Top 10 Eyeball Horror Scenes!

Last Updated on August 3, 2021

Ommetaphobia. The fear of eye-trauma. Such a deep-seeded fear is one we’ve been able to trace back to the silver screen of the 1920s. Why is that? What is it about the eyeball being such a vulnerable target in horror movies? I suppose it’s not just the pain of potential puncture, but the loss of vision that doubly frightens. Whatever the case, a new movie out this Friday called THE EYES OF MY MOTHER is said to deal disturbingly with the subject matter, and we couldn’t help but mount a list of our favorite instances of ommetaphobic horror over the years. Think you can guess which made the cut?

Give it your best, pound it up top and peep our Top 10 Eyeball Horror Scenes!


What in the flying f*ck! Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali were two sick and twisted sumbitches, the proof being in the infamous eye-splitting razor scene in UN CHIEN ANDALOU. No joke, this scene is 87 years old and still packs an undeniable wallop. It’s shocking to see it now, in 2016, so can you imagine what kind of hysteria was incited in audiences back in 1929? Unthinkable. As obvious inspiration for all that followed (or preceded on this list), the Italian splatter hounds in particular, the scene finds a man sharpening his straight razor for a few ticks before the camera quickly cuts to a close-up of a woman’s face. Our assailant grasps her head, lifts an eyelid and in one fell swoop, dices the poor girl’s eyeball horizontally until a gelatinous bubble protrudes from the slit. I love the reverse shot from the girl’s POV as the razor slides across her purview!

#2. ZOMBIE/THE BEYOND (1979-1981)

Italian grue-hound Lucio Fulci has never been one to shy away from extreme ocular violence, and we have two different films of his to prove such. The first is ZOMBIE, which features one of the gnarliest and most memorable sequences of horrific eyeball impalement. In a tension filled, slow-mo build up, a hapless female victim has her head slowly shoved toward the jagged edge of a broken 2×4. Closer, closer, closer…and WHAM…the piece of sharpened wood is forcefully jousted into her eyeball where it penetrates deeper than a Manuel Ferrera anal scene. Shite’s nasty! Then, opting to outdo himself two years later in THE BEYOND, Fulci mounts two equally brutal stints of eyeball violence. One in which a killer plunges into the ocular cavity and pulls the eyeball out, a flood of blood raining down. The other where a zombie shoves a large nail into the back of a girl’s head until her eyeball pops 6-inches out of her skull!

#3. HOSTEL (2005)

While not a huge fan of HOSTEL overall, what Eli Roth chose to add to the long lineage of eyeball horror is nothing short of disgustingly spectacular. It really is. Remember, when one of those demented rich assholes who shell out hard cash to kill people for sport takes a blowtorch to a young woman’s pretty little head, what’s left of her dome is a gorily melted eyeball dangling from her chewed and charred-up face. Not done, in what’s apparently a twisted bout of mercy, the sick sumbitch then takes out a pair of pruning shears and cuts the wet, bloody viscera of connective tissue and snips the girl’s eyeball clean off the optic nerve. And if that wasn’t gross enough, a thick stream of yellowy goop pours down her face. Shite’s extreme! Extremely hostile that is!

#4. THE EVIL DEAD/THE EVIL DEAD 2 (1981-1987)

The great Sam Raimi is no stranger to perversely exorbitant eyeball violence, and we can cite both THE EVIL DEAD and EVIL DEAD 2 as laudatory evidence. In the first, pictured above, we get a double-thumb eyeball gouging that is so delicious that thick, viscous wells of gore pour out over a zombie’s desiccated face. It’s a perfect puncture that relieves the pressure of two popped eyeballs. Can’t be beat! Then of course, fitting in with the even more cartoonish tone of the sequel, when Ash tries to corral a rabid zombie from a vicious attack, he drops the trapdoor on the bloodsucker’s head, steps on it with his foot until its eyeball pops out of its head, goes flying across the room and foully lands in the open maw of young lady. The capper? The camera angles, seen from the flying eye’s POV, then in profile soaring through the air!

