10. 2001: A Space Odyssey
This, The Best Movie Ever Made, is rated G. So I can understand any confusion as to why it’s on this list. But the murders in this movie, though lacking blood and gore, are so scary and the victims are so stranded and helpless (most don’t even know anything is happening to them), it’s much more shocking than aliens bursting out of chests. Also, I’m not sure I’m ready for a science fiction movie list that doesn’t put 2001 in there somewhere.
9. The Terminator
The sequels fail to make this list because they contain mostly cyborg on cyborg violence, but the first film featured only one principal cyborg and it murdered humans left and right. In one scene, he punches his fist through a punk’s belly. When he retracts it, it’s covered in jelly goodness.
8. Blade Runner
What’s violent about this movie is the way, when “retired,” replicants kick and thrash about. They’re most human in their avoidance of death. Also, when replicants kill people, it’s as if they’re disposing of trash. I’m going to gouge your eyeballs out with my thumbs now…
First the aliens face-rape you, then their illegitimate children burst out of your chest. Nothing but scary, brutal violence here.
More proof that they just don’t make movies like they used to anymore: in Predator, the hero of the film throws a knife into a man’s chest, pinning his corpse to a wall, and says, “Stick around.” One particularly tense scene makes me squirm and all it involves is a shaving razor and a dry face.
5. Children of Men
Post-Saving Private Ryan use of ultra-realistic CGI violence has never looked so good. There are very long spiels of action, uninterrupted by camera cuts, in which several people die. Couple this imagery with Orwellian themes of helplessness in the face of an evil government, throw in a regular guy who isn’t invincible to death, and you’ve got violence that packs an unusual punch.
RoboCop is Jesus. He’s tortured to death and resurrected as a cyborg. What the bad guys do to Peter Weller’s character in the beginning of the movie would even make Mel Gibson cringe.
3. Starship Troopers
The violence is so over-the-top you just laugh at it. Fortunately, that’s the intention.
2. The Thing
You want blood, gore, and grotesque monsters? It’s not as good as The Thing from Another World, but it’s a hell of a lot more violent. You might squirt whatever you’re drinking out your nose in the scene where a man’s chest rips open and… oh just watch it, already.
1. Total Recall
So here’s the third Paul Verhoeven film on the list. In one scene, the hero uses an innocent bystander as a bullet shield, then tosses him aside so a careful closeup can show the corpse being trampled. Even three-tittied mutants aren’t safe from the constant hellfire of bullets (no laser beams here).
Take note of the actors and directors that you see recurring throughout and, if you ever see them on the street, give ’em a hug for me (even if they are a crappy governor now). I grew up with all of these movies with the exception of #5. If you’re my age and you’re into this kind of stuff, you probably did, too.
(And if you’re wondering where movies like Event Horizon are, I only allow GOOD movies on this list.)