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10. Scream (1996)
The prologue to Wes Craven’s clever-clever meta-horror sets its stall out with a terrific riff on Psycho, as A-lister Drew Barrymore loses a game of phone-quiz and gets the chop inside of 10 minutes.
The director invoked his actress’ blubbing by telling her dead dog stories, while the MPAA made Craven tone it down (Barrymore’s boyfriend’s spilled guts had to be cut).[page-break]
9. Jurassic Park (1993)
He was asking for it, he really was. Cowardly lawyer Donald (Martin Ferrero) abandons the kids as soon as the ferocious T-Rex launches into attack, scurrying to hide in a nearby toilet. Big mistake.
Rex buffets away the wooden shack to reveal Don cowering on the khazi. Chomp! Spielberg cheekily ensures that the T-Rex enters the movie just the way it leaves – as a bit of a hero.[page-break]
8. The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
Director Jonathan Demme was adamant his serial-killer thriller would drag its scares from drip-feed dread, not freely flowing claret.
But when test audiences found his first cut too anaemic, Demme added in Hannibal’s (Anthony Hopkins) brutal murder of prison guard Boyle (Charles Napier). Pummelling his skull with his own baton, Lecter proceeds to remove his face to the strains of Bach.[page-break]
7. Starship Troopers (1997)
There are countless glorious kills in Paul Verhoeven’s subversive sci-fi actioner, but for our money none of them beats Johnny Rico’s (Casper Van Dien) one-on-one with a giant, fire-spewing superbug.
Playing bucking bronco on the creature’s back, Rico machineguns a hole in its shell before dropping a grenade into its body cavity and rolling clear. Cue a triumphant, megacheese victory smirk as the bug explodes behind him in a fountain of orange gloop.[page-break]
6. Braveheart (1995)
“Freeeeeedommm!” Mel Gibson’s William Wallace meets a nasty end at the hands of the English, being stretched by horses and disembowelled.
Happily, the ghost of his missus turns up to escort him to the next world. “I saw it as a victory,” says Gibson. “The guy overcame his enemies and he was free. He died for a cause.”[page-break]
5. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
For all the visceral, get-me-out-of-here horror and havoc of Spielberg’s wrenching battle scenes, it’s the quietest death in the film that really cuts to the bone. Having overpowered Private Mellish (Adam Goldberg) in a small room while bullets blaze outside, a German soldier slowly pushes a knife into his heart, whispering to him gently as the young American’s strength gives way.[page-break]
4. Casino (1995)
Just as he did in GoodFellas, crazy, pint-sized gangster Joe Pesci finally gets his comeuppance after causing all manner of bloody faux pas. And it sure ain’t pretty.
A desert Mob conference turns out to be a set-up for Pesci and his brother, as heavies with aluminium baseball bats dish out a savage battering to both of them. Gargled screams, death rattles, splintering bone – and that’s before they’re buried alive.[page-break]
3. American History X (1998)
“Put your fucking mouth on the kerb!” The most distressing part of sociopath Derek Vinyard’s (Edward Norton) curbside stomp is the sound: trembling white teeth on gritty asphalt.
Director Tony Kaye knows it and cuts right in on them. “Now say goodnight!” A jackboot hammers down with a grisly crunch. Chilling stuff – or it would have been, had the dummy’s head not fallen off and rolled down the street.[page-break]
2. Meet Joe Black (1998)
The death of Brad, the birth of Death. Walking away from a touchingly brief encounter with Claire Forlani, Pitt takes a wistful look back over his shoulder and... WALLOP!
A car thunders into him, tossing him up like a rag doll. Hanging in the air, his body falls as – BAM! – a second vehicle piledrives into him. The effect was so good that when the clip leaked on to the net, many people thought it was authentic footage.[page-break]
1. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
That last, memorable hasta la vista, baby. Killer-cyborg-turned-surrogatefather, Arnie signs out with a triumphant thumbs-up after vanquishing the T-1000 and reuniting John and Sarah Connor.
Having unleashed the world’s first $100-million movie, James Cameron proved himself capable of keeping a heart throbbing inside a blockbuster chassis, as the T-800 sacrifices himself in molten lava to end the War of the Machines for good. Well, at least until Terminator 3.
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