The Eyes Have It!

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I once read in Video Watchdog, “If the eyes are the window to the soul, then Lucio Fulci is the ultimate voyeur”. This is perhaps the most concise description of Fulci’s eyeball torture mastery. Not only are eyes the most expressive part of our body, they are also the most delicate and unprotected. It didn’t take long for exploitation and horror filmmakers to see (ha!) that ocular damage was a great way to make audiences squirm, and when done right, it’s damn near unrelenting. Here’s just a few of the best eyeball scenes in the genre.

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5. Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982): Poor Rick, he really got his when Jason squeezed his head so tight those baby blues just shot right out! In 3-D no less, this remains one of the most shocking scenes in the series.

4. HellBent (2004): Ah, it’s about time that a glass eye configured into a slasher flick, and HellBent did it beautifully. There’s a great moment when knife comes to eye and it’s as jarring and stylish as any horror flick of recent years.

3. Halloween (1978): Laurie has had it! I mean, seriously had it. She gives Michael a little sumthin’ sumthin’ when he finds her hiding in the closet. No wire hangers, please!

2. Opera (1987): Zoinks! No actual eyeball impalement, but those crazy needles taped to Betty’s eyes are squirm worthy! She forced to watch friends murdered or risk ripping her eyelids to shreds! Dang, she needs those!

1. Zombi (1979): Nobody does it better than Fulci and his infamous eyeball puncture scene is the stuff legends are made of. This movie is a must for fans of gross out cinema.

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Honorable Mentions (Mostly of the Non-Slasher Kind):

Evil Dead 2 (1987): Bobbie Jo got a little taste of having a third eye in this totally gross and wonderfully hilarious scene from a groundbreaking film.

Flash Gordon (1980): Ugh! When Klytus (Peter Wyngarde) gets a ghoulishly gross comeuppance featuring oozing eyes, a nightmarish scene is born.

Friday the 13th Part III (again!) (1982): Vera can’t get a break. First she’s saddled on a blind date with Shelly, then she’s hounded by a biker gang and finally gets a harpoon shot in her eye. This was not a great trip for her, I presume.

Kill Bill 2 (2004): Man o’ man, Daryl Hannah’s famous eye-popping scene had me not only squirming in my seat, it still makes me woozy to this day! Great, unpredictable stuff from Tarantino, a new master of shock.

Single White Female (1992): Steven Weber is a bit of a louse in this pix, but it certainly doesn’t mean he should get the pointy end of a stiletto in his eye. Oh well, I didn’t actually feel that bad about it…

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18 Responses to “ The Eyes Have It! ”

  1. Amanda By Night has eyes for what we all like, spectacular eyeball violence!

  2. Let’s not forget Un Chien Andalou…

    or The Headless Eyes!

  3. Excellent top 5 there! Love the inclusion of Hellbent — I’d forgotten about it but it definitely deserves its place. Oddly, in the UK release of Flash Gordon, Ming is impaled through the back. Not a popping eyeball in sight!

  4. [...] T&#1211&#1077 Eyes H&#1072&#957&#1077 It! [...]

  5. Un chien andalou is obviously the granddaddy of eye ball mutilation.
    But the one that got me when I was a kid was DEAD AND BURIED’s brutal syringe in the eyeball. That scene still makes my skin crawl. And A CLOCKWORK ORANGE’s eye clamp is, well, eye-watering.

  6. I still have a problem with severe eye trauma in movies (or real life for that matter). I think the worst I’ve seen might be the touching husband/wife reunion in 28 Weeks Later.

    FYI, it was Klytus, not Ming, who gets the famous eye poppin’ scene in Flash Gordon. Ming gets impaled on the spike from a rocket ship.

  7. Ryan, THANK YOU for clearing that up. The second Ross said it wasn’t him, I began to question my memory of it. I have fixed it.

    Un Chien Andalou is obviously a great choice and I just rewatched it last year. How could I forget!

    Thanks for all the comments everyone!

  8. Scenes of Halloween…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  9. There’s a nice bit of eyeball porn reinstated back into Stuart Gorden’s From Beyond for the mgm dvd release. Jeffrey Combs lovingly sucks an eyeball out of a not to happy looking nurses head.

  10. Nice list of Eyeball violence. I also agree with several people here. Un Chien Andalou of course, Shringe in the eye – “Dead and Buried”, “From Beyond” eyeball sucking. And here are a few more. Razorblade eyeball slicing in Fulci’s “New York Ripper”, Knife in the eye in “Evil Dead Trap”, eye gouge “Cannibal Ferox”, and back to Fulci with eyeball extraction in “The Beyond”. Eye love it.

  11. Ha! Eye Love it too! :) Thanks for the additions. I think I teetered on New York Ripper, that’s a youchie moment if ever there was one!

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  13. awesome…..what about the children (2008) with the make-up pencil in one of the mother’s eyes?

  14. Ok…If your looking for some serious eyeball violence. Go to Uwe Boll’s Seed DVD, go straight to the Extras and check out the excellent short film “Critized”. Written and directed by Richard Gale with style.

  15. The pizza guy in “Slumber Party Massacre” had his eyes removed as well. Oh, and I’m surprised nobody mentioned Lenzi’s “Eyeball”. That’s a whole damn movie about someone losing their eye!:)

    -RHR

  16. Ahh the ol’ splinter-in-the-eye. Still hasn’t lost it charm after 30+ years!

  17. There’s nothing like eye-violence! Perhaps having suffered a bit of it myself (the shingle, the hornet stings, the treebrach) is the reason I replay scenes like this over and over.

    I like the double eye “impalement” in Child’s Play 2. Also I can’t help but think about American Psycho (the book, not the movie). Horrible, boring, worst-book-I-ever-read but it has an eye-slitting passage described so graphically I can still “see” it!

  18. What about the needle through the eye of Dr. Mixter (I think) in Halloween 2? Good stuff.

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