The modern era of television can be summed up in many ways, with plenty of trends and tropes to choose as foundations. Like, say, it’s become one of the deadliest mediums out there, since shows these days often have fewer objections with sending characters both major and minor to sleep with the fishes. Luckily, for weirdos like me, these deaths can often be some of the grossest and most disturbing scenes on the small screen. It should go without saying that spoiler-sunglasses should be put on before reading this.
Since noting every single disgusting demise would likely take ages, with new examples hitting the airwaves on a weekly basis, we’ve rounded up 11 of the most gruesome deaths TV characters have faced over the years. This list could have easily just solely focused on Game of Thrones, but we’re not double dipping into anything. Speaking of the epic fantasy…
Oberyn (Game of Thrones)Revenge is a dish best served quickly, with better armor, and without a lot of walking around and demanding confessions. That’s a lesson Oberyn “The Red Vi-i-i-iper” Martell learned when facing off against Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane in Season 4 of Game of Thrones. Rather than doing the deed, Oberyn get his tables turned, and the Mountain went full Jason Voorhees on him, gouging out his eyes and forcing his head to explode. Is it better that The Mountain essentially blinded Oberyn so that he didn’t have to look in the eyes of the enemy currently smashing his skull in? Too bad there aren’t any hoses out there.
No emergency room in the Seven Kingdoms could save him.
Warren Mears (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)Warren never did get his wish of killing Buffy Summers, but those who despised him on Buffy the Vampire Slayer got to watch him die a truly horrifying death not just once, but twice (sort of). And in a manner that was more gruesome than UPN and The WB’s usual fare. Thanks to Dark Willow, Warren got his mouth sewn shut for a while before getting flayed alive in a split second, leaving behind an image that would be more at home on a doctor’s office wall. And then of course he’s set on fire. Warren is later resurrected in gross-out form, only to be killed again in the Season 8 comic book, where he turns to a mess of bloody bones. Check out the skin removal part below.
At least he didn’t have to shave anymore.
Rita (Dexter)In all of the ways that Rita could have died on
What if that house only had a stand-up shower?
Noah (The Walking Dead)The Walking Dead is arguably as familiar with killing off its major players as any other series in existence, and while Noah wasn’t a huge fan favorite or expertly integrated into the plot, it still seemed like he’d have survived a lot longer than he did. But thanks to the cowardly Alexandrian Nicholas, Noah found himself at the non-mercy of a pack of walkers as he gets killed against the glass of a revolving door as Glenn watches on, horrified. It’s bad enough that they chow down on him, but it’s when he gets his cheek stripped away from his face that you knew the effects team was having fun. You can watch a lower-quality version of the scene below.
It’s a scene so disturbing, the series showcased it at Comic-Con.
Gus Fring (Breaking Bad)A great villain always deserves an equally memorable goodbye, and Breaking Bad played its most ghastly Looney Tunes-ish card in the Season 4 finale, in which an explosion left the ever-so-suave criminal mastermind without half of his face. (In an episode blatantly called Face Off, no less.) Gus’ death was well-played from a narrative viewpoint, and it was exhilarating to see some genuine fear in his eyes when he realized that Tio Salamanca was about to do him wrong. If I ever get that Breaking Bad putt-putt course together that I have had dreams of building for a few minutes now, Gus’ head will be the 18th hole. Watch the gory glory below.
It would have been nice to see Walt do this in person, but it’s still good.
Chef (South Park)Animation allows for random extremity to happen, and few people do random extremity as head-on as Trey Parker and Matt Stone. After longtime cast member Isaac Hayes decided to leave the show, possibly due to its treatment of Scientology, Chef was laid to a grisly/grizzly rest after being brainwashed into entering the Super Adventure Club of child molesters. Not the most comfortable-lead in, and then we’ve got fire, broken bones, a speared stomach, and wild animals tearing limbs and flesh off. A horrible way to see a beloved character bite it, but superb nonetheless. The requisite scatological spray after all that punctuated things was gross in a different way. Watch the scene below.
That’s not chocolate salty balls.
George O’Malley (Grey’s Anatomy)Grey’s Anatomy delivered one major (and completely expected) death this past season due to a traffic accident, but the show set that bar in a huge way back in the Season 5 finale, in which George was killed off in a surprise twist. Now, certainly the bus accident that put him in the hospital would have been a more gruesome thing to see than watching him flatline, but his face was so fucked up and battered that nobody recognized him, which earns George’s spot on this list. T.R. Knight had made it clear he wanted out of the project, and this was where Rimes decided to go with it. She should have called up Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Check out the realization scene below.
No one on this show should ever be on the road.
SedullusIn one Season 2 episode of Spartacus, the titular hero and his compadres rescue some German soldiers, one of whom is an unthankful rapist douche named Sedullus. We barely get to know this massive man before he tries derailing everything, eventually leading to a sword fight than ends in Sedullus getting his face sliced off in one smooth upswing of Spartacus’ sword. Things get somewhat cartoonish as everyone immediately went silent as Sedullus’ brains slide out of his half-head, but that just makes it all the more fun. The only thing that would have made it better is if his face skin would have landed on the plate of someone eating nearby. Check out the blood-spurting sweetness below.
When it brains, it pours.
Bill (True Blood)After years of emotional turmoil between Sookie and Bill on True Blood, Sookie is given the worst task conceivable in Bill’s request for her to stake him. She does so, and he unexpectedly pops into pool of thick blood that she spends a little while sobbing in. You never want to see that kind of thing happen to a loved one, especially after she’s already sort of seen him do that in Season 5 when he drank Lilith’s blood and dissolved into a pool of viscous blood (before coming back to life). That just seems to be the way Bill liked to handle things, and it should have happened once a season.
Maybe that was Bill all over Rita’s bathroom.
Anatoly Ranskahov (Daredevil)When it comes to showing violence, Marvel projects tend to go for CGI and explosions over anything resembling gritty or gruesome. That is, until Wilson Fisk came along and made things interesting. In Episide 4 of Daredevil, the Russian criminal Anatoly rudely interrupted a meal that Fisk was having with his new love interest Vanessa, and he learned just how big a mistake that was when Fisk murdered him by smashing his head with a car door until it popped off. It wasn’t the most visceral slice of torture porn – though there was blood – but the sheer amount of violent rage Vincent D’Onofrio showed made it felt like every second of the decapitation could be seen. Check it out below.
The quickest way to a man’s heart is down his neck stump.
Tara (Sons of Anarchy)Sons of Anarchy never backed away from shockingly violent and disturbing moments during its seven seasons, but the head of the pack came during the Season 6 finale, in which Gemma gives Tara the total ass-whooping that she’d been holding back in previous years. Gemma, too drunk and out of the loop to realize her mistakes, switched her weapons from iron to soapy water to carving fork, the latter of which she plunges into Tara’s skull several times. Gemma’s unwavering dedication on slamming that fork into Tara’s head was almost as shocking as the death itself, something that Juice’s subsequent shooting of Sheriff Roosevelt couldn’t make a dent in. A signature savage act from a series that had plenty of them. Check out part of the murder scene below.
This scene has everything, and the kitchen sink.