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Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Six More of the Best Opening Kills in Slasher Movies

Writers often say that the first few pages of a screenplay are meant to hook the audience and make them pay attention to whatever comes next. And when it comes to Slasher movies, what better bait than some good old-fashioned ultra-violence? The art of the opening kill has been refined and reinvented by many filmmakers over the years, but they all basically serve the same purpose: letting the audience know that they’re in for a bloody fun ride.

A little while back, we came up with a list celebrating six of the best opening kills in slasher movies, but in a genre that’s been regularly pumping out blood and guts since the 70s, it’s clear that those initial few entries weren’t the only memorable murders out there. That’s why we’re back with six more impressive opening kills, this time featuring a couple of suggestions from readers like yourself.

Like last time, this list is entirely based on personal opinion, but there are a couple of rules. First of all, entries will be limited to a single kill per franchise, which also excludes the ones mentioned in the previous list. Second, the kills are featured regardless of the overall quality of the film they came from, so there’s no point in arguing that the rest of the flick doesn’t live up to its first impressions.

As usual, don’t forget to comment below with your own favorites if you think we missed an important kill. Now, onto the list…

6. Doom-Head’s Intro – 31 (2016)

From Mandy to Bingo Hell, Richard Brake is a horror legend and I still don’t understand why he isn’t cast in everything. With that out of the way, Rob Zombie’s 31 is a film that I’ve grown to appreciate a lot more over the years, and Brake’s memorable portrayal of the serial-killing Doom-Head is part of the reason why. A psychotic clown that’s only brought in when it’s absolutely necessary, this iconic character steals the show whenever he’s onscreen.

That’s why I think this vicious axe murder preceded by a six-minute monologue is an exceptional opening kill, expertly introducing audiences to Doom-Head as it sets up the flick’s nihilistic tone. Regardless of what you think of the rest of the picture, there’s no denying that this monochromatic intro is a masterclass in building horrific anticipation.

5. The Backseat Slasher – Urban Legend (1998)

Jamie Blanks’s Urban Legend remains one of my favorite Scream-inspired meta-Slashers of the 90s, and this clever opening scene is the perfect example of why. Featuring a spooky retelling of a classic scary story aided by an unexpected appearance by the legendary Brad Dourif, the scene certainly gets you pumped for the film’s “greatest hits” collection of folklore-inspired mayhem.

A skilled exercise in suspense and misdirection, there’s a lot to love about this introductory murder even if you’re not familiar with the infamous “Killer in the Backseat” story. The scene also gets bonus points for its tongue-in-cheek use of Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart!

4. Post-Coma Rampage – My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)

It’s rare for a remake to be just as fun as the original, but Patrick Lussier’s My Bloody Valentine 3D expertly achieves this by balancing brutal kills with a good sense of humor. The 3D effects are also delightfully over-the-top, as exemplified by Harry Warden’s post-coma rampage in the beginning of the movie.

Not only does the sequence function like a miniature Slasher flick with a beginning, middle and end, but it also serves as a perfect introduction to Gary J. Tunnicliffe’s masterful practical effects work as The Miner exacts his revenge. After all, there’s nothing more romantic than showcasing a gnarly collection of dead hospital staff and partygoers in your Valentine’s Day movie!

3. “Please don’t scream, you’re so beautiful” – Maniac (2012)

When it comes to horror movies, the journey often matters more than the destination, as the suspense preceding a death can be more important the kill itself. That’s definitely the case with the chilling opening credits sequence in Franck Khalfoun’s Maniac. A voyeuristic tour-de-force, the scene is one of the highlights of this underappreciated remake.

The eventual stabbing isn’t exactly ground-breaking, but the tension leading up to it makes this an exceptional example of cinematic homicide and a genuinely creepy introduction to Elijah Wood’s murderous Frank Zito.

2. Alice’s Death – Friday the 13th Part II (1981)

What better way to honor a memorable Final Girl than by murdering the hell out of her in the beginning of your sequel? A classic bait-and-switch, Friday the 13th Part II starts things off with a Giallo-inspired kill that introduces the world to Jason Voorhees in all of his murderous glory while also establishing that no one is safe this time around.

This sequel may lack the whodunnit thrills of the original, but it certainly makes up for it in sheer brutality. The memorable inclusion of Pamela’s decapitated head in Alice’s fridge is also a creepy bonus, making this one of the all-time best opening kills in Slasher history.

1. Murder and a Movie – Scream 2 (1997)

Wes Craven’s Scream may have revolutionized the Slasher genre with its iconic murder of Drew Barrymore, but I’d argue that Scream 2 takes this to the next level with its movie theater double homicide. The first film was already a clever exercise in meta storytelling, but the sequel plays around with this idea by bringing the action directly to the audience in this legendary opening sequence.

Like the best of these kills, the scene works on its own as a short film, establishing the themes and subtext of the Scream franchise while also delivering some self-contained thrills. I only wish I could have been there on opening night to witness this kill in all of its big screen glory like Craven originally intended.

The post Six More of the Best Opening Kills in Slasher Movies appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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