#5. OPERA (1987)

It’s damn good to see Dario Argento’s oft-overlooked high-art-low-brow horror flick OPERA included on consecutive Top 10s. Last time the 1987 flick made the cut for featuring creepily ominous horror movie birds, and now, well, just look at that damn photo! There have been countless examples of eyeball horror in movies for decades, but really, few rival the sheer ingenuity of the sadistic slasher in OPERA opted to subject one of his victims to. Yup, our crazy killer taped a row of sewing needles directly underneath both of her eyeballs, forcing her to keep her eyes open in order to witness the horrific death of a loved one. If she closes her eyes in sheer terror, as anyone would, her own orbs will be gruesomely spiked as well. So inventive, so insidious, so damn inspired!


If nothing else is taken away from this Top 10, we want all you guys and gals to divert your peepers (see what we did there) to a cool little obscure 70s horror flick called MANSION OF THE DOOMED. Have you seen the movie EYES WITHOUT A FACE? Well, this one this essentially the inversion…FACE WITHOUT THE EYES! The premise is this: When a doctor’s daughter suffers a horrific car accident that leaves her blind, her devilishly dedicated dad exhausts every avenue to restore her eyesight. His final plan? Going around and killing a spate of young women, plucking their eyeballs out and supplanting them in the head of his own daughter until the right match is found. Seriously. How dope is that! Some awfully grisly eye-extraction is up for witness in the film, which was directed by longtime character actor Michael Pataki (Dr. Hoffman in HALLOWEEN 4).

#7. EYEBALL (1975)

Voracious consumers of all things Giallo need no education on the 1975 Umberto Lenzi flick EYEBALL, which the formidable Italian director made in between SEVEN BLOOD STAINED ORCHIDS and CANNIBAL FEROX. With a plot so central to what it is we are sickly celebrating here today – a red-caped serial killer stalking a busload of American tourists with the sole intent of lethally gouging their eyeballs out – we simply could not omit this one from the party. It’s one thing for a horror flick to feature a one-off bout of eye-trauma, but to plot and title your entire film around such a conceit? Brilliant! Granted, with no official DVD release for the flick, it’s a bit hard to find, but thankfully a version or two has been uploaded on Youtube. Go see it!

#8. GUINEA PIG (1985)

For our Japanese contingent, we almost opted for Takashi Miike’s squeamish needles-to-the-eyes scene in his incomparable AUDITION, but since so much of that gag relies on the squishy sound FX rather than the outright visual, we’ve decided to go with the extremely graphic eyeball scoop-job in the infamous 1985 horror flick GUINEA PIG. Problem? How could there be, this poor gal gets her eyeball dug-in and scooped-out with a goddamn spoon! What makes this one even more disturbing is just how tightly framed it is, essentially in close-up, almost like a nonfiction instructional video for med students. Quick bit of trivia, apparently Charlie Sheen procured a copy of the film on VHS in 1991 and was so horrified by the extreme violence that he called the FBI to investigate the flick as a snuff film. The filmmakers successfully proved it was all make believe, achieved through, ahem, eye-popping VFX.


Par for the course of the series as a whole, FINAL DESTINATION 5 features perhaps the most inventive of all scarifying fits of eye destruction in a movie. You know the deal. A nubile lass opts for the equivalent of Lasik eye surgery to correct her vision, only to suffer an improbable Murphy’s Law amount of wrongdoing. Already mortified by the invasive procedure, poor Olivia hilariously clutches her childhood teddy-bear as the good doc clamps her eyelids open, Alex DeLarge style, before leaving the room to fetch a file. A cup of water spills on the plug, short-circuiting the laser machine until the temperature hikes way past its limit. Soon the gal’s retina is scorched in half. She writhes, she wriggles, she violently rips the clamp off her lid, the laser scorches up the palm of her hand before she slips, falls out of the window, lands on a car. Her detached eyeball then rolls towards us in 3D!

#10. DEMONS (1985)

Where better to start in a hellish movie theater? After-all, it is where we go to exercise our eyes! Indeed, a horror list of any kind would seem quite fallow without the name Bava attached, and while we’re dealing with Jr., Lamberto, the gruesomely relentless double-eye gouge in DEMONS would make even papa Mario proud. What’s so great about this nasty bit of eyeball evisceration is just how graphic it is and how long it plays out. We get increasing closeups of a mouth-foaming zombie chick digging her filthy talons into both eye sockets of an unsuspecting victim. She pierces, punctures, blood begins to leak, and soon, we move closer and closer as she’s gorily finger-painting the dude’s face with his own smeared blood.

Tags: Hollywood

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