I don't know about you, but when I'm having a bad day, nothing makes me feel better than a horror movie featuring at least one scene of an exploding head. And we aren't talking metaphorical heads here, oh no! I'm talking full blown (pun intended), brains on the wall, did that really just happen, explosions! So this a list of my personal favorite brain explosions in horror(ish) movies...
If I left out one of your favorites (and I know some of you will decry the missing scenes from Pulp Fiction and Event Horizon but hey, agree to disagree), let me know in the comments section!
▪ Scanners (1981)
If you're going to do a list about exploding heads, might as well start with the gold standard! Basically, don't even try to mention an exploding head scene without starting without David Cronenberg's Scanners... or you'll have real brain on your face! (You know... like egg on your face? Oh, never mind).
▪ Chopping Mall (1986)
Produced by Julie Corman, Chopping Mall is... well... it's interesting. While not necessarily remembered for much other than its iconic exploding head scene, this exploitation flick about a group of mall employees stalked by malfunctioning robot security guards is worth a watch if you like the B-movie vibe!
▪ Casino (1995)
A horror film? Nope, not exactly. But this scene featuring a head in a vice is undoubtably one of the most memorable exploding heads/eyeballs in history, with effects from Greg Nicotero! What? Do you think Joe Pesci is funny? Is he a clown? Here to amuse you with exploding heads?
▪ The Frighteners (1996)
While most people will list a Lord of the Rings film when they mention their favorite Peter Jackson, mine will always be a tie between Dead Alive and The Frighteners. Not only is the story behind The Frighteners strangely brilliant, but it also features one of my favorite Jeffrey Combs performances of all time. And also... this:
▪ Tokyo Gore Police (2008)
Trying to explain the plot of this Japanese splatter film/body horror is like trying to explain... well, math. To me. But the movie is set in a world with "engineers" who turn wounds into mutated weapons and self-mutilation is as normal and fashionable as skinny jeans are for hipsters. So while I couldn't find a good clip of TGP's exploding head scene, this gif should get the point across well enough.
▪ Planet Terror (2007)
What could be a bigger bummer than your head exploding? Only when the head that is exploding the head of the only scientist capable of preventing the spread of a particularly disgusting zombie virus outbreak. Ouch! That smarts.
▪ Dogma (1999)
Okay, Dogma may not be a horror film per say, but it certainly has enough gore and violence to be a cusp film. And the final scene, which features Alanis Morissette, Alan Rickman, and Ben Affleck's head exploding (all things I love), epitomizes what made Dogma such a vaguely creepy film.
▪ Hot Fuzz (2007)
I know many don't agree with me, but Hot Fuzz is hands down my favorite of the Cornetto Trilogy. I love the humor, the snark, and most of all, the gore. And without a doubt, the particular head-exploding scene is my favorite in the whole film!
▪ Final Destination 2 (2003)
While I am not a fan of the series as a whole, this particular "death" scene scared the crap out of me, mostly because the whole "crap flying off trucks and smashing through my windshield" thing is a very really fear that I have. So, not cool.
▪ Deadly Friend (1986)
Did Mama Fratelli scare the crap out of you in The Goonies when you were a kid? Then you should appreciate the head explosion in Deadly Friend, a film that Wes Craven is less than proud of but that has become a cult favorite in the years following its less than ceremonious release.
Did I miss one of your favorites? Well, then it's probably in this awesome montage list, titled Head Trauma. Enjoy!
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