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15 Images for 15 Years of Horror, Part 3 (2002-2016): some of the greatest, goriest, most shocking and most memorably defining moments in horror

January 30, 2018

Greetings, horrorounds!  We spend so much of our time complaining about re-used, recycled, unoriginal, tired-out horror tropes and stories and stale archetypal horror character roles presented by actors that can’t act, directors who can rarely direct, and budgets that don’t get us anywhere.  So I thought it was time for us to take a moment to remember that even today in the modern horror era we find the occasional delight in the form of worthy remakes or original approaches to old ideas…maybe even some new ideas.

This is a follow-up article to 15 Images for 15 Years of Horror, Part 1 (2000-2014) and 15 Images for 15 Years of Horror, Part 2 (2001-2015). So if you don’t see your favorite movies listed here, they were probably in last year’s review of awesome horror scenes.  If you want some excellent horror suggestions from further back, you should check out The Best Moments in Horror: looking back 20 years to 1995, looking back 20 years to 1996, looking back 20 years to 1997, and The Best Horror Came from the ’80s: Part 1 and Part 2.

I really wanted to include movies like Session 9 and The Skeleton Key, but such films are more about tone than single iconic images that ignite memories. So now I give you 15 more photos for 15 years of horror.  These don’t necessarily represent the 15 “best” horror movies since 2001–for that you should check out our articles on What is the Best Horror Movie of the 21st Century? and The Top 21 Horror Films of the 21st Century!–but rather 15 of the most memorable moments for me.

Train to Busan (2016)

Between the hyper-scrambly zombies climbing over each other like the spilled-over denizens of a kicked ant mound and the sniveling bad guy who would soullessly do anything to survive, I found myself feistily yelling at the screen about a dozen times… especially during the train car zombie bumrush (ABOVE).  This movie has its real emotional moments (especially getting heavy at the end), but it likewise has its fun thrills! From cityscapes and train station chase scenes to wide angle convergences of zombie hordes, this film is gorgeously shot.  I can’t sing its praises enough, but if you want even more reassurance please check out Mark’s 5 Reasons to watch this exciting approach to zombiism that’s fresher than the very flesh it infects.  It also made Mark’s 10 Best Horror films of 2016 and it’s one of the better zombie films I’ve seen in a while, featuring excellent characters. This is a major win and a thrilling ride, mixing the best of 28 Days Later (2002) and World War Z (2013) with a dash of Dawn of the Dead (2004) and Snowpiercer (2013).

Bone Tomahawk (2015)

So did you see that horror-western starring Kurt Russell? Well… whether you did or not, you can’t unsee this!  So you may as well just go watch the film.  It’s brutal throughout.  Although, undoubtedly, chopping a man’s groin with an ax and then pulling him in half…? That’s probably the most awful part of anything you saw in 2015.

We discussed this tasteful film in our Podcast #46: Troglodytes on Skype.

Zombeavers (2014)

I think that it’s really quite important that in a genre full of fantastic, unimaginable or ridiculous concepts, that a film be self-aware and know where it stands.  No scene could better accomplish this task than when an undead beaver–dragging its 97% severed lower half in tow by its own gory connective entrails–lunges towards a screaming, scantily-clad girl’s crotch boasting a beaver’s-eye-view of, well, you guessed it.

We discussed this tasteful film and all its class in our Podcast #17: B-Movie Madness.

Mama (2013)

Every time Mama moved… it was creepy.  Not just her other-worldly movement, but her face was so off-putting that director Andy Muschietti just couldn’t help but to sneak it into the remake of Stephen King’s It (2017).  As a fan of both films, I whole-heartedly approve!

REC 3: Genesis (2012)


In just the first five minutes we were introduced to a personable, charismatic couple on their wedding day.  They were real, they were sweet, and they had the kind of first dance we all wish we could pull off.  This also may be the most beautifully shot zombie film I’ve seen since 28 Days Later (2002), with the color-corrected crispness of the blood occasionally bordering on artistry.  Our newlyweds worked well as a couple fending off zombies and they almost made it out safely.  The ending scene… just GREAT.

Apollo 18 (2011)

Remember when the moon rocks came to life?  Yeah.  Me, too.  That was awesome!  #MoonRockSpiders

For more cautionary tales of space exploration, check out our Podcast #96: The Perils of Space Travel.

Piranha 3D (2010)

The lakeside piranha massacre scene was truly a gorehound’s delight.  Blood and guts and chunky gore abound, reddening the waters as victims’ bodies literally fell apart before our eyes like a fine pulled pork, slow-roasted all day.  Mmmmmm.

