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05.18.2012by: Jake Dee

Horror Ten Spot: Most Cool/Outlandish Horror Weapons

So I finally lugged my ass to the theater to see CABIN IN THE WOODS a couple weeks ago, and failing to disappoint, I noticed a few inspired choices of horrific weaponry in the film. As such, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to call attention to some of the best weapons found in the horror genre. And by best, let's be clear, I don't mean weapons that have claimed the most lives. I'm not even necessarily talking about the most prevalent, iconographic tools of terror, i.e. Voorhees' trusty machete. Nah, I'm talking about some of the most cool/outlandish, out of the box, flat out ridiculous deathly instruments seen in horror films. Now, this is certainly not an exhaustive list, as there are a number of Japanese mash-up flicks that deserve their own ranking, but by and large, we're gonna get pretty f*cking wild up in here. You ready? Let's roll!

#10. Vehicles (DUEL, CHRISTINE)

Hotrods, semis, hearses, stunt-rides...as wide and varied as these death machines have proven over the years, I can't leave out the love for all the deadly vehicles we've seen on film throughout the years. Whether it's the hulking, predatory big-rig in Spielberg's DUEL, or Carpenter's nostalgic CHRISTINE, the bat-shit road terrors of MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE, or the supped-up killer cars of DEATH RACE, there's something infinitely watchable about seeing 2-tons of metal on wheels hurl toward an innocent victim. There's something impersonal about the horror, we often never see who's actually driving the motored leviathan. To that end, these types of films are mechanized monster movies, where the weapons become extensions of the machinery. Others like DEATH PROOF, are wildly personal, where Stuntman Mike's deadly whip is also is implement if pleasure...in essence arcing a loaf in his shorts after bloody collision.

#9. Giant drill (BODY DOUBLE)

What I love about Brian De Palma's early work is the way he emulates Hitchcock, but does so without the strictures of the production code. Therefore he imbues the visual panache with the lurid, violent and flat-out provocative. Take BODY DOUBLE for example, which basically retells REAR WINDOW. Thing is, we get all the money-shots Hitch was verboten to show. And boy does De Palma deliver. The giant phallic drill used by the killer in the movie is both hilarious and brutal, he's in essence penetrating his victims with his large tool. No wonder Patrick Bateman gives the flick multiple shout outs in Easton-Ellis' "American Psycho" novel! Yes we've seen the drill before, be it big in THE DRILLER KILLER or smaller in something like THE DENTIST, but few examples can rival the insanity of De Palma. We can only hope the man recaptures his 80s filmmaking acumen with his new lesbo-thriller PASSION.

#8. Lawnmower (DEAD ALIVE)

Perhaps it was the literal 5 gallons of blood gushed per second, but when I think of the most exorbitant onscreen deaths, Peter Jackson's lawnmower scene in DEAD ALIVE is pretty fucking astounding. Granted, the entire film reaches a cartoon pitch, and some of the other deaths might rival it as a whole. But we're talking deadly weapons, not just deaths, and to that end, most fail to bring the comedic shock value of that damn grass-grazer. Of course, we've seen other lawnmower deaths in shit like SLAUGHTER HIGH and SLEEPAWAY CAMP 3, hell, even Voorhees pulls out a tree-saw in FRIDAY THE 13TH VII: THE NEW BLOOD and gives Terry Kiser the business. Alas, none match the inventive brio of Jackson's demo, as he brings a verve and creativity that equals the absurdity of the weapon. Using a lawnmower is one thing, using it right is another. And for that, Pete is king.

#7. Pulse Rifle (ALIENS)

Whether Ellen Ripley or Dana Barrett, Sigourney Weaver has been subjected to her fair share of ultra-badass film weaponry over the years. Difference is, in Cameron's ALIENS, she gets to grip that ever intimidating M41-A Pulse Rifle, evolving her status as bona fide action hero from the more demure, final girl of the first film. Here she's for more assertive, far more in control. Of course, the bigger crew and more advanced arsenal helps out quite a bit. Still, when face to face with the breed of extraterrestrial monsters, she eviscerates the bulk of them to a gooey pulp...and so with the trusty Pulse Rifle. I know many consider ALIENS to be among the few examples of a sequel that surpasses its original. Unfortunately, I'm not in that camp. I find the campy, MTV-style action and humor of ALIENS to be far LESS frightening than the approach Scott took. I enjoy ALIENS a great deal, don't get me wrong, but as an action flick, not a Gothic horror tale set in space.

