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SYFY and USA Network’s hit Chucky show punched its way to a new horror milestone last night with a famous, yet seldom talked-about, genre trope: the “Torso-with-a-View.”
For the uninitiated, this trope involves a character sustaining a horrific injury to the midsection, allowing a director to frame the subsequent shot through the yawning hole of torn flesh, bone, and organs. It's gross, funny, creative, and...we already said gross, right? This occurs in the third episode of Chucky’s second season when the buff Good Guy doll (Brad Dourif) punches right through Trevor’s chest as though it were made of tissue paper, announcing that it pays off not to skip "arm day."
With this fresh addition to the chest-busting canon, we thought it might be fun to take a look back at some of the best straight-thru kill shots throughout the history of film and television. Note how we said chest-busting and not chest-bursting. Apologies in advance to the Xenomorph crowd.
***WARNING! The following list is not for the faint of heart!***
Huh, we guess Blain Cooper (Jesse Ventura) did have “time to bleed” after all. The rugged and tobacco-chewing member of Dutch’s elite squad of commandos becomes of the first major casualties of the film when the titular hunter blasts a hole in his midsection that wasn’t there a moment ago. The surviving members of the group wildly fire into the dense foliage, hoping to take out the cosmic visitor, but there’s no denying the truth: these macho men are scared, confused, and throughly out of their element.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
Conventional weapons can’t stop the onslaught of the T-1000, but they can slow it down a bit. Attempting to fool John (Edward Furlong) into its awaiting arms, the shape-shifting assassin (played by Robert Patrick) takes the form of Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). But the real Sarah isn’t fooled by this. Skynet got the jump on her once, but it’s never going to happen again — at least if she has anything to say about it. The mother of humanity’s future pumps shotgun blast after shotgun blast into the machine’s body. The first one goes right through, creating a neat hole of molten metal.
Death Becomes Her (1992)
One Academy Award-winning actress (Meryl Streep) blows a hole in the torso of another Academy-Award winning actress (Goldie Hawn) In Robert Zemeckis’s dark horror-comedy about two acting rivals achieving immortality. Something as horrific as a point-blank gunshot wound becomes a macabre, almost Looney Tunes-esque, punchline once Hawn’s character steps out of a decorative fountain, water gushing out of the gaping pit in her midsection.
We usually don’t recommend eating a questionable egg salad sandwich from the restroom of an intergalactic truck stop, but in the case of Futurama, we’re willing to make an exception. Fry’s decision to ingest said sandwich in the second episode of Season 3 (“Parasites Lost”) turns out to be a blessing in disguise. When the plasma fusion boiler in the basement of Planet Express goes kablooey, Fry takes a pipe right through the stomach. Thankfully, it's no problem for the advanced civilization of worms now living inside of him, who can patch up any grievous injury in a matter of seconds. But let's be clear on this: don't try and give yourself a tapeworm. Earth-based parasites do not make you proficient with a Holophonor.
Van Helsing (2004)
Immediately proving himself to be a renegade who lives by his own rules, Gabriel Van Helsing raises all sorts of hell in Paris during a mission to apprehend Dr. Henry Jekyll. Except the good doctor is no longer home — it’s the uncouth Mr. Hyde (Robbie Coltrane, who sadly passed away last week at the age of 72) who’s running the show and the lumbering monster (one who eats lit cigars like they’re bar commonplace snacks) refuses to be taken in without a fight. This Bond-like opening concludes with the titular monster hunter lodging his grappling hook right through Hyde’s chest and yanking the wanted beast off the roof of Notre-Dame.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Another case of a calamitous injury being used for the sake of comedy. The slacker heroes in Shaun of the Dead accidentally discover the world has been overrun by zombies when they accidentally impale a member of the dead on an umbrella stand in their own backyard. The shambling woman, whom they mistakenly label as a drunk, gets right back up as director Edgar Wright frames the horrified Shaun (Simon Pegg) through the bloody crater.
The Final Destination (2009)
The Final Destination franchise is NOTHING without its collection of creative, Rube Goldberg-style deaths. Self-assured mechanic Andy Kewzer (Andrew Fiscella) meets his gruesome demise when a tank of carbon dioxide sends him hurtling into a chain link fence, which slices his midsection into diamond-shaped chunks of human stew meat. Last month, it was confirmed that a new Final Destination movie was in the works from Freaks co-writers and directors, Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein.
Interview with the Vampire (2022)
Priests and vampires are like oil and water — they just don’t mix. As such, it only makes sense that Lestat de Pointe du Lac (Sam Reid) would punch right through the head of a terrified clergyman in the pilot episode of AMC’s Interview with the Vampire television series. It’s a pretty brutal kill, yet an effective exclamation point that says: “This show isn’t f—ing around, people!” And besides, what's a vampire project without plenty of blood? You can't defang an undead creature of the night any more than you can train a lion as a house pet.
New episodes of Chucky premiere on SYFY and USA Network every Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern. The complete first season is now streaming on Peacock.