Even if you don’t die in a horror movie, you’re always at risk of a range of injuries that commonly pop up in horror. And one type of injury which is prevalent in the genre is the broken bone.
Whether you get attacked, have an accident, or just fall the wrong way, the risk of breaking a bone during a chase or a dangerous situation is incredibly high. Let’s countdown some of the best and grossest broken legs, arms, ankles, necks, and backs, and celebrate the wonder of the broken bone in horror.
10. Orphan (2009)
Usually in horror movies, if bones are getting broken, it’s through a run-in with a bad guy or an unfortunate accident. However, in The Orphan, Esther decides to break her own arm so that she can blame it on her adoptive mother, and build a closer bond with her adoptive father.
This is where we really realize how far Esther is willing to go to get what she wants, and seeing her break her own arm in a vice is incredibly unsettling. The scene is very drawn-out as we try to guess how much pressure it will take before we hear the crack Esther is waiting for.
9. Life (2017)
Space is terrifying as it is, and yet, space teams continue to bring unknown alien lifeforms onto their spaceships without knowing the slightest thing about them. In Life, the lifeform starts off quite small, they name him Calvin, and Derry starts to bond with Calvin as he studies the lifeform.
However, one day Calvin decides to test his strength on Derry’s hand, grabbing it as Derry reaches into Calvin’s enclosure through the attached gloves. It starts off slow, but Calvin eventually crushes Derry’s hand beyond recognition.
8. Thirteen Ghosts (2001)
Dennis is a complicated character in Thirteen Ghosts. On the side of the villains, but not by choice, Dennis does his best to rectify his mistakes. And part of that plan involves getting stuck in a super-haunted death house filled with ghosts who are particularly angry at Dennis.
As the movie climaxes, Dennis realizes he has to sacrifice himself in order to keep Arthur alive and allow him to save his children. Dennis takes on the Hammer and the Juggernaut himself while leaving Arthur safe behind the ghost-proof glass. Unfortunately for Dennis, the Juggernaut breaks Dennis’ back on the edge of a wall, brutally bending him in half.
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7. Blair Witch (2016)
We’ve already had one person getting snapped in half, so let’s double down and have another one. When James and his friends head into the woods to try and track down his missing sister, he gets locals Talia and Lane to direct the group. However, it soon turns out that Talia and Lane have been faking stick figures to convince the group to believe in freaky goings-on in the woods.
Later on, when another stickman crops up, Ashley doesn’t believe Talia didn’t create it and snaps it in half. Unluckily for Talia, the doll has her hair wound into it, and Talia gets snapped in half at the same time. This would be a shocking scene for any movie, but it particularly stands out in Blair Witch because it proves that the supernatural elements of the woods are true.
6. The Descent (2005)
The first chunk of The Descent is scary because dark and narrow caves are terribly claustrophobic, and the thought of being stuck underground is an absolute nightmare. However, when Holly breaks her leg after thinking she’s found daylight, the smell of the blood seems to attack the creatures which dwell in the caves, and the film gets terrifying for a whole other reason.
Holly’s leg injury is absolutely brutal, and you know there’s no way for her to escape once the creatures set their eyes on her. With Holly the weakest member of the group, she promptly gets her throat ripped out.
5. Misery (1990)
I have a thing about ankle injuries, and Misery has to be the original gruesome ankle injury. When Annie discovers that Paul has been moving around her house when she’s home, she decides to set his recovery back quite a lot by taking a sledgehammer to his ankles.
The camera never moves away from Paul’s ankle, and so we get to see his ankle break in all its horror. Paul’s foot ends up bending completely the wrong way, and we’ve barely recovered from the first ankle when Annie moves onto the second ankle.
4. Midsommar (2019)
Midsommar is full of some of the most beautiful and disturbing imagery ever put to film (even thinking about skin the fool gives me the heebie-jeebies), and the cliff-jumping scene is impressively gory.
As part of the commune’s celebrations, two of the elders throw themselves off a cliff to their deaths. While the female elder manages to hit her head on the rock below, the male elder lands feet first, earning himself a very mangled broken leg in the process. He then has to be put out of his misery with a giant hammer.
3. It Follows (2014)
If we’re talking broken bones, we’ve got to talk It Follows, which impressively ranks so high on the list even though we don’t see the bone-breaking take place. And that’s perhaps what makes it all the more disgusting because our brain fills in what happens to Annie once It catches up with her.
The opening of It Follows sees Annie running for her life from an unseen entity before sitting down to call her dad on a beach, apparently having given up running from It. The shot cuts to daylight, and we see Annie dead, with one leg broken at the knee, with her foot facing the wrong way. It’s a very quick way to show us that this invisible entity is not messing about.
2. Evil Dead (2013)
I don’t like to say that people deserve to die in horror movies, but in Evil Dead, Eric deserves the heap of pain that is rained down on him during the course of the movie because he ignores numerous warnings to never read the Latin!
After being stabbed in the eye with a needle and gouged at with a piece of glass, Eric is attacked by a possessed Natalie wielding a crowbar. Eric raises his hands to protect his face and gets his hand smashed apart by the crowbar in the process. Even in all the horrible things that have already happened in the film, the shot of Eric’s badly broken fingers is impressively gross.
1. Saw III (2006)
There was never another choice for number one. It had to be the Rack Trap from Saw III. I am so traumatized by this scene that I’ve only ever watched it once, and that was in the cinema way back in 2006 when I didn’t know what traumas were awaiting me.
In Saw III, Jeff is being forced to confront the people involved in his young son’s death in Jigsaw’s unique style. The last person Jeff has to face is Timothy, the hit-and-run driver who killed his son. Timothy is strapped into a rack, which is twisting his limbs, and eventually his head, while Jeff tries to find the key to free him.
Jeff fails to free Timothy in time, meaning we have to watch Timothy’s arms and legs brutally get twisted off, before his neck is eventually broken, finally killing him.
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