A look at 8 of our favorite scenes of eyeball violence in horror
Do you remember the first moment when you realized that all of us, each and every one, were just mobile bags of fluid and soft, squishy, slimy things all stapled together by some sort of motorized miracle? I do. It was when I was 11 and watching George A. Romero’s , the scene where the bikers get mauled at the mall by the zombies and one poor bastard has his intestines ripped out and eaten. I didn’t even know what those bloody ropes were. I was shocked. From that moment on I was and still am acutely aware of just how fragile our bodies are and how easily obliterated they can be, at the claws of the living dead or otherwise.
But out of all our mushy parts that need extra protection, none make me as uncomfortable as our eyes. As a lover of cinema, and a watcher of the world, I value my sense of sight above all else and the idea of losing that is unthinkable. But even if I was blind, I’d still be freaked out by my eyeballs. Because they are naked. Part guts, part external organ, the eyes are these wet, complex balls, barely protected on our faces, tethered by pulsing cords to our brains. Window to the soul? Sure. But also the portal to our central computer, the highway to our minds. And hey, have you ever touched an by accident? It’s gross.
So as it goes with anything disgusting surrounding our bodies, the horror genre has exploited our fear of ocular damage time and time again, cutting eyes, gouging eyes, stabbing eyes, burning eyes, ripping them out, puncturing them and inflicting all other forms of violent assault upon them.
So to start your day off revoltingly — and as a public service to remind you to wear safety goggles — we’ve isolated 8 of our favorite scenes of eyeball atrocities on-screen. Have a look and please, we encourage you to share your own favorite gory glazzball gags in the comments section below. Enjoy!
Surreal Eyeball Razor – Un Chien Andalou (1929)
Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali’s go-for-it surrealist film manifesto is a total mind bender and still packs a head spinning wallop. And it opens with this ever-revolting scene, where a woman has her eyeball sliced like an olive by a razor. The eyeball in question was actually a sheep’s eyeball and all that ocular juice that spills out is authentic.
Burning Eyes – Return of the Blind Dead (1973)
The second of Spanish director Amando de Ossorio’s “Blind Dead” films, Return may not be the goriest of the lot and its opening scene of eyeball violence doesn’t hold a candle to the carnage seen elsewhere on this list. But it’s an important sequence in that it’s he only time we see the living Templars blinded, with burning torches thrust into their faces and melting their eyes while they scream and bleed. Serves them right!
Splinter in the Eye – Zombie (1979)
The mama-jamma of eyeball violence can be found here, in Italian gore guru Lucio Fulci’s tropical zombie bloodbath Zombie (aka Zombi 2), its centerpiece gag being this still-shocking sequence where actress Olga Karlatos has her eyeball impaled by a splinter of wood when a sadistic ghoul pulls her close. Love the eyeball goop that squeezes out!
Eyeball Volcano – Howling II (1984)
We love Phillipe Mora’s awesomely awful sequel The Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf. There’s nothing else like it. And outside of the weird cast – Christopher Lee and Sybil Danning – and inept dialogue and plotting, there are some great gore sequences, chief among them this bit, where Lee’s dwarf ally gets his eyeballs literally blown out in slow-mo from a psychic werewolf curse. Insane!
Blind Man Gets Blinder – Demons (1985)
Dario Argento and Lamberto Bava’s manic 1985 gorefest Demons (aka Demoni) is a sucker punch of awesome phantasmagorical gore. But the scene where the poor blind guy gets the demon/zombie’s talons in his eyes and she just digs and digs and digs into his screaming sockets, with pulp pushing out while Claudio Simonetti’s electro rock pounds is just too much!
Needle Blink Torture – Opera (1987)
Perhaps Dario Argento’s last really awesome movie, Opera is filled with wild visuals and Grand Guignol. But its central gag is that the killer ties up our heroine and tapes needles under her eyes, forcing her to watch him murder her friends. If she blinks, she bleeds..
Eyeball Cord Cut – Hostel (2005)
Even if you despise Eli Roth’s torture-fest, one must admire its many R-pushing scenes of gore and depravity, none so cookie-tossing as the scene where the tortured Japanese girl’s eyeball hangs by its cord and then is clipped right off, with thick fluid blurching out of its scissored end.
Glenn’s Death – The Walking Dead (2016)
Mainstream audiences unaccustomed to extreme eyeball violence lost their lunch (and the show likely lost a few viewers) when actor Steven Yeun’s Glenn got his head bashed in by Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) barbed-wire baseball bat. His brain damaged, Glenn tries to speak while his eyeball sits popped revoltingly out of his battered skull. While nothing happens to the eyeball in question, seeing that orb we’ve come to love torn out so cruelly was a shocker.
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