Top 10 Movie Head Explosions
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Top 10 Movie Head Explosions

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Telly Vlachakis.

Hold onto your brains and check your heads at the door. Join as we count down the top 10 movie head explosions. For this list, we've chosen scenes from the big screen in which characters' heads explode either completely or partially based on a mix of their impact, creativity and entertainment value. We've excluded those where a character or characters' entire bodies explode, but included television movies.

Special thanks to our users kenn1987 and ashkan for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
Script written by Telly Vlachakis.

Top 10 Movie Head Explosions

Hold onto your brains and check your heads at the door. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down the top 10 movie head explosions.

For this list, we’ve chosen scenes from the big screen in which characters’ heads explode either completely or partially based on a mix of their impact, creativity and entertainment value. We’ve excluded those where a character or characters’ entire bodies explode, but included television movies.

#10: To Serve and Protect
“Chopping Mall” (1986)

This campy ‘80s classic from the Roger and Julie Corman production team is schlocky greatness; after a shopping mall brings in not-so-state-of-the-art robots as security, a group of teens decides to spend a not-so-innocent night partying. That is until a lightning storm reprograms the security-bots into killbots. When Leslie goes on a stroll and finds her boyfriend dead, she is chased down and attacked with lasers that seem to be doing minimal damage, until the epic headshot witnessed by her friends. That’s when the teens and the audience know that they’re up against a true adversary.

#9: It Must Be My Music
“Mars Attacks!” (1996)

Leave it to Tim Burton to turn trading cards into a campy cinematic masterpiece. An impressive all-star cast comes together to welcome our visiting Martian neighbors with open arms, but these vicious big-headed creatures have other plans in mind. Human experiments, killing innocents, destroying monuments, all in the name of Martian supremacy; but how to stop them? Young Richie accidentally stumbles upon the perfect weapon: his grandma’s old country-blues records. The music is literally too much for the aliens to handle, and their big brains just can’t take it anymore.

#8: Three-Pointer
“Deadly Friend” (1986)

Wes Craven knows nightmares, and some nightmares have interesting ways of getting revenge. Samantha was an innocent young girl who was brought back from the brink of death by her genius friends by inserting a robot’s microchip in her brain. Of course we all know how bad that sounds, so it’s not a huge shock when she goes on a killing spree. One poor victim is old reclusive Elvira, who hates when nasty kids play basketball near her house, or pull pranks on her. We mean, it’s nothing to lose your head over.

#7: Shoot Them in the Head
“Dawn of the Dead” (1978)

This zombie survival classic, along with its excellent 2004 remake, finds a random group of people seeking refuge from a hoard of the undead in a shopping mall. Being a dark and serious meditation on socio-political issues doesn’t distract from the fact that the movie also has tons of exciting and gory fun. Once the group in question discovers that headshots will bring the zombies down, there is no shortage of brain-splatter and brain-damage in the flick, from the famous helicopter slice, and this shocking and brief exploding zombie head, which wasn’t even included in the original cut.

#6: The Pressure Is On
“Licence to Kill” (1989)

Timothy Dalton gave James Bond a vicious and fresh new face in the ‘80s, albeit one that was also very short-lived. After having his license-to-kill revoked, 007 goes on a revenge mission to kill drug lord Franz Sanchez for having maimed his friend and fellow agent Felix, and for having his henchmen rape and kill Felix’s new wife. Infiltrating his cartel and posing as an assassin for hire, Bond frames one of his henchmen by stashing millions he acquired from a botched drug deal. Sanchez is clearly not pleased, and throws the man into a hyperbaric chamber for some messy payback.

#5: I Shot Marvin in the Face!
“Pulp Fiction” (1994)

We can always count on Quentin Tarantino to make a messy head explosion humorous. After a nasty shootout, hit men Vincent and Jules are bringing poor unsuspecting Marvin to his boss, Marsellus Wallace. What would have been one of Tarantino’s famed snappy dialogue scenes has an abrupt change of pace and decor, as Vincent accidentally shoots Marvin in the face, and splatters the entire car, and themselves, with some nasty unpleasantness. Cringe all you want, but thanks to this splatter we get Harvey Keitel’s famous cameo as the on-call cleanup crew. Thanks, Marvin.

#4: Don’t Look at it
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981)

One of the most famous climaxes from one of the most successful blockbusters ever, and yet it doesn’t fail to shock us every single time. Archeologist/adventurer/professor Indiana Jones has a nasty reputation as a treasure hunter, but he knows when to quit. His Nazi counterparts, sadly, don’t believe in warnings. When they finally get a hold of the famous and mysterious Ark of the Covenant, they can’t help themselves but look inside. They unleash unearthly power, never meant for mortal eyes, which results in many deaths, face-melting and heads exploding. Lesson learned.

#3: Breaking the Ice
“Saw IV” (2007)

As the horror franchise moved into its fourth installment, they amped up the gore, gave us more elaborate traps and more confusing plotlines. The climax to this one, whose timeline crisscrosses with the last couple entries, has Lieutenant Rigg racing against the clock to solve many of Jigsaw’s puzzles, which leads to a final test with both Detectives Matthews’ and Hoffman’s lives literally in the balance. Ultimately, all it takes is the simple opening of a door for Donnie Wahlberg’s Matthews to have his head crushed in a very swift but nasty way.

#2: Until Death Do Us Part
“Wedlock [Deadlock]” (1991)

Pre-dating the deadly collars of “Battle Royale”, there was this lesser known made-for-TV HBO production, starring Rutger Hauer as Frank Warren, a diamond thief who finds himself in a bizarre experimental prison called Camp Holliday. All the inmates are paired up and equipped with an exploding collar electronically connected to the other inmate; in order to discourage escape attempts, the collar explodes if you are more than 100 yards away from your partner. As a fight breaks out in the courtyard, Frank finds an opportunity to use the collar as a weapon. Sucks for the other guy.

Before our top pick explodes onto your screen, here are a few honorable mentions.
- “Maniac” (1980)
- “Seven Psychopaths” (2012)
- “Dogma” (1999)
- “Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers” (1995)
- “Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare” (1991)

#1: Splitting Headache
“Scanners” (1981)

The most famous cinematic head explosion of course comes from the king of body-horror: David Cronenberg. In his bizarre scientific nightmare-version of the world, there are people with psychic and telekinetic powers called “scanners”. While they have been working together to understand their powers, a renegade scanner, Darryl Revok, is out for revenge, as he infiltrates ConSec, the company using scanners for their own means. In its most famous scene, he volunteers to be read by a scanner at a conference, but violently turns the tables on him, using nothing but his mind.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite big screen head explosion? For more mindblowing top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to