When it comes to real life, I’m a believer in the idea that revenge really doesn’t accomplish anything, and that violence shouldn’t beget more violence. But movies aren’t real life. And in the movies, there is absolutely nothing more satisfying than seeing a character who’s wronged another character get what’s coming to them. There’s just nothing sweeter than a good old fashioned dose of brutal revenge.
Today, in celebration of this week’s release of I Spit on Your Grave 2, we take a look at ten of the more satisfying moments of revenge we’ve seen over the years, in the world of horror movies. This is by no means intended to be a comprehensive list, just ten moments that I personally got serious amounts of satisfaction from witnessing!
You can’t talk revenge in horror movies without talking about Carrie. Picked on and endlessly tormented both at school and at home, Carrie White finally reaches her breaking point on prom night, when her cruel classmates dump a big ole bucket of pig’s blood all over her. Horrified and humiliated, Carrie unleashes the full fury of her telekinetic powers, setting fire to the school gym and leaving everyone inside to burn. Let that be a lesson, kids; never mess with chicks who can move objects with their minds!
After nearly everyone he loves is slaughtered by a band of mutants, and his baby daughter kidnapped, Doug Bukowski takes matters into his own hands towards the end of the Hills Have Eyes remake, embarking on a revenge fueled mission to kill him some mutants and take back his baby. Unfortunately, Doug runs head on into the massive mutant Pluto in the process, finding himself mere seconds away from a brutal death. Fortunately, Doug’s a pretty badass dude. Taking a page out of the True Romance playbook, he sticks a screwdriver through Pluto’s foot, buying himself enough time to pierce his throat with a miniature American flag and then embed Pluto’s own axe directly into his skull. Like a true American badass!
When it comes to satisfying horror movie endings, they don’t get much more satisfying than Hostel. After Paxton narrowly escapes from the Elite Hunting compound with his life, he boards a train leaving Slovakia and heads home, minus his friend Josh and a few fingers. But before he leaves, he’s got one last bit of unfinished business to get to. Recognizing the voice of a fellow passenger on the train as being that of the Dutch businessman who killed Josh, Paxton follows the businessman into the bathroom and brutally exacts his revenge. He cuts off the man’s fingers and then slices his throat from ear to ear, leaving him to bleed to death with his head in a public toilet. The movie still would’ve been awesome without that moment, but goddamn was I happy that Eli Roth gave it to us!
Continuing the trend, Roth gave us an equally satisfying finish in Hostel: Part 2. After final girl Beth gets the upper hand on the man who paid to kill her, Stuart, she offers the Elite Hunting crew a large sum of money in exchange for her freedom. It’s an offer the head of the group accepts, on the grounds that Beth kill someone before she’s allowed to leave. Since Stuart is at this point bound to a chair, Beth decides that he’s the guy to kill, getting her revenge by cutting off his genitals with a pair of scissors and feeding his manhood to the dogs… literally. Ouch.
After we were forced to endure endless rape, torture and dismemberment throughout the majority of Wes Craven’s first ever horror film, he gave us a whole lot of satisfaction in the latter portions of The Last House on the Left – the parents of the deceased Mari Collingwood finding themselves in a position to exterminate the vermin that killed their daughter and her friend. Going above and beyond the call of duty, Estelle Collingwood seduces one of the men, briefly performing fellatio on him before revealing what she’s really down there to do. And it’s sure as hell not to please him. Mrs. Collingwood bites the man’s pecker clean off and leaves him to bleed out. Well, that’s one way to get revenge!
Early on in The Descent, it’s hinted that Juno is having an affair with her friend Sarah’s husband, a piece of information we become privy to before Sarah even does. Throughout the movie Juno proves herself to be the world’s worst friend, first leading her friends into a cave system under the false pretense that it had been previously explored and documented, and then leaving one of them for dead after accidentally sticking a pick axe through her neck. Rather than comforting her dying friend, Juno instead runs off to save her own ass. Sarah eventually realizes all of this stuff by the end of the movie, and she gives Juno the same treatment Juno gave Beth; she sticks a pick axe into Juno’s leg and heads for safety, leaving her crippled and with no means to defend herself from an approaching pack of crawlers. Sorry to say it Juno, but you got what was coming to ya!
Whereas the original Night of the Living Dead ended on a depressing note, with Ben being mistaken for a walker and shot dead, Tom Savini’s impressive remake of the classic came to a close on a much more satisfying one. Just as he was in the original, the character of Harry Cooper is a supreme asshole in Savini’s version, and his demise a whole lot more satisfying in 1990 than it was in 1968. After surviving her hellish ordeal, Barbara returns to the scene of the crime the next day, venturing inside the farmhouse in search of any signs of life. She finds that Harry has also survived the night, but decides to take advantage of the fact that you can pretty much kill anyone during a zombie apocalypse and get away with it, essentially pretending Harry is infected and putting a bullet in his head. “Another one for the fire,” she tells the fellow survivors she joined up with.
In the uber-violent 2007 French film Frontier(s), main character Yasmine is subjected to an endless stream of pain and torture, kidnapped by a sick Nazi family who are hellbent on essentially keeping her as a pet. As it turns out, they picked the wrong girl to mess with. In one of the more brutal scenes in the movie, the hulking brute known as Goetz is about to dispatch Yasmine, approaching her from behind but not realizing that Yasmine has an axe in her hands. She turns around and slams the blade into Goetz’s foot, followed by two swift chops to his neck. Though that’d probably be enough to kill him, Yasmine goes one step further and throws Goetz onto a table saw, which slices into his body and coats the room with blood. One of the gorier moments of revenge we’ve ever seen, that’s for sure!
In Lucky McKee’s 2011 film The Woman, Chris Cleek finds and kidnaps a feral woman who lives in the woods, chaining her up in his cellar in a twisted attempt to domesticate and civilize her. Throughout the movie the titular woman is tortured and repeatedly raped, unable to defend herself. Finally, at the end of the movie, we get what we’ve been waiting for when the woman is released from her shackles by Chris’ daughter Peggy. Proving that the family’s attempts to domesticate the wild woman haven’t quite worked, she unleashes Hell upon them all, gnawing off the face of Chris’ wife, hacking his rapist son in half with a lawnmower blade and then ripping Chris’ heart out and taking a bite out of it. If there’s ever been a more satisfying moment in a horror movie, then I’ve yet to witness it!
And finally, I of course could never put together a list such as this without mentioning I Spit on Your Grave, Meir Zarchi’s rape-revenge classic from 1978. Alone and in the woods, young Jennifer Hills is assaulted by a band of male predators who repeatedly rape her and leave her for dead. Only problem is, they don’t succeed in killing her. One by one, Jennifer seduces and slaughters the men who attacked her, the most memorable of the murders being the infamous bathtub scene – one of the more cringe-inducing moments in horror history. Jennifer leads rapist Johnny into the bathtub, getting him to lower his guard by pleasing him with her hand. Just as he’s about to reach orgasm, Jennifer takes a knife and slices his penis clean off, disgusting bubbles of blood rising to the surface of the water. It’s a punishment that fit the crime, to say the least!
What are some of your favorite moments of horror movie revenge? Comment below and let us know!