Best Film
Deaths Scenes

1981


Greatest Movie Death Scenes
Film Title/Year and Description
Screenshots

The Beyond (1981, It.) (aka E Tu Vivrai Nel Terrore - L'Aldilà, or You Will Live in Terror, or Seven Doors of Death)

Director Lucio Fulci's graphic and surreal Italian horror film featured a horrific scene in which zombie Joe, the Plumber (Giovanni De Nava) rose up from dirty water.

With his right hand, he grabbed Martha's (Veronica Lazar) face and pushed it slowly backwards toward a wall. He drove the back of her head into the blunt end of a nail (seen in close-up), causing her eyeball to entirely pop out of its socket. Blood seeped out of the horrific, lethal wound.

[Note: Two years earlier, Fulci's film Zombie (1979) featured a similarly gruesome eye-gouging death sequence, making Fulci "the king of ocular mayhem."]




Cannibal Ferox (1981, It.) (aka Make Them Die Slowly)

Umberto Lenzi's Italian exploitation 'cannibal' film was notorious for its gruesome death scenes and tremendous shock value for its explicit gore and violence. Its opening included a warning statement about its barbarity:

The following feature is one of the most violent films ever made. There are at least two dozen scenes of barbaric torture and sadistic cruelty graphically shown. If the presentation of disgusting and repulsive subject matter upsets you, please do not view this film.

One was a torturous 'meat-hook' death inflicted upon feisty female victim Pat (Zora Kerova). She was stripped of her shirt, and then iron hooks were hooked through both of her breasts. She was impaled by her breasts and suspended by ropes attached to the hooks to bleed to death in the Amazon jungle sun.

Death By Breast-Hanging

Another horrific and repulsive partial decapitation death method was the one in which Mike Logan (Giovanni Lombardo Radice) suffered and died. (He had already been castrated and his right arm had been amputated). He was restrained in a crude apparatus - positioned under a table with a hole in it, through which the top of his head appeared. From there, natives chopped off the top of his skull with a machete to eat his brains.


Excalibur (1981)

In the conclusion of director John Boorman's fantasy film, there was a bloody, climactic mutual impalement scene.

King Arthur (Nigel Terry) stood and faced his son Mordred (Robert Addie) wearing golden armor, who stabbed his father point-blank with a spear while snarling: "Come father, let us embrace at last."

With the sword struck through his abdomen, the lethally-wounded Arthur slid on the spear down towards his son, and stabbed him in return with his enchanted magic sword Excalibur. The blow caused blood to spurt out of Mordred's mouth as King Arthur thrust the sword in even deeper.

Then, a reluctant Perceval (Paul Geoffrey) was commanded by Arthur to throw the sword into a calm pool ("Take Excalibur, find a pool of calm water. Throw the sword into it...Obey me, Perceval. Do it and return!"). The sword was pulled out of Mordred's corpse by Perceval before he rode on horseback to a calm pool. But he balked when he reached the water's edge.

When he returned to the dying Arthur, who asked: "When you cast it in, what did you see?", Perceval admitted: "I saw nothing but the wind on the water. My King, I couldn't do it! Excalibur cannot be lost! Other men..." Arthur again ordered: "DO as I command! One day, a King will come, and the Sword will rise again."

Then, Perceval obediently threw the bloodied Excalibur into the water, as instructed, where it was caught by the Lady of the Lake.

When he returned to King Arthur, he looked out on the sea, observing King Arthur being carried away on a sailing ship toward the Isle of Avalon while attended by three white-clad ladies.






Gallipoli (1981, Australia)

At the end of Peter Weir's war film, there was an ill-fated suicidal charge of soldiers on the Anzac battlefield in 1915. Message running soldier Frank Dunne (Mel Gibson) frantically sprinted to the front line, hoping he could arrive before the men were ordered to climb out of the trench during the fatal attack.

Frank's friend Archy Hamilton (Mark Lee) was one of the last to surge from the trenches into exposed no-man's land. Before charging the guns, accompanied by Tomaso Albinoni's mournful Adagio in G Minor for Strings and Organ, Archy chanted the mantra that his track coach and uncle Jack (Bill Kerr) used while training him:

What are your legs? Springs, steel springs. What are they gonna do? They're gonna hurl me down the track. How fast can you run? As fast as a leopard. How fast are you gonna run? As fast as a leopard. Then let's see you do it...

Frank arrived just a few moments too late, and let out a scream of despairing anguish, knowing Archy and other companions were being senselessly killed because of miscommunications and bad timing. They were all mowed down by Turkish machine guns as they charged ahead.

It ended with a freeze-frame image of Archy at the instant of his death when riddled by bullets - the image slowly faded to black to conclude the film.





The Prowler (1981) (aka Rosemary's Killer)

There were a number of gory, brutal, and realistic death scenes in this slasher-film, with special effects created by legendary gore makeup expert Tom Savini. Thirty-five years (in 1945) before the current-day portion of the film in Avalon Bay, a returning GI found a "Dear John" letter, and he went on a rampage. He shish-kebabed his sweetheart Rosemary (Joy Glaccum) and her lover together on a pitchfork while they were making out on an outdoor gazebo on the night of a graduation dance. He left a rose in her bloodied, lifeless hand.

