The True ABCs of Death: Q is for Quirky



Suggested Audio Candy


[1] Helen Moore “Eton Boat Song”

[2] Charlie Clouser “Shithole”



There are many ways in which you can skin the proverbial cat. Horror is no different and, while ordinarily those slaughtered will fall foul to either ax, machete or other well-known domestic tool, every now and then a film-maker will throw said cat amongst the pigeons and offer up an entirely unique method of dispatch. I’ve watched rather a lot of genre movies in my lifetime and, during my tenure, have been introduced to all manner of ridiculous kills. Today we celebrate some of the doozies; examples of directors thinking way outside of the box using a plethora of unthinkable tools to make their bloody point.


What better place to start than one of the finest single kills ever committed to celluloid in my opinion. James Isaac’s Jason X stopped the rot of the tired Friday the 13th franchise by offering up a space expedition, shooting its star into the stratosphere in an attempt at kick starting his flagging fortunes. By all accounts it was a fun movie, entirely unspectacular, but at the very least enjoyable. However, as our favorite momma’s boy donned his interstellar serial killer jumpsuit, and began knocking off the crew of the Grendel in quick succession, we were provided with one particular reason to be especially cheerful.


It started with intern, Adrienne, tasked with the ominous pleasure of dissecting our seemingly expired savage and coming a cropper with no shortage of resourcefulness. A sink filled with liquid nitrogen became her own personal face bath as Jason plunged her head first into the solution forcibly and held it there just long enough for crystallization to occur. Once satisfied that her mask was secure, the cantankerous cretin hoisted it free for a moment, admired his handiwork momentarily, then smashed it like a bag of marbles on the worktop, drawing back a bloody cross-section where those pretty lips used to perch. I have watched countless kills and there have been numerous high points over the years but this one tips the scales in some style. Say what you will about Jason X, and many prefer cruelty to kindness, but it effortlessly provided one of the most significant moments in horror history and, for a moment, I forgot all about Camp Crystal Lake.


Keeper may have set the bar unrealistically high with that one. However could you conceive of topping that? It’s downhill from here right? Actually it is, but it just so happens that Quirky was my second choice for middle name, and my wasted youth was littered with moments of sheer insanity so I shall purge forth regardless. Of course, I will make it easy on myself by plumping for Brian Yuzna’s Society for our next demented denouement. There are many reasons to believe that your sanity has become soundly compromised while discovering what yuppies really get up to behind closed doors and the infamous climactic shunt scene is just one delirious dinner date with debauchery, replete with enough slime and snot to mould a thousand finger monsters and still come away with change.


Said instance came right in the thick of the unhinged orgy of our senses and involved one unfortunate party-goer having an arm inserted via rectum, up through his central nervous system, and exiting through any available orifices topside, only to clutch his face akin to a bowling ball and pull the hapless chump inside out and through his own sphincter. I have often pondered the chosen manner in which I will succumb once it becomes time for my clock to been punched, and I can state with assurance that this wouldn’t be the way to go. Having said such, it is admittedly one hell of a party trick and would turn as many heads as it would stomachs, so I guess never say never right? Fuck it, what am I thinking. There’s no way I’d leave my keys in the bowl for this particular swingers soirée.


Yuzna was at it again in 2000 with Faust: Love of The Damned proving that he could still court madness like few others. FX maestro Screaming Mad George once again helmed the prosthetics and, whilst never quite as depraved as Society, it certainly had its moments. The crowning moment within this uneven and often wishy-washy tale came at the expense of a vociferous vixen whose wish to become more voluptuous was granted in no uncertain terms as punishment for her insolence. Some women would gladly endure a little discomfort if it meant more substantial breast mass and that elusive J-Lo bubble butt. Even Sir Mix-a-Lot would likely have passed up tapping dat ass once her swift surgery had been concluded as it all went ass about-face with cataclysmic results. On the plus side, she now made Roseanne Barr appear flat-chested and had no further use for her chicken fillets.


