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12.20.2013by: Eric Walkuski
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Arrow in the Head's Top 10 Holy Sh!t Horror Moments of 2013!

Was this a great year for horror? Not necessarily. But, while compiling this list of the year's most memorable HOLY SH!T and WTF?! moments, I realized 2013 definitely provided us with a few treats as far as gruesome carnage is concerned. We've got hideous revenge, ghastly torture and a handful of straight-up creepy sequences that are certain to haunt our dreams well into 2014.

WARNING: Spoilers follow, as well as some images that can be considered NSFW!

10. Aftershock (Rape/Immolation)

The prolonged sequence in Nicholas Lopez's AFTERSHOCK where our leads are caught up with by a pack of wild hoodlums after a devastating earthquake is, well, deeply unpleasant. The man we thought was our main protagonist, played by Eli Roth, is almost crushed to death by a rock; if that's not bad enough, he's then burned alive by the soulless bastards. Then one of the female members of the group is raped, which always ranks #1 in the "things I don't want to see" department. Whatever you thought of the film (and I know reaction is mixed), this section is undeniably nasty.

9. Maniac (The Scalping of Rita)

There are a handful of scalping scenes in Franck Khalfoun's MANIAC remake, of course, but this one is the most gag-worthy. Maybe it's the icky way our sicko killer Frank (Elijah Wood) quietly stalks his prey, a snobby older woman named Rita (Jan Broberg), or the even ickier way he talks to her after she's been tied up and terrorized. But most likely it's just the effectiveness of the scalping itself, which happens so brutally and realistically that we're taken aback, despite the fact we've already seen similar horrors. A movie of many standout scenes, this one takes the bloody cake.

8. Here Comes the Devil (Revenge of the Parents)

What parent wouldn't want to inflict primal violence upon a creep who kidnapped and violated their child? In the case of the Felix and Sol in HERE COMES THE DEVIL, the vengeance aimed toward a man who may have done those very terrible things is rather swift but not at all painless: what begins as a simple knifing escalates into a neck-shredding so unexpected and grisly you'll be reaching for your raincoat. Cap that off with a sexual shower immediately after and you'll have no choice but to applaud director Adrian Garcia Bogliano's way of making us feel dirty and clean at the same time.

7. American Mary (The Fate of Dr. Grant)

If you needed a reminder (and you really shouldn't), AMERICAN MARY teaches you this lesson: if you're scumbag enough to drug and rape a girl, you're definitely asking for the worst in retribution. In the case of Dr. Grant, a seemingly benevolent fellow who does the wrong thing to the wrong gal (Katherine Isabelle's Mary), the retribution is startling: the man is eventually captured and tortured over a long period of time, ultimately kept a limbless prisoner of the demented Mary. Once again: don't be a scumbag.

6. I Spit On Your Grave 2 (Cattle Prod)

I hated this movie. It does everything it can to make us sick and in the easiest way possible: the slow, grueling torture of a frightened young woman. Torture porn at its most unimaginative and shameless, but it can't be denied that director Steven R. Monroe is adept at coming up with truly vile ways of disturbing us. I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2 has plenty of grotesque imagery, but the most memorable (for lack of a better word) is that of a cattle prod violating the helpless protagonist Katie (Jemma Dallender). Absolutely awful.

5. The ABCs Of Death (L is for Libido)

"Ewwww!" That's the only reasonable response to Timo Tjahjanto's incredibly sick, perverse contribution to the horror anthology THE ABCs OF DEATH. While the overall film sports several creepy/freaky/f*cked up segments (a special nod to Xavier Gens' "X is for XXL" is warranted), "L is for Libido" treats us to images and ideas that are almost too grotesque to even think about. In fact, I'm grossing myself out just writing about it. See it for yourself to find out what happens, but be warned: "L is for Libido" might just ruin masturbation for you forever.

4. Only God Forgives (Needle torture)

Leave it to Nicolas Winding Refn to give us the flat-out weirdest torture scene of this or any other year. When a hoodlum named Byron gets on the wrong side of the ruthless Detective Chang, the seemingly omniscient cop treats him to a protracted punishment - in front of a crowded room, no less - involving needles and carving knives. The surreal, unnerving sequence only runs two minutes, but it feels about three times as long.

3. The Conjuring (Witch reveal)

There are plenty of Holy Sh!t options in James Wan's polished supernatural chiller, but my absolute favorite moment is the glorious reveal of the villainous witch as it perches atop a wardrobe. Wan's deft directing allows us to not even quite realize what we're seeing one second, and in the next second it's "everybody scream!" time. The "hide and clap" sequence is another brilliantly choreographed bit of terror, but for my money seeing that horrific apparition a moment before she leaps is the movie's primo scare scene.

2. V/H/S/2 (Safe Haven finale)

If we're strictly going by the WTF?! Factor, then VHS 2's "Safe Haven" segment wins, hands down. As this short goes on, one begins to imagine co-directors Gareth Evans and Timo Tjahjanto (who makes his second appearance on this list after ABCs OF DEATH) having a blast throwing their every single strange notion - plus the kitchen sink - into this thing. So we have ritualistic suicide, ghost girls, exploding dudes and, as a topper, a monstrous goat-demon tearing itself out of a woman's stomach. Do I really know WTF is going on here? No, but it's a helluva ride all the same.

1. Evil Dead (Farewell to Arm)

Certainly EVIL DEAD remake has a delightful surplus of memorably gory and insane moments, so it's a pretty difficult task coming up with just one sequence to highlight. The needle in the face? The nail gun jamboree? The chainsaw sandwich for the Abomination? All contenders, but I'll go with the carnage poor Natalie inflicts upon her own arm with an electric carving knife. Sitting in the theater, I honestly couldn't believe the image of the blade hacking through Elizabeth Blackmore's flesh made it past the MPAA - the gnarliest visual in a wide theatrical release in many a moon. This remake may not have been perfect, but holy sh!t did it go for broke in the OUCH! department.

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11:26AM on 12/20/2013
Ugh, this short bothered me for a few days...I really regretted watching it, and was profoundly disturbed...the point, I'm presuming, but similar to my experience with "Martyrs"; when it was over, I found myself asking "why?"
Ugh, this short bothered me for a few days...I really regretted watching it, and was profoundly disturbed...the point, I'm presuming, but similar to my experience with "Martyrs"; when it was over, I found myself asking "why?"
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-6
10:50AM on 12/20/2013

"AFTERSHOCK" SHOULD BE #1 BECAUSE...

... it wasn't just a creepy or gory moment. It had a dramatic impact. THE CONJURING should be #2 because scarying the audience is more important than grossing then out. And that's also why EVIL DEAD shouldn't be so high. And V/H/S/2 wasn't "WTF" in a good way. It was plain confusing.
... it wasn't just a creepy or gory moment. It had a dramatic impact. THE CONJURING should be #2 because scarying the audience is more important than grossing then out. And that's also why EVIL DEAD shouldn't be so high. And V/H/S/2 wasn't "WTF" in a good way. It was plain confusing.
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9:46AM on 12/20/2013
This scene and the scene where Mia's arm got stuck under the Jeep are quite brutal.
This scene and the scene where Mia's arm got stuck under the Jeep are quite brutal.
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9:29AM on 12/20/2013
That "Hide and Clap" scene got me jumped out of my seat.
That "Hide and Clap" scene got me jumped out of my seat.
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