Blogger Q&A: What’s Your Favorite Movie Decapitation?
In the Blogger Q&A series, we ask our bloggers here at Flickchart to share their opinions on a movie-related question. Got something you want to ask the bloggers? Submit a question on our official Flickchart Facebook page and it could be featured in a future post!
All month we’ve been highlighting horror films, and we think the person who asked this question had horror in mind as well. But it turns out that there are great decapitations in other genres, too, and blogger Nigel Druitt picked two of them for his favorite! The rest of us stuck to scary ones, including brand-new blogger Alex Christian Lovendahl. Horror or no, be careful: this post contains spoilers. If we ruin something for you, don’t start yelling for our heads.
Alex — Prometheus
Okay, I know that opening my time on Flickchart’s blog with a controversial film is not necessarily my safest move, but hear me out; the scene in Prometheus in which David (Michael Fassbender) gets his head wholly ripped from his android frame before Weyland (Guy Pearce) gets absolutely demolished by the alien is just plain awesome. It’s surprising, vicious, and works thematically, forcing the audience to accept that seeking answers in this thing is just going to get you killed. And this happens in the same room where David finds inspiration itself in the aliens’ galactic map! Bonus points for perhaps the most humiliating disposal of a “corpse” in a film — I’m still praying that if Prometheus 2 ever comes, it opens with Michael Fassbender’s dumb, gibbering android head getting pulled back out of a duffel bag before it gets attached to another body. — Alex Christian Lovendahl
David — The Omen (1976)
The Omen makes no secret of the fact that its supporting characters will die, and violently. Even they know it: their wounds are foreseen in photos of them taken while living. The photographer (David Warner) who discovers this macabre trick tries it out on himself, and when he develops the selfie in his darkroom, the image reveals a straight gash across his neck. That photographic prophecy doesn’t stop him from joining Gregory Peck on a quest to the dark corners of Europe to find the arcane implements that will allow them to dispatch the Antichrist. Unfortunately, fate catches up to him long before then, and in a way that feels all too pedestrian: while crossing a street, a flatbed truck loaded with panes of glass loses control and sends a sheet of its cargo straight at the photographer. The glass slices through his neck like a horizontal guillotine. I like when a movie can pull off a trick like this, telling us what will happen without us ever in a million years guessing how, and it’s partly because of this scene that I tend to give open-bed trucks a wide berth on the highway. The Omen‘s excellent sound design and score are in fine form at the moment of the beheading, and the scene helped composer Jerry Goldsmith win his only Academy Award in eighteen nominations. — David Conrad
Chad — The Grapes of Death
In The Grapes of Death a bunch of French people transform into sore-covered maniacs after consuming contaminated wine. The heroine, Elisabeth, first encounters one of the diseased wretches while on a train trip. When her friend is killed by the infected “zombie” (think of less rabid versions of the creatures from 28 Days Later), she flees the locomotive and sets out across the countryside. This leads to a couple more isolated incidents before she happens upon a village full of the homicidal wine drinkers. The only uninfected person is a blind woman named Lucie, who is unaware of the chaos that has transpired. Elisabeth is reluctant to tell Lucie that her community is now a bunch of deranged murderers. When they attempt to find Lucie’s caretaker, Lucas, it turns out that he, too, has gone psycho. While Elisabeth is distracted, Lucas abducts Lucie and proceeds to nail her hands to a door. Elisabeth comes along just as Lucas pulls out an axe, and, while saying “I love you, Lucie” hacks off her head. The rest of the villagers begin chanting “I love you, Lucie” as they chase Elisabeth. (NOTE: My reason for declaring this my favorite decapitation is not because of top-notch gore effects, since the beheaded Lucie looks like a mannequin. Nor is it because I wanted poor Lucie to meet such a fate. Quite the contrary. I felt bad for her in a way that I don’t normally experience with horror films. It restored some of my humanity. That, and it’s just a really WTF? moment.) — Chad Hoolihan
Jandy — Resident Evil
I fully embrace my role as Resident Evil defender whenever I get the chance, and this is a perfect one! (Although I admit my first thought was of the battle scene in The Patriot when one poor soldier’s head gets kicked around the field like a soccer ball – the only part of that movie I remember at all.) But I digress. At this point in Resident Evil, the the group is trying to infiltrate the center of the base to shut down the Red Queen, a computer controlling the compound and making things difficult for our intrepid group of soldiers, hackers, and amnesiac test subjects. They’re almost there… but the Red Queen has one more trick up her sleeve. One thing I’ll say about laser decapitations — they’re ridiculously clean. Call me disturbed, but I just love the way the medic’s face freezes, then her head slowly slides off. Horrible and awesome at the same time. Of course, the others in the room get a much more dicey end. — Jandy Hardesty
Jeff — I Saw the Devil
2010’s I Saw the Devil is not exactly a horror movie, but it’s still horrific. The director Jee-woon Kim creates a thrilling horror-style atmosphere that continues to haunt. It follows Byung-hun Lee’s character Kim as he goes out of his way to exact revenge on the serial killer, played by Min-sik Choi, that brutally murdered his fiancée. Throughout the movie, Kim traces the killer’s every moving, attacking him and then retreating like a cat-and-mouse game until the final showdown. At the very end, Kim traps the killer in a guillotine and placed a rope in the killer’s mouth connected to the door. The killer’s family is the summoned, hears the killer’s screams, but cannot understand what he is saying. The family forcibly pulls the door open, releasing the blade and sending the killer’s head rolling towards his son and parents. Not only has Kim completed his revenge, but his death will rest on the family, just as Kim’s fiancée rests on his. Check it out in its brutal entirety below. — Jeff Lombardi
Nigel — The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
It almost feels like cheating to answer one of these questions with my #1 movie, but hey, it was the first that came to mind. And it’s a head-lopping that’s well earned. There’s Boromir, having made a heroic, though failed, attempt to save Merry and Pippin from the Uruk-hai, only to become a human pin cushion. As the lumbering Lurtz prepares to deliver the final arrow, suddenly Aragorn pops out of nowhere, eliciting one of the film’s most cheer-worthy moments. The battle between Aragorn and Lurtz is quick and intense, culminating in the final, epic stroke from Aragorn’s blade. Too late, alas, to save poor Boromir. The scene ends with the most epic death of Sean Bean‘s career… and Sean Bean is an actor who knows death scenes!
If I could be allowed to indulge in a quick second choice, another epic beheading is one that actually occurs off screen: the final moment of Mel Gibson‘s William Wallace in Braveheart, as, after a long torture, he lets out one final, strangled cry of “Freedom!” before his ultimate execution. — Nigel Druitt