The horror genre has its share of violent deaths, unusual sex scenes, shocking twist endings and more. They’ve blasphemed against God in pretty much every way possible (with many thanks to “The Exorcist”). But what about the ultimate way to go — if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself!
Without further ado, ten memorable suicide scenes!
10. Mirrors (2008)
While the suicides in “Mirrors” may not technically be suicides, for all practical purposes we can include them on this list. We open the flick with a security guard, Gary Lewis, deeply gashing his throat with a piece of mirror glass to let the blood spray wildly. This is the gore that director Alexandre Aja is known for.
But the big death comes from actress Amy Smart, who shortly after stripping for the audience and sliding in to the tub does herself in. By grabbing firmly on her lower jaw, she pulls it off and much of the muscles and sinew of her face follow right behind. It’s a decent special effect and the most grisly part of the film. Amy Smart steals the show.
9. Pelts (2006)
Director Dario Argento doesn’t shy away from the bloodflow or the gore, especially in his newer pictures. The intestines from “Jenifer”? The vaginal penetration from “Mother of Tears”? Brutal! And “Pelts” is no exception.
We have people dying in many grotesque ways, driven wild by raccoons. But Meatloaf’s self-destruction takes the cake. After carving up his chest like a sewing pattern, he strips himself of his own skin… left to bleed to death in an elevator. The sheer pain and determination it would take to complete such a task is unthinkable.
In this clip, another memorable death from “Pelts”…
8. 30 Days of Night (2007)
Vampires running loose for an entire month? That’s some serious trouble! Josh Hartnett to the rescue. After multiple attempts to kill the monsters, Josh finally realizes the only thing strong enough to kill a vampire is another vampire, and he sacrifices himself to the cause.
But what to do now? Even if he can convince his wife to love him again, how can their marriage work when he’s skulking around all night looking to eat the kids? So, he does what any good husband would do and dies a noble death, burning up in the sunrise. Which, of course, has to be a big romantic affair when it’s Josh Hartnett.
7. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Here’s another take on the “30 Days of Night” scenario. What happens when you’re becoming a flesh-craving zombie but don’t want to eat your friends? Well, one way to go is by rolling yourself into a crematorium’s oven. Sure, maybe your ashes will go into the clouds and cause a rain storm that will create more zombies, but at least you didn’t eat your buddy.
Okay, so maybe I’m giving the guy a bit too much credit. Maybe this wasn’t a noble deed like Josh Hartnett. Maybe he was just a chickenshit and wanted to take the fastest way out. But, you have to give him some credit — of all the ways to go, burning “alive” isn’t one of the more popular choices.
6. Cache (2005)
The suicide in “Cache” is quick and unexpected — a man slashing his throat, spraying the wall a little bit and collapsing in a heap. It’s actually not one of the more amazing deaths you’ll ever see in a film, and you may wonder why it’s on a list that’s essentially a top ten.
The reason is because of the pacing in “Cache”. After waiting, waiting, waiting and trying the audience’s patience with shots that seem to go on forever and show nothing, we get a sudden moment of action. The film shifts from psychological distress to a physical expression. And it’s so sudden, so random, that it may be the only part of the film you recall!
5. The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
The shotgun will always be a classic way to go. Sure, you can use a pistol like Budd Dwyer, but there’s something about the mess of a shotgun that really drives the effect home. Ask Kurt Cobain… he certainly left a lasting impression on the music industry… and on the wall. The old man in the outhouse from “The Hills Have Eyes” remake is no different. Raw power.
This is the second Alexandre Aja film on the list, and it’s no surprise… Aja is gifted in the world of gore. His other great picture, “High Tension”, is full of blood-soaked rage and vengeance… and, some might say, plenty of suicide attempts.
There are many dishonorable mentions for shotgun suicide in the world of horror… but I will just mention one: “Cabin Fever” (2002). Thank you, Eli Roth, for ringing in the modern era of horror.
4. Gutterballs (2008)
This list may be unfairly balanced towards films in the last few years, and especially in the last decade… but that is one area where directors are getting better. What they lack in originality, they are making up for with over-the-top gore.
Ryan Nicholson isn’t just over-the-top, he’s also original, while paying respect to the exploitation films of the 1970s and 80s. Easily the most gory and disturbing film to come out in 2008, “Gutterballs” features many interesting deaths… death by oral sex, death from a ball polisher, death by bowling pin. But only one suicide — another shotgun blast.
Unlike “Cabin Fever” or “Hills Have Eyes”, this blast stands out for the way it lacks cleanliness. It’s not quick, it’s not painless, and it’s not lacking in an endless flow of blood. This is what Peter Jackson would have done in his “Dead Alive” days if he were just a little bit darker.
(Note: I have been informed the shotgun blast I describe as a suicide is not actually a suicide. I encourage viewers to decide for themselves.)
3. Nekromantik (1987)
The title may make you think this film is about necromancy, and communicating with the dead. But, no… it’s necrophilia, sex with the dead. “Necro” (dead) and “Romantic” (romance). And they don’t pull any punches, sop the squeamish need to avoid this one. Not sure how they got away with many of the scenes in this flick ,but I guess laws in Germany must be very different than they are in America.
In the end, the main character takes his love of death a step further… rather than collect dead things or making love to them, he wonders what it would be like to die making love. What we are given is a scene mixing self-mutilation with masturbation… with nothing left to the imagination. I don’t want to give it all away in case you haven’t seen it, but I promise you that this is moment that no other will ever be able to re-capture.
2. Suicide Circle/Club (2002)
Anyone who has seen this film is wondering how it can’t be the top of the list. An opening scene featuring over fifty girls jumping in front a train, spraying blood on anyone and everyone within range. More kids jumping off a roof. Various other kids offing themselves… I could practically make a “top ten” list of just the deaths in this film. Add to that the non-suicide scenes, suchas Rolly’s singing about the dead “shining all night long” or Dessart and their morbid cover of “Mail Me”. Certainly, it has the potential to be number one.
For those who haven’t seen this film, you’re cheating yourself. Even without the suicide parts, this is one of the better-scripted and plot-based Asian films out there. Heck, of any film from any region.
1. The Omen (1976)
The suicide that trumps all the death of “Suicide Circle”? It has to be “The Omen”, and the hanging scene. Not as gory or violent as many on this list, it still stands out as profound. Many films have featured hangings — I’d like to single out “City of the Living Dead” — but they’re often dismissed and not as shocking as in “The Omen”. This is the moment when we fully realize the evil of Damien’s power. It’s one thing to impale a priest… but to drive someone to sacrifice their life for your Satanic will… that’s just plain evil. The remake tried to recreate this, but despite being a valiant effort, failed just as it failed in every other way. Too clean, too sterile.