Many horror movie killers have a signature weapon (such as Freddy Krueger's razorblade gloves, Michael Myers' butcher knife, Jason Voorhees' machete, and so on), while other deadly implements are simply picked up in the heat of the moment... which leads to some of cinema's most inspired moments of mayhem. We tend to stand up and take notice when characters get creative with their weaponry, so we decided to spotlight ten of the most unconventional (or just plain bizarre) weapon choices from genre movies and television.
Basketball (Deadly Friend)
I doubt if anyone thought a basketball could double as a weapon prior to seeing this Wes Craven film, but now it’s impossible to deny that sporting goods are Satan’s playthings. Elvira Parker’s (Anne Ramsey) head literally explodes when the "improved" Samantha (Kristy Swanson) uses her newfound super-strength to lob a basketball at her head with the force of an industrial-strength catapult.
Chainsaw Arm (Evil Dead II)
One of the first films to feature a limb/weapon hybrid, Evil Dead II was a pioneering effort and undeniably paved the way for films like Machine Girl and Planet Terror (see below) to further explore the concept. As Ash, Bruce Campbell is truly "groovy" sporting his DIY chainsaw hand, and has since gone down in history as one of the most memorable and beloved genre characters ever.
Machine Gun Leg (Planet Terror)
Rose McGowan rocks this machine gun appendage like nobody’s business in Robert Rodriguez's Grindhouse entry. Of course the idea of a weapon that doubles as a limb has been explored before (see above), but it’s hard to beat Cherry Darling firing off rounds from where her leg used to be. It's the perfect addition to an already over-the-top exploitation flick.
Chopsticks (True Blood)
Creative weaponry is not limited to film; in fact, True Blood is brimming with inventive kills. Case in point: Sookie staking the coroner with chopsticks is not only an ingenious improvisation, it's also one of the coolest deaths featured in the HBO series. (Honorable mention goes to John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness for another nasty chopstick kill.)
Shish Kabob (Happy Birthday to Me)
When there isn’t an obvious murder weapon within reach, one must improvise. For example, the killer in this 1981 slasher serves up shish kabob to an unfortunate fellow by shoving the skewer down his throat. That image has since become iconic, as it was used for the movie's promotional art.
Woodchipper (Silent Night)
The idea had already been explored in Fargo, but this killer Santa flick really went for the gusto in its woodchipper death scene: a female victim goes in one end whole, and comes out the other a bloody pulp. It’s ultra-violent and way over the top, but it fits perfectly into Steven C. Miller’s bloody reimagining of the controversial 1984 film Silent Night, Deadly Night.
Phallic Sculpture (A Clockwork Orange)
Alex (Malcolm McDowell) is always in the mood for a bit of the old ultra-violence. In a truly bizarre scene, he dispatches a victim with a "very important work of art": a sculpture of a giant penis and testicles. At first Alex seizes the object in self-defense, but he eventually uses it to crush the skull of the "Cat Lady." This is the kind of scene that could have turned out totally ridiculous... but in the skilled hands of director Stanley Kubrick, it becomes quite disturbing.
Lawnmower (Dead Alive)
Peter Jackson's Dead Alive (a.k.a. Braindead) is an imaginative, violent, off-the-wall film filled with shocking moments (it’s almost unfathomable to think the director's career would peak with the Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy), but this infamous scene overshadows them all. Seeing the once mild-mannered Lionel (Timothy Balme) hoist a lawnmower over his head to decapitate and maim an entire house full of zombies is one of the greatest moments in horror cinema history.
Candy Cane (Black Christmas, 2006)
Whether or not you liked this in-name-only remake of Bob Clark's iconic 1974 slasher, you must admit it pushed the envelope. We see incest, eyes ripped out of their sockets and used as Christmas ornaments, and some of the grisliest murders committed to celluloid. Towards the beginning, one of the main antagonists jams a sharpened candy cane through another character’s neck. From a logistical standpoint, it's completely unrealistic, but for pure entertainment value, the scene is still pretty cool.
Icicle (Die Hard 2)
Though this gory action sequel may not technically fall under the category of genre film, we couldn’t help but include this particularly inventive kill. The scene where John McClane (Bruce Willis) picks up an icicle to stab through his foe’s eye is absolutely inspired; it’s the kind of scene that implores the viewer to hit the rewind button and watch it over and over again in slow motion.