ByDrew Grimm Van Ess, writer at
Horror aficionado/nerd. Follow my blog for film reviews, book reviews, and interviews.
Drew Grimm Van Ess

In one of my latest articles, I touched up on how the telephone has been manipulated to become a weapon of sorts. If you haven't read it yet, check it out here- Don't Answer! Horror's 10 Most Terrifying Phone Calls.

Now, since I'm going through the random commonly used things around the household that get perverted into something dangerous, I felt it only necessary to touch up on the ol' trusty pencil. The very communication tool that we're taught to use at a young age by our parents and teachers, has become an object of fear in cinema. Not only that, but it's turned out to have some pretty memorable moments in horror history, and in movie history in general. There's not a lot of stand out moments that are associated with a pencil, but there are some, and those worth talking about, are the most painful.

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

Written by Robert Kurtzman (Army of Darkness) and Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), and directed by the visually talented Robert Rodriguez (Machete) comes the vampire film that's as funny as it is bloody. One of the key scenes that everyone talks about when this movie comes up is when the character Frost (Fred Williamson) removes the heart of a vampire with his bare hands, and while it's still beating, Sex Machine (legendary makeup FX artist, Tom Savini) simply sticks a pencil through it to finish the blood sucker off. It's a nice mix of gross and awesome. And it's a superb movie to top it all off.

The Faculty (1998)

Here's another motion picture directed by Robert Rodriguez (Planet Terror). You've got Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgement Day) as Coach Joe Willis, who in the early moments of the movie exposes that he's been overtaken by an alien. In a confrontation with Principal Valerie Drake (Bebe Neuwirth, Jumanji), Coach Willis stabs Valerie through the hand with a sharpened pencil. Hell of an opening scene. And incredibly painful looking.

Sleepwakers (1992)

Mick Garris (Critters 2) brings Stephen King's story to life about a mother and son who are incestious, and supernatural cat-people. While it remains a classic amongst genre fans, one of the most talked about scenes is when one of the police officers gets a pencil rammed in his ear. That'll cost you more than just your hearing in that ear, trust me.

Fright Night (1985)

Tom Holland (Child's Play) brought vampires into the neighborhood with this fun and thrilling feature starring Chris Sarandon (Child's Play). And he showed that if for whatever reason, you have a vampire in your house who's attacking you, all you have to do is just grab a pencil and jam it through their hand. However, it's not fatal and only angers the vampire. So whether it's a good idea or not is up to you, but it definitely hurt if it gets a violent reaction from an undead.

The Dark Knight (2008)

In probably the best installment of Christopher Nolan's (Interstellar) epic The Dark Knight trilogy, The Joker (Heath Ledger) uses a pencil in one of the most inventive ways we've ever seen on the big screen. He does it with a "magic trick", and it's one of the most beloved scenes in the entire film. While "The Dark Knight" isn't horror, the things The Joker does absolutely are. And, to have a pencil scene list and not mention Heath Ledger's Joker would be blasphemy.

The Evil Dead (1981)

Although I'm a horror nerd, I'm also very hard to scare. And this entire movie scared me for weeks. Perhaps that's due to me seeing it at such a young age, or perhaps it's just that scary. I vote the latter, while I'm also sure that me being a child when I saw it didn't help the cause. The pencil-in-ankle scene still makes me cringe, and no matter how old or outdated the film is, it still takes gets reactions out of people. Sam Raimi (Spider-Man) actually thought the movie would be funny, and after seeing it, realized how wrong he was. He made up for the lack of humor later, in the sequels (Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness).

Does "Death by Staedtler" make YOU cringe?


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