Shot through the heart


The most gruesome violence against the heart in film

Kyle Leitch
A&C Writer

Isn’t Valentine’s Day great? Spending time with your significant other, eating overpriced chocolate, smelling dyed roses that cost twice as much as they ordinarily would, and have half the shelf life – sorry, you’re single? Well, disregard everything I just said. Valentine’s Day sucks. You’re surrounded by sickeningly sweet couples amidst corny decorations of fat-assed angels with bows and arrows. Kinda makes you want to lash out against all things love, huh? Well, luckily, I’ve got you covered. In honour of your hatred of commercialized love, I bring you the seven most gruesome acts of violence committed against the human heart in the history of film. Grab some overpriced chocolate, and have some fun this Feb. 14. (Spoilers ahead – you’ve been warned).


This 1977 Italian exploitation film is usually more infamous for the final moments in which the head witch, Helena, is stabbed in the throat, causing her lair to erupt into flames. What most people forget is the violent double-murder from the very onset of the film, in which the dancer, Pat Hingle, played by Eva Axen, is stabbed in the chest and then in the still-beating heart no less than a dozen times before she is pushed out of a window and hung. Yech.

Kill Bill, Vol. II

The Bride (Uma Thurman) is finally face-to-face with Bill (David Carradine). After some tense words, Bill and the Bride have a pretty sweet-seated sword fight before the Bride delivers the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique. Now, the thought of your heart exploding in your chest is pretty horrifying, but it’s made worse by the nipple twister that makes up point number five.

Boogeyman II

If it weren’t for the popularity of the Saw franchise at this time, most people wouldn’t have seen this movie that Tobin Bell co-starred in. Instead of a paranormal entity, the Boogeyman is nothing more than a serial killer in this sort-of sequel to the 2005 film. In a particularly gory display, the Boogeyman stabs Darren (Michael Graziadei) in the chest with a wrist mounted rib-spreader, opens his chest, and removes his still-beating heart.

Full Metal Jacket

Stanley Kubrick’s film about the horrors of the Vietnam War is memorable for a lot of things. If you’ve ever seen the movie, you’ll remember a lot of those things involving Lee Ermey. In the final moments of the film, Vincent D’Onofrio’s character, Pyle, guns Ermey down with a high-powered rifle. The scene was shot in super slow motion, so you could enjoy every bloody spurt from the gaping wound in Ermey’s chest.


What’s the only thing more horrifyingly violent than having someone punch through your breast plate, and crush the still beating heart in front of your face? Clint Howard’s teeth, that’s what.

The Cell

Okay, let’s be honest: a lot of people probably used the tape from VHS copies of this film as emergency ass wipe instead of actually watching it. As bad as the movie was, it still had some cool visuals, a lot of which seemed to influence Pan’s Labyrinth a few years later. Amongst the cool visuals was the shish kebabing of a heart with a sword by the mental imagining of a Catholic schoolgirl. I couldn’t make up a scenario like that if I tried.

The Big Lebowski

Now, this one isn’t on the list so much because of the actual heart-violence, but because of who the violence happens to. After Walter and the Dude fend off a trio of money-grubbing German nihilists in the parking lot of a bowling alley, mild-mannered Donny suffers a massive heart attack. In the words of the Stranger, “I didn't like seein' Donny go.”

Well, there you have it. If that’s not enough to make you feel at least a little bit better about being single this Valentine’s Day, then nothing will. Hop on Netfilx, and enjoy gratuitous amounts of mindless violence this Valentine’s Day. Failing that, I suppose you could always console yourself with overpriced chocolates and delicate roses.

Photo by Tenielle Bogdan

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