The Human Centipede: First Sequence (2009)

This “unique” film was strongly marketed before its release.  Not much was revealed about it, except for the–and pardon the expression I use here–but the “ass-to-mouth” theme.  At this point in cinematic history we have seen a lot of harsh, gritty movies… I Spit on Your Grave (1978, 2010), The Last House on the Left (1972, 2009), Cannibal Holocaust (1980), Salo (1975), Martyrs (2008), Inside (2007), and even the Cube and Hostel and Saw franchises were already upon us.  As horror fans, we’ve become pretty hard to shock.  So, admittedly, creative filmmakers are left with little choice but to go to extremes to shock us. And with that, I give you the “pooping scene.”  That poor girl–eyes watering.
This first film brought its three-man monstrosity intended as a piece of intense shock film art.  I’m not sure if it was art, nor would it bring pleasure to most viewers, but this film brought us something we had never seen before… something conceptually gross, disturbing and terrifying.  Making it more effective was how (as with Hostel) it was told through the perspective of the victims.  Dare I say it, but the victims’ experience was very well-acted.  Their sympathy, horror and suffering were palpable.  What little nudity there was never felt exploitative; rather it revealed vulnerability.  It was very effective and there was very little gore or violence.  In a strange way, this distasteful film was done…tastefully?  No pun intended. To quote my podcasting comrade, John Lasavath: “There’s a good chance this movie wasn’t made for you.”.

The Happening (2008)

This film may not have been M. Night Shyalaman’s greatest conquest.  We had trouble buying Mark Wahlberg as a science teacher gazing in terror at a stand of oak trees while wondering what happened to all the bees.  But thankfully, there were some memorable moments as well.  And what sticks out in the genre more than a self-inflicted lawnmower death?

REC (2007)

Horror Drags have become the norm–just another trope–but there was a time when they really worked.  During this Zompocalypse survivor’s video testimony… that poor girl.

The Omen (2006)

This was one of those remakes that everyone decided to hate before it was even released.  Not that it was anything sensational, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  In lieu of torture or flesh-rending gore, it features the brutal, gut-punching emotional impact (and dread) that I look for from time to time.  The scene that best captured this (in my opinion) was the hospital scene in which the evil nanny comes to kill Damien’s mother (Julia Stiles).  Entombed in a full body cast, she has no way to defend herself as she watches the slow advancement of the air bubble that would kill her.  See for yourself.  I found it soul-rattling!

Saw II (2005)

OMFG, when Amanda gets pushed into the needle pit and has to sift through it!  That scene killed me.  I can laugh at someone getting their head sawed off–but needles…NEEDLES…I just can’t.  But you don’t need a fear of needles to find this horrifying.  Oof, and some of them probably would snap off and be left irretrievable under her skin!  YIKES!  I also don’t expect that those syringes are “new.” Hepatitis would be the least of her worries after this affair.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Shaun of the Dead will likely forever remain among the very greatest of horror comedies.  Not only is the writing on point, but the acting is splendid and this film always finds a way to be funny.  Among its long list of hilarious accomplishments was the “zombie acting” scene.  Shaun nailed it!

Final Destination 2 (2003)

Fearing for his own death, Rory wisely picks a “porn buddy” to remove anything that might break his mother’s heart from his apartment if he dies.  Well, Rory, you couldn’t have picked a better time!  Death comes to collect his toll with an unreasonably elaborate chain of events resulting in a slicing reminiscent of Ghost Ship (2002; below), Resident Evil (2002) and Cube (1997).

Ghost Ship (2002)

I think we can all agree that Ghost Ship wasn’t exactly a critically acclaimed film.  In fact, I mostly enjoy it as a great “bad movie” with high production value.  But that flick got at least one thing right…and it got it waaaaaaaay right.  It had one of the most memorable opening scenes (and most memorable death scenes) of the decade after a serenely classy mood is set by an elegant musical number atop a luxury cruise deck.  That lonely little girl… that kind invitation to dance… and that mass-dissecting finish!  Just a deliciously gory and happily unexpected delight! (Start just after the 3-minute mark to skip the mood and get right to the mayhem.)


Hope you enjoyed some of my favorite mania-feeding moments.


Please read…
15 Images for 15 Years of Horror, Part 1 (2000-2014)
15 Images for 15 Years of Horror, Part 2 (2001-2015)


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