As Rose McIver’s undead sleuth Liv prepares to lick her lips and chow down on another juicy brain in the finale of iZombie, many a stomach will be churned. It’s deliciously macabre, as you would expect from a series about a zombie who eats brains in a mortuary and absorbs their memories so she can discover the truth about the digested corpse’s demise.
But is it the goriest show on television? That’s a big bloody no.
The zombie sub-genre has always been drenched in claret. Just have a gander at Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker’s gory Dead Set where a series of Big Brother comes to a bloody end when the house is attacked by the undead desperate for their moment in the limelight, and a stomach full of human flesh. Or even the comic carnage of Drew Barrymore’s Santa Clarita Diet that deftly mixes belly laughs with splat-stick humour.
It’s The Walking Dead, however, that will stake its claim as one of the most violent zombie shows ever made. For a show filled with in-your-face gore and splattery mayhem, it pushed the limits of good taste when the survivors try to clear a well by hoisting a bloated walker out so they can attempt to clear the water supply. Their cunning plan comes a cropper, however, when the cadaver bursts into two, spraying blood, guts and innards everywhere. Intestines wriggle as melted oozing body fluids pour out of the saturated rotten corpse. Frankly it’s disgusting and no, they didn’t drink the water.
The Evil Dead spin-off Ash Vs Evil Dead also upped the gore stakes. Sam Raimi’s original The Evil Dead was at the forefront of the notorious “video nasty” scandal in the 1980s and was proclaimed by author Stephen King as “the most ferociously original horror film of 1982”.
And it’s easy to see why. Limbs are lopped off, heads decapitated, pencils jammed into ankles and blood sprays everywhere. Many feared that a TV version of the film would show restraint when it came to spraying the camera with body fluids but they needn’t have worried. Ash Vs Evil Dead, starring Bruce Campbell as an ageing Ash still fighting the dead, is uncompromising in its use of fake blood.
Unsurprisingly the television pain-off of Thomas Harris’s cannibalistic Hannibal also proved a tasty treat for horror fans as FBI special investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) played mind games with each other and the audience. The crime scenes in particular were a stomach-churning Grand Guignol treat.
It’s not only the horror genre that revels in death and destruction as anyone who witnessed the rage and wrath of The Mountain in all his head-crushing, eye-ball bursting blood soaked glory will know, Game Of Thrones, can easily hold its severed hand up aloft. After all, the showrunners did decapitate a lead character before the first season was out!
If you’re keen to chuck your guts up, iZombie, Hannibal and Ash Vs Evil Dead are all on Stan. BYO bucket to vom in.