A Bloody Good Time 03.15.12: Top 20 Horror Movie Fights, Part 1 (#20-11)
Posted by Joseph Lee on 03.15.2012
From Michael Myers vs. Laurie Strode in Halloween: H20 and bikers vs. zombies in Dawn of the Dead to Martin Brody battling the shark in Jaws, the chainsaw fight in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and more, 411's Joseph Lee begins his look at the top 20 horror fights in movie history!
Opening Logo courtesy of Benjamin J. Colón (Soul Exodus)
Welcome to A Bloody Good Time.
Last week I wasn't here because of health issues, but the week before that I brought you another list of underrated horror films. Let's see what you had to say.
Guest#3663 asked: I thought Strangeland was actually getting a sequel? Was supposed to be called Tribes or something along those lines.
Dee Snider said himself on Twitter that it's "dead in the water". It's a shame, too.
Guest#7273 wondered: HOw about Near Dark?
That movie's considered underrated? I thought everyone just accepted that it was great.
APrince66 said: Good call on Popcorn. Popcorn... buy a bag... go home in a box. Classic tag line. The scene in Basket Case where Beliel flips out and destroys the room is so cheap, I used it as the interior wallpaper of my old phone for months. Another classic.
I love the tagline too. I just watched it via Netflix last year, so I have no idea what took me so long.
FCT in 3D posted: EXORCIST III
I already covered that!
God I Miss The 90s replied: disturbing behavior rocked! i always think of the scene where theyre running out of the mental hospital where they found the lead bad guys daughter... with harvey dangers 'flagpole sitta' fuckin blaring!
Glad to see other fans. I thought I was alone.
This week (and next week), I'm looking at the best fights in horror movies. I'm honestly surprised I didn't think of this before. Nearly five years and this idea just happened.
It could be because when you think you horror, you don't really think of fighting. But isn't that what all the survivors are doing, fighting for their lives? Really every death scene in a slasher film is a one-sided fight. The next two weeks will focus on the very best. These are fights that have heavy damage on both sides, fights that are filled with blood and gore and fights that are just, well, awesome. There's nothing scary about anything here, but these are the showdowns that prove that you can end a horror movie with a fight and it'd be just as effective as a chase. Eventually even the blandest final girl has to fight back against the psychotic killer.
I've decided to go with one per franchise, because if I didn't, several franchises could potentially dominate.
#20: The Creeper vs Jack Taggart, Sr. (Jeepers Creepers 2)
You never would have thought that the first person to give the Creeper a run for his money is an old man. He was run over, shot, stabbed, and ripped his own head off but he just kept coming. But when he grabbed the wrong kid, Jack Taggart (played by Ray Wise) decides he's going to get revenge, odds be damned. But he's not fighting alone. He takes a post puncher hooked to a truck to make a fancy harpoon weapon and he does some serious damage to the Creeper.
This is an awesome fight because the Creeper seemed nigh unstoppable at this point, for two films. The climax of the first film was an impassioned plea to let Justin Long go, not a brutal fight. This one featured one angry old man weakening an ancient enemy enough to stab it continuously, and we're still not sure if he killed it. If the third film ever gets off the ground, he probably didn't. But I think even 23 years older, Jack Taggart could still hold his own in a rematch.
#19: Herbert West & Dan Cain vs Naked Corpse (Re-Animator)
Re-Animator is a pretty wild movie anyway, but I think my favorite moment (of many) is the first time Herbert West tests out his re-agent on a human corpse. The results are obviously not pretty. This is equal parts a crazy and hilarious fight. Sure, maybe if you were there fighting a big naked corpse is something that would scare you, but we don't have that luxury. We just get to watch it, and watching two men fight a naked corpse is just funny.
Eventually it comes to a grisly end as West shoves a bone saw all the way through it's chest from its back. The only victims are the corpse and Dr. Halsey, but at least our heroes (?) survived. This moment was a sign of things to come in this movie, Those things include a severed head attempting to go down on a naked woman. You have to be in a certain kind of mindset to love Re-Animator.
#18: R.J. MacReady vs The Blair Monster (The Thing)
The entire movie was building to a final fight of some kind, and it just happens to be Kurt Russell's MacReady against Wilford Brimley. This fight actually doesn't last long, which is one of the reasons it's so low, but it does have one of my favorite lines in the entire movie. The Blair monster screams and all MacReady can come back with is "yeah fuck you, too!". You're not exactly going to come up with a Arnold-style pun when you're getting away from something like that.
The is The Thing in its final form, showing almost everything it ever was in one giant mess. You're not going to fight it with guns or fists, so it does make sense that it's mostly MacReady evading its attacks and finally destroying it with dynamite. Because really, what else was he going to do?
#17: Zombie vs Shark (Zombi 2)
Finally, an edition of this column where I can include the clip and it actually makes sense. Even if you've never seen this Italian sequel to Dawn of the Dead (in theory), you've probably heard about this clip. It's become something of an internet meme. I think it was a great day for horror fans when this not only showed up on our television screens, but in a mainstream commercial. Sure, it takes an awesome clip and makes fun of it, but who cares?
