A mainstay of the horror genre, stabbing scenes can be some of the most frightening to witness. Guns are swift and impersonal, but knives are slow and brutal. No one wants to be stabbed to death; being cut so deep that your insides are exposed is a painful experience. In this article we explore five of the most twisted and shocking stabbings every committed to the silver screen.
5 Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” the shower scene.
Although tame by today’s standards, this is the scene that really set the bar for what makes a good stabbing. The shock as the shower curtain is pulled back by the unknown assailant, and the screeching score that plays have survived for decades. Using 77 different camera angles over 50 cuts this scene is true cinematic wizardry that could only be crafted by Hitchcock. Although not very bloody, the effectiveness of the stabbing really brings the viewer to contemplate their own mortality.
4 Lucio Fulci’s “The New York Ripper” ferry murder.
This is a scene that one can only find in a Lucio Fulci film, most people remember this edgy giallo because of the girl that gets butchered on the ferry that’s leaving Stanton Island. From a first person perspective we see the killer who quacks like a duck opening up his switchblade then slitting the woman’s belly and her right breast; a brutal and realistic scene that is not for the faint of heart.
3 Tony Maylam’s “The Burning” raft massacre.
Although the rest of this film is a pretty standard summer camp slasher, the raft massacre stands out like a gem in the rough. In less than 50 seconds the killer decimates a raft full of campers with garden sheers. Swift and brutal with a lot of jump cuts, this massacre features some of make-up artist Tom Savini’s best effects including a young boy whose fingers are cut off.
2 Dario Argento’s “Opera” the first death sequence
Second place for most horrific stabbing is the first death scene in Argento’s “Opera”. The main character Betty is tied to column by the killer who tapes nails underneath her eyes forcing her to watch. The killer then stabs Betty’s boy friend to death with a gigantic dagger. The first thrust is a surprise attack that goes through the boy’s chin and out of his mouth, which is then followed by one of the most realistic butcherings in film history. The thing about this scene that really gets me is watching the knife stab repeatedly into the young man’s hands as he attempts to shield his face. Really grisly stuff that you have to see to believe, the only downfall is the cheesy heavy metal score.
1 Alejandro Jodorowsky’s “Santa Sangre” death of the tattooed woman.
This is by far one of the most brutal stabbings from one of the most brutal movies ever. In this scene we see former circus performer and escaped mental patient Fenix butchering that tattooed woman who slept with his father. He performs this grisly task first by throwing a knife into the tattooed woman’s diaphragm and then chasing her around her hovel slashing her into pieces. The scene ends with the tattooed woman attempting to escape out the window when Fenix’s hand descends from behind and stabs her through the neck. An insane movie with a beautiful soundtrack by Simon Boswell, this movie truly contemplates the danger of a knife along with using bladed weapons as a vehicle to explore sexual and psychological issues.
Article by Joseph Arp Rodgers