Best Film
Deaths Scenes


Greatest Movie Death Scenes
Title Screen
Film Title/Year and Description

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."]

Eye-Popping Assault

Excalibur (1981)

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

  • King Arthur (Nigel Terry)
  • Mordred (Robert Addie), his son

King Arthur stood and faced Mordred 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 in front of him, 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 remove the sword from Mordred's body and throw it into a calm pool:

Arthur: "Perceval. Take Excalibur, find a pool of calm water. Throw the sword into it."
Perceval: "No."
Arthur: "Obey me, Perceval. Do it and return!"

The bloodied 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.

Perceval returned to the dying Arthur, who asked about Excalibur:

Arthur: "When you cast it in, what did you see?"
Perceval: "I saw nothing but the wind on the water. My King, I couldn't do it! Excalibur cannot be lost! Other men..."
Arthur: "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, as the film concluded.


Impaled King Arthur Stabbing Mordred

Double Impalement

King Arthur Facing His Son

Perceval With Sword Before Throwing It Into Water

King Arthur's Body Carried Away

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.

Frank's Scream

Freeze-Frame of Archy

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

There were a number of gory, brutal, and realistic death scenes in director Joseph Zito's slasher horror film (with the tagline: "It Will Freeze Your Blood"), with special effects created by legendary gore makeup expert Tom Savini. The masked assailant or "prowler" wore a full uniform of WWII combat fatigues with a helmet.

The effective slasher film opened with a GI - who had fought overseas in WWII - looking at a "Dear John" letter (written on March 12, 1944) from his beloved girlfriend back in the States, read in the female's voice-over:

"I don't know how to tell you this, I really don't want to hurt you, but I just can't wait for you any longer. I know I promised to wait...I really did try, but it's been so much longer than either of us expected, so much has happened and you're so far away. I hope you understand how I feel. I know I said I loved you, but I'm young and I have to live my life now, and who knows how long it will be before you return. I hope you don't hate me for leaving you this way... but perhaps when the war is over, we can be friends again. Please take care of yourself. I continue to worry about you. Sincerely, Rosemary." (the end 'y' was signed with a red rose)

Feeling betrayed after he returned from the war, the slighted, unidentified GI went on a deadly rampage and committed a double-murder, the night of the class of 1945 graduation dance in Avalon Bay, NJ on June 28, 1945. He shish-kebabed his sweetheart Rosemary "Rose" Chatham (Joy Glaccum) and her new lover-boyfriend Roy (Timothy Wahrer) together on a pitchfork while they were making out in an outdoor lake-side gazebo on the night of the graduation dance. He rammed the pitchfork (with pressure from his foot) through the back of Roy and into Rosemary. He left a rose in her bloodied, lifeless hand, and the crime remained unsolved.

Three and a half decades later in June of 1980 (after the dance had been banned for many years), another spree of murders was about to occur. After spying on his girlfriend Sherry (Lisa Dunsheath) taking a shower, Carl (David Sederholm) decided to join her after asking: "Aren't you going to invite me in?" As he sat on a bed and was removing his clothes, he was grabbed from behind and his mouth was covered, while a sharp bayonet was plunged into the top of his head. The end of the sharp instrument exited down through his chin. The man's eyes popped out due to the blunt force - with white pupils.

Carl's Death by Bayonet

Next, Sherry was pitchforked in the middle of her chest under her breasts while taking her shower nearby, by a helmeted, hooded figure wearing fatigues and a gas mask. A rose was placed on her corpse. Her body was literally pinned to the shower wall.

Sherry's Death by Pitchfork

Another graduate named Lisa (Cindy Weintraub), a swimmer in a pool at nighttime, was kicked in the face, and then grabbed from behind in the pool. After she had her throat slit with a long bayonet knife, the water turned red (in an underwater view). In the town cemetery, Lisa's body was later found in the dug-up coffin of the long-dead Rosemary Chatham.

