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15 Images for 15 Years of Horror, Part 4 (2003-2017): some of the greatest, goriest, most shocking and most memorably defining moments in horror

October 14, 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)15 Images for 15 Years of Horror, Part 2 (2001-2015) and 15 Images for 15 Years of Horror, Part 3 (2002-2016). 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 (or even clips) 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 2003–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.

Life (2017)

Despite not having much of a story, the characters and creature development breathe heavy tension into Life . It’s a satisfying rollercoaster of nerve-wracking fun, but packs none of the moral or heroic punch of Alien (1979).

After an accidental gas valve malfunction Calvin (the name given to their little lifeform) appears to be dead. So, Dr. Hugh Derry tries to shock/defibrillate him and, well… Calvin doesn’t seem thrilled. Even though it starts with just a finger snap, this is among the more powerfully disturbing limb-breaking scenes I’ve seen. I was truly reeling along with our victim.

If you haven’t seen the film and want to know more, we discussed it a bit in Episode 96: Cinematic Space Exploration Seems Terrible.

Don’t Breathe (2016)

This film was loaded with high tension and utter brutality. The attempted artificial insemination scene (basically an alternative rape) and Rocky’s vengeful recourse were truly shocking. This was among the most morally reprehensible things I’ve seen; I felt the horror of our protagonist victim even though, truly, I couldn’t even imagine.

If you want to hear more about this film, check out Episode 73: Fede Alvarez’ Don’t Breath & Evil Dead.

The Visit (2015)

A boy’s angry grandfather takes a soiled adult diaper and smacks it right in the kid’s face! I’ve covered some really gory scenes in this series of articles. Faces being ripped apart, guts being pulled out, super creepy imagery… but when I first saw this scene every joint in my body locked up in terror.

It Follows (2014)

Some films really just go for it in the first few minutes. Remember in The Ring (2002) when we first saw that victim’s face? Yeah, scenes like that. Well this (above) from the opening sequence shocked the crap outta’ me! We saw it on screen for about a second and after I was just thinking “wait, what happened to her leg!?!?!?!”

If you want to hear more about this film, check out Episode 11: Sexually Transmitted Demons.

Insidious Chapter 2 (2013)

The answer is yes! The Lipstick Demon will forever be creepy AF.
I’m honestly not a huge fan of this franchise, but I like the world it builds and the presentation of its fiends.

Sinister (2012)

Don’t even play like this didn’t freak you TF out even when watching the TV trailer! That shit wasn’t right!

The Thing (2011)

Okay, folks. Let’s get something clear. I’ll be the first to say I knew far before 2011 that no remake, reboot, sequel or prequel to The Thing (1982) could ever do any remote justice to the original. That said, I’m not saying this 2011 remake/prequel was good. But it was certainly entertaining! Even if some of the CGI doesn’t quite hold up in parts, it’s an exciting effects ride.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)

This was not so scary (to the point of major disappointment), but still a tad entertaining.  It felt like it should have been a 30-minute short in an episodic movie composed of three eerie del Toro-visualized tales.  The concept and story were great, just… stretched way too thin. That leg break, though!

Zombieland (2009)

The movie that gave us some of the best rules for surviving the zombie apocalypse. Lots of good rules presented in memorable ways. LOL

Splinter (2008)

This strikes me as the kind of film a lot of people missed–which is just sinful. It captures similar plant-induced-zombification notions we enjoyed in The Ruins (2008), it calls back to the Bride of Re-Animator (1989) “hand” scenes, and we enjoy the kind of wildly twitchy zombie-animated autonomy we’d later find in Train to Busan (2016). This is joyously creepy and brought many smiles as I reeled in my seat.

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007)

While on the phone with her agent her agent (Patton Oswalt), singer Kimberly Caldwell (playing herself) makes the very same “wrong turn” that got those folks into trouble in Wrong Turn (2003) and hits a young mutant hillbilly. The brutal tone is set immediately as the disfigured boy bites off her lips and she is cut top-to-bottom in half, dropping her intestines in a gore-slathered mess as we watch her legs fall in opposite directions! If you don’t simply love that, then you may as well stop the movie right there. If for some reason you figured you should avoid the Wrong Turn sequels (now up to part 6), I’d advise you at least watch this one even though it lacks the more serious tone of part 1.

Black Sheep (2006)

If you haven’t seen the delightfully gory New Zealand horror comedy about infected, flesh-eating sheep–consider yourself notified that you’ve been missing out big time! Victims fall into an offal pit, there’s something of a “weresheep” transformation, and loads of entrail-rich hilarity. Here, we have a sort of feral sheep ripping out a woman’s digestive system!

The Amityville Horror (2005)

Both rather haphazard in content, the remake (2005) and the original (1981) still managed to pack a lot of atmospheric punches and a solid creep-factor. And although perhaps more than a bit cliche, we all press our backs into our seats when we see the “creepy kid” scene coming. Here’s one of those scenes as a child forces a woman’s finger into her headwound. LOL

Saw (2004)

Saw really set the stage for modern torture porn—although the script seems so thoughtful that the mere application of this subgenre feels on the verge of derogatory.  This film never dares to revel in its brutality in lieu of story. Cube (1997) and Se7en (1995) clearly colored Wan’s palate, but didn’t overly guide his brush strokes.  All resistance feels futile from the moment the set-ups are revealed, everyone dies, and evil wins with nary a silly nor ill-explained nor eye-rollingly ironic twist to be found. The most iconic scene of this franchise opener was when the film’s namesake, the saw, was finally used. It’s funny how so many people look back at this as a gory movie, literally remembering more visceral brutality than actually transpired on screen. Rather the brutality was more in the perceived emotional duress (most of the time), and that’s what made this work so well.

Wrong Turn (2003)

Remember that time Emmanuelle Chriqui got axed across the jaw? Yeah… everyone who saw this remembers that death. It was epic. And right after that moment, her body slid down as her upper head remain resting atop the tree-wedged ax… just gorgeous.


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)
15 Images for 15 Years of Horror, Part 3 (2002-2016)


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