The House Always Wins - The Deer Hunter (1978)
Nick's (Chris Walken) third Russian Roulette session carries a teeth-grinding air of inevitability, but the balletic trajectory of the crimson geyser erupting from his skull still shocks.
Footie Club - Misery (1990)
Speaking with an illogically soothing demeanour (“Shh, darling, trust me…”), psycho-nurse Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) introduces the concept of "hobbling" to imprisoned writer Paul Sheldon (James Caan).
Lodging a block of wood between his ankles and picking up her sledgehammer, the full horror of what she's about to do dawns on Paul – and us.
Director Rob Reiner worried Stephen King’s original - where Annie chops off one foot with an axe and cauterises the stump - was overly harsh. But his brain-persecuting twist is even more twisted. Kind of like Paul's ankles once it's over.
Strike Three! - Casino (1996)
Firebrand mob-midget Nicky (Joe Pesci) has pushed the bosses too far. So they dupe him and his brother into a deserted cornfield meet and systematically smash them up with baseball bats.
Not at the same time, mind. Bro' goes first as sideshow for the restrained Nicky. Then he gets the clunk-and-crunch treatment...
"I'm just depicting that way of life," said Scorsese. "That's the way it really ends - your closest friend smashing you in the head with a baseball bat. Not even a gun. Not cutting your throat. You're still going to be breathing when they put the dirt on you. If you want to live that lifestyle, that's where you're going to go."
Sap, Actually - Notting Hill (1999)
Still scarred from Andie MacDowell’s “Is it raining?” discharge, we wait with dread for Richard Curtis’ next love-gush moment...
But nothing can prepare for the full, gooey horror of Julia Roberts’ dimpled superstar quivering to Hugh Grant’s floppy stooge, “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her..."?
"Get the kid!" - Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer (1986)
Henry (Michael Rooker) and Otis (Tom Towles) crash into a family home and fatally attack the occupants. The powerlessness of the family against two deranged sociopaths is chilling, as is the sexual undercurrent and the grainy camcorder viewpoint.
But a giddy pull-back-and-reveal is the clincher - we learn that the killers are actually playing the footage back at home – and we were watching with them.
Snuffed Out - Irreversible (2002)
Revenge is far from sweet in the first/last scene from Gaspar Noe's back-to-front ordeal-thriller.
After his mate Marcus (Vincent Cassel) has his arm snapped in a nightclub fight, Pierre (Albert Dupontel) pins down the attacker and clunks a fire extinguisher into his pancaking skull. Over and over and over again. (Noe used subtle CGI to crank the scene's appalling realism.)
See also - the bit with the bottle from Pan's Labyrinth.
Tobey Mugs - Spider-Man 3 (2007)
In which a sexy, uncostumed Spidey (Tobey Maguire) with his sexy, emo, bad-Spidey floppy fringe does a sexy jazz-dance which involves whipping off his jacket in a sexy way and chucking chairs about, sexily.
Roughly about as sexy as a saucer-full of used teabags.
Me In Your Eyes - Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)
John Woo swoons over “the romantic feel of the film” on the DVD talk-track. Shame it’s Tom Cruise romancing himself. In bed, TC clocks his taut Tommy-tummy. Mmmmm, laydeez...
Then he remembers Thandie Newton’s there. “Damn, you’re beautiful,” he smarms. Penny drops! He’s clocking his reflection in her eyes. Ugh.
Head Banger - Lost Highway (1997)
What is it with David Lynch and head wounds? If it isn’t women stumbling from car crashes with leaky scalps, it’s sleazebags in dressing gowns flying through the air and scrunching into coffee-table corners.
Lynch lingers on Andy’s (Michael Massee) furniture-themed impalement-by-forehead, too. Is he enjoying this?
Lip It Up And Start Again - Lost In Translation (2003)
As Bob Harris (Bill Murray) channel-hops, a subtle film about friendship and connection channel-plummets into a crass farce of national stereotypes.
“Rip my stocking,” says his visiting 'premium fantasy' woman. "LIP them?”, Bob queries. Those crazy foreigners! And this scene benefits the film how?