While I’ve always considered myself a massive horror fan, I’ve never been too friendly with the gross side of the genre. Anything involving too many bodily fluids or skin no longer being attached to a body is not really for me. While I do my best to avoid something that I know is going to be overly disgusting, there is obviously no avoiding it altogether when a high ratio of the films you watch are horror-based.
I think everyone has that one thing that pushes them that little bit too far. Maybe it’s teeth, or perhaps it’s fingernails being ripped off. For me, it’s ankles or injuries to the general ankle/Achilles region. And the thing is, once you start noticing ankle-related injuries in horror movies, they pop up all the time. The new Pet Sematary (2019) trailer reminded me of that only too well.
So to help share my pain, I have picked some of my favourite (that’s definitely not the right word, but humour me) ankle injuries from horror movies, and I welcome you to a world where you won’t be able to stop noticing them now! You’re welcome!
1. Wade (Jared Padalecki) in House of Wax (2005)
This list is in no particular order, but if it is was, this one would definitely be at the top. House of Wax is one of my favourite films, so I’ve seen it a lot of times, and I think the only time I’ve managed to watch this scene without shoving my hands in front of my face was the first time because I had no idea what was going to happen.
As Vincent creeps out of the trapdoor towards the unsuspecting Wade with a pair of scissors, I was convinced he was going to get stabbed in the leg or something. But Vincent, apparently wanting to keep Wade as together as possible for when he coats him in wax later, instead snips his Achilles tendon with the scissors to incapacitate him. Nothing that happens to Wade in this film is pleasant, but fuck me that ankle snip is extra grim.
2. Paige (Paris Hilton) in House of Wax (2005)
Why is House of Wax one of my favourite films when it has not one but two gruesome foot injuries in it? I don’t have a good answer for you. I think the real question should be why I like the film so much in the first place, but let’s skip over that to Paige and her sliced foot.
People are possibly too distracted in this scene to notice the heel-based horror as they will on the death of Paris Hilton’s character, but she is the second victim of Vincent’s apparent foot/sharp object fetish. Paige was mid-sexy times when she had to run for her life, so she’s not exactly dressed for a run through an abandoned factory and ends up with bare feet. As she runs over the metal grating floor, Vincent stabs her from below, going right through her heel and the back of her foot.
3. Josh (Derek Richardson) in Hostel (2005)
2005 was a bad year for me to go to the cinema, as Hostel dishes up another slice of Achilles horror, but this time with two stages added into the process, so it really sticks with you.
Poor Josh has been strapped to a chair by a man who wants to murder him and has paid for the privilege, so he’s not in the best place as it is. After having his Achilles tendons sliced (which we mercifully don’t actually see), his captor sets Josh free. However, when Josh attempts to stand his ankle wounds pull apart in what is both an impressive scene and the reason I’ve not watched Hostel again.
4. Jud (Fred Gwynne) in Pet Sematary (1989)
Much like seeing Pam strolling about in her backless top in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and knowing she’s about to get a massive hook stuck in her unprotected flesh gives me a weird feeling in my stomach, watching Jud search for the reanimated Gage with his bare ankles sticking out of the top of his slippers makes me a bit queasy. I think injuries like this are worse when you know they are coming.
When Jud is distracted by the also reanimated cat Church, Gage takes his chance to sink the scalpel he has stolen from his father’s medical bag right into Jud’s exposed Achilles tendon, knocking him to the floor and allowing Gage to chomp on his throat.
5. Linda (Betsy Baker) in The Evil Dead (1981)
When things start to go wrong in The Evil Dead, they go downhill really quickly. Sheryl has been acting weird since they arrived at the cabin, but when night falls, and her possession takes hold, she does not fuck about.
She goes from gazing out the window as the other cabin inhabitants enjoy a card game, to becoming a white-eyed Deadite who wants nothing more than to kill her friends. After she fakes passing out, she uses the advantage to grab a nearby pencil and drive it into Linda’s exposed ankle, twisting it for good measure.
6. Sarah (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
Technically perhaps more a lower leg injury than an ankle, it’s in the right region and still gives me the boke when I think about it. Sarah was my favourite character in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later and I was devastated when she met her end at the hands of Michael Myers all because she got her awesome goth boots stuck under her stupid dead boyfriend.
Sarah tries to make her escape in a dumbwaiter, but Michael cuts the rope before she can entirely remove herself, and the dumbwaiter carriage crashes down on her foot, leaving her with a pretty mangled leg. She tries her best to crawl away, but sadly Michael is faster than her and makes it up to her floor to finish her off.
7. Stathis (John Getz) in The Fly (1986)
Oh look, this one ticks off two of the things I hate in life — gross ankle injuries and excessive bodily fluids. And melting flesh as well actually, though that maybe still counts as a bodily fluid. I always forget how gross The Fly is until I start watching it and remember Seth’s acid vomit.
When Stathis shows up at Seth’s lab with a shotgun to confront him, he probably thought he had the upper hand, but he clearly wasn’t counting on Seth having the ability to melt flesh with his barf. First, he melts Stathis’ hand, and when Stathis tries to reach for his gun with his leg, he melts his foot off as well, as his ankles caves in on itself. There is far too much pink, foamy liquid in this scene for my taste.
8. Dean Adams (John Neville) in Urban Legend (1998)
It’s hard to feel too sorry for Dean Adams in Urban Legend, considering he spends most of the movie being a grade A dick. He doesn’t believe there is a killer on campus, or he’s pulling a the Mayor from Jaws (1975) special and pretending there is nothing bad going on. Either way, a lot of teenagers die because he’s more worried about bad press than doing anything useful.
Even though he does check the backseat of his car for a killer before he gets into it, he doesn’t check under the car, and that’s where the hooded killer is lying in wait for him. The killer slashes both his ankles, before running him over with his own car and impaling him on a spike strip in the process.
9. Jessica (Genevieve Alexandra) in Maniac (2012)
Okay, so you’re definitely telling me I need to start checking under cars as well as the back seat now? As if I don’t have enough to worry about.
Maniac is a recent addition to this list as I had been told to watch it by multiple people, and I finally plucked up the courage to do just that. I was warned that it had an ankle scene in it, and I could see it coming a mile off. The entire film is shot from the killer Frank’s point of view, so when we see him lurking under a car while Jessica tries to escape a locked car park, I was braced.
As Jessica makes her way past the car Frank is hiding under, completely unaware he is there, he slashes her ankle with his massive knife, before violently stabbing her to death.
10. Paul (James Caan) in Misery (1990)
How could I write a list of ankle injuries and not include probably the most famous one out there? If you can believe it, the book version of Annie is far more violent than the movie version, and in this scene, she cuts one of Paul’s feet off with an axe, before sealing the wound with a blowtorch. She’s also pretty handy with an electric knife and a lawnmower. Please go and read the book okay, it’s fantastic.
Paul is wheelchair-bound as it is, after a car accident which left him in the care of his biggest fan Annie, but when she discovers he’s been sneaking around her house when she’s out, she decides to really incapacitate him.
This scene is quite drawn out, and we all (including Paul) pretty much know what’s coming when Annie wedges a piece of wood between his ankles and then swings a sledgehammer at them, breaking them both in turn, though luckily we only have to deal with seeing her do the first one.