As a 10-year-old, I saw The Omen on broadcast television. Last night I found it as a TCM on-demand title and decided to watch it again. This time I’d get to see in all its R-rated glory the infamous (on the playground at least) scene where the guy on the motorcycle is following a truck, only for a sheet of plate glass to supernaturally fall off the back and chop off his head.
So imagine my surprise when there’s no motorcycle in the entire movie. Instead, a pedestrian in a construction zone bends over while a parked truck’s parking brake is released supernaturally, the truck rolls backwards until it stops abruptly, sending a sheet of glass through a dummy’s throat. (What was so shocking in 1976 that it almost got the film an X-rating looks kinda goofy today and was considerably less gory than a typical X-files revival episode)
So obviously I’ve conflated The Omen’s decapitation scene with something else. But what? (And no, I didn’t originally see The Omen in New Zealand)
My first thought was The Omen, of course, in which David Warner gets his head cut off by a piece of plate glass.
The only other notable decapitation in a horror movie I know of is off-screen – the “Toby Dammit” segment of the non-Corman Edgar Allan Poe anthology film Spirits of the Dead (1968), based on Poe’s story “Never Bet the Devil your Head”. It starred Terence Stamp and was directed by Federico Fellini. No motorcycle, though – Terence Stamps’ Toby is driving a convertible.
That’s a possibility. I know I saw it on Elvira’s Movie Macabre in high school, so only a few years after I saw The Omen. I remember the plot involved a gang of bikers being able to “come back” and be invulnerable if they something something while committing suicide.
I don’t suppose you are mixing it with the final scene from 2001 Maniacs, where the two kids who think they have escaped the ghost town full of killers drive off into the sunset on a motorcycle…only to be decapitated by barbed wire strung across the road?
In Force 10 from Navarone (1978), a German soldier on a motorcycle is decapitated by a wire strung across the road. I can’t find a clip online, but I remember that the effect wasn’t very convincing (IIRC, the motorcycle keeps going with the headless body still gripping the handlebars).
oooh! I’d forgotten that one. Very good possibility. I watched that show almost every week during its one season. Headless guy on a motorcycle chopping off other people’s heads. I definitely remember seeing that episode. Wiki says 1975, so still elementary school. Omen would have shown up on network television a few years after being in theatres in 1976.
Never saw it. My sister, who is 4 years older than me, saw it and told me about it, but by the time I got to high school, it had been dropped from the curriculum. I remember some of the older kids in my boy scout troop talking about it as well when their school showed it.
I haven’t seen any of the other films mentioned in this thread.
There’s a Chester Himes novel – I’ve forgotten the title, but it’s one of his Harlem crime stories with Coffin Ed and The Gravedigger – in which exactly that scenario occurs, motorcycle, truck, plate glass, and all, early in the book. Several of those books have been made into movies (and that scene is pretty cinematic), so my guess is that it was in one of them.
sorry so late to reply, i was away.
So, good ole Red Asphalt, it was considered really shocking and gory way back when, but by todays standards not so much. My kids probably see worse daily, without being even a little shocked.