20 Bloodthirsty Revenge Films

Revenge is a dish best served cold — or, in these movies, with ample violence. As the remake of Carrie hits theaters, let’s look back at the original and 19 other films offering serious vengeance. WARNING: Major spoilers for all of the films discussed.

1. Straw Dogs (1971)

MGM

Revenge seekers: David and Amy Sumner
Why they want it: David and Amy move back to her hometown, where they hire locals (including Amy’s ex-boyfriend) to renovate their house. The workmen lure David into the woods, then double back to gang-rape Amy.
How they get it: When the workmen later try to seek refuge in the Sumners’ home, David uses hot oil and a fire poker to fight back. Eventually, he gets a gun, but it’s Amy who shoots and kills the last of her assailants.

2. The Last House on the Left (1972)

MGM

Revenge seekers: John and Estelle Collingwood
Why they want it: Their daughter Mari and her friend Phyllis are sexually abused, tortured, and finally murdered by prison escapees. The criminals then seek haven at the Collingwoods’ home, not realizing their relationship to the victim.
How they get it: In the film’s most memorable scene, the “blow job with teeth,” Estelle bites off a murderer’s penis, leaving him to die. The rest of the criminals are killed by shotgun, knife, and chainsaw.

3. Carrie (1976)

United Artists

Revenge seeker: Carrie White
Why she wants it: Her classmates have bullied her mercilessly and her religious mother abuses her. She ends up winning prom queen, but only so two cruel students can dump a bucket of pig’s blood on her.
How she gets it: She uses her telekinetic powers to cause an electrical fire and set the entire prom ablaze, killing everyone inside. The pranksters only witness the carnage and nearly escape, but Carrie flips over their car, killing them both.

4. I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

Elite

Revenge seeker: Jennifer Hills
Why she wants it: After renting an isolated cottage to work on her writing, she is brutally raped and tortured by a group of locals. They decide to kill her so she can’t accuse them of their crimes, but she’s spared because one of her attackers feels too much sympathy to do the deed.
How she gets it: She murders all of them. Jennifer tricks the men into believing she wants to have sex with them, then kills them off in increasingly horrifying ways, including a memorable bathtub castration, after which she lets her rapist bleed out.

5. Friday the 13th (1980)

Paramount Pictures

Revenge seeker: Pamela Voorhees
Why she wants it: In 1957, her disabled son Jason drowned at Camp Crystal Lake because his counselors were too busy having sex to pay attention to him.
How she gets it: The next year, she kills two counselors responsible for Jason’s death. But 21 years later, she still wants revenge, so she stalks and kills almost every counselor at Camp Crystal Lake, using everything from a hunting knife to an arrow to a machete.

6. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

New Line Cinema

Revenge seeker: Freddy Krueger
Why he wants it: Years ago, Freddy murdered 20 children. He was arrested but released due to a technicality. The parents of Springwood decided to take matters into their own hands and killed Krueger by burning him alive.
How he gets it: Even though he’s dead, Freddy is able to exact his revenge by attacking the children of the parents who killed him in their dreams. When the teenagers in Springwood fall asleep, they become vulnerable to Freddy’s attacks, and he slashes them with the razor blade fingers on his glove.

7. Darkman (1990)

Universal Pictures

Revenge seeker: Peyton Westlake
Why he wants it: He gets his hands on an incriminating document proving that developer Louis Strack is bribing members of the zoning commission. Mobster Robert Durant and his henchman burn his hands, kill his assistant, and explode his lab, after which Westlake is horribly disfigured.
How he gets it: Using the synthetic skin he developed, Westlake assumes the identity of Darkman. Unable to feel pain as a complication of surgery, he goes after Durant and his henchmen, then Strack, whom he drops from the top of an unfinished skyscraper.

8. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

Columbia Pictures

Revenge seeker: Ben Willis
Why he wants it: A group of teenagers are driving home from a party. They’re all drunk except for the driver, Ray. When one of them spills alcohol, Ray gets distracted and hits Ben. Rather than call the police, they dump his body in the water and resolve to pretend nothing happened.
How he gets it: A year later, he taunts the teenagers with messages saying, “I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER!” Then he takes action, using a hook to murder his victims — although two manage to escape. (Or do they?! There’s a sequel.)

9. Titus (1999)

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Revenge seeker: Titus Andronicus
Why he wants it: It’s a long story — Shakespearean tragedies usually are — but the short version is, vengeful Tamora’s sons Chiron and Demetrius rape and mutilate Titus’ daughter Lavinia. His sons are framed and killed, even after he cuts off his hand to have them spared.
How he gets it: Titus murders Chiron and Demetrius, draining their blood to cook into a pie he serves to their mother, Tamora. Once Titus reveals what he’s done, he kills Tamora.

10. The Crow (1994)

Miramax Films

Revenge seeker: Eric Draven
Why he wants it: A group of thugs, led by gang boss Top Dollar, murder Eric and his fiancé Shelly. In doing so, they leave Sarah, the girl that Eric and Shelly cared for, to fend for herself with a drug-addicted mother who works for one of the murderers.
How he gets it: A year after his death, Eric emerges from his grave with the help of a crow, who also guides him to the criminals who killed him. Now that he’s dead, Eric is immune to harm and withstands bullet wounds and other injuries. After taking out Top Dollar, he reunites with Shelly.

11. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)

Palisades Tartan

Revenge seekers: Ryu and Park Dong-jin
Why they want it: Ryu wants revenge on the black market organ dealers who stole his money and a kidney without giving his dying sister a transplant. He kidnaps the daughter of Dong-jin, the man who fired him from his job. Dong-jin’s daughter Yu-sun accidentally drowns, which spurs his revenge against Ryu.
How they get it: Ryu is able to locate the organ dealers and murders them all. Dong-jin kills Ryu’s girlfriend, who thought up the kidnapping, and slashes Ryu’s Achilles tendons before drowning him in a river.

12. Oldboy (2003)

Palisades Tartan

Revenge seeker: Oh Dae-su
Why he wants it: On the night of his daughter’s birthday, he is kidnapped and placed in a strange prison that resembles a hotel. He’s kept there in solitary confinement for 15 years, with no explanation as to why.
How he gets it: Dae-su’s captor, Woo-jin, tells him that if Dae-su can learn why he was imprisoned in five days, Woo-jin will kill himself. Dae-su is able to solve the mystery — only after learning a terrible secret himself — and Woo-jin lives up to his end of the bargain by committing suicide.

13. Kill Bill (2003-2004)

Miramax Films

Revenge seeker: The Bride
Why she wants it: She was once part of an elite assassination team, but they eventually turned on her and slaughtered her entire wedding party. Her husband-to-be Bill shot her in the head, even after she revealed she was pregnant with his child.
How she gets it: She tracks them down and kills them one by one, crossing each name off a list once she’s done. She concludes her revenge with Bill, whom she kills using the surprisingly bloodless Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique.

14. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005)

Palisades Tartan

Revenge seeker: Lee Geum-ja
Why she wants it: She has been imprisoned for the murder of a young boy she didn’t kill. Geum-ja was forced to confess to the crime after Mr. Baek, the real murderer, kidnapped Geum-ja’s daughter and threatened to kill her newborn daughter.
How she gets it: With the help of her now-teenage daughter, Geum-ja discovers that Mr. Baek is actually a serial killer who has snuff tapes of several other children he has killed. Geum-ja shares this knowledge with the parents of the victims, and together, they brutally murder Mr. Baek and agree to never turn each other in.

15. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

DreamWorks Pictures

Revenge seeker: Sweeney Todd
Why he wants it: Back when he was Benjamin Barker, he was falsely charged with a crime and banished so that the lecherous Judge Turpin could have his way with Barker’s wife Lucy. After Turpin raped Lucy, she poisoned herself with arsenic.
How he gets it: He assumes the identity of Sweeney Todd and lures men to his barber shop with the promise of a shave, then slits their throats. He eventually kills Judge Turpin — and just about everyone else, whether or not they were directly involved.

16. Teeth (2007)

Roadside Attractions

Revenge seeker: Dawn O’Keefe
Why she wants it: She’s a proud virgin and the member of a Christian abstinence group. She begins dating Tobey, who professes to also be abstinent. When Tobey tries to have sex with Dawn, she refuses and he accidentally knocks her out, then rapes her.
How she gets it: Tobey soon finds out that Dawn’s vagina has teeth, which bite off his penis. Once she realizes what her power is and how to control it, Dawn uses her vagina dentata to mutilate other men, including a classmate and her asshole stepbrother.

17. Harry Brown (2009)

Lionsgate UK

Revenge seeker: Harry Brown
Why he wants it: While a former Royal Marine, Harry lives in fear thanks to the violent gangs who control his council estate. When his comatose wife dies, he’s late to see her because he’s afraid to take a route that would force him to cross paths with a gang. His best friend Len is then murdered.
How he gets it: Realizing the police are unable to help, Harry buys a gun and then goes after the gang members who terrorize his community. He guns down just about everyone, with some last-minute help from the police trying to quell a riot.

18. Machete (2010)

20th Century Fox

Revenge seeker: Machete Cortez
Why he wants it: Back when he was a federale, he witnessed drug lord Rogelio Torrez kill his wife. Now he’s been framed for the attempted assassination of a corrupt senator, who is secretly working with Torrez to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
How he gets it: He’s really good with his machete. He also gets help from I.C.E. agent Sartana Rivera and Luz, the leader of an undocumented immigrant aid network. Together, they take out all the bad guys, with Machete doing the honors on Torrez.

19. The Woman (2011)

The Collective

Revenge seeker: The Woman
Why she wants it: Separated from her cannibalistic tribe, she is captured and held captive by country lawyer Chris Cleek. Chris claims he wants to civilize The Woman, but does so by torturing and violating her, all while encouraging his wife and children to do the same.
How she gets it: Chris’ daughter Peggy lets The Woman loose, at which point she violently murders the rest of the family — eating the mother’s face, disemboweling the son with a lawnmower, and ripping Chris’ heart out of his chest and eating it.

20. Django Unchained (2012)

The Weinstein Company

Revenge seeker: Django Freeman
Why he wants it: He’s a slave, separated from his beloved wife Broomhilda. As a slave, he’s subjected to endless cruelty, as well as witnessing unspeakable acts done to his fellow slaves.
How he gets it: Along with bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz, Django infiltrates brutal slave owner Calvin Candie’s plantation. Schultz kills Candie, and Django dispatches Candie’s henchmen in a gun battle. He rides off with Broomhilda as the plantation burns.

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