Before the new dance (banned for many years) began decades later, Carl (David Sederholm) was grabbed from behind, while a sharp bayonet was plunged into the top of his head, with the end of the sharp instrument exiting down through his chin. The man's eyes popped out due to the blunt force - with white pupils. His girlfriend Sherry (Lisa Dunsheath) was pitchforked in the middle of her chest under her breasts while taking a shower, cornered by a figure wearing a combat uniform.

Death by Bayonet and Pitchfork

Lisa (Cindy Weintraub), a swimmer in a pool, also had her throat slit with a long bayonet knife.

In the film's twist ending, Sheriff George Fraser (Farley Granger) who had supposedly left town for an annual fishing trip, was revealed as the vengeful, betrayed killer - he had his own head exploded with a double-barreled shotgun blast by major character Pam MacDonald (Vicky Dawson) in the gruesome ending.





Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

# 34

In the film's spectacular prologue, after absconding with the idol, traitorous Satipo (Alfred Molina) suffered a surprise, gruesome death. Spikes protruded from his bloodied head as Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) retorted under his breath to his unlucky partner: "Adios, estupido."

In one of the greatest crowd-pleasing death scenes, Indy was challenged to do battle with an ominous-looking skilled Arab swordsman dressed in black with a red waistband, in the middle of a Cairo bazaar while he was searching for kidnapped former lover Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen). The overconfident Arab laughed and impressively twirled his swishing broadsword for the crowd. Without hesitation or the slightest bit of fair play, and without bothering to reach for his whip, Indy grabbed for his gun and shot his opponent dead

Another impressive death was the blood-splattering death (off-screen) of a burly bald German (Pat Roach) who backed into a revolving airplane propeller.

And the Total Film entry: the revelation of the contents of the Ark of the Covenant. As Belloq (Paul Freeman) opened its cover, fire consumed him and his body exploded. E vil Nazi Toht (Ronald Lacey) also burned and melted with a blast of God's wrath as he viewed the opening.





Scanners (1981)

# 46

David Cronenberg's science-fiction horror film was marked by an early sequence of the infamous exploding-head. In ConSec headquarters, 'bad' Scanner renegade Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside) volunteered at a conference to come on-stage with one of ConSec's scanners, who was proposing to eventually scan everyone in the room. He prefaced the demonstration with some caution:

I would like to scan all of you in this room, one at a time. I must remind you that the scanning experience is usually a painful one, sometimes resulting in nosebleeds, ear-aches, stomach cramps, nausea. Sometimes other symptoms of a similar nature.

The scanner then instructed Revok: "Now I'd like you to think of something specific. Something that will not breach the security of your organization and that you will not object to having disclosed to this group. Something personal, perhaps." After Darryl responded: "All right, yes, I have something," Revok demonstrated his own brain-bursting telekinetic powers.

In a duel with ConSec's scanner, he exploded the head of the man, causing pandemonium and chaos in the audience. As Darryl was taken away by security at gunpoint, he asserted: "I didn't do anything."




Scanners (1981)

Later, Darryl Revok (seeking world domination with a group of rebel scanners) threatened to use his scanner powers on his scanner brother Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack), who obstinately refused to join him. They engaged in a psychic, mind-control battle after Revok denounced his brother:

"You're not cooperating, Cam. You're not cooperating with me at all. I've been counting on you for years, Cameron. Tell me you're not gonna betray me like all the rest. Tell me you're not. (Cameron struck Revok with a large stone paperweight.) All right. We're gonna do it the scanner way. I'm gonna suck your brain dry! Everything you think you are are is gonna become me. You're gonna be with me, Cameron, no matter what. After all, brothers should be close, don't you think?"

Veins in Cameron's arms became to expand dangerously and bleed as a result of Revok's savage psychic attack, and his swollen face became bloodied as he grabbed at his peeling face. Before dying from his heart bursting and from internal combustion, Cameron was able to send one final shot toward his screaming brother, whose cheeks and face exhibited pulsating swollen veins while his eyes turned white.

Cam's body spontaneously ignited, and afterwards his incinerated corpse was found on the floor, although it was revealed that he had been able to inhabit Revok's body and take control of it.

As a result, Revok now had Cam's blue eyes, and was missing the mark between his eyebrows. Huddled in a corner of the room, Revok spoke in Cam's voice to Kim Obrist (Jennifer O'Neill):

"Kim. It's me, Kim. Cameron. I'm here. We've won. We've won."

Psychic Scanner Mind-Control Dueling





Cameron Incinerated

Cameron in Darryl's Body

Greatest Movie Death Scenes
(chronological by film title)
Intro | 1915-1929 | 1930-1933 | 1934-1938 | 1939 | 1940-1942 | 1943-1945 | 1946-1947 | 1948-1949
1950-1952 | 1953-1955 | 1956-1957 | 1958-1959
1960-1961 | 1962-1963 | 1964-1966 | 1967-1968 | 1969-1970
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