Were you aware that we owe our very existence to the common bumblebee? That’s right, these incalculable insects are best known for their pollination skills and providing the glaze on our Honey Nut Loops but Einstein predicted that, should they become extinct, then mankind would be defunct within four years of their departure. Makes you think twice about swatting one don’t it? Fuck wasps, they’re little more than spiteful pricks with a single obnoxious agenda. Bees, on the other hand, are as vital to the human race as the oxygen we breathe and we owe them every last dash of respect for their thankless work. However, that’s not to say that they can’t be indignant little bastards, particularly when riled up and introduced to the Resonator.


Stuart Gordon’s From Beyond was a marvellous example of eighties body horror at its most whimsical and grotesque and, for the hapless Ken Foree, the sting came way before the tail as he was set upon by a drove of despicable drones and whittled down to the marrow in a matter of seconds. Turns out that a bee has to eat too and this 6″5 man mountain never stood a chance once they sniffed his nectar. Foree is nobody’s bitch and had already proved his ability to integrate with a mall packed with zombies but this concentrated attack proved just too relentless as he was left resembling a rack of ravaged ribs once they’d had their way with him.


Ngai Choi Lam’s ludicrously entertaining martial arts monstrosity Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky should feel right at home in such cozy confines as it was bat-shit crazy to über-extremities and reveled in schlocky excess with a facetiousness that New Zealand’s most valuable primate, splatter hatter Peter Jackson, would suggest was fair dinkum. It would be effortless to extol the moment when Ricky fed his adversary through a chow compactor and literally made mince meat of him but nothing says quirky quite like a futile strangulation attempt using ones very own intestinal giblets. Clearly Lam had spent time with Joe D’Amato’s Anthropophagus and learned a thing or two about the alternative use for entrails, although here there simply wasn’t time to chow down, thus the kung fu fighter’s foe used them for means of asphyxiation instead. Alas, no tap out was achieved, and it ended in tears courtesy of an airborne skull punch, but not before a nearby warden proclaimed “You got a lot of guts, Oscar!”


Another Ricky not to be messed with embarked on an indiscriminate murder spree during Lee Harry’s shameless guilty pleasure Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 and has long since turned into a YouTube sensation. After turning the tables on perhaps the most incompetent cop ever to be let loose with a licensed firearm and giving him some head lead to ponder, Ricky decided that a neighborhood stroll was in order. What better weekday to take out any suburbanite trash than garbage day? Of all the dispatches discussed here, this one has the least right to be considered unorthodox as it basically amounted to a simple everyday shooting. However, it was all in the delivery, those wonderfully animated eyebrows, and the mildly amused chortle as he blew his barrels like Dirty Harry and left the scattered refuse for some other poor bastard to clear up.


The Final Destination series has long been a source of frustration to Keeper and the most infuriating aspect is that, try as I may, I just can’t find myself being too harsh on it. The characters are, without exception, utterly hateful and the joy therefore comes in the grim reaper toying with us for the duration of the excruciating build-up to each kill. It hints as one demise then doubles back on itself, leaving us soundly discombobulated in the process. Without these cunning interludes, all five entries are as soulless as they are slickly produced. Mercifully however, the reaper isn’t the bashful type as attested by some truly inspired and fitting punishments.


My personal favorite demonstrates all that is good about the franchise. Steven Quale’s Final Destination 5 may well have dissuaded many aspiring athletes against pursuit of their dreams and showcased why indoor gymnastics is not as secure a pastime as we were led to believe. The scene in question tantalized for a full four minutes before eventually calling for the scorecards and a perfect ten from Keeper was its reward for teasing it out so effectively. A simple discarded tack on the balance beam was hinted from the offset as the screw to a kill and, indeed, it played its part come the kicker. However, death comes in many different guises, and a pit full of powder ended up culpable for a vaulting violation providing icing on the cake of a gloriously protracted Waterloo. Hilariously, one stunned onlooker suggested a 911 call may be in order, whereas a dustpan and brush would have been far more practical.



