Before you worry: no, we have not run out of real topics. It’s just that, every so often we need to indulge a weird little voice that says things like, “Ever noticed how many people die on toilets in horror movies? Wonder what kind of deep-seated fears that explores.”
And there are a LOT of people who die on toilets in horror movies. Michael Myers really likes to freak people out in public restrooms. We know Norman Bates likes to dispatch folks while they’re in the shower, but he is not above preying on someone while they’re just trying to pee. Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger have also done it. (The poor guy falls asleep on the toilet. Don’t judge—we’ve all been there.)
Here, however, are the best instances of nature calling you to your death.
5. Scream 2 (1997)
Phil (Omar Epps) just wants to take his girl to a scary movie. Still, he does get up in the middle of it to pee. I’m not saying that’s cause for murder. I’m not saying it’s not, either.
The whole Scream franchise does an excellent job of taking the mundane moments in life and drawing your attention to all the ways in which you are actually vulnerable. This scene plays not only on the vulnerability involved in our social contract to allow others to urinate in peace, but also touches on the ways in which anonymity (by way of the costumes everyone is wearing at the theater) emboldens people. Usually the wrong people. The kind that whisper weirdly from the next stall.
4. Zombieland (2009)
Mike White makes such a great doofus victim, doesn’t he? Here he is, minding his own beeswax, taking a leisurely in a filthy public toilet during the zombiepocalypse…No part of this really sounds wise, does it?
It’s all in keeping with one of Zombieland‘s great gimmicks: the rules. The reason the rules work so well for the film is that each one is actually an excellent piece of advice. Get some cardio, people, because zombies don’t tire out.
And for the love of God, beware of bathrooms.
3. Ghoulies II 1988
Everybody hated Philip Hardin (J. Downing) anyway, didn’t we? He knew. Sure, he claimed that his little monster gravy train, the only reason his dying carnival attracted any customers at all, had nothing to do with all those dead bodies. But, come on.
The nasty little muppety creatures from Luca Bercovici’s surprise 1984 hit (and Gremlins ripoff) have left town. They’ve found a hunting ground better suited to them alongside the carnies at the Satan’s Den attraction.
The film is not good—sequels to sloppy derivatives rarely are. It’s a mixed bag of kills and puppet hijinx. But there is something about a monster in the toilet, man, and it ain’t good.
2. Street Trash (1987)
This iconic Troma film sees the homeless population of a town turn from cheap liquor to cheaper god-knows-what, Tenafly Viper. It’s old, but this is not the kind of wine that ages well. Those who drink it, well, it’s like looking directly at the Ark of the Covenant.
The hobo-melting is honestly the least interesting and least offensive thing happening in this envelope pusher. But there is this one poor bastard who just takes a seat, just wants to rest a bit and enjoy a lovely beverage. The FX are laughable, and yet sort of genius.
1. ABCs of Death: T is for Toilet (2012)
Yes! Every single thing the previous films were trying to capture, all handled here with inspired (and brilliantly hideous) claymation. It’s perfect. It’s sadistic, funny, tender, mean, goofy and pretty clearly Australian.
It was not a dingo that ate the baby.