8 Revenge Films You Shouldn’t Stand In The Way Of

Monday, December 19 by Joseph Gibson

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	Ah, the timeless <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/art-14/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>art</a> of revenge. An old <span data-scayt_word=Klingon proverb says that it's "best served cold," but it's pretty satisfying no matter the temperature. These eight revenge movies are particularly single-minded, brutal, or maybe just entertaining. Anyway, don't slight any of them, because you never know when they'll be back to take their, uh, you know, when you hurt someone in exchange for something they did to you. Pretty sure there's a word for that.

"The Penalty"

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Lon Chaney's crime lord Blizzard has a lot of things wrong with him—not the least of which are his missing legs, which were amputated in a tragic mistake when he was only a child. As you might expect, he's not too happy about this now, and since this is Chaney we're talking about, his revenge scheme is as frightening as it is effective.

"The Devil Doll"

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Technology has given us the microwave oven, Wonder Bread and even some inedible conveniences. In "The Devil-Doll," it gives us a strange vehicle for revenge: Tiny humans. Lionel Barrymore plays a framed scientist who uses his miniaturization process (and dressing in drag) to wreak havoc on those who framed him.

"Le Corbeau"

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Sometimes it's not an individual you want revenge on, but, like, society, man. If that's the case, you might want to let this movie be your guide, in which a mysterious stranger known only as "The Raven" writes a series of poison pen letters to the inhabitants of a small French village. It tears the whole town apart, with everyone j'accusing everyone else of being "Le Corbeau." Revenge: Accomplished.

"The Virgin Spring"

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Swedish master Ingmar Bergman is the perfect guy to tackle a heavy topic like revenge. And in this, one of his most dramatically straightforward movies, a devout Christian family in the middle ages takes violent revenge on the people who raped and murdered their daughter and (unwittingly) sought shelter in their home. Uh, bad idea.

"Cape Fear"

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	Rapist Max Cady has been sitting in a prison cell for almost ten years, so when he gets out, he's pissed. And whether he's played by Robert <span data-scayt_word=Mitchum in the original, or Robert De Niro in the remake, his philosophy of revenge is simple: Go after the man who wronged you, but stay within the law. Cady is a criminal who knows the law, and this knowledge basically enables him to play a grown-up criminal version of "not touching, can't get mad."

"The Bride Wore Black"

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When the titular bride's husband-to-be is killed thanks to five men, she doesn't take it sitting down. In Francois Truffaut's stylish homage to the films of Alfred Hitchcock, she lures each of them into a separate murderous trap, each one more suspenseful and thrilling than the next. And in a case of revenge begetting more revenge, the movie served as one of the primary influences of Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill."

"Kill Bill"

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Speaking of which, Tarantino's two-part kung fu revenge epic is an orgy of blood for revenge fans. As the title says, The Bride (Uma Thurman) is mad as hell at Bill, and intends to, uh, murder him. Using the five-point palm exploding heart technique, of course. But first she has to work her way up through the ranks of the other members of Bill's little group of kung fu assassins, so there are lots of fights and other forms of revenge for us to enjoy.

"Revenge"

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Tony Scott's violent revenge thriller does away with a fancy title, but makes up for it in balls-to-the-wall action and violence. The result is a grimy, nasty exploitation picture, one that features among other treasures Kevin Costner fingerbanging a girl in his convertible. Or, wait, maybe that was in "Tin Cup."