Top 10 Heroic Sacrifices In Horror Movies



Top 10 Heroic Sacrifices In Horror Movies

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
These are the top 10 heroic sacrifices in horror movies. There's nothing like a good heroic sacrifice to get the heart melting. For this list, we'll be looking at the most badass, emotional, and character-defining sacrifices in horror movie history. We're looking at heroic sacrifices in horror movies like "Dawn of the Dead", "They Live", "Predator", "I Am Legend" and "A Quiet Place" — there's definitely no spooky shortage of sacrifices. Obviously, a spoiler warning is in effect.

Top 10 Heroic Sacrifices in Horror Movies

There’s nothing like a good heroic sacrifice to get the heart melting. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Heroic Sacrifices in Horror Movies.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most badass, emotional, and character-defining sacrifices in horror movie history. Obviously, a spoiler warning is in effect.

#10: C.J. Blows Up the Truck

“Dawn of the Dead” (2004)

Zack Snyder’s remake of “Dawn of the Dead” is not exactly known for its well-defined characters, but if there is one obvious standout, it’s Michael Kelly’s C.J. Throughout the movie, C.J. goes from unwelcoming jerk to hero as he learns to accept the gang and finds his place within it. In the finale, C.J. attracts a horde of zombies so the group can escape, and upon being overwhelmed, he ignites a propane tank that annihilates the truck and the nearby zombies. His final words are badass and true-to-character, and he goes out in a literal blaze of glory like a true action movie hero.

#9: Doyle Is Immolated to Save the Kids

“28 Weeks Later” (2007)

“28 Weeks Later” may be little more than a brainless action movie when compared to its more humane predecessor, but Jeremy Renner’s Doyle is the most compassionate character of the series behind Frank. After defying orders and leaving his post, Doyle helps the kids and Scarlet escape the zombies and the blood-hungry military who are looking to kill any survivors. When the group comes across a stalled car, Doyle gets out and pushes, allowing Scarlet to pop the clutch and escape. Unfortunately, the military is literally on their heels, and Doyle is violently immolated by a flamethrower. Too bad he may have put the rest of Europe in jeopardy by allowing the kids to escape. Oops.

#8: Nada Destroys the Transmitter

“They Live” (1988)

A drifter discovers that aliens are living amongst us and sacrifices himself to save the planet. It’s a tale as old as time. After finding the transmitter that is masking the aliens, Nada is faced with a choice: surrender to the aliens or destroy the signal. Knowing full well that it will lead to his death, Nada decides to destroy the transmitter and expose the aliens to the world at large. If that wasn’t cool enough, he also smiles and flips off the aliens on his way out, which is pretty much the coolest way a humanity-saving martyr can go.

#7: Billy Stays Behind to Fight the Predator

“Predator” (1987)

“Predator” is chock-full of amazing moments, and Billy’s sacrifice is undeniably one of them. After they fail to capture the Predator, the group makes their escape, only for Billy to turn around and face the danger head-on, Gandalf style. Cue the dramatic music. With a defiant look on his face, Billy cuts himself and attracts the Predator, who soon shows up and swiftly takes care of business. Unfortunately, his sacrifice was for naught, as the Predator quickly catches up with the group and kills Poncho. Oh, well. There was an attempt. Maybe if he said, “You shall not pass,” he would have had better luck.

#6: Miller Detonates the Explosives

“Event Horizon” (1997)

At the climax of the film, Miller devises a plan of breaking the ship in two and floating the forward half to rescue. Unfortunately, Miller’s hopes of rescue are dashed once he is attacked by Weir. He detonates the explosives, and his half of the ship falls into a black hole while the forward half floats to safety. What makes this sacrifice so brilliant is that we don’t know Miller’s fate. He may have died in the explosion, he may have been sucked into space, or he may have entered Hell and suffered for eternity. If the latter is true, then this is one hell of a heroic sacrifice. No pun intended.

#5: Eben Turns Himself into a Vampire

“30 Days of Night” (2007)

You know what they say – if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. And then beat ‘em. While the month of darkness is coming to an end, Eben realizes that he can’t save his estranged wife Stella and defeat the vampires in his current, very human state. So, what does he do? He injects himself with infected blood, becomes a vampire, and punches a hole through the head vampire’s head, causing them all to flee in fear. Realizing that he is doomed, he and his wife share a romantic sunrise as he screams in pain and turns to ash. How sweet. The movie itself could have been better, but the ending is emotional and impactful.

#4: Robert Kills the Darkseekers

“I Am Legend” (2007)

This movie certainly took a different approach than its source material. At the end of Richard Matheson’s classic novel, a condemned Neville realizes that he is a folklore legend to the new society of intelligent vampires, as he is the dangerous and mysterious outsider who slaughters them in their sleep. At the end of the movie, Neville activates a grenade and blows the bad guys to smithereens, allowing Anna and Ethan to escape with the cure. Neville becomes a legend because he saved humanity. It’s a very Hollywood ending when compared to Matheson’s bleak and more thought-provoking conclusion, but who can deny watching Will Smith blow up vampires with a grenade?

#3: Ripley Falls into the Lava

“Alien 3” (1992)

While Gorman and Vasquez’s sacrifice in “Aliens” was certainly heroic, we have to give this spot to Ripley, seeing as how she’s the protagonist and all. At the rather infamous climax of “Alien 3,” Ripley decides to throw herself and the alien embryo into a pit of lava rather than letting the alien fall into the dangerous hands of Weyland-Yutani. It was certainly a ballsy choice to kill off Ripley, and despite “Alien 3’s” rather lackluster quality, we must respect its penchant for risk-taking. However, no one seemed to like the movie or its relatively unhappy ending, and the series was unfortunately retconned with “Alien Resurrection.” They should have left well enough alone.

#2: Lee Saves His Kids

“A Quiet Place” (2018)

“A Quiet Place” is one of the best horror movies in recent years, and it’s because of layered and emotional scenes like this. After Marcus reactively screams and reveals their location, Lee emotionally declares his love to Regan before screaming and attracting the attention of the monster. It not only works as an emotional heroic sacrifice, but as a touching moment between father and daughter that beautifully completes their respective character arcs. “A Quiet Place” was just as much about family as it was about scary monsters, and this scene blends both halves of its story into a perfect and cathartic whole.

#1: Karras Jumps Out the Window

“The Exorcist” (1973)

This is one of the most iconic endings in movie history. After overcoming his crisis of faith and reaffirming his belief in God and holiness, Karras successfully exorcises Pazuzu from Regan. Unfortunately, the demon gets comfy in Karras’ body. Rather than allowing himself to serve as a human host for Pazuzu and harm Regan, Karras throws himself out of Regan’s window and falls down a massive flight of stairs to his and Pazuzu’s end. It’s a classic tale of good overcoming evil, and it’s perfect conclusion to a perfect horror movie. Now let’s pretend that the “Exorcist” story stopped here.