In a genre so populated by predictable, formulaic movies it can be hard to find something that truly subverts or exceeds your expectations. Often deaths in horror movies happen just the way you expected and the plot plays out exactly the same as a dozen others you have already seen.
It can all be so cut and dry, with both the audience and the characters watching yet another unremarkable death then moving on with life. Tired, boring slashers and so-called thrillers can really dampen your appetite for horror, but every now and then a film can surprise you.
In fact, there's plenty of instances where a character's discovery of a body or two changes the whole angle of the movie, or introduces some serious new problems for the surviving cast.
Not to be conflated with unexpected deaths, this list gives you a little taste of how effective the ol' surprise body reveal can be. These characters are already dead and have been for varying amounts of time, but it's not just their deceased status that gives the film an edge but the manner in which their bodies are discovered.
So let's go ahead and find some corpses!
11. Honourable Mention - Hot Fuzz
We'll kick things off with a quick special mention. Undeniably Hot Fuzz does have a different vibe to the other films on this list - and only broadly channels horror in its slasher kills and gothic conspiracy - but it would be a crime to say that the big body reveal wasn’t one of the very best out there.
Entry number two into Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s Cornetto trilogy, this film follows a big city police officer’s struggling to adjust to country-living, whilst slowly discovering the quaint town he’s stationed in has a dark secret.
As is the case with all the films in the trilogy, the film loosely fits into the ‘horror comedy’ category. Whilst definitely not being the most spine-chilling title on this list, the blood, guts and gore that some of the deaths entail firmly remind audiences that this is no tame family flick.
After finding out that the town’s Neighbourhood Watch Alliance has been killing off anyone they believe will damage their chances of winning Village of the Year, officer Angel enters the catacombs beneath the castle the group uses as a meeting place.
There he finds the bodies of multiple town nuisances he has encountered previously, from an irritating street performer to a group of underage drinkers.
Bodies are piled up in various states of decay, revealing years’ worth of killings that have been literally hidden underground all that time. As goofy as the film is at times, it’s a great pay-off to see the bodies of all the disappeared characters you saw earlier.