Follying around

The most BRUTAL scenes in science fiction movies

The most brutal scenes in science fiction movies will be found among productions that are on average 25-30 years old.

Edward Kelley

26 July 2023

The most BRUTAL scenes in science fiction movies

I have the impression that the period of fascination with brutal scenes and violence in general in science fiction movies is long behind us. At first, it was the case that finally special effects in scifi cinema made it possible to realize the creators’ dreams of a more realistic, and thus more explicit depiction of violence. Years later, the climate has changed, the market has been saturated with brutality, and the sensitivity of viewers has decreased. The most brutal scenes in science fiction cinema, which is quite known in pop culture, will therefore be found among productions that are on average 25-30 years old (with one exception, European). Therefore, I put forward a thesis: the idea of shocking with vulgar violence ended in science fiction not because of political correctness – because it is more about sex and race, not violence – but because viewers got bored with blood. I don’t know what would be a worse cause of this state of affairs: political correctness or social callousness?

The birth of a chestburster. Alien (1979), dir. Ridley Scott

chestburster scene Alien

It must have come as a surprise to the actors that John Hurt suddenly had a seizure. However, this is how brilliant scenes are built, and there are many such in Alien. I had the choice of the birth of a chestburster or Ash attempting to kill Ripley. However, a lot has already been written about the latter, including erotic interpretations, so now it’s time for Kane. After Scott’s gradual build-up of suspense and the initial facehugger attack, such a tumble was needed for the film to gain momentum. The release of the chestburster from Kane’s body is the symbolic beginning of the Xenomorph’s journey. The form of him that will eventually reach Earth. After all, that was David’s plan to propagate his perfect creation throughout the universe, and above all to give it to his creators on their home planet.

Norris reanimation. The Thing (1982), dir. John Carpenter

Norris reanimation The Thing

The strength of this scene lies not only in the brutality, but also in the horror of the resuscitation procedure itself – nothing that is out of this world and yet terrifying because it deals with death. It makes a really electrifying impression, especially when it takes place right next to it, and you are, for example, a patient. I know this from my own experience. Fortunately, in the ward where I lay, the patient next to me managed to restore her heartbeat, but the memory of the ominous imminence of death remained. Carpenter certainly knew this element would work. Next, it was enough to dot the i’s. As we already know, in the quoted scene, Norris’s sudden heart attack forced Dr. Copper to undertake standard procedures – cardiac massage and defibrillation. Once the doctor got to work, it started. Norris’s chest turned into huge jaws and bit off the doctor’s hands when he applied electrodes to his body and wanted to “shoot”. Fear of death turned out to be quite logical. Resuscitation resulted in the death of both the doctor and the patient.

Drill penis. Tetsuo. The Iron Man (1989), dir. Shin’ya Tsukamoto

Drill penis Tetsuo The Iron Man

Not really a penis drill, but a multi-ring tunneling drill, but in what? In titanium chastity belts, probably – one could answer, in accordance with the director’s dreamlike intention. The penis fight sequence lasts quite a long time. Its owner does not seem to control the mechanical lust of the penis. His whole body is modified – metal grows into it, protrudes from the face. The hero’s obsession is the need to become a cyborg. It is so big that it leads to mutilation of oneself and others around. The woman tries to defend herself against the mutant aggressor, but his spinning penis is stronger. Just when she thinks she has won and murdered the man, something suddenly pierces her and crushes her genitals along with her intestines. Interestingly, if you look at modern sexual perversions, there is one that derives sexual satisfaction from eating the partner during the sexual act (vorarephilia). Killing in the process, which is not cannibalism, but other types of suffering, such as choking, slashing, and beating, is also common on the dark web. So the Japanese movie is not revealing in this respect – it is only distinguished by the convention of science fiction.

Baxter's visions. Hardware (1990), dir. Richard Stanley


M.A.R.K 13 combat robot could not only inventively kill with his multiplied legs, but also inject psychoactive substances that caused muscle weakness, hallucinations and a narcotic amok. Baxter, one of the main characters of the film, fell victim to them. The robot injected him with enough dose to give him homicidal visions. The scariest thing about this scene is the combination of Baxter’s self-mutilation with the images in which the robot, against a background of a reddish glow, waves artificial hands that look like human ones. The camera sometimes moves away and sometimes comes closer. Baxter slits his veins, and the cyborg does a kind of devil dance. Everything happens so fast that the viewer does not have time for rational reflection. He can only experience fear. And that’s what it’s all about.