The clip itself really has no purpose in the movie. It's just a moment near the opening of a zombie crossing paths with a shark. The shark's hungry, the zombie's hungry, so they fight. Sometimes you don't need context to know when a horror movie moment is completely awesome. Why this hasn't been remade in one of the plethora of American zombie films I have no idea. You can't tell me that more people wouldn't pay to see the movie where a zombie fights a shark. Maybe if we call it Tyler Perry's Zombie vs Shark.
#16: Spoon vs A Werewolf (Dog Soldiers)
It takes a man with a huge set and a small brain to think fighting a werewolf in hand-to-hand combat is a good idea. But Spoon does and he actually doesn't do too badly at first. Considering he had nothing else to rely on (he was out of ammo), it's better to go down swinging and taunting the werewolf than stupidly begging for your life. He does have the advantage of being in a kitchen full of potential weapons and his military training to help him out.
This is like so many other one-sided fights in horror, however. The valiant fighter throws everything he has at the monster, even manages to do some damage, but ultimately everything is shrugged off because this person is not our hero. It's a shame though, I liked Spoon a hell of a lot better than Cooper. Yeah, I said it.
#15: Leatherface vs "Lefty" Enright (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2)
I'm not as big of a fan of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 as a lot of other people are, but you're not going to see me having any problems with a chainsaw fight. Two men deciding that fists are for losers, guns are for wimps and knives are too small. Chainsaws are the only way to duel and when it's Leatherface vs a scenery-chewing Dennis Hopper (R.I.P.), all bets are off. Tobe Hooper tried to top the insanity of the original not with fear, but with an over-the-top final battle. This was just the cherry on top.
You had to figure something was going to go down with Dennis Hopper given the way he seems almost as if he's from a different movie. It always feels like it's about Leatherface pursuing Stretch, while in a different movie Lefty is seeking vengeance for Sally and Franklin. But it all culminates in a final battle with chainsaws. What's surprising is that Leatherface actually loses. I hope something like this makes it into the new film.
#14: Caleb Colton vs Severen (Near Dark)
Considering that Near Dark is a western with vampires, you would expect it to end with a showdown, and it does. Caleb is looking for his sister Sarah after he left the vampire family and they decided to take her in response. He comes across the craziest member of the group, Severen. Bill Paxton is awesome in the role, but you know the purpose of the villain in this case is to be an obstacle for the hero to overcome.
It's a duel that involves a tractor-trailer and a big explosion, but it's still styled like those from the Old West. It just happens to be in the middle of the night instead of high noon. Once again, this isn't a fight that lasts all that long, but it is a sight to behold and provides one of the more memorable moments of the entire film. The movie doesn't even end with it, because Caleb still has to save his sister from the rest of the family!
#13: Michael Myers vs Laurie Strode (Halloween: H20)
Twenty years after they fought for the first time, they're getting a rematch. Laurie vs Michael to settle it all. The first time, in Halloween, Laurie was passive an inexperienced. She fought more out of defense than hatred and had to be saved at the end by Dr. Loomis. Even with Michael back and stronger than ever, Laurie actually has him on the ropes at several points in the fight.
This isn't your typical final girl battle. This is a knock-down, drag out brawl that sees both take some damage and Laurie taking out years of frustration on her psychotic brother. The first time I saw this, I figured it would be a vicious fight, but I didn't expect Michael to take so much offense. Anyone who has seen the movie knows how it ends, but they just couldn't let the franchise die.
#12: Bikers vs Zombies (Dawn of the Dead)
Everything was going so well until the bikers showed up. Sure, Roger was unfortunately dead, but they still had their safety in the mall and most of the zombies were kept away from the survivors. But when the bikers broke in and allowed even more zombies to get in with them, all hell broke loose. The zombies aren't so much fighting anyone in this clip as stumbling around and taking abuse but it's still a fun finale.
George Romero knows the simple rule of a zombie is that by itself, it's pretty much harmless. They're slow, brainless and can be easily taken out. But it's the mobs of zombies that are the problem. That's why even though the bikers treat them as jokes and throw pies in their faces, the zombies eventually win. The zombies always win. There's just too many of them. Maybe Blades would have lasted a little longer if he didn't piss off Stephen.
#11: Martin Brody vs The Shark (Jaws)
Everyone knows about this battle, and in my opinion it's definitely one of the best horror fights ever. The big climax at the end of this movie sees three people going after a shark but it eventually is cut down to one man vs one beast. The shark is bigger and Brody doesn't have the benefit of being a zombie that doesn't have to breathe underwater. He has to keep above water in a sinking boat while finding some way to kill this creature before he comes lunch.
That's why Brody is the hero of the movie and the shark is fish bait at the end. Brody is a combination of Hooper's brains and Quint's guile. He uses every trick he can think of to avoid death and eventually bring the giant monster down. Apparently this causes the shark's whole bloodline to hate anyone with the last name Brody, but let's just ignore the sequels.
That's it for me. Leave some comments here on or my Twitter. Next week we continue this topic with the top ten. See you then.
Closing Logo courtesy of Kyle Morton (get your own custom artwork and commissions at his Etsy account)
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