Top 10 One-On-One Horror Showdowns!
DING DING DING! That's right y'all, we're some 36 hours away from the big fight: Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. As such, it got us to thinking about some of the best, if not our favorite, onscreen face-offs seen in the horror/sci-fi genre. Get out the mop and bucket, it's gonna get messy around here. Enter the ring above and take a swing at our Top 10 One-On-One Horror Showdowns!
I'll never be the same after one night waking up as a 7-year old to a random HBO screening of HELLBOUND: HELL RAISER II. Talk about scarred for life! Jesus. Of course, that largely has to do with the final clash between ol' Pinhead and Dr. Channard's chained-up, semi-Cenobite alter. A bit different than most onscreen kerfuffles, this one features a raft of S&M chains, whips, hooks, gnarly brain clamps, transoms, projectile spikes and other hellish regalia. It's true, Cenobites aren't the craftiest fighters, but they can inflict just as much pain as the most punchy pugilists alive...or dead.
"Eat it! Eat it yourself you sick twisted f*ck!" I might be in the minority here, but I've always found the dichotomously humorous and equally unnerving fight sequence between Paul Sheldon and Annie Wilkes at the end of MISERY one of the most entertaining ever. First off, the matchup is such an odd one: a battered and bloodied wheelchair bound male pitted against a maniacally monstrous female super-fan. Not quite the same weight-class, but a classic head-to-head nonetheless. The great Rob Reiner directs the scene with the perfect tone of shut-in terror mixed with absurdist humor, and by the end, you're not quite sure whether to laugh or cry.
Come on now...what more do you need than Rowdy Roddy Piper scuffling it out with Keith David in a dingy back-alley? Unbeatable! Such a bout occurs, of course, in John Carpenter's consumerist brainwashing metaphor of THEY LIVE, and carries out over the course of a good 6 minutes plus. That's a full two rounds in the ring, yo! As we know, Piper is a born brawler and longtime professional wrestler, whereas Keith David is just an all around badass mofo not to be trifled with. But what I love is just how simple yet effective the fight is. No major stunts or lame bells and whistles...just two alpha-dogs duking it out like real men.
Regardless of the time period or genre it was made under, the one-on-one throw-down between Connor "Highlander" MacLeod and Victor "The Kurgan" Kruger back in 1986 is one of the best and most badass ever captured on film. First off, the duration. These mofos go at each other's throats for an uninterrupted 5 minutes or so, never breaking once for a corner-side breather. Second, the mode of combat...trading sharp sword-blades like two ancient samurai gods. Then we have the ambience...a desolate warehouse bathed in cold blue light that reflect off the shiny floors to create an eerie ethereal atmosphere. Then, the finale! A supernatural force that shatters through the windows and devours the Kurgan's evil soul.
Please...what's any meaningful fight card without Van Damme as the main event? Unthinkable. Hell, we almost went with BLOODSPORT just out of sheer reverence, but since DAY OF RECKONING truly flirts with abject horror, not to mention features about a half dozen brutally bone-crushing one-on-one fracases. And even though the one between Scott Adkins and Andrei Arlovski with the baseball bats might be the best, it's all about the Muscles from Brussels in that underground lair. You know, the one where he and Adkins do machete knife-fight battle amid some vicious hand-to-hand combat. Real shit, these are two of the best and most badass mofos in the cinematic fight game. Show respect!
There's no way in a fiery, flame-roasted hell that we'd fail to salute the utter chaotic battleground that is THE RAID. Here though we take it one step further to lay reverence at the feet of its sequel, THE RAID 2, which like the first, adheres to an absolute videogame layout of climbing levels to face bigger and bolder bad-guy bosses along the way to the fearsome finale. Plenty of one-offs to chose from here, but to us, the one that really leaves a lasting impression is when our man Rama trades epic blows with the henchman during that crazy kitchen finale. That sucker took 6 weeks to plan, 8 days to film, features 195 different shots, and has been publicly stated as director Gareth Edwards' favorite scene in the film. We see why!
We could have just as easily recounted the OG T-800 battle with Kyle Reese back in 1984, but come on, the smoldering twisted metal mash featured at the end of JUDGMENT DAY is just too damn cool to cast aside. Or heated, I should say. You know the deal. When the deadly denouement finds the now protective T-800 (Arnie) and the assaultive T-1000 (Patrick) squaring-off in an industrial steel mill, we're treated with a destructive robotic brawl of epic proportions. Being that both opponents are made of metal, the rudimentary setting adds a meta-effect that culminates in, as you know, Arnie giving a heartening thumbs-up after dispatching the T-1000 and slowly dipping himself into a vat of hot molten steel.
"Come on, kill meeee, I'm he-uhhh. I'm he-uhhh!" Goddamn we can never get enough of the muddily amphibious one-one-one fisticuffs thrown between Dutch and the titular beast at the end of PREDATOR. Normally, in any other Arnie picture, dude's brute force and bodybuilding stature would typically dominate his opponent, but not here. Instead, old Dutch has to show a little ingenuity to properly waylay his ferocious alien enemy. I'm talking the camouflage, the booby-traps, the trickery, and of course, ultimately dropping that huge deadweight pulley contraption on the motherf*cker's dreaded dome-piece. Now quick...GET TO THE CHOPPPPAAAA!
Almost 30 years have passed since the epic brawl took place between the undersized and undefeated Ellen Ripley and the humongous and rangy Alien Queen in Jimmy Cameron's ALIENS, and with each passing year, the memorable bout is further cemented as an all time classic. Why is that? It might have to do with the creativity of Ripley to match the stature and punching power of her nasty foe. Our gal straps into the Power Loader and wages a mechanical fit of warfare upon her otherworldly opponent. Visually stunning in a way we've never really seen before or since, it's a spirited performance that not only earned Ripley the victory, but earned Sigourney an Oscar nod.
Talk about the Ali-Frazier of horror heavyweight showdowns - FREDDY VS. JASON had the unenviable task of living up to gargantuan expectations. And you know what, with a good decade gone to sit back and reflect, I think director Ronny Yu did a damn fine job of referring this balefully bloody bout between two iconic horror villains. Granted, I personally tend to favor Voorhees over Krueger and ultimately judged my decision of who won the battle based on that bias, but beyond that, you couldn't find a more equally matched face-off among two of the most murderous movie madmen of all time. Now where's the goddamn rematch!