Blood and gore (Photo by Quality Stock Arts on Shutterstock)

From the very beginning, scary cinema masterpieces like Georges Méliès “Le Manoir du diable” were being made as early as 1896. These early horror films laid the foundation for a genre that continues to captivate audiences to this day. Over the years, horror movies have evolved and diversified, exploring various subgenres such as psychological horror, supernatural horror, and slasher films. Whatever the subgenre, scary movies are a way for audiences to experience recreational fear in a safe setting. Our list of the top five most gory horror movies explores some of the best scary films that have ever been made.

If horror as a genre exists to explore fear and anxiety, then the splatter film explores the very real vulnerabilities of the human body and specifically addresses mortality. The idea that the victims in the splatter subgenre are merely makeup and special effects is part of what allows audiences to relax enough to enjoy the film. However, there have been films that take their special effects too far and produce an experience that is unpleasant for the audience. These films often rely heavily on graphic violence and gore, pushing the boundaries of what is considered acceptable in mainstream cinema. While some viewers may find this excessive and disturbing, others are drawn to the visceral nature of these films, as they provide a cathartic release for their own fears and anxieties surrounding mortality.

Walking that fine line between “just enough” and “too much” is very difficult for filmmakers. One of the earliest scenes of blood in cinema occurs in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic “Psycho” that depicted “blood” swirling down a drain in black and white. While fairly tame by today’s standards, this scene was groundbreaking and distressing for audiences of that decade. In 1963, filmmaker Herschell Gordon Lewis would release “Blood Feast” and the splatter genre would begin in earnest.

Are you ready for a good scare? Our sources helped us wade through piles of the most gory horror movies so that we could rank out which titles will have you writhing in fear. Let us know your favorite bloody features in the comments below!

Couple watching a scary horror movie
A couple watching a scary movie (© Drobot Dean – stock.adobe.com)

The List: Most Gory Horror Movies, According to Experts


1. “Day of the Dead” (1985)

Our list starts off with one of the most wildly over-the-top displays of practical effects ever committed to film by director George A. Romero. Special effects grandmaster Tom Savini created disgustingly inventive effects for this film. Collider raves, “George A. Romero, the trailblazer of the zombie horror genre, might have been one of the first filmmakers to describe his work as ‘splatter.’ ‘Day of the Dead’ is splatter, but with the social themes that Romero can integrate, maybe it should be called ‘elevated splatter.'”

“Day of the Dead” (1985)
“Day of the Dead” (1985)

BTV praises Romero’s conviction to make a film according to his vision rather than what the studio wanted. “Fun fact, Romero took a smaller budget for this movie so he could make the gore filled epic he wanted, and he did not disappoint. There is some gore here and there, but the third act is when everything hits the fan and we are treated to some of the most iconic kills of any zombie movie, or horror movie in general for that matter.”

Pop matters exclaims, “Tom Savini’s autopsy-level work here remains so completely disconcerting and ultra-realistic that fans still flinch when the ‘Frankenstein’s lab’ scene is [discussed]. Topping everything he’s done before, the make-up wizard has never been better. While ‘Night’ and ‘Dawn’ remain George Romero’s best, ‘Day’ delivers on what the genre really craves – literal vats of bodily fluids.”

2. “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” (1974)

This epic film is the stuff of cinema legend. Director Tobe Hooper achieved moments of iconic horror starting with the unmistakable sound of a buzzing chain saw. BuzzFeed says, “The cannibalistic clan at the center of ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ butcher their victims horribly — but hey, at least they find good uses for the leftover parts. Ignore all the sequels and remakes: The 1974 original remains a classic for a reason. It’s gleefully bloody and thoroughly bizarre.”

“The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” (1974)
“The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” (1974)

Parade describes, “An epochal genre event, an intense viewing experience to this day, Tobe Hooper’s shoestring-budgeted freakout was a key influence on every slasher that followed, from Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’ to John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween.’ Carpenter famously said he marveled at the way ‘Texas Chain Saw’ rode ‘along the very edge of good taste.'”

AMC elaborates, “Gory, grubby and outrageous, ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ follows a group of friends who fall victim to a family of cannibals, the most famous of whom is the iconic Leatherface. Falsely marketed as a true story, ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ set a new standard for slasher movies, challenging the ways in which a film could utilize violence and gore as a vehicle for social and political commentary.”

3. “Tokyo Gore Police” (2008)

“Tokyo Gore Police” shows the grotesque extremes that feel somehow unique to Japanese entries in the subgenre. The gore is an integral part of the imaginative science fiction plot. Movie Web comments, “‘Tokyo Gore Police,’ … managed to land on this list since the live-action film puts a fun twist on the genre by making it actually fun to watch. The film is the solo effort of Yoshihiro Nishimura, who wrote, directed, and edited the movie with the assistance of Kengo Kaji. The casting call features the talents of Eihi Shiina, Itsuji Itao, and Yukihide Benny.”

“Tokyo Gore Police” (2008)
“Tokyo Gore Police” (2008)

SW adds, “Set in the future, this is a story of Ruka (a private policewoman) who wants to avenge her father’s assassination with a samurai sword. The antagonists in this movie known as the ‘Engineers’ possess the ability to convert an injury to a weapon. Go figure!”

“‘Tokyo Gore Police’ takes place in a future where technological advances allow criminals to grow weapons out of injuries on their bodies. The police hunt down these monsters, and bodies are ripped and blown apart in their ensuing battles. Describing some of this film’s scenes will never do it justice. After all, a naked woman with an alligator’s jaws in place of her legs ripping off a man’s arm is something everyone really needs to see for themselves,” details Creepy Catalogue.

4. “Braindead” (1992)

“Braindead” is also titled “Dead Alive” and is a very early work from famous director Peter Jackson. The mix of splatter and humor stands out in this absurd movie. The Cinemaholic explains, “Peter Jackson is famous among mainstream audiences for his adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings.’ But what many aren’t aware of is, Jackson started his career with horror comedies and ‘Braindead’ is one of them. It’s a slapstick splatter movie and it is nothing short of a gore carnival.”

“The ensuing carnage is shocking, especially if you are only aware of Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ work. Rib cages are yanked out of chests, and a zombie baby pulls a woman’s head open from the inside, not to mention the lawnmower scene. ‘Braindead’ is gooey, grindhouse goodness,” offers Collider.

BTV states, “Kind of a granddaddy of modern gore, while it was over the top, it certainly also had a fair amount of realism as well, and that’s why it’s so beloved. Old gore films from the Herschell Gordon Lewis era certainly had their charm but were super fake. Here the blood actually looks like blood, and we also get copious amounts of body parts. Such a classic.”

5. “The Evil Dead” (1981)

The first film in “The Evil Dead” multimedia franchise is more scary than funny as compared to the rest of the entries in the series. In fact, 2023 entry in the series “Evil Dead Rise” was praised as a return to horror rather than splatter comedy. Collider claims, “‘The Evil Dead’ was made for less than $500,000 in the hills of East Tennessee before spawning one of the most successful horror franchises ever. The film was scrutinized heavily upon release for its graphic violence, and almost a full minute had to be trimmed just to be rated X in the UK.”

“The Evil Dead” (1981)
“The Evil Dead” (1981)

Pop matters relates, “Though he didn’t have much money to realize his aims, first-time filmmaker Sam Raimi had a bounty of artistic vision to draw on. The results are this gore-drenched trip into Kandahrian demonology and the Book of the Dead. One of the few films that’s just as [terrifying] now as it was 40 years ago.”

AMC reviews, “‘The Evil Dead’ and its sequels are among the most revered cult films of all time. The film follows the iconic Ash Williams and four of his university friends as they battle demonic possession, leading to increasingly campy, gory mayhem. There may be more critically-acclaimed horror movies in the archives, but not many are this much fun.”

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1 Comment

  1. SR says:

    Sorry, but the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre has little to no blood or gore in it. It would be rated PG by today’s standards.