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, when he was unmasked while struggling with strong Final Girl Pam MacDonald (Vicky Dawson). In the gruesome ending, the Sheriff was pitchforked and then had his head exploded with his own double-barreled shotgun blast.

Revenge on Rosemary - Pitchforked Together with New Boyfriend

Rose in Bloodied Hand of Rosemary

Lisa's Murder in Pool - Throat Slit with a Bayonet Knife

Sheriff Fraser Revealed as the Vengeful Killer While Struggling with Pam MacDonald (Vicky Dawson)

Sheriff's Head Blasted with Shotgun

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

# 34

The spectacular, cliff-hanger, breathlessly-paced, non-stop action/adventure film of the early 1980s by Steven Spielberg was an immensely successful summer box-office hit.

In the spectacular prologue, after absconding with a golden 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 death (off-screen) of a burly bald German mechanic (Pat Roach) who was pummeling Indy during a brutal fist-fight. He was cleverly backed into a revolving airplane propeller - where he was sliced up. His blood splattered onto the side of the Nazi plane.

Colonel Herman Dietrich (Wolf Kahler)
Major Arnold Toht
(Ronald Lacey)

The revelation of the contents of the Ark of the Covenant brought instant death to many. God's wrath had been summoned in the form of deadly visions. As Indiana's nemesis Belloq (Paul Freeman) opened its cover, he was besieged by the ghostly images and screamed in horror. Fire consumed him and his body exploded. Piercing firebolts and shafts of fire zapped the rest of the Nazis through the heart. All of the interlopers were punished by a lethal dose of death for breaking the sacred taboo.

Colonel Herman Dietrich (Wolf Kahler) melted into dripping ooze by the extreme heat, and evil Nazi Toht (Ronald Lacey) also burned and melted with a blast of God's wrath as he viewed the opening.

"Adios, estupido"

Sword vs. Gun

Nazi Mechanic Bloodied by Propeller

Renee Belloq (Paul Freeman)

The Ark's Deadly Vision

Belloq's Consumption by Fire


Scanners (1981)

# 46

Writer/director David Cronenberg's science-fiction horror film was about a race of humans with telekinetic powers - similar in concept to The Fury. Scanners were created as a result of scientific research that went awry. Pregnant women who had taken Ephemerol produced mental aberrations and hyperactive brain synapses in their unborn children.

A private military company known as ConSec, involved in the business of security systems and weapons, was interested in recruiting 'scanners' (those with telepathic and telekinetic powers) to take down a group of renegade scanners led by 'bad' Scanner renegade villain Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside).

Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside)

First Scanner (Louis Del Grande)

It was marked by an early sequence of an infamous exploding-head in a theatre. In ConSec headquarters, Revok - a rogue and power-mad renegade, volunteered at a conference to come on-stage with one of ConSec's Scanners (Louis Del Grande credited as First Scanner), who was proposing to eventually scan everyone in the room. The ConSec Scanner 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 violent duel with ConSec's Scanner, he exploded the head of the man - literally exploding it into a mass of brain and skull fragments - and causing pandemonium and chaos in the audience.

[Note: The special effects of the head explosion was created by placing dog food and rabbit livers in a fake latex head, and blasting it with a 12-gauge shotgun.]

As Darryl was taken away by security at gunpoint, he asserted: "I didn't do anything."

A Scanner Duel and Head Bursting

Scanners (1981)

'Bad' scanner renegade villain Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside) who was 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, almost homo-erotic 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. [The sexual symbolism - swelling veins, moaning, body stiffness, and orgasmic release - was very evident.]

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 into orbs of 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.

Only one man and mind remained. Now, Revok 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 Scanner Kim Obrist (Jennifer O'Neill):

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

Psychic Scanners Dueling for Mind-Control
Cameron Vale
Darryl Revok

The Psychic Confrontation: Cameron vs. Darryl

Cameron Incinerated

Cameron in Darryl Revok'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
1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977-1978 | 1979
1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989
1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1994 | 1995 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1998 | 1999
2000-2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011

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