“Aguirre, the Wrath of God” There’s an old urban legend that you can survive for a while after getting your head chopped off. Thankfully, research on this particular subject has been outlawed for some time, but that didn’t stop Werner Herzog from exploring it in a memorable scene in “Aguirre.” A man, shown counting to ten, gets his head thwacked off with a sword before he gets to “ten.” His head finishes the count.
“Deep Red“ Dario Argento’s Italian horror films are full of great decapitations, but this one is probably the best. The killer has her necklace caught in the gears of an elevator. When the elevator gets turned on, the chain gets pulled – and since this is an Argento movie rather than a documentary, the chain doesn’t snap. Instead, it gets pulled clean through the woman’s neck, resulting in a hasty divorce of body and head. It’s not realistic, but it’s inarguably gruesome.
“I Saw The Devil“ Simple is often best when it comes to decapitations, but here’s an exception that proves the rule. The hero of our story, a revenge-crazed government agent, hooks the serial killer who murdered his wife to a complicated contraption that will rip out his tongue and guillotine his head as soon as his parents open the door to the room he’s in (yikes). It works according to plan, and the decapitation is satisfyingly disgusting, but it doesn’t make the guy feel any better. Revenge: Always a bad idea, unless you’re a guillotine salesman.