Whilst on the subject of the gift that just keeps giving; the long-running Saw phenomenon has provided no less than seven outings for Jigsaw and his minions and they all end up bleeding together after a while. However, like Final Destination, there’s one thing you simply cannot level against it as the countless ingenious traps have supplied us with some of the most visceral kills in modern history. Dolls freak me out at the very best of times but gift them a tricycle to trundle about on and I’m at risk of vacating my fixtures entirely. This harbinger of doom was never far away from sickening incident and it is fruitless cherry picking from its roll call of terror as it boasted an embarrassment of riches where its harsh harmony of consequence was involved.


Kevin Greutert’s Saw 3D: The Final Chapter was actually anything but conclusive and instead just a license to print money, something which it achieved to the tune of almost $150 million in box office receipts. So you would be within your rights to brand it as shameless exploitation right? A cash cow just waiting to have its teats teased. That is where you would be wrong, it was a solid entry which dared to push the envelope farther than had been done before. The reprisal in question came courtesy of a package deal and couldn’t have happened to a nicer collective than a cluster of white supremacists, all of which pretty much had it coming to them. Hapless Evan (Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington) bore the brunt and learned the true meaning of crawling in his skin as he was superglued behind the wheel of a rigged automobile, with girlfriend shackled beneath the elevated vehicle’s chassis perilously close to its rear wheel in swift revolution, and two buddies lined up like dominoes waiting to be toppled.


I abhor racism in all its forms which made this all the more sweet as the mean-spirited mutton head squirmed in his seat leather in an attempt at peeling himself away from peril. I was quite fond of Linkin Park for the month or so they ruled the roost and there was no question that Bennington had a set of lungs on him. A simple paper cut was sufficient to gripe over, so you can imagine his displeasure at failing to reach the lever in time and unwittingly commanding the conclusive chain reaction. His fuck buddy was first to fall foul of his negligence and received a faceful of tire rubber for her troubles. James Spader desired nothing more than a good old-fashioned automobile wreckage to encourage him to spill his Spader sailors and would likely have ruptured a cranial artery tugging his todger over the eventual pile-up in question. Perhaps, instead of attempting to dislodge himself from his car seat, Chester would have been better served by fastening his seat belt as, in the end, he became just another discouraging traffic statistic.


Andy Sidaris’ wondrously trashy diversion Hard Ticket to Hawaii may hardly have been Orson Welles material but it did manage to serve up possibly the only ever murderous frisbee so it wasn’t without its merits. A simple game of toss the disc signaled curtains for one unlucky goon as he struggled to gather the plastic projectile mid-flight and ended up with stumpy knuckles and a severed throat as penance. While the death itself couldn’t be accused of finding itself wanting in the quirk department, a couple of other factors raised it to legendary status. Firstly, only in the eighties would an action hero sport Erik Estrada’s Lego hairdo, and come clad in Sonny Crockett’s cast-off Hawaiian glad rags complete with blue Speedos and shoulder satchel. What is it about solar rays that leads ordinarily level-headed folk to believe they can get away with dressing like morons? Secondly, how about that resulting fist pump? Surely he had no right whatsoever to be pleased with himself.


Don’t even get me started on the skateboarding henchman who met his end pirouetting through the air after being hit by a speeding vehicle, only to be given the Duck Hunt treatment courtesy of a well-aimed bazooka rocket. Had I mentioned that he was clutching a blow-up doll whilst airborne? Only in Hard Ticket to Hawaii. I really could go on all day as I’ve watched a lot of films over the years and been made privy to some pretty rare sights during that time. With a dash of good fortune, I will experience many more before I meet my maker. When that time comes, I fully intend on skipping rope with my vital organs before using them to lasso a nearby mulberry bush. Thanks Riki-Oh and Anthropophagus for the helpful tip. Who said movies weren’t informative?




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