***WARNING: This list contains some glimpses of some of the most intense cinematic DIY Surgeries ever committed to the cinema screen. So if you’re like my friend Samuel who (HILARIOUSLY) passes out at the sign of blood – you may want to scroll quickly past a few of these images.
To celebrate the release of Prometheus and one of the most intense cinematic self surgeries that I’ve ever seen committed to the screen (and one that certainly would break itself into the Top 5) we’ve decided to bring you the Top 10 DIY Surgeries in Movies.
10. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World Dr. Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany)
Bettany’s surgeon takes a bullet in the belly during one of the several nautical fire-fights, and unfortunately, he’s the only sailor qualified to tend to the wound. With some assistants and a mirror he fishes a bullet from his abdomen. It’s a hardcore scene that makes you all the more squeamish because of his rudimentary tools.
9. From Dust Til Dawn – Richard Gecko (Quentin Tarantino)
Tarantino’s Richie (Will you eat my Pussy for me?) Gecko’s self surgery is probably one of the shoddiest efforts possible as he tends to the beautifully clean bullet hole in his hand with duck-tape. This is the surgery equivalent of piling more and more newspaper over spills, mess that a toilet training pet makes or that kid from Big Daddy.
8. Predator – The Predator
The ‘Predator’s’ self surgery scene was all the more satisfying in the wake of Arnie’s seminal line “If it bleeds, we can kill it.” The Predator reveals his humanoid/reptile alien hybrid body beneath his armour as he staples his leg wound and pours some kind of Alien antiseptic in there. It’s a cool, and graphic scene – but there’s a detachment because of his Alien nature that allows you to watch without turning away.
7. Chopper – Chopper (Eric Bana)
Now this one jumps onto the list even though technically it isn’t self surgery. However, in defence of the scene’s selection – Chopper’s essentially using this frightened inmate as an appendage to get himself out of the now hostile prison environment after savagely stabbing one of his inmates to death. Chopper has an inmate saw and slice his ears off to prove his sanity. Lines like “Don’t fucken saw at it” “Get on with it” make this one of the most emotionally conflicting scenes put to celluloid. It’s graphic and horrendous but equally hilarious.
6. No Country for Old Men Anton Chiggur (Javier Bardem)
As No Country is a flawless film, you would expect that the execution of Chiggur’s self surgery to be as perfect and the Coen Brothers Oscar Winning Best Picture doesn’t disappoint. This is one of the most clinically accurate portrayals of self surgery in the list and despite the pain that the injuries must have caused Chiggur’s robbery of a pharmacy to equip him with the tools to repair himself make this fascinating viewing.
5. Saw – Dr. Lawrence (Cary Elwes)
Well this is the self surgery that triggered a franchise of sadistic gorno (Gore Porno) horror that I’m yet to watch. The original Saw‘s raw power lies in that great premise one would have to undergo hideous and possibly life threatening self mutilation to save their life still resonates. The tension built by film-makers James Wan and Leigh Wannel make this violent frenzied self surgery almost cathartic. Unfortunately due to the ‘stumpified’ leg, Cary Elwes was never able to wear his garb from Robin Hood Men in Tights again. The previous sentence was most certainly made up.
4. The Terminator – T800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger)
This is an incredible and revelatory scene. It’s a display of some of the greatest movie make-up of it’s time. Arnie’s T800 breaks into an apartment to patch himself up in the wake of the Police Station shoot out. This graphic eye removal is powerful but it gives the audience a peek at his cyborg skeleton.
3. Rambo 3 – John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone)
This piece of self surgery is so tough that I’d probably recommend doing ten push ups before you read any further….O.K cool, now flex and read on. John Rambo while taking on the USSR with the Afghani freedom fighters (a.k.a the Taliban prior to 9/11 “Awkwaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrddd”) gets a wound in his lower torso that leaves a gaping hole in his body. To stave off infection he pours gunpowder in the wound and sets it on FIRE to cauterize the wound…Sorry just did a few push-ups myself before continuing this sentence.
2. Cast Away – Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks)
Hanks (our current King of the Lists) get’s himself to the penultimate spot on our list with some savage desert island dentistry with an ice skate that makes my teeth hurt as I write this. There’s something fundamentally frightening about Dentists anyway (see Marathon Man if you’re not that should do the trick) but compounding that with the life and death situation, the lack of tools, pain killers, mirrors to properly see what he was doing makes this one of the most excruciating scenes of all time.
1. 127 Hours - Aron Ralston (James Franco)
This is a scene that’s so powerful that I literally feel my body ache as I watch it unfold. James Franco’s stunning performance as real life arm hacker-offer Aaron Rolston paired with the vibrancy of Danny Boyle’s visual palette makes this the most boldly imagined piece of self mutilation ever demonstrated. The suspense is all the more torturous if you know what’s coming – truly excruciating viewing. Franco’s performance is so good that it lets me forgive things like Your Highness.
Well what other performances have inspired you to abandon your health cover to DIY?
Blake Howard - follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman