Sometimes the pop culture moments that stick with you the most are the ones where people have sharp, deadly things stuck in them. Things like machetes, uranium-tipped bullets, grey wolf teeth, or, better yet, zombie teeth. No matter how you account for it, gore strikes a nerve—figuratively for movie, TV, and videogame audiences, sometimes all too literally for the unfortunate souls onscreen. 2012 featured some of the grisliest scenes we've witnessed in a while, and much of it came from one source: The Walking Dead. But only one moment from AMC's zombie splatterfest made our list of the Top 7 Goriest Moments of 2012. And to illuminate all our picks, we've embedded videos of the moments in question. Note: Hollywood.com is not responsible for the ejected contents of your stomach should you have just recently eaten. Also, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. Consider yourself warned.
7. Looper: “The Rainmaker”
I'm still not certain why Looper needed not just an evil child subplot, but an evil child with telekinetic powers subplot. However, director Rian Johnson's choice of adding a little supernatural dread to his time-travel saga reaches a crimson crescendo when Emily Blunt's toddler goes all Carrie on a hitman who enters his Mommy's house. It's with this shower of blood that we know that the tyke is actually "The Rainmaker," the future kingpin whom Bruce Willis has journeyed back in time to kill.
6. The Grey: Wolf Gore
There's plenty of wolf-on-human bloodshed in Joe Carnahan's punishing wilderness survival tale. But it's a moment of human-on-wolf violence that may sting the most. In retribution for the deaths of several of their comrades because of the beasts, one of the survivors of an airplane crash in the Alaskan tundra beheads a wolf. The following video shows the immediate aftermath, with the wolf's head being flung around like a grisly trophy.
5. Mass Effect 3: Cerberus Splatter
Like The Walking Dead, Mass Effect 3 features so much bloodshed that you quickly become desensitized to it. The following video of a particularly explosive head-shot is not so much a moment of gore par excellence as one of gore per normal in Mass Effect 3, if slightly more watermelon-splat messy than usual. Uranium-tipped bullets are the only kind of ammo to pack.
4. The Walking Dead: Hershel, There’s “Only One Way to Keep You Alive!”
The one moment in The Walking Dead that hit the hardest was not just another zombie kill. Nothing will ever top Season 2's "Zombie in the Well" for pure gross-out. Sometimes the harm inflicted upon the living carries greater impact. Witness the way Rick violently hacked off Hershel's leg with a machete to stop him from turning into a walker after he received a bite in his calf. THWACK! For a show with as much viscera as The Walking Dead it's rarely been more visceral than this.
3. Cabin in the Woods: Pandora’s Warehouse
Giant anacondas, poltergeists, mad scientists, babydoll-masked killers, and one hungry merman, are just a few of the many night-terror inducing inmates of a subterranean bogeyman prison. Then they escape...
2. Prometheus: Self-Administered C-Section
The most impressive (and harrowing) scene by far in Prometheus built upon all the womb imagery Ridley Scott had already given us 33 years ago in Alien. But rather than a tentacled menace bursting out of Noomi Rapace's chest, she underwent an actual, if abnormally rapid, pregnancy. When she realized, however, that she carried an alien fetus in her uterus that would eat its way through her body, she hopped in a self-contained surgical pod that had previously been calibrated only for male use (implicit commentary on what may still be the egregious under-recognition of women's healthcare needs in the future?) and performed a C-Section on herself. Watching lasers slice through her stomach is pretty gruesome. As always, though, the best horror is that which is based on real fears. Even if you're not carrying a cannibalistic alien fetus, C-Sections are scary stuff.
1. Skyfall: Silva's Jaw
Probably Silva's most hauntingly memorable scene. At least after his initial homoerotic introduction to Bond, that is. Sometimes the aftermath of the grisly event can be worse, and more evocative, than the event itself. When the cyberterrorist pulls out his jaw to show M the effects of the MI6 cyanide capsule with which he tried in vain to kill himself, our imaginations do a far better job of considering how painful that must have been than anything else director Sam Mendes could have shown onscreen.
Think we got these right? What other gory scenes would you nominate from 2012?
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credit: Lionsgate