One of the largest, most primal draws for a horror movie is the need to see people dispatched in creative ways. The only problem is that as slashers grew more and more popular, it became harder and harder to come up with ways to kill people that felt new and fresh. Tom Savini helped a lot in this department with his many inventive slasher gags from Friday the 13th, The Burning, The Prowler, Maniac and so many others. But that just created a high standard that, right out of the gate, proved almost impossible to top.
Still, the genre has never been without its share of creativity. People always come along to inject fresh blood—and to spill it, as well. As the ‘80s went on, it got more and more absurd as a decade and this showed on the screen. Horror films kept getting more and more heightened, more over-the-top until the ‘90s took us back to super serious territory—at least for awhile.
During this time, we got some of the most outlandish, inventive kill sequences we’ve ever seen in the history of film. Of course, horror isn’t defined by the ‘80s and there have been other decades that really thought outside-the-box when it came to different ways to kill people.
The Drill-Guitar in Slumber Party Massacre 2
Now, the giant phallic drill in the original Slumber Party Massacre was absurd enough on its own. But the sequel gives us something really, really special. The giant drill has been repurposed and restructured to also serve as a guitar because sometimes, when slaying teenagers, you might get the urge to jam.
I’ve seen many different weapons used to slay vampires over the years, from stakes and crosses to bathtubs full of garlic, but until Waxwork, I had never seen a vampire impaled multiple times on a wine rack. That sense of imagination is only a small part of why I love the movie so much.
The Shish Kabob in Happy Birthday to Me
This is probably one of my favorite kills from any slasher movie. It’s so inventive, so hilariously, perfectly timed within the narrative. My only issue with it, I think, is that the death was spoiled on the poster. Granted, it’s a highlight for sure, but it would have been great if that one had been a complete surprise.
The Basketball in Deadly Friend
Remember that time Buffy used a basketball to kill Mama Fratelli from The Goonies? If that didn’t sell you on why you need to see Wes Craven’s bizarre Deadly Friend, I don’t know what will. This scene is so outlandish, so absurd, and it’s great because of that.
A Bigger Ghoulie That Eats the Smaller Ghoulies in Ghoulies II
Okay, so you have all these ghoulies running around your carnival and this place is your home and your way of life, so you’d like to get rid of them. Naturally, the only proper way to go about stopping a ghoulie infestation is to use black magic to create one giant ghoulie that you then use as a weapon by making it eat the smaller ones. It’s hard to get more outside-the-box than that.
A Corkscrew in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
Alright, alright, so the corkscrew isn’t technically what does Crispin Glover’s Jimmy in, but it’s certainly a factor. That, and it’s so perfectly timed. Jimmy is just so gratingly shouting for someone to bring him that corkscrew that you can see the contempt in that quick shot of Jason as he slams the corkscrew down into Jimmy’s hand, presumably after shouting “Fine!”
An Asthma Inhaler in It
This one is both inventive and kind of heartwarming. Before going into the sewer to face It and probably their own demise, the Losers’ Club each take a hit off of Eddie’s inhaler as a sort of bonding exercise. Richie makes a disgusted face and comments that it tastes like battery acid. When his friends are cornered, Eddie finally finds his moment to stand up for them, spraying the inhaler in It’s face and commenting “This is battery acid, you slime!” as the actual battery acid proceeds to melt the clown’s face off.