There's bloody and then there's bloody. This is not a list that celebrates those over-the-top gush-fests that are so much of bloodbaths they're laughable. Rather, this is a list of movies where the blood definitely splatters, but in a realistic (most of the time anyway), cringe-inducing manner. Heck, Hitchcock's infamous shower scene from Psycho still boasts what many cinephiles refer to as one of the bloodiest scenes ever shot, and that was in black and white! This one ain't for the faint of heart, but it's perfect for this time of year...
1. Carrie: The Sissy Spacek classic is amazing, really. All these years later—in a day and age when the scares have only gotten bigger and the blood scenes more epic—this surprise hit from 1976, adapted from a Stephen King novel, remains as effective (if not more so) than when it premiered in theaters. Carrie is terrifying when she isn't covered in blood, so when that bucket of pig blood gets dumped on her during a major prank at the prom, it's all sortsa crazy.
2. The Shining: Good ol' Stevie King, huh? Making it onto the list twice right out of the gate. It's surprising his recent It didn't boast a blood spectacle, but I guess that's not really how Pennywise rolls. Here, at the hotel Jack Nicholson's character is calling home for the winter, the blood scenes are sporadic. But, when they come, there is no shortage of gagging, if not downright shrieking. From the old lady bathing in it, to the crashing waves of blood that come spilling from the hotel's elevator and wash down the hallway, filmmaker Stanley Kubrick took advantage of all the oozing opportunities.
3. Scarface: Good ol' Brian DePalma, huh? Making it onto the list twice right out of the gate (DePalma directed Carrie, too). I could even plug his Dressed to Kill into this list if need be. It's understandable if you're confused as to how Tony Montana's story made it onto this list, as horror makes up the majority of it. But when he introduces everyone to "his little friend," the bloodshed that follows is dumbfounding, thanks in large part to the realism.
4. Hostel: Tarantino protege Eli Roth both wrote and directed this surprisingly engrossing and gross flick from 2005. Hostel II (oh yeah, this is a trilogy we're talking about) upped the ante on the blood factor, but it was the first where the amount was just right, and bugged out every single person in the audience. And, of course, it would have made the gal sitting next to you bury her head into your shoulder.
5. Kill Bill: Vol. 1: Speaking of Tarantino, how can at least one of his films not make it on here? He does not shy away from a good old-fashioned blood-splattering (some would say he mastered it). John Travolta's character in Pulp Fiction accidentally blowing someone's face off is a close second to Bill. But it's Bill, with a sword-slinging Uma Thurman getting her revenge, where Tarantino truly lets the blood fly.
6. From Dusk 'Til Dawn: Yeah, Tarantino wrote the film, and even co-stars in it (as George Clooney's brother, no less), but the vampire cult classic was directed by Robert Rodriguez, who would go on to direct other, almost equally bloody films like Grindhouse (and Spy Kids, too!). What separates Dawn from the pack here is how the first half of it is such a decidedly different flick than the second half. Ya know, when they hide out in a brothel that's actually full of vampires, and they begin to feed halfway through their stripteases, most of them getting massacred by the time the credits rolled.
7. The Evil Dead: Long before truly chocking America by directing Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man, the legendary Sam Raimi specialized in gore—and lots of it. He's got quite the film canon as far as blood and guts is concerned, but his original Dead came out in 1981 and was a total game-changer. It was rated NC-17 at a time when that could damn a film at the box office. But Raimi is clearly all about damning. Post-Spider-Man, he gloriously returned to the genre in which he thrives with Drag Me to Hell; it's as startling a film can be, with its own fair share of blood, but it's still only an extremely distant second to Dead.
8. Saw: This is the one that makes you squirm in your seat, as opposed to abruptly thrusting your hand up in front of your face to block blood that isn't actually going to be landing on you. It's an entire franchise built around a villain named Jigsaw who relishes taking his victims out extremely slowly, with the blood sometimes dripping for so long you begin to want that inevitable spurt or gush to happen.
9. Nightmare on Elm Street: At the end of the day, it really just wouldn't be right to leave Freddie Krueger off the list even if, by the end of the franchise's run, it had devolved into the over-the-top silliness mentioned at the onset of this article. The furnace room-dwelling Krueger has knives for fingers, so i's kind of a given that there's a lot of blood in this one. And, in the first installment, this was as disturbing as it was effective.
10. Piranha 3D: This insanely bloody film from 2010 managed to not only lure Elisabeth Shue out of retirement, but it also attracted the likes of Oscar-winner Richard Dreyfuss, Shue's Back to the Future co-star Christopher Lloyd and quite a few more noteworthy names. Piranhas turn the ocean water red in this admittedly tongue-in-cheek, yet gag-inducing picture. For my money, that other Dreyfuss-at-sea movie, Jaws, has far better bloody-ass, scream-worthy scenes, but why ever compare these two films?