Batty's kiss. Blade Runner (1982), dir. Ridley Scott

Blade Runner

What brutality can be hidden in a kiss? It depends what it leads to. And the one given to Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkel) by Batty (Rutger Hauer) was a special show of love and revenge by the prodigal son to his equally prodigal father. So why would the god of biomechanics accept them both into a cybernetic heaven? For the courage to be a creator, a genius and a curiosity at the same time. The death Batty inflicted on his creator is terrible. First he kissed him on the mouth, as if taking his soul. Then he gouged out his eyes with his fingers so they couldn’t see or understand the world, and finally crushed his skull to destroy his brain, the catalyst for all those subversive thoughts that Batty had been made of. And in the viewer’s head you can hear the sound of breaking bones.

Murphy’s death. Robocop (1987), dir. Paul Verhoeven

Murphy’s death Robocop

Stomping on corpses, man as a shield – Verhoeven’s film is full of brutal sequences that Hollywood was not yet used to at the time. The most significant scene, however, is the shooting of the main character. Verhoeven usually did not take into account the sensitivity of the public. Had Western producers not restricted his creative freedom, his best-known US films would probably have been much sharper. Still, killing Murphy gave me heart palpitations the first time, and now it still gives me a shiver of uneasiness, especially that hand flying away from the cop’s body and the bulletproof vest with holes like a sieve.

Feast. A Boy and His Dog (1975), dir. L.Q. Jones

A Boy and His Dog

There is no violence shown here. There’s Quilla Holmes’ (Susanne Benton) love confession for Albert (Don Johnson). Somewhere in the background lies an injured dog that needs to be left behind. The nearest human settlement is too far to go without a meal, and Albert and Holmes are tired and hungry. Albert is very happy that such a beautiful woman loves him and wants to go with him. But what about a dog, and a talking one? The best friend you can have in post-apocalyptic times. Then there is a cut, and in the next scene a bonfire with some remnants burns out. The dog and his friend stayed and are still wandering. They are no longer hungry. Albert recalls how kind Holmes was to confess his love to him. Not only was it nice, but also tasty. She enabled the boy and his peculiar dog to survive, and in addition, she proved that love still exists after the end of the world. What sinister irony lurks in this scene, a mental violence that we can only imagine, yet we fear these thoughts as much, if not more, than if we were watching human bones being gnawed on the screen.

Barry Convex's death. Videodrom (1983), dir. David Cronenberg

Barry Convex's death Videodrom

I haven’t seen all of Cronenberg’s films, but Videodrome is one of the best I’ve had the pleasure of seeing, and Convex’s death one of the most shocking and disgusting. All her suspense begins with Max Renn’s mutant hand. The gun merges with his body, and reality forces him to breakneck behavior during the party hosted by Convex. The gun, fused to the hand, fires equally peculiar projectiles. They cause a visually shocking revolution in the victim’s internal organs. They turn into something like bloodshot worms and tear the flesh from the inside out. The victim dies in agony, but not immediately. He probably feels what’s going on in her bowels before she finally dies. The viewer also notices this, and his intestines seem to move more nervously than usual.

Cutting off pieces of Goreng's body. The Platform (2019), dir. Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia

Cutting off pieces of Goreng's body The Platform

The entire movie drips with violence. The heroes are thrown into a reality that undermines any morality encoded in them. So they have to make non-standard ethical choices in order to survive. I don’t want to spoil it, but I have to say at least that the main character at some point becomes a living piece of food, and not only for his cellmate, but, perhaps even more terrible, for himself. Trimagasi wants to keep him alive as long as possible so that he doesn’t rot and is fit for food, so he has to feed him, and since there is no food at all, the only way to survive is to feed him his own flesh. The thigh goes first. Bound Gorenga has no way to defend himself. Trimagasi knows how to dissect flesh with a knife so as not to cause too much bleeding and not to weaken the victim. Gorenga needs to play this bloodthirsty game because he really isn’t sure what awaits him at the end.

Weir's eyes. Event Horizon (1997), dir. Paul. W.S. Anderson

event horizon sam neill blinded

Eyes are a graceful theme in Anderson’s film. It appears regularly, because people are accustomed to associate visual cognition with intuition, i.e. the generally understood truth according to the principle that what is seen exists more than what is smelled or heard. That is why the director decided that several heroes would get rid of this ability in the name of a completely different way of learning the truth – the extra-dimensional one, hellishly different from the rules prevailing in our world. So the first strong scene is Justin’s unfinished dying process locked in the airlock. Blood drips from his eyes and he floats weightlessly. At the last moment, he manages to save him, but at the cost of deforming his body. From now on, the tension only grows, and the eyes become an organ hostile to the power coming from an alien dimension. They especially bother Dr. Weir (Sam Neill) in another violent scene. The doctor gouges out his own eyes and then, as a monster, circulates around the ship to keep the remnants of the surviving crew in it forever.