List I: Most Gruesome

Most Gruesome Awards

Some moments in horror are hard forgotten, while others immediately trigger that defense mechanism that blocks painful memories. Which prove most memorable, and why?

Grue. It makes us shiver, jump and hide.

Often, I believe the gross-out or gaped-face moments actually add impact to the story being told. I like to think of these moments as justifiable grue.

This is not always the case, however. If fact is stranger than fiction, then life is grosser than splatter. That’s unjustifiable grue.

Not all of these mentions contain grue of the oozing variety, yet the shiver value remains. Any corrections, additions or suggestions are welcomed. To be updated… Enjoy!

Justifiable grue:

On the Screen

Drive Angry for fight scenes, wing tip to the face and eye-ei-eye gore. Thumbs up, Cage.

Funhouse for being relative. And open-faced.

Carrie for bucket lists.


Book of Eli for the off-camera grue that is realized at the old couple’s reinforced homestead.

Pet Cemetery for the achilles tendon.

Final Destination for not cheating. And that “Oh snap!” moment.


Texas Chainsaw Massacre for small town heros of the meat-packing industry. And the proper way to key a car and leave your pal hanging.

I Am Legend for following the dog into the dark, somehow scarier than the hanging man.

Case 39 for an attempted roast.

George Romero for making gore into moving art.


Twilight Saga for one non-glowing preggo.

World War Z for climbing piles of death bringers.

Poltergeist for mud wrestling the deceased.

On the Page

Recommended reading

Some above mentions in written form.

Stephen King’s “The Body,” in Different Seasons for leeches and having the nards to do the right thing.


The Dark Tower Series for how vampires should die.

Algernon Blackwood’s “The Haunted Island” for strobing foresight.

Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart” for sound quality.

“Mute” by Richard Matheson for good intentions. (Not gross, just deeply disturbing.)


H. P. Lovecraft’s “Shadow out of Time” for blurring the lines between entering the darkness and being in the dark. All while dripping with decay.

“Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament” by Clive Barker for trial by fury.

Mark McLaughlin’s “Vulture Soup for the Soulless” with asymmetrical acceptance.

Michael Marshall Smith’s “Later” for love beyond reason.

Unjustifiable grue:

Things my story could do without.

The bathroom habits of fellow employees.

How that one dessert looked, but I ate it anyway.

Being alone in the dark and thinking, Huh, haven’t seen much about that killer on the news lately.

The News.

Owning a pet that stampedes through the house like a herd of elephants, and a weakening heart.

Skid marks that do not pertain to tires.

That street you will never drive down again, unless in an armored vehicle.

Snot rockets.

Other people’s wounds, which apparently are show-and-tell material.

That hand-in-the-turkey feeling.

Finding something on your shoe and having zero clue as to what it is. Bonus for touching it before you think better of it.

Upchucking anything with the texture of toast.

Varmints, especially possums.

That strange nose that smells your hair in passing.

Slug venom. It’s there, trust me.

That smuck sound you hear as your car tires roll over bloated roadkill. Kicker: not rolling up the window in time.

Trash can jelly.

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