otis plugs it in.
3. Beer Can: Sleepover Nightmare
In keeping with the summer theme, we turn to that elixir, about which the ancient Egyptians said, “The mouth of a perfectly happy man is filled with beer.”
In movies, countless shards of glass have been swept up off bar floors as the beer bottle is a perennial favorite when it comes to acquainting someone with next week, however whatever scar that might result would just be chalked up to an incredibly bad hangover.
In Sleepover Nightmare though, someone suffers a fate, the more benign form of which usually comprises a frat-house initiation ritual—a crushed can of beer no less, shoved through the forehead by a Panama hat-wearing psychopath.
4. Nail Gun: Nail Gun Massacre
Who among us not presently under the employ of Habitat for Humanity hasn’t thought of how cool it would be to fire off a few rounds of a nail gun, perhaps at the fat arse of a particularly annoying supervisor?
Well, we can credit Danny Glover of Lethal Weapon fame, for bringing this device into the public consciousness when he knocked two intruders out with it.
In Nail Gun Massacre, the killer uses some kind of portable compressed air nail gun and a bag-full of catchphrases (“Okay turd-face, cut the small talk”) before sending his victims to the great home renovation center in the sky.
5. Pizza Cutter: Into the Mirror
For the next two slots on the list, we move indoors from the garage, to the kitchen.
Into the Mirror is a South Korean film that proves that the pen can be just as mighty as the sword, at least when it’s shoved into the ear canal. It also shows us there are far more ways of using kitchen implements than whatever French culinary techniques might be used to julienne a victim. Scoring huge points for originality, a pizza cutter is used to slit a victim’s throat.
6. Frying Pan: Eating Raoul
In Eating Raoul, a dull couple, Mr. and Mrs. Bland find they can finance their dream restaurant by luring perverts to their home through the classified ads, clubbing them over the head with a heavy skillet and stealing their wallets.
This gambit gives new meaning to the term “deadpan”. An interesting side-note if you’re not already convinced this is great way to spend your next free Saturday night: Eating Raoul is also notable for a near-drowning in a toilet bowl.
7. Umbrella: Silent Night, Deadly Night 2
This $250,000 production gets kudos here for not one, but three unique murder implements that made the night ever so deadly, if not particularly silent. Given the ubiquity of car troubles in horror films, especially on cul-du-sacs where entire families of deranged cannibal psychopaths invariably collect their mail, you wouldn’t be shocked by the use of a jumper cable – but would be if you were one of the victims in the Silent Night Deadly Night sequel.
Also quite innovative was the use of a car antenna as a strangling device, which has the added benefit of picking up whatever angry right-wing call-in chat show the perpetrator would inevitably favor.
However, it’s the un-Mary Poppins use of the umbrella as a souvlaki-skewer, which gets kudos here.
8. Electric Guitar Drill: Slumber Party Massacre II
A staunchly pro-abstinence film even by horror film standards (“if you go, don’t go all the way!”) Slumber Party Massacre II features the crazed rockabilly lovechild of Gene Vincent and John Travolta in Grease who, in this jumbled mess of a movie, bores everyone in more ways than one.
For a Be Bop a Lula 50’s lunatic, the killer inexplicably has a cheesy 80’s heavy metal guitar and goes after a Runaways-style girl group who unfortunately cannot live up to that concept and get screwed/impaled/drilled.
On Amazon.com, those who were interested in this production also enjoyed Sorority House Massacre I, and Sorority House Massacre II (This prompts the question, who’d be left to pledge that sorority and who would want to at that point?)
A unremarkable third installment in the Slumber Party Massacre series was released, following the “nubile scantily clad women go out and get drunk, party, fail to heed the warnings of their cement headed male companions and are picked off one-by-one by a (insert weapon here and then insert weapon into various body parts) backwoods lunatic”. To the best of our knowledge, a flame-throwing trombonist was not involved.
9. Pogo Stick: Leprechaun
The movie’s tag line was “The luck of the Irish is being packed and shipped to a little town in South Dakota, whose luck may have just run out” and John Lennon once sang, “If you had the luck of the Irish, you’d be sorry and wish you were dead.”
Leprechaun fulfills that wish and more with a dizzying plot involving a theft of coins from a Leprechaun’s Pot O’ Gold stash. This film violates that cardinal rule of extending life expectancy in a horror flick namely, if you find a mysterious crate, call the city and have them cart it off on a non-garbage day.
A pawn shop owner who finds the coins in his possession gets pogo-sticked to death by the eponymous character as we await the definitive Segway scooter running amok murder to be brought to the big screen.
Honorable Mentions: Cotton candy gun in Killer Klowns from Outer Space and a set of hedge clippers in The Burning.
10. Dresser / Chest of Drawers: High Tension
In the claustrophobic French gore fiesta High Tension (Haute Tension) the perils of not building a structure up to code are fully realized, as someone with their head stuck in a banister railing gets it lopped off by a giant cabinet dresser.
Easily one of the most creative decapitations ever brought to cinema, by the French who not surprisingly also brought us….well…cinema itself and the guillotine.
11. Basketball: Deadly Friend
Our first two entrants make us almost misty-eyed and nostalgic for the likes of The Toolbox Murders.
Like choosing which of your children you’d love more, if the courts didn’t choose for you, it’s tough to decide among these top three Unique Horror Movie weapon deaths: three of the uniquely original screen deaths ever.
11 and 12 in our entries are book adaptations and in Deadly Friend, more creative liberties are taken than a pantomime version of King Lear when a bathtub drowning from the novel somehow morphs into a basketball decapitation on screen.
Unless it was shot out of a cannon, you’d be hard pressed to get a Spalding up to a speed that would separate someone’s top 1/8th from the rest of them.
12. Ear of Corn: Sleepwalkers
In Sleepwalkers, incredibly, a piece of corn on the cob is driven through the back of an unlucky hick sheriff’s deputy. What’s even more incredible is that it had been cooked and lacked the structural rigidity of its raw form.
Extra points for the “No vegetables, no dessert!” cracking wise.
13. Trombone: The Town that Dreaded Sundown
We can add a horn section to our Slumber Party Massacre murder band in The Town That Dreaded Sundown which features a trombone knife, yes, a knife rigged up to the end of a trombone. The film was very very loosely based on the actual phantom killer murders from 1946.
A local journalist said of the film, “poetic license has rarely been stretched so thin.” That’s why we got a brass band murder weapon when in actuality, the victim played the saxophone. Could’ve been worse. At least this was fiction. Michael Moore in Bowling For Columbine, said that Canadians don’t lock their doors. They most certainly do, and double bolt it after reading this list.