Science fiction movies aren't all about highfalutin spacefaring and benevolent starmen. No, sometimes they're about putting a mutated martial arts master into a dystopian penitentiary's comically unsafe meat grinder. Just in time for the lunch rush, here are ten of our favorite scenes that balance goofiness and gore.
1. Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991)
Riki-Oh, which is probably the most entertaining film ever made, takes place in the far-off year of 2001, where prisons are privatized and magical gangsters run the cell blocks. Riki is a virtuous flautist and martial artist (his training primarily consists of his master chucking tombstones tossed at his torso) who must explosively punch through the bellies of corrupt prison personnel and criminals. You know a film is spectacular when — in the first major fight scene — a desperate bad guy rips out his own intestines and tries to strangle the hero.
Also, the final fight with the hulked-out prison warden is so horrifically meaty it may inspire spontaneous vegetarianism.
2. Fist of the North Star (1986)
This movie (which is based on the manga of the same name) stars a drifter who wanders a nuclear wasteland, lackadaisically punching evildoers until they explode moments later. The Road it is not.
3. Scanners (1981)
Now, for a psychic duel! Sure, nobody's head explodes, but Michael Ironside's grody face veins and that bursting eyeball jelly makes this battle plenty memorable.
4. Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (2009)
If Twilight was about a Japanese she-vampire and an undead abomination competing over the affections of a teenage boy, then it might look like directors Yoshihiro Nishimura and Naoyuki Tomomatsu's organ-drenched horror flick.
5. Tokyo Gore Police (2008)
Another guts-drenched film from viscera maestro Nishimura, and this one sees mutants running amok and women eating fellows with alligator gams. The final battle gains special mention, when the evil police chief flies around on the blood jets from his own severed legs.
6. Blade (1998)
In a final scene prescient of the season finale of True Blood, Blade (Wesley Snipes) squares off against La Magra, an infinitely regenerating vampire blood deity. Fortunately, Blade is equipped with some of his patented "hemoglobin explosion darts" (or whatever their proper nomenclature is).
7. The Machine Girl (2008)
Yet another selection involving Nishimura, who also worked on the equally splatter-happy RoboGeisha, which gave us assy ninja stars and acidic breast milk. But sometimes an improbably oversized machine gun arm resounds more clairon than ass-bells and boob-whistles.
8. The Toxic Avenger Part II (1989)
Thanks to their incessant gore and anything-goes production values, Troma films are a genre unto themselves. The sequel to The Toxic Avenger however deserves special mention for this sequence, in which Toxie sandwiches an evil polluter in a wheelchair.
9. District 9 (2009)
Woe to be a Nigerian gangster on the receiving end of an alien battle suit!
10. Braindead (1992)
Remember, Peter Jackson directed this infected-zombie gross-out classic! Fingers crossed we'll see Bilbo eviscerate Smaug with a weed-whacker.
BONUS #1 VIDEO GAME CHILDHOOD-DESTROYER: From the first game I ever owned, Hitler's exploding head in the final scene of the 1988 Nintendo Entertainment System cartridge of Bionic Commando. Seriously, this otherwise normal game gave you zero warning a combustible Führer was the player's prize. This was thrice as scarring as the melting Nazis from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
BONUS #2: The greatest fight scene in science fiction history, hands down. It's more bruises than blood though.
BONUS #3: Does this scene from Evil Dead 2 count as a proper fight? Discuss.