Nothing says love quite like touching someone’s heart. Of course, within the confines of horror movies, that phrase takes on quite a different meaning than the intended one.
In celebration of Valentine’s Day this Saturday, we wanted to look back on five horror movie moments where hearts were touched – and by touched we mean ripped out, stabbed and just plain broken beyond repair.
Sound good? Good. Read on for HL’s annual celebration of love!
1) While planning for this list, there was one movie that immediately came to mind: Suspiria. There are few opening sequences more memorable than the one on display in Dario Argento’s colorful masterpiece, wherein a young woman is stabbed to death and then hung from the ceiling of the ballet academy – pools of blood and pieces of stained glass decorating the floor beneath her.
Never one to shy away from violence, Argento took a highly unique approach to the stabbing scene, literally taking us inside the woman’s chest and showing the knife penetrating her heart. Sure, the lack of a visible ribcage makes the scene somewhat unrealistic, but it’s nevertheless a painful-to-watch moment that I’ve never forgotten – and likely never will.
2) I was eight-years-old at the time Jason Goes to Hell was released, and a rental of the VHS tape from my local Blockbuster made for one of the most memorable nights of my life. My dad, who had always been cool with me watching horror movies, was so repulsed by an early scene that he ejected the tape from the VCR, and refused to let me finish watching.
The scene, as you probably ascertained given the nature of this list, was the one wherein a coroner eats Jason Voorhees’ still-beating heart, thereby becoming possessed by the evil that resides within the slasher icon. It’s pretty gross and way over the top, and I’ll always cherish it for being the one movie moment that my dad deemed too awful for a young me to experience.
3) Depending on who you ask, Exorcist 2: The Heretic is either the worst sequel of all time or one of the most underrated sequels of all time. Admittedly, it’s been too long since I’ve seen it for me to really choose a side on this one, but there is one standout scene that I definitely remember.
Linda Blair reprised the role of Regan MacNeil for the film, and in it she’s hooked up to some sort of hypnotizing machine, in an attempt to determine what actually happened on the night of her possession. At one point, we see Father Merrin’s death from a totally different point of view, as a camera takes us inside his chest and shows Regan’s hands massaging his heart until it gives out.
Okay, so it’s pretty silly, and doesn’t quite add up to what we saw in The Exorcist, but I appreciate the attempt to explain an aspect of the original film – even if it didn’t need to be explained. Besides, any movie that shows demon hands massaging a heart to death is deserving of inclusion on a list such as this. If you have any issue with that, I don’t like you anyway.
4) It’s often said that the 90s weren’t exactly a great decade for horror. To the people who say that, I ask a simple question: HAVE YOU NOT SEEN DR. MOTHERFUCKIN’ GIGGLES?!
Released in 1992, and starring Larry Drake, Dr. Giggles is one of the finest exports of the 90s’ obsession with profession-based horror films, centered on a mad doctor who kills people with medical instruments. There’s so much more to it than that, including the fact that a pre-teen Dr. Giggles emerges from his dead mother’s body in a flashback scene, but we’ll leave the synopsis at that.
Towards the end of the film, Dr. Giggles kidnaps the young final girl, who happens to have a heart condition, and he’s intent on swapping out her heart with one he’s ripped from the bodies of her friends. In a hilarious scene, he digs through a bucket full of hearts, looking for one that’s just the right size for her body. Sadly, he never gets to complete his life’s work – and even more sadly, Giggles never returned for a sequel.
5) And finally, one simply cannot talk horror movie heart trauma without giving a shout-out to From Dusk till Dawn, which is home to one of the most badass heart removal scenes of them all. Making a grand entrance, Blaxsploitation icon Fred Williamson rips the heart of a biggie-sized vamp right out of his chest, in one fell swoop – but we all know that a vampire’s heart must be staked, for it to die…
Enter makeup effects master Tom Savini, who in the film plays the hilarious character Sex Machine – a.k.a. the dude with the penis gun. Savini picks up a pencil and jabs it into the vampire’s still-beating heart, putting an end to ‘monkey man’ once and for all. Vampire-killing duos don’t get much more awesome than Williamson and Savini, that’s for damn sure.
Can you think of any other scenes that belong on this list? Comment below with your picks!
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