15 ghoulishly gruesome gore scenes likely to give you nightmares

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Oct 7, 2019, 4:51 PM EDT (Updated)

Some of us watch horror flicks to be scared, some of us watch horror flicks because we think monsters are cool, and some of us watch horror flicks just to see something so insanely nasty that we have to rewind it and watch it again frame by frame.

For the 17th in our series of 31 posts for the 31 days of Halloween, here's a collection of awesomely gruesome scenes for your viewing pleasure.

Zombie: Zombie vs. Shark

Zombie was originally titled Zombi 2, an attempt by Italian producers to capitalize on the success of George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead. But Lucio Fulci, the Italian "Godfather of Gore," saw it as a chance to take the zombie genre into gruesome overdrive. Zombie is filled with awesome gore moments, but the one that ranks as awesome beyond awesome is this one. It's really simple. A zombie fights a shark.

Dead Alive: Mowing Down Zombies

Before Peter Jackson was the Academy Award-winning director of The Lord of the Rings, he was a guy in New Zealand on a mission to make the most outrageously gruesome motion pictures on the planet. Dead Alive might be the goriest movie ever made, but it's so funny, and made with such crazed glee, that it doesn't feel like it's just there to gross you out. Nowhere is that better encapsulated than this scene, where Jackson's hero invents a new use for a lawnmower.

Day of the Dead: The Very Satisfying Death of Captain Rhodes

Day of the Dead is probably the least revered of any of George Romero's original Dead trilogy flicks, probably because it's just so grim. Zombies taking over the world is grim all by itself, but this time we've got the very unpleasant Captain Rhodes (Joseph Pilato) making this little slice of survivor society even nastier. So when Rhodes gets his due as the flick nears its end, it's both satisfying and filled with flesh-ripping madness.

Evil Dead 2: An Eye-Popping Moment

Evil Dead 2 director Sam Raimi is famously a fan of the Three Stooges, so much so that he incorporated classic Stooges-style gags into Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, a very comedy-oriented horror flick. Watch as he perfectly executes the old Demon Eyeball in the Mouth gag.

Beyond Re-Animator: A Rat Meets Its Match (NSFW)

The Re-Animator franchise is known for its out-of-control gore, and though its most infamous moment involves a severed head and a naked woman, this clip from the end of Beyond Re-Animator may be just a little more insane. It features another severed, um ... appendage, and a fight to the death with a very confused rat.

The Wizard of Gore: Not Really a Magic Trick

If anyone on Earth has earned the right to challenge Lucio Fulci for the title of "Godfather of Gore," it's Herschell Gordon Lewis. He made a host of infamous "splatter" films, but Wizard of Gore still ranks among the most bloody. Dig this clip, in which the wizard himself—a magician by the name of Montag the Magnificent—performs a particularly convincing illusion on a young volunteer.

Hellraiser: Don't Go in That Attic

People come back from the dead all the time in horror movies, but few resurrections are more memorable than Frank's return from the dead in Hellraiser. It all started with a little blood on the floor, and it transformed into a detailed, patient and gruesome assembling of a human that's still effective almost 25 years later.

An American Werewolf in London: Growing Pains

Rick Baker is a master of gruesome makeup. He's worked on everything from The Exorcist to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video, but his masterpiece will always be the amazing transformation sequence in John Landis' An American Werewolf in London. Most werewolf transformations before it were some variation on a phasing shot between a man and a monster, and most werewolf transformations after it rely on CGI. But this, this is one of the most dazzling uses of makeup effects in the history of cinema, and as an added bonus, it looks so painful you'll have to take an aspirin afterward.

Scanners: This Guy Gives Me a Headache

Though he's more famous for the thematic content of his films, David Cronenberg has no problem getting nasty. With Scanners, he took advantage of his powerful psychic characters to create a scene immortalized in Wayne's World as "that scene in Scanners where that dude's head blew up."

Suspiria: Murder in Technicolor

Dario Argento, like fellow Italian horror master Lucio Fulci, has never strayed from gruesomeness onscreen, but if he's going to do it, he's going to make every effort to make it beautiful. Consider this sequence from his 1977 masterpiece Suspiria, one of the last films to ever undergo the Technicolor process. Brutal murder never looked so good.

The Thing: Maybe the Defibrillator Wasn't Such a Good Idea

John Carpenter is great at winding up a slow burn of suspense until it hits a crescendo, and when it reaches that breaking point, all hell breaks loose. The all-hell-breaks-loose moment in The Thing is this one. It starts with an attempt to save a man's life and ends with the film's most enduring image: a head with legs.

Creepshow: Exterminators Really Aren't That Expensive

What happens when you team zombie master George A. Romero with America's boogeyman, Stephen King? Creepshow, a masterful horror anthology with a cast that includes Leslie Nielsen, Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau and even King himself (plus an appearance by his son Joe). The whole flick is memorable, but if there's one scene that will stay with you so long you'll spend your life savings on bug spray, it's this one, featuring ghastly makeup effects by the great Tom Savini.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Freddy Loves Puppets

The Nightmare on Elm Street sequels aren't always easy to watch, but if you're patient enough you come across totally insane effects like this one. Being a guy who likes to stay in control, Freddy Krueger decides to quite literally become the puppetmaster in the nightmare of one of his victims. (Look for it at about the 2:40 mark.)

Opera: Spying in Peepholes Is Bad, Kids

Though Dario Argento is best known for the Technicolor dream that is Suspiria, he cut his teeth as a filmmaker mastering the Italian suspense subgenre known as giallo. Opera, one of his later thrillers, is about a killer stalking a young opera singer and killing quite a few people close to her in the process. It's filled with creative death scenes, but this one, featuring a conveniently gun-barrel-sized keyhole, is the most inventive.

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Lands a Right Hook

The prolific killer known as Jason Voorhees has more than his fair share of awesome gore sequences, but this one is particularly fun, in part because it comes in the midst of Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, arguably the most awesomely terrible flick in the history of the franchise. In the midst of all the implausible crazy that fills this flick, you get moments like this, when a simple punch has awesome results.