Top 10 Horror Movie Strangulations!
Say friends, what's your favorite horror movie strangulation? See, we're taking inspiration for this week's Top 10 from two sources. Hear us out. With this week's release of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, an obvious offshoot of Hitchcockian cinema, and this week's release of a foul horror comedy called THE GREASY STRANGLER, we've fused the two topics together to come up with a list of Top 10 Horror Movie Strangulations. After all, no one knew how to choke a guy or gal out with more style than old Hitch. But he isn't the only. Above you'll find some of the genre's most revered filmmakers...Argento, Bava, De Palma, et al., each lending their own macabre spin on the fatal strangulation.
So, do you think your favorite will make the cut? Peep our Top 10 Horror Movie Strangulations and see!
We almost kicked off this grisly gala of all things strangulation with a very similar scene from Scorsese's CAPE FEAR, but since old Kersek wasn't actually choked to death (he was shot), we've elected to go with the preceding scene from Lucio Fulci's 1988 horror yarn A CAT ON THE BRAIN. You cool with that? Good! Pretty simple, our chainsaw-wielding madman takes a break from the revving blade and instead, uncoils a piano wire and goes berserk. He not only approaches from behind, throws the wire around a woman's neck, he saws the wire back and forth as to bloodily penetrate, while still choking the life at of the poor lass. As per usual with Fulci, he revels in the gore for no real reason except to punctuate the scenes with a snazzy jazz riff. Perfect way to get this party started!
Who out there has NOT seen the 2004 Asian horror anthology 3 EXTREMES? Well what the hell are you waiting for?! Takashi Miike and Chan-wook Park joining forces? Too damn good to miss. Anyway, in Park's final segment "Cut," about a film director who dresses his set to precisely resemble the interior of his own home, a disgruntled extra starts exacting a violent fit of revenge. And while we didn't elect to show the exact shot of a little boy being disturbingly strangled (this piano marionette image is too damn cool), it is without a doubt one of the most marringly memorable strangulations we've ever seen. The way Park frames it, holds it, never cutting away, forcing us to be as breathless as the little boy eventually becomes... But that's almost nothing compared to the final twist, when the director actually strangles his own wife - and her tongue spills out of her mouth! Sick shite!
Only a year after the great Michael Caine was going on a cross-dressing killing spree for Brian De Palma in DRESSED TO KILL, the English bloke forged an equally gory relationship with Oliver Stone via THE HAND. What a great premise. When a comic book artist loses his hand in a car accident one day, he can't seem to find where it went. That is, until the possessed disembodied extremity starts gorily felling of all the dude's fiercest enemies. Of course, struck with a moral battle of what to do, Caine ultimately elects to fend off the hand, and goes into a wonderful fit of self-strangulation. The possessed hand is trying to strangle him, he's trying to unclasp the hand from his throat. Sick shite, as only the Stone can provide!
Shhh...don't tell anyone, but DEEP RED just might be my favorite Argento flick. That scene when that little wooden doll thingy suddenly comes strolling into the room from afar...that shite still gives me goosebumps. And if it's chills you want, it doesn't get much icier than our black-gloved serial killer choking a rich bitch out with her own set of lavish pearls. That's insult to injury right there! In a great set piece from the Italian maestro, the lady gets her necklace caught in the lift. Her body is pulled tight up against the lift contraption, her back to the machine, and soon, her peals get sucked upward in a way that fully strangles the lady in such a taut manner that it actually cuts her throat and draws blood. Argento overkill!
Likely because it was based on such a compelling true story, THE BOSTON STRANGLER features A-list turns from the likes of Henry Fonda and Tony Curtis. The result is a dramatized account of a man who aggressively strangled 13 women in the state of Massachusetts during the early 1960s. I suppose we could have singled one death in particular, but this maniacal loon has such a staggering body of work we're just counting his entire death-count as one all encompassing mention. He earned it. What's cool about the movie is the first hour or so is presented through the eyes of clueless detectives trying to piece things together, then flips halfway through to show us things from the perspective of Albert DeSalvo, The Boston Strangler.
Ah, it's always a true delight to comprise a Top 10 that includes the great Mario Bava. Never a stranger to a strangle, the opening sequence in perhaps Bava's most influential movie (at least slashers...FRIDAY THE 13TH 2 ripped this one big time), A BAY OF BLOOD, Bava gives us one of the grisliest choke-outs we've ever laid eyes on. What's worse, Bava unmercifully fells a wheelchair bound old lady in the sequence, as our killer drops a noose around the lady's neck, kicks her wheelchair out from under her and lets her own body weight strangle her to death. It's long, drawn out and sure to make you squirm...Bava style!
Ever the Hitchcock disciple, Brian De Palma got away with so much more than his predecessor could even dream of. Case in point, BODY DOUBLE, an ultra-sleazy and highly entertaining spin on the REAR WINDOW yarn. Not only does our killer roll around with a humongous drill that he penetrates mostly female victims with, he also exacts one of the most vicious strangulations as well. As our Bill Maher looking lead voyeuristically leers at an undressing neighbor, he suddenly sees an assailant enter the room, sneak up behind a woman on the telephone, take the phone cord and savagely swaddle it around the poor girl's neck. We cut from long shot to closeup and get a ferocious strangle job.
Man oh man, I still can't shake that image of poor little Tod's toes scraping and scratching across the bathtub tile after being strangled in FINAL DESTINATION. So brutal! There's something so squeamish and hard to watch about seeing this kid struggle so hard and for so long, his eyes reddening and face puffing up from asphyxiation. James Wong expertly crafts the scene with inescapable claustrophobia, and even foreshadows Tod's death in the opening of the film when Tod makes a choking/strangling gesture to Alex as they board the plane. Oh those premonitions!
Codify NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN any way you care to, as a horror film or geriatric coming of age tale, nothing will change the fact that our introduction to the phantom-like foe Anton Chigurgh features one of the gnarliest and most visceral strangulations ever constructed. The Coen bros design the sequence brilliantly, as always, and Roger Deakins lights the hell out of the scene. Anton slowly and silently rises from his seat in the precinct, ambles into focus from behind, throws his cuffed-hands around a trooper's unsuspecting neck, then goes into a WWF grappling match. The screech of both men's boots along the linoleum is frightening, as is that crazy face Chigurgh pulls as he literally chokes the life out of that poor bastard!
Whether it's TORN CURTAIN, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, DIAL M FOR MURDER, ROPE, or even my favorite of the lot, FRENZY, the unequivocal master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock has framed, lit, shot and choreographed some of the best all time cinematic strangulations we've ever seen. The drawn out tempo, the tension, the seduction the classy elegance, and in the end, the abject terror! One does wonder if this was a personally beloved death-method by old Hitch, or if, due to censorship and lack of graphic violence permitted in Hollywood at the time (until PSYCHO), the story simply necessitated a more intimate mode of dispatch. One thing is certain, over his unparalleled run of flicks, no one has ever done it better!