Since the slasher film and video boom of the 1970s and 1980s, horror films have tended to trade violent death. While the horror does need blood or blood to be successful or legitimate, the two tend to go hand in hand. With Freddy Krueger basically slaughtering sleeping teens and Jason Voorhees stomping on horny camp counselors, the horror film industry is practically built on blood and fear.
Of course, with blood inevitably comes a lot of pain. While Freddy, Jason, and Michael tend to favor a thankfully quick death for their victims, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes the characters suffer. Sometimes they suffer a lot. Particularly in the early 2000s, when the pornographic torture industry – see the Saw and Hostel franchises – was at the height of its popularity.
Here, we take a look at ten of the most painful horror movie deaths on record – characters chosen from long-standing franchises, gruesome one-offs, and famous slasher movies. What do these poor unfortunates have in common? Their suffering was legendary.
When it comes to the death traps in the Saw franchise, it’s hard to pick just one. It’s a show that started with a guy cutting his foot off with a dull hacksaw, after all. Over the course of nine films, Jigsaw and his many imitators have made violent and painful death their own industry.
One of the most memorable death traps in the series appeared in Saw III – a delicate little contraption, known as “The Rack”. Resembling a metal crucifix, the Rack consists of rotating cylindrical devices, each adapted to a particular area of the human body. With the hapless participant bolted inside, the Rack twisted and contorted, breaking the arms and legs – one by one – until finally the victim’s neck broke.
Timothy Young (Mpho Koaho) didn’t have the chance to experience the Rack firsthand, being kidnapped by ‘Jigsaw’ after committing a hit and run. One by one, Timothy’s limbs are torn to the breaking point and snapped like twigs before, finally, thankfully, his head is also gone, twisting like a bottle cork.