#6. Flying Metal Spheres (PHANTASM)

Looks like Pete Berg is a PHANTASM fan, ay? How else do you explain those giant flying spheres we've seen in the promos for BATTLESHIP? Rip-off or not, few weapons in the horror realm have left as lasting an impression as The Tall Man's bladed metallic balls! Props to Don Coscarelli for his impressive, low-budget effects, ones that haven't sank into completely laughable hokum over the decades. The reasoning? The macabre results. I mean, not only do these heat seeking orbs track you the fuck down, when they meet you face to face, a scalpel-like blade or two juts out and carves right into your damn forehead, juicing every last drop of blood and spitting it out. Shit's heinous! Even more heinous however, appreciated nonetheless, is how the deadly balls return in the some would say superior sequel. Only difference, next time they're met by Reggie's hardcore 4-barrell shotty. Not quite fire with fire, but pretty damn entertaining!

#5. Frisbee Blade (PREDATOR 2)

Through five films, those dreaded yuck-mouth Predators have displayed quite the arsenal of advancement, but few of their implements show the diversity of the sharp flying-disc seen in PREDATOR 2. That shite's savage! Sure I could have cited the net-gun the Predator shoots at the ready, but come on, the scene where the fucker uses the photon emitting disc to excise a row of hanging met slabs? F*cking radical! A loud shout-out goes to the late great Stan Winston, who, with more time than he was given on the first film, was largely responsible for coming up with the exotic weaponry in the film. I only wish the film didn't suffer the 20 or so cuts director Stephen Hopkins claims the filmed suffered as a way to tone down the brutal violence. Just imagine if the film was left intact. Probably would have been as gnarly as the crew finding an actual dead body in the infamous alley scene. Only in L.A. baby!

#4. Proton Packs (GHOSTBUSTERS)

Alright, this chick is TOAST! Nearly 30 years after the release of GHOSTBUSTERS, few cinematic weapons have the creative staying power of the boys' Proton Packs. Seriously. As one of my all time favorite film, a true a touchstone of my childhood, I even rocked a toy proton pack for Halloween as wee lad. Who didn't? And as outlandish as the notion of deadly energy-emitting light streams are, props must be cast to the FX team for creating a visual look that holds up against the more bloated, unnecessarily flashy CG we see in movies today. In fact, I'd argue that if a third GHOSTBUSTERS film ever gets made (don't do it Bill!), the FX would probably be a sad and cheap ersatz. Nobody wants to see that. What I do want to see after reading a bit of trivia, is finding Ron Jeremy's uncredited cameo, then seeking out the porn parody he SUBSEQUENTLY made THIS AIN'T GHOSTBUSTRS XXX. Wow.

#3. Wood-chipper (FARGO)

What's that, FARGO isn't a horror film you say? The heck ya mean?!? Ask Jerry motherfucking Lundegaard! Better yet, ask Carl Showalter how terrifying is grisly demise proved to be. Still not sold? How about the culprit, Gaer Grimsrod, played with comedic stolidity by Peter Stormare, hilariously grumbling in monosyllabic utterances. Dude's torment of his criminal accomplice is pure comedy throughout the picture, which makes the shocking finale all the more disturbing, especially the first time seeing it. Honestly, a number of other horrific weapons could have been cited, but FARGO is one of my all time favorite flicks, and few death-methods have remained as vivid in my head as Steve Buscemi's leg being crammed into a wood-chipper, that crimson snow pile of eviscerated Carl never fails to induce a wince. Love that shit!

#2. Vaginal Teeth (TEETH)

Vaginal Teeth. Need I really expound? Hell, after I saw Mitchell Lichtenstein's TEETH, forget spitting game at a girl, I didn't even beat off for a month. Truth. Of course, TEETH has a darkly comedic tenor rather than a straight-faced one, but that doesn't discount the fact it's based on a supposed real life condition known as vagina dentata. Okay, so it's more of a tall-tale, but damn, can you imagine the horror? Not just for men trying to plant the carrot, but for women as well. A fanged-cooch? That can't make a broad happy, can it? How could it? Craziness. Come to think of it, it's the most personalized weapon on our list. It's not wielded by hand, or shot out of gun, it's implementation is predicated on intimacy, which makes the bite all the more painful. Nope, you have to earn your way into getting masticated by pussy-incisors. Talk about insult to injury!

#1. Freddy's Razor-Glove (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET)

May seem a tad obvious, but come on, we'd be remiss if we didn't cast some love toward Fred Krueger's iconic sharply bladed razor glove. Think about the opening sequence of the original A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, the screech, hiss and steam bubbling from Krueger's boiler room, each knife carefully crafted and woven into one of the most unique horror weapons we've ever seen. I mean, as if a pedophilic burn victim isn't daunting enough, here comes Fred packing a quintet of flesh carvers at the ready. Shite's hectic! And here's a bit of trivia for you ANOES aficionados, the glove Freddy used in the original only made a full appearance again in part 2 of the series (it's also seen in EVIL DEAD 2). But when Wes Craven lent the glove to the production of part 3, DREAM WARRIORS, shite immediately went missing...never to be found since. My guess either a disgruntled or investment-minded PA stole that shit on sight. I would have.

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