Since the dawn of the horror genre, filmmakers have consistently come up with inventive ways to chop up an endless string of damsels in distress. They could’ve just left these film deaths to the imagination, but where's the fun in that? From knives to piano wire, these weapons are some of the bloodiest.
Source: New Line Cinema
Photo: Cappi Thompson/Getty Images
Ahhh, the lawnmower. The classic contraption that uses a revolving blade to chop up everything in its path made it on this list based solely on its use in Dead Alive/Brain Dead. Not only does it do the job to a tee, the end scene in the film might just be the goriest of all time. There aren’t too many classic horror movie moments that feature this grass-grooming tool taking fools down in dramatic fashion, but leave it to Peter Jackson to create the goriest scene of all time with such a simple suburban tool.
9. A Stake
Source: American Zoetrope
This isn’t just a list for villain’s weapons. It’s nice to know that the good guys get to cause some havoc too. We all know that most horror movies showcase the killing power of a seemingly unstoppable force, but as most vampire movies have displayed, heroes can cause some carnage as well. Horror badasses like Freddy and Jason have been killed all sorts of crazy different ways, but to kill a vampire, you gotta play by the book.
A crucifix and some holy water will keep them at a distance for a bit, but to really do the job right, you need the classic of all classics. Staking vampires has been going on since the 18th century, y’all. People in western Europe used to literally stake corpses because of vampire superstitions and motion pictures eventually helped take this classic vampire-killing technique with a pointed piece of wood to a whole new level. Anthony Hopkins’ stake work in Bram Stoker's Dracula is always a nice one to revisit.
8. Phantasm Ball
Source: Avco Embassy Pictures
You gotta love balls. The Tall Man’s weapon of choice in all four Phantasm features is one of finest weapons horror has to offer.
The thing that I’ve always liked most about the silver sphere has to be its versatility. If infomercial legend Ron Popeil had to make an all-in-one killing machine, he would have created the silver sphere from Phantasm. The ball can chop, saw, and suck the brains out of a human’s skull. But wait, there's more! If all that wasn’t enough, it can even fly and stalk prey like a freakin’ heat-seeking missile. Big ups to director Don Coscarelli for coming up with the idea.
7. The Puzzle Box From Hellraiser
Source: New World Pictures
As witnessed in the opening scene of Clive Barker’s 1987 classic Hellraiser, you do not f*** with the puzzle box. The complex and extremely deadly puzzle box has a mind all of its own and seems to always be dead set on transporting the demonic Cenobites to planet earth to hook some flesh as many times as possible.
In the first film, the box actually tricks the user into solving the puzzle. Enter Pinhead, Chatterer, Butterball, and the female Cenobite. Who knew a little toy box could inflict so much bloodshed? This was such a breath of fresh air in the late ‘80s for horror fans. Instead of having a serial killer stalking young teens, Mr. Barker gave us one of the most dangerous objects horror had ever seen. This movie made me scared to solve my Rubik's Cube. Thanks a bunch, Pinhead.
6. The Machete
Source: New Line Cinema
The machete has popped up in any number of horror features over the years, but it’s fair to say that Jason Voorhees was the movie mass murderer that popularized this huge cleaver-like cutting tool. I’m not trying to glamorize violence here, but there’s just something so badass about this weapon. It literally goes hand-in-hand with horror. The second you see one, you automatically get transported back to Crystal Lake to see Mr. Voorhees chopping up a fine young couple right after they had a drunken sex romp.
Source: Producers Circle/Perrigrine Productions
Anytime I see an axe I think of The Shining. Period. Even though it’s been utilized in various ways throughout almost every film genre, the “Here’s Johnny” scene in Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece instantly added the axe to the horror hall of fame. Another one of the more memorable axe cameos in cinema is when Christian Bale slaughters Jared Leto in American Psycho. Besides his brutal chopping skills at the end of the scene, Bale’s wacky dancing to Huey Lewis and The News’ “Hip To Be Square” really helped this murder become truly memorable. Kickin’ some axe is always epic.
Source: Warner Bros.
Fangs just might be the most overlooked horror movie weapon on this list. The reason is basically because compared to a machete or kitchen knife, most people wouldn’t think of fangs as a killer's main weapon of choice. First off, we have to take into consideration that vampires are hands down some of the most famous horror villains of all time. A lot of people out there would probably say they’re the characters that helped launch the entire genre. With that said, handfuls and handfuls of victims have been laid to rest by these legendary pointed teeth.
From Nosferatu to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, I doubt anyone out there can name a deadly movie tool that has inflicted as much carnage as a vampire’s fangs. Even though they don’t leave much of a gory mess, fangs always do the job perfectly.
3. Freddy Krueger’s Glove
Source: New Line Cinema
The second I saw the beginning of Nightmare on Elm Street where Freddy was making his razor-clawed glove, I knew I had to get my hand in one of them as soon as possible. Freddy’s glove is easily the most iconic and recognizable piece of killing equipment on this list as far as I’m concerned. It’s also one of the most unique. Just when you thought you'd seen everything, Englund was using his deadly film prop in ways you never thought possible. The guy just had a knack for adding creepy details to his psychopathic alter ego. Without his glove armed with razors, Freddy Krueger would never have made the impact he did.
Source: Vortex, Inc.
From Leatherface to Evil Dead’s “Ash” Williams, the chainsaw is one of the most iconic weapons ever to hit horror screens. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the greatest horror film ever made, single-handedly made anyone instantly terrified the minute they heard this portable mechanical cutting device firing up.
The modified chainsaw Ash uses as his hand in Evil Dead 2 changed the game though. Just when you thought the chainsaw couldn’t get any cooler, Sam Raimi decided to attach it with clamps to Ash's severed wrist and a cult superstar was instantly born. This allowed our horror hero to decapitate demons like he was cutting through warm butter.
We also have to give Dennis Hopper some love for his chainsaw-wielding work in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. RIP.
1. Butcher's Knife
Source: Sony Pictures
Here it is in all its glory. The classic of all classics. As far as weapons in the horror genre go, no killing utensil is more popular than the butcher’s knife. The famous shower scene from Psycho put the butcher's knife on the map, but John Carpenter was the demented f*** that made it what it is today.
When we all first feasted our eyes on the classic opening scene in Halloween where Mike Myers slashes up his fifteen-year-old sister, there was no doubt that after that epic moment, this kitchen knife would go hand-in-hand with every single slasher film that came after it. More than any other weapon on this list, the butcher’s knife has always been looked upon as horror’s OG instrument of death. Sure, fangs and stakes may have killed a few dames well before the butcher's knife came into play, but this epic blade screams horror like no others can.