Top 10 Splatter Films

Zoe Rose Smith gets out her sharp instruments to slash, chop and cut her way through some of cinema’s bloodiest horror greats as she checks out the top 10 splatter films…

Splatter films are those that contain gratuitous violence and depict gore in the most graphic ways possible. Often splatter films are associated with the 80s when there was a wave of gore, but this subgenre of horror has been continued throughout the years, and has become a popular way to witness some of the nastiest scenes ever. Here are 10 of the most blood drenched splatter films out there…

10. The Wizard Of Gore (Lewis, 1970)

Starting with something from the 70s seems like the perfect introduction into our favourite splatter films, and that’s why at number 10 is The Wizard of Gore from director Herschell Gordon Lewis. It’s been said that Lewis was the original creator of the splatter subgenre and therefore opened up the gates of gore to the rest of the world with his vision on exhibiting extreme violence for the audience. His film follows a magician who butchers audience members during live shows, and it certainly gets pretty nasty with guts, viscera and more appearing.

9. Dawn Of The Dead (Romero, 1978)

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You’ll usually find this 1979 film from George A. Romero much higher on lists about splatter, but I’ve put it here because it feels that with any zombie film you can expect them to have an element of splatter. What zombie horror film would be complete without a lot of brains and gore? Actually a few but that’s not the point. A group of people take shelter inside a shopping mall when a horde of zombies begin to attack, and you can guess what kind of carnage happens from there. This film is considered as one of the original zombie classics and for good reason; it’s campy, fun, scary and has lots of blood.

8. Bad Taste (Jackson, 1987)

Sometimes you have to stop and ask yourself why someone like Peter Jackson decided to stop making films like Bad Taste? It’s not because they were actually in bad taste (pun intended), and it can’t be because they weren’t popular… Bad Taste is a horror parody film set in New Zealand where aliens start harvesting people for their strange needs. The effects are a little dated but out of this world for the time, and there’s plenty of gross-out gore included, which makes this one of the better splatter films out there.

7. Hobo With A Shotgun (Eisener, 2011)

Not everyone classifies Hobo With A Shotgun as a splatter film, but I think it’s fully deserved the right to sit amongst some of the best. Perhaps I’m a little biased to this film but this dark comedy exploitation film is often skipped past. An old homeless man goes on the warpath when a crime boss and his son turn one neighbourhood into their mafia grounds. What more could you want from a movie than an angry homeless man going around with a shotgun and causing mayhem? Exactly. This film comes from Jason Eisener who is known for his gory yet comical Treevenge, and was one of the writers on the Grindhouse double feature which included the no. 3 film on this list.

6. Midnight Meat Train (Kitamura, 2008)

Clive Barker could be described as the writer that brought us splatter in the form of words with his famous Books of Blood novels that gave the reader excessively gory short stories, including Hellraiser and of course, Midnight Meat Train. Director Ryuhei Kitamura took this concept from Barker and turned it into a lesser known film starring Bradley Cooper and Vinnie Jones… Both of whom you may not have expected to see in a horror film together. A photographer follows a serial killer as he slaughters people on the night tube, and finds out that there might be more than just the killer lurking underground. If you have to travel on the train at night, this one will certainly give you some shivers.

5. Hostel (Roth, 2005)

One of the more serious options on this list, but definitely within the splatter realm. Hostel from director Eli Roth also crosses over into the torture porn genre, but that’s something to be expected when looking at a sector that focuses on extreme gore. We follow a group of men who are abducted on their holiday in an Eastern European country and sold for torture. This film often divides horror fans, yet I think it’s one of the better gory horror films that have come from recent years, plus it’s fun to watch in a sickening way. Hostel II is also a fright-filled ride that features a woman bathing in the blood of the woman bleeding to death above her.

4. Planet Terror (Rodriguez, 2007)

Many splatter films also have a campy feel to them; they combine ridiculous comedy with completely out-there gore and violence, which is what makes them so fun to watch. Planet Terror comes from director Robert Rodriguez and was part of a two part Grindhouse feature alongside Quentin Tarantino’s Deathproof so you know you’re in good hands with this film. A small town becomes overrun by squelching, disgusting zombies that will do anything to consume the flesh of others. It stars Rose McGowan, Josh Brolin, Tarantino, Bruce Willis, Michael Biehn, Tom Savini, Danny Trejo and more! Plus, McGowan has a machine gun instead of a leg, so there’s that.

3. The Evil Dead (Raimi, 1981)

This wouldn’t really be a splatter list if we didn’t include The Evil Dead, right? It’s not only the first 1981 film that can be considered in this position but the entire trilogy really is the perfect splatter showcase. Ash Williams played by Bruce Campbell is our anti-hero who brings a combination of comedy and gore to our screens through three films that will win your heart over, and what’s even better is that you can then go on to binge the TV series that helms the same vibes. If you like director Sam Raimi’s direction be sure to watch Drag Me To Hell which is a modern film but has the same style.

2. Tokyo Gore Police (Nishimura, 2008)

J-Splatter is quickly becoming yet another subgenre that really is beginning to dominate the splatter sector in itself. Although there are many films that could be detailed, one of the most standout horrors is Tokyo Gore Police and most of the explanation is in the title. This over-the-top film comes from Yoshihiro Nishimura and features some of the most gory yet ridiculous scenes in history. We follow a police woman as she battles deformed creatures and corruption; you can expect chainsaws, messed-up monsters and a lot of bloody carnage.

1. Braindead (Jackson, 1992)

Oh it looks like we’re about the start a petition to get Peter Jackson making completely out there horror films! Braindead is once again from the Lord of the Rings director, and most definitely the best splatter film released to date. This film might be about zombies, but they stem from a bite from an infected monkey and shit goes down. Brain Dead (also known as Dead Alive) doesn’t even need a synopsis because if you’re interested in splatter films then you need to immediately watch this. It features some of the most outrageous gore scenes including a baby bursting through a woman’s skull and the use of a lawnmower as a weapon to decapitate and obliterate multiple infected at once.

Written & Compiled by Zoe Rose Smith

Your turn? What are your favourite splatter films?

Zoe Rose Smith
About the Author
Often called the Duchess of Dark Cinema, Zoe has a penchant for extreme horror films that shock even your regular horror fan. Anything slathered in blood, covered with controversy or psychologically terrifying and she'll be watching. Zoe most commonly writes under the name of Zobo With A Shotgun, but doesn't own a shotgun as of yet. Based in London, Zoe is a Content Creator in the fashion world by day, and by night writes about film for various sites.

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    Derek Reply

    Great picks, can’t fault the list. Perhaps I’d put the Evil Dead trilogy as one but that might be cheating a bit.

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    Alice Rose Reply

    If I was to add one I’d probably choose The Return of the Living Dead as I love that one.

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    CineGirl Reply

    Have you seen 2007’s Inside? That one definitely turned my stomach!

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    Callum Reply

    Audition is pretty gruesome too. Cannibal Holocaust would probably be my number one but great choices above.

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    Neal Damiano Reply

    Fantastic idea for a top 10 and she nailed it. Glad to see Dawn Of The Dead made the list, sure is a bloodfest and one of the greatest horror film sequels in film history. Also nice to see Planet Terror included. The only film I would mention is an obscure 80s slasher film called Bloodbath at the House of Death. It’s a bloody mess!

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    Lizzy Charles Reply

    Hack O lantern from 1988 has got some great gore, and Scott Spiegel took a leaf out of his friend Sam Raimi’s playbook for Intruder (which I think was released in 89). There’s an Italian horror called Pieces that is pretty horrific but I think my favourite gore movie is Maniac as it has substance many of them do not. As you can see I like 80s stuff.

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    Mark Fraser Reply

    Interesting list – I’ve seen nine out of 10 of these (Tokyo Gore Police is the one I’ve missed), and the one I found the most uncomfortable to sit through is the Herschell Lewis thing, which is odd as its most violent moments are part of a magic act, and therefore kind of metaphorical. I might have put Romero’s Day of the Dead before Dawn of the Dead despite the fact that Dawn is a much, much better film.

    For me, though, one true contender is Rambo (2008). I’d heard it was violent, but I couldn’t believe the amount of bloodletting in it when I finally got around to seeing it about three years ago. For the first time in ages Stallone actually surprised me. Another to consider is 28 Weeks Later – the bit where Jeremy Renner slices his way through a bunch of zombies with a helicopter gives Peter Jackson a good run for his money.

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    Dan Grant Reply

    Great top ten . I concur with Mark…Rambo is a blood fest no doubt. Another one is the original My Bloody valentine, but with the restored footage. It makes for a gruesomely violent picture.

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