Axes, machetes and chainsaws – oh my! certain objects will forever be associated with the horror genre despite having completely normal uses in real life. This makes sense, as years of genre cinema have conditioned us to expect bloody carnage whenever a kitchen knife shows up in a scary movie. However, some filmmakers like to think outside the box when coming up with creative kills, forgoing the traditional tools of the trade and providing horror fans with memorable and often unexpected murders.
While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a classic cinematic beheading, variety is the spice of life (and death), and that’s why we’ve come up with this list of six of the most unusual weapons in horror movies. After all, there’s more to scary movies than boring old stabbings and gunshots, and it’s about time that we honor some of the genre’s most innovative weapons.
As usual, this list is purely based on personal opinion, but there are a couple of rules. First of all, we’ll be defining “weapon” as any object used by a character to murder another character, no matter how mundane. Second, these objects will be selected according to the creativity surrounding their use, not the overall quality of the film that they originally appeared in.
With that out of the way, don’t forget to comment below with your own favorite unorthodox weapons if you think we missed an important one.
Now, onto the list…
6. Plastic Bag (Black Christmas)
Bob Clark’s 1974 Black Christmas isn’t just one hell of a creepy holiday flick, it’s also responsible for kicking off the Slasher craze with one of cinema’s first iconic killers. While Billy doesn’t really boast a recurring main weapon, one of the film’s most chilling scenes involves his creative use of a plastic bag to dispatch an unsuspecting Lynne Griffin, turning a seemingly innocent household object into an instrument of death.
While the plastic bag ranks low on this list due to it being an extremely mundane item, it still deserves mention due to the surprisingly brutal nature of Clare’s agonizing asphyxiation, which proves that death can come from the most unlikely of sources. The bag isn’t exactly an elegant weapon, but it clearly makes for a hauntingly memorable visual.
5. Netgun (Predator 2/AvP/Prey)
Contrasting his beastly demeanor with sci-fi gadgets and a bizarre code of honor, the Predator is one of the coolest movie monsters out there. That’s why it’s inevitable that one of the Yautja’s many high-tech weapons would show up on this list. While the franchise boasts plenty of unique hunting instruments to choose from, my personal favorite is the terrifying Netgun, which was first introduced in the underrated Predator 2.
A self-explanatory weapon, the Netgun (also known as the Net Launcher) is capable of shooting an expanding net that retracts and mutilates whatever creature is unlucky enough to be trapped underneath. It may not be used very often, but this cruel bit of equipment is responsible for some of the franchise’s most gruesome death scenes. More recently, a primitive version of the Predator’s retracting net appeared in Dan Trachtenberg’s Prey, shocking audiences with an appropriately gory kill.
4. Cotton Candy Gun (Killer Klowns From Outer Space)
A rare example of a one-trick pony that doesn’t overstay its welcome, the Chiodo brothers’ Killer Klowns From Outer Space is a schlocky classic that has no right to be as good as it is. The film may mostly be remembered for the bizarre design of its titular invaders, but it also features a variety of circus-themed gadgets and weaponry that the Klowns use to terrorize the inhabitants of Crescent Cove.
Personally, I think the most memorable of these is the Cotton Candy Gun, a toy-like ray-gun capable of turning human beings into literal cotton candy cocoons. The concept may sound silly on paper, but it gets creepier and more disgusting the more you think about it, with this ridiculous bit of alien technology actually bordering on body horror.
That’s why I can’t wait to get my hands on this bad boy when Teravision’s multiplayer videogame adaptation comes out in 2023!
3. Lawnmower (Braindead/Dead Alive)
The only weapon on this list not wielded by an antagonist, the lawnmower used by Lionel to literally mow down the walking dead makes a lot more sense when you realize that Dead Alive’s version of zombies are too stubborn to die from a simple gunshot to the head. Like a wise man once said: if it looks stupid but works, it ain’t stupid!
Of course, the lawnmower isn’t remarkable because of its design, which isn’t particularly unique, but for the absurd amount of undead bloodshed that it causes. In fact, Peter Jackson was allegedly responsible for using up of all of New Zealand’s supply of maple syrup (an essential ingredient in some fake blood recipes) in order to complete his zombie opus.
2. Freddy’s Glove (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Freddy Krueger’s iconic design has become so ubiquitous in the horror genre that it’s easy to take many of his strange characteristics for granted. Not only does this Christmas-sweater-wearing serial killer possess the supernatural ability to haunt people’s dreams, but he also does so while brandishing a bizarre glove fashioned from strips of leather and razor-sharp blades.
Inspired by Wes Craven watching a cat knead its claws, this bizarre weapon adds a disturbing element of playfulness to an already-charming murderer. While Freddy’s glove is nothing short of iconic, The Final Nightmare actually revealed that the killer played with several different glove designs before becoming the dream demon that we all know and fear. New Nightmare also featured a fleshy redesign that made the weapon even creepier.
1. The Dodge Charger (Death Proof/Grindhouse)
Arguably Quentin Tarantino’s most underrated film (it’s a retro slasher flick and a slasher sequel in the same movie!), Death Proof’s entire premise revolves around a sadistic serial killer who murders unsuspecting women with his intimidating muscle car.
A heavily customized 1969 Dodge Charger, Stuntman Mike’s crash-resistant vehicle is just as much a star of the film as Kurt Russell himself, earning a number one spot on this list by being one of few cinematic “weapons” with a personality of their own. In fact, the only downside to this metal beast is that its thirst for blood is matched by an expensive thirst for premium petrol.