Who’s idea was this? Because this was super fun. Horror filmmaker can get positively inspired by what they find in a tool box or garden shed.
But where to even start? Every Friday the 13th movie, every Sleepaway Camp – basically, every camping movie.
Plus, some films really give it away with their title: Driller Killer, Toolbox Murders (both), Saw (all of them), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (all of them).
It’s a good beginning. To narrow down the list of best horror scenes using tools, we started by categorizing. Here’s what we came up with.
5. Saws: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Saws are big in horror. Lots to choose from:
- Pieces (1982) – a lot of chainsaw action here, but the girl in the bathroom is the best/worst
- Tucker & Dale Versus Evil (2010) – bees and chainsaws! Hooray!
- Evil Dead reboot (2013) – after Mia tears her own hand off, she tears into Evil Mia’s head with a chainsaw
- Evil Dead 2 (1987) – Ash puts Linda’s head in a vice, then accidentally knocks a chainsaw into her re-animated body
Winner: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
– You hated Franklin, admit it. You should probably feel bad about that, but the point is that he is the only one who actually takes the chainsaw in TCM.
4. Drill: The Loved Ones (2009)
Again, a power drill is an excellent go-to for onscreen carnage. It’s like being at the dentist, only far bloodier. Several films made great use of it.
- Driller Killer (1979) – basically every death scene
- Body Double (1984) – our favorite scene here: Jake runs across to save the woman he’s been peeping on, and gets there in time to see the drill come through the ceiling above him, then all the blood
Winner: The Loved Ones (2009)
Bonus – also nails!
Lola (Robin McLeavy) and her dad make some effective use of several household items, but it’s the moving father/daughter bonding over the power drill that really makes an impression.
3. Hammer and Nail Family: Misery (1990)
A lot to work with here! Crucifixions, genetical spiking, Home Alone style shenanigans.
- Evil Dead (2013) – nail gun to the face!
- Serpent and the Rainbow (1988) – a serious nightmare scenario
- You’re Next (2011) – underestimated Erin knows how to make use of all kinds of household wares, including that jug of nails she finds in the basement
Winner: Misery (1990)
Yes, it’s a mallet, but that’s in the hammer family, and no scene made 1990 movie audiences more uncomfortable than this. Poor James Caan. You know he’ll badass his way out of this situation at some point – but homey ol’ Annie (the BRILLIANT Kathy Bates) will have her way for a while.
2. Lawnmowers: Dead Alive (1992)
Fewer options here, and most of them goofy.
- Dr. Shock’s Tales of Terror (2003) – Here’s an obscure one, and not a great film. But, in one of the shorts (Garden Tool Murders), someone’s buried to their neck has their head’s run over with a lawnmower.
- Friday the 13th VII: The New Blood (1988) – Yes, it’s a weed whacker. Close enough.
Winner: Dead Alive (1992)
This is the scene that made us realize we needed this countdown. Not just because it is an utterly inspired piece of splatter gore, but because it’s really the turning point for poor, sweet, milquetoast-y Lional Cosgrove.
1. Scissors/Shears: Antichrist (2009)
Toughest choices here. So many outstanding possibilities!
- The Burning (1981) & Friday 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) use gardening shears, but it’s your ordinary house scissors that do the most inspired damage.
- May (2002) – sweet May’s first kill is an impressive piece of action with her sewing scissors
- Felt (2014) – that puppet making is all leading somewhere…
- Oldboy (2003) – if you haven’t seen this, we don’t want to ruin it. Suffice it to say, Dae-su wants to make sure he never says.
- Inside (2007) – Oh, what Beatrice Dalle can do with a pair of scissors. They’re used repeatedly and really well.
Winner: Antichrist (2009)
If you haven’t seen Lars von Trier’s one all out horror show or the scene in question, we’re not going to tell. We’re not going to show you, either. We want you to be as effected by the act as MaddWolf writer Christie Robb was. We lent her the screener and she watched it while she was on a treadmill. She fell off and did herself an injury.
Not as bad as the injury in the film though, thank God.