This is a post I’ve been wanting to do for a while. When a horror fan thinks about the horror genre, there are always two to three gory images that flash before their eyes as they think about the genre. Below is my list of the most iconic special f/x horror scenes. And please note that I only considered practical f/x for this list. Also, this is a grossly incomplete list. There are so many iconic horror scenes out there that I couldn’t possibly include them all. Below are my ten favorite practice scenes.
Dawn of the Dead (1978):
The exploding head within the first ten minutes of the film is a classic among classics. F/x wizard Tom Savini executed this effect with a bunch of blood-filled condoms. I love it!!
City of the Living Dead (1980):
Lucio Fulci’s classic film is full of show-stopping f/x, but the one I always think about is when the chick throws up her entire digestive system. I think this one is self explanatory.
An American Werewolf in London (1981):
Do I really need to say anything about this scene. If you don’t think of this transformation–done completely via practical f/x–then you don’t know your horror!!
Horror fans never looked at having a nice, relaxing dinner the same way again after this scene. In a second, the mood goes from light and playful to one of shock and horror. There is no forgetting this practical effect after seeing it.
Laid to Rest (2009):
Writer-director-f/x guru Robert Hall is known for using CGI to enhance his practical f/x. And the scene where ChromeSkull cuts off the face of a victim is a percent example. Since I first saw this scene, I knew there was something wickedly morbid about Hall.
Cannibal Holocaust (1980):
If you’ve been reading Anything Horror for a while then you knew this film would be on this list. And can you guess what scene? Of course it’s going to be the scene where the native is impaled on the huge stake (this scene was recently given a huge nod to in the film, Kong: Skull Island).
The Thing (1982):
Yes, the early 1980s was the heyday of gory practical f/x in genre films, and is there another film out there that has more gory f/x than Carpenter’s classic, The Thing? I don’t think so. It is tough to single out just one scene from this film, but I think the majority of horror fans, myself included, immediately think about the defibrillator scene. It is absolutely nuts and amazing and gory and scary.
Another classic horror film with many scenes to choose from, but the one I always think about is the scene towards the end when a corpse has been injected with enough reanimation serum to fill up a bath tub. You know the scene … the one where the body erupts into a Lovecraftian nightmare!!
Day of the Dead (1985):
I gotta come clean here. When I think of iconic practical f/x, two scenes immediately pop into my mind from this film. The disembowelment of Col. Rhodes, and the guts falling out of the zombie. I think this says it all.
You had to know David Cronenberg was going to be on this list somewhere!! Do I even need to tell you which scene made it onto this list? No, I didn’t think so.
What are some of your favorite practical special f/x moments in horror films? Sound off in the comments section below.