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Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Bloody Disgusting Carves Up the 10 Best Kills in 2023’s Horror Movies

Horror is the gift that keeps giving, especially when it comes to inventive carnage on screen. On that front, it’s been a stellar year for memorable kills in horror thanks to a slew of franchise entries, original slashers, surprising takes on demonic possession, and more.

What might be most surprising, in the best possible way, is how 2023 horror pushed boundaries when it came to on-screen deaths. 2023 horror wasn’t afraid to get ruthless when it came to shattering the taboo of killing kids. Nor was it afraid to deliver unforgettable moments on screen through unexpected demises that made us groan, cheer, recoil, and even laugh.

We’re saluting the ten best kills in 2023 horror movies, which means massive spoilers ahead.

You’ve been warned…


Beau is Afraid – Mid-Coitus Shock

Beau is Afraid Parker Posey

Sometimes, it’s not the goriest or most elaborate death that lingers, but the funniest. In Ari Aster’s strange odyssey, Beau Wassermann (Joaquin Phoenix) finds himself looking to his past as he attempts to make his way home for his overbearing mother’s funeral. His childhood crush Elaine prominently factors into his trip down memory lane, making him wistful for the great love that could’ve been. Beau finally gets his chance at love when he bumps into Elaine (Parker Posey) at his mother’s house. After briefly reconnecting, the pair have sex. Beau’s fears that he’ll die upon climax are revealed to be misplaced; it’s Elaine who has a heart attack mid-coitus, giving Beau an entirely unexpected new complex to fear. Aster plays up the nightmare humor here, ensuring Beau’s first time having sex is every bit as awkward and cringeworthy as possible and then some. The shock of Elaine’s unexpected death is played so macabrely funny that you’ll never hear Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby” the same again.


The Last Voyage of the Demeter – Double the Child Death

The Last Voyage of the Demeter Toby

Killing children in horror movies is a taboo that 2023 has had no qualms about shattering, from Evil Dead Rise to When Evil Lurks. Who could’ve anticipated that a period-set horror movie that adapts a passage from Bram Stoker’s Dracula would outdo them all? Director André Øvredal doles out gruesome, shockingly violent demises for the ill-fated crew trapped on the ship with the iconic vampire. That’s never more apparent than with the harrowing demise of the captain’s beloved grandson, Toby (Cobweb’s Woody Norman). Dracula (Javier Botet) first drains the child of blood while the crew looks for the villain above deck, but then Øvredal doubles down by killing Toby a second time via vampiric spontaneous combustion. It may not come even remotely close to the goriest or most inventive kill of the year, but the double emotional wallop of murdering a child not once but twice on screen? Bold as hell.


The Wrath of Becky – Machete Rage

The Wrath of Becky

Lulu Wilson tapped into a primal ferocity for her turn as the enraged teen taking down violent home intruders in 2020’s Becky. Its follow-up, The Wrath of Becky, quickly established that the angry, ultra-violent teen hasn’t lost her edge in the slightest. Now three years older, Becky has only honed her talents for murder. The blood flows free and Becky’s rampage escalates, all in the name of her dog Diego. That’s evident in her showdown against creepy henchman Twig (Courtney Gaines), who finds himself at the sharp end of a crossbow when he’s baited by the violent teen. It sparks a merciless battle between the pair, resulting in Becky releasing her pent-up fury with a machete. Between the sound design and the buckets of viscous blood, this comic book-style sequel ensures the kills and gore are as over-the-top as its antiheroine.


When Evil Lurks – Mommy’s Hungry

When Evil Lurks TIFF Review

Truth be told, any number of kills featured in Demián Rugna’s latest could qualify for a year-end contender. All bring an unrivaled level of visceral violence and shock value, including the sudden dog attack of a child. But that dog death is practically gentle and mostly off-screen, compared to the grim reveal of what happens to young Santino (Marcelo Michinaux). His possessed mother comes for him, jumping out of a window and dragging him into the night. Jaime (Demián Salomon) drives after them, only to discover the zombie-like woman has broken into Santino’s skull and begun feasting on his brains like popcorn. It’s as gory as it is disturbing.


Kids vs. Aliens – Melted for Fuel

Kids vs Aliens

When Gary (Dominic Mariche) and Samantha’s (Phoebe Rex) parents head out of town on Halloween weekend, a teen house party turns to terror when aliens attack, forcing the siblings to band together to survive the night in Jason Eisener’s wild horror movie. Eventually, the protagonists, their friends, and their bullies find themselves aboard the alien spaceship submerged in the lake behind the house. Worse, Sam discovers what the aliens want when she sees bully Trish (Emma Vickers) held captive over a slime pit as weird ooze melts her alive. In Eisener’s hands, this means one gnarly, painful dissolution of flesh for the teen. Trish’s burbling screams as the orange slime melts her down, combined with the entrails spilling out, sticks with you in the best and grossest way. And to think, it’s all for ship fuel.


