14 Excruciatingly Gory Movie Fight Scenes To Make You Squirm

For, uh, "research" purposes.

When people talk about violence in media influencing children, they usually mean that violent TV shows, movies, and video games make people want to commit violent acts. The assumption is that what is presented onscreen is appealing, because it is represented in a stylized manner that distances the audience from the actual effects of violence. But inside that idea lurks a darker secret: if watching violent images incites viewers to violence rather than repulsing them, does that mean that the people who worry about violent films believe that humans are inherently violent? But regardless of the psychological motivators for watching violent films and TV shows, it is undeniable that violence (and particularly gore) carries with it a certain fascination. Whether it's fun and cartoonish violence like Tom and Jerry and Kung Fu Hustle or dark and probing violence like in the Saw series, watching simulated acts of bodily damage is oddly intriguing. Fight scenes already carry with them the connotation of physical harm, but what happens when the fight scene you are watching is more excruciating than enjoyable? This article is focused on the fights that result in an uncomfortable amount of gore in cinema and television - the sequences that burrowed under your nails, behind your eyes and beneath your skin, and made a profoundly visceral impact. Needless to say, you wouldn't want to see them re-enacted in the safety of your home. In the interest of narrowing down the list, there are no scenes involving gunfights, shootouts, or explosions: the focus here is on direct combat.

Honourable Mention: Monty Python's The Holy Grail

This scene is obviously more comedic in tone than the rest of the list, but the total removal of limbs by King Arthur's sword in this scene is pretty excruciatingly violent. The spurting blood (shown above) is obviously fake and it can reasonably be assumed that John Cleese made it out of the filming with both arms and both legs in tact, but let's not forget the trail of blood left behind by this film. There's also a demonic bunny rabbit that terrorises the Knights of the Round Table pretty brutally, and I'm sure a few young viewers who saw the film before their time were frightened by the violent imagery, and the ever-present possibility of imminent rabbit attacks. The Black Knight's refusal to let the unelected King through was a bad decision, but the Black Knight fights on, saying that he'll bite the King's legs off. The lesson here of course is that sometimes it actually is a good idea to give up.

Bryan Hickman is a WhatCulture contributor residing in Vancouver, British Columbia. Bryan's passions include film, television, basketball, and writing about himself in the third person.