With the calendar year winding to a close, we can expect to find all kinds of best-of compilations and retrospective adulation (or animus) bestowed on films that were released during the last twelve months (stay tuned for Arrow’s Top Ten list). However, instead of singling out entire films, I thought it’d be fun to root through some of the best moments – specifically ones involving inventive fatality – that prominently featured in a 2010 genre film. From flicks still in theaters, to ones long since released on DVD and Blu-ray…from ferocious fish and ravenous wolves…to death-by-dick and disillusioned suicide - here now are my top ten kills of the year. Enjoy!
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
#5. I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE: UNRATED (Castration Scene)
Not only did Steven Monroe have the arduous ask of sating fervent fans of original version of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, he also had the tough task of doing one of the most infamous scenes in Meir Zarchi’s film justice as well. All you gentlemen know what I’m talking about, right? Of course you do! I’m referring to the ungodly castration scene that the victimized heroine – played with great sympathetic pathos by Sarah Butler this time around - exacts during her retributive line of action. Of course, no man ever wants to see another’s juevos get lopped off, but the way the film is set up…we root wholeheartedly for Jennifer to serve the most extreme and barbarous comeuppance we can stomach. And that she does! Kudos to Monroe for not simply parroting the original, instead actually upping the ante for the money-shot this time around as well!
#4. SAW 3D (Fish Hook & Key Down Throat)
There’s really no telling if we’ve seen the last of Jigsaw and his sadistic ways in SAW 3D, or if Kevin Greutert’s lucky number seven culled enough cash to keep the legacy alive. We do know this. Jigsaw and his elaborate torture traps rarely keep anyone alive…and one of the most imaginative deaths of the year happens to be the demented sicko’s handy-work. If you haven’t seen it, there’s one specific fatality that truly stood out. When Bobby Dagen’s publicist Nina is bound and gagged in a fancy contraption, Dagen has to, with his bare hands, retrieve a key out of the poor girl’s stomach. The method? Pull a fishing line with a hook on it up through the Nina’s innards, up through her diaphragm, through her throat and out of her mouth. The kicker? Dude has a minute to get the hook out and secure the key, in effect saving Nina’s life. Like most oral torture, this a hellish scene I’d advise the squeamish to steer clear of.
#3. PIRANHA 3D (Penis Chewed Up & Spit Out)
Anyone who’s seen how exorbitant Alexandre Aja’s PIRANHA rendition is knows we could have chosen any number of gnarly gnashings for our list (the pornstar getting sliced in half comes to mind), but when you stop and think about how grimily off-putting Jerry O’Connell’s character is…the best of the bunch becomes a pretty easy call. Portraying a sleazy Joe Francis type douche-fist, exploiting the likes of Kelly Brook and Riley Steele in his “Wild Wild Girls” moneymaker…when Derrick Jones first gets his legs gnawed down to bloody bone, we can’t do much else but laugh at the poor sumbitch. Then, as if things couldn’t get campy enough, when Derrick’s man-junk is masticated then spit out by a disgusted piranha, in 3D no less…we’ve got one of the ballsiest (pun intended) yet hilarious kills of the year!
#2. THE KILLER INSIDE ME (The beating)
I’m not sure if it’s due to being freshest in my mind, or if it’s truly the most disturbing on our list, but the way Casey Affleck’s character Lou Ford primitively pounds the life out of Jessica Alba’s dotingly sweet Joyce Lakeland in THE KILLER INSIDE ME…well, it’s an unshakeable image. In fact, it’s so raw and indefatigable that I actually felt a bit queasy while watching it. Seriously. For those who missed Michael Winterbottom’s film – about a small town Texas sheriff masking a hidden penchant for violence – it’s been critically lambasted for it misogynistic spirit, in large part due to this scene. Pulverizing a woman’s face to a bloody pulp is one thing…but to do it Jessica Alba’s stunning façade…in a drawn out, brutally graphic way (while she refrains “I love you” over and over), with one’s bare hands…the shite’s downright gut-wrenching.
#1. BLACK SWAN (The finale)
If you’ve yet to see BLACK SWAN, it might behoove you to skip this entry. Not because this is the only major spoiler on our litany, but because this particular fatality comes during the film’s denouement, where every sequence before it deftly builds and builds into a crescendo of tragic beauty. Natalie Portman gives the performance of a lifetime in this potent blend of high and low art; a psychosexual thriller crafted with great verve by Darren Aronofsky. Because of the hallucinatory nature of the film, reflected in the mind of Portman’s Nina Sayers…whether or not the fevered finale is real or figment of the imagination can be opened up for debate, leaving us to question if the Swan Queen indeed sacrificed herself for her art, or if Aronofsky gave us an artificial sacrifice. A glorious death in one of the best films of the year!