Malum – A Head-Popping Hanging

Jessica Sula in Malum

Anthony DiBlasi’s update of his own Last Shift comes with a bigger budget that the director utilizes to its fullest with practical effects. In other words, Malum brings the gore when it comes to the film’s death and violence. The pinnacle of this comes in the form of one grotesque hanging; rookie cop Jessica (Jessica Sula) finds herself doused in buckets of blood when she attempts to thwart the supernatural hanging of cult victim Anna (Valerie Loo). An unseen force wraps a noose around Anna’s neck and snaps her fingers in deeply unnatural ways as she attempts to claw for air. DiBlasi lingers longer, the camera watching as Anna’s eyes protrude from the squeezing pressure until, eventually, her head pops. Jessica’s blood-splattered shock emulates our own.


Dark Harvest – Bunker Bloodbath

Dark Harvest

Director David Slade (30 Days of Night) and screenwriter Michael Gilio (Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves) offset this barebones story, an adaptation of Norman Partridge’s 2006 novel, with style and horror. An annual Halloween hunt sees teen boys let loose upon the town so they may kill Sawtooth Jack before midnight, and the pumpkin boy won’t go down without a fight. It results in a gauntlet of gruesome deaths, the most stunning of which revolves around Bud (Alejandro Akara) fleeing the cornfield after witnessing the grisly beheadings and deaths of his pals. Bud attempts to make his way into a bunker where other kids are hiding, only for Sawtooth Jack to catch up and rip his head in half. Sawtooth Jack then makes his way into the bunker, where a geyser of blood erupts in spectacular fashion.


Cocaine Bear – Ambulance Road Rash

Cocaine Bear

Director Elizabeth Banks leans into every bit of the excess you’d hope for with a comedy-horror movie about a rampaging bear dosed up on cocaine. That means the titular Cocaine Bear’s carnage gets surprisingly violent in the most delightful way. The showstopper kill, of course, comes via a sequence that sees a battered and bleeding Ranger Liz (Margo Martindale) rescued by paramedics and loaded into the ambulance mid-bear attack. With the bear in pursuit, Liz attempts to shoot the bear from the back of the ambulance, but hell hath no fury like a coked-up bear. While the poor paramedics receive violent ends, it’s the prolonged series of injuries Liz sustains, followed by her face getting dragged against the concrete as she’s thrown from the back of the vehicle, that leaves us cringing and recoiling in horror. 


Thanksgiving – Carve That Turkey

Thanksgiving Review

Director Eli Roth ensures every kill leaves a nasty mark in his holiday slasher, presenting a few worthy nominees to consider. But it’s difficult to top the Thanksgiving centerpiece, the turkey. The town’s annual holiday parade, complete with brutal carnage, heralds the film’s climax, which sees John Carver prepare an unconscious Kathleen (Karen Cliche) as the main course of his murder frenzy. Kathleen manages to sneak away, prompting a thrilling stalk-and-chase slasher sequence. When Kathleen is finally caught, she’s cooked alive in the oven. The entire staging of Kathleen’s extended death would earn a spot on this list, but then Roth takes it a step further; John Carver slices up her corpse on his dinner table to feed to his guests. 


Saw X – Brain Self-Surgery

Saw X - 2023 Best Kills

Cecilia Pederson (Synnøve Macody Lund) picked the wrong person to scam in this milestone sequel. When John Kramer (Tobin Bell) realizes he’s been duped in Cecilia’s experimental medical con, he enlists Amanda (Shawnee Smith) to plot an elaborate retribution that sees Cecilia and her cohorts forced to play Jigsaw’s deadly games. It unleashes some of the gnarliest sequences of the franchise yet, including one gruesome act of self-amputation. Yet all of it pales in comparison to the trap set for Mateo (Octavio Hinojosa), who must drill into his skull, extract brain tissue, and dissolve it to obtain the key to his freedom. The clock, of course, is ticking. Director Kevin Greutert ensures this already grisly trap becomes even more so through tactile details and wince-inducing sound design. Mateo’s self-surgery without anesthesia would warrant sympathy pain on its own, but the palpable rust and grime of the warehouse setting and its rudimentary trap devices put it over the top, much to a horror fan’s twisted delight.


Project Wolf Hunting – The Whole Bloody Affair

Project Wolf Hunting kill

It may seem like a cop-out to simply attribute all of the deaths featured in Project Wolf Hunting as the best of the year unless you’ve seen the glorious carnage that is Project Wolf Hunting. All hell breaks out on an ocean transport from the Philippines to South Korea when a group of dangerous criminals unites to stage a coordinated escape attempt. As the jailbreak escalates into an ultra-violent riot, the fugitives and their allies from the outside exact a brutal siege against the special ops team on board. It results in an almost nonstop bloodbath with arterial spray like you wouldn’t believe; we’re talking a kill count of at least 80 bodies, each one spilling gallons of the red stuff. It’s the goriest actioner of the year, and director Kim Hong-sun ensures that every single death results in excess of entrails and blood flow.

The post Bloody Disgusting Carves Up the 10 Best Kills in 2023’s Horror Movies appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.



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