(Compilation video after the jump)
Horror films enjoy including eye-gouging for gross-out effect. Philosophical films like Blade Runner, however, tend to use the move as a sophisticated Oedipal metaphor. Either way, we the audience get our well-deserved share of thumbed carnage.
28 Days Later
Danny Boyle's post-modern zombie flick explored the savage similarities between man and monster. The conclusion: you don't need to be undead to jam your opposable digits into someone's skull until blood oozes out like red corn syrup.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy was a show that never shied away from killing off major characters for big moments, and as the final story arc wound down the writers wanted to reinforce the idea that anything could still happen. The best way to show that was to go where no network drama had gone before knuckle-deep into a sidekick's eye socket.
Rob Zombie's Halloween
With a scene where a young man is pinned to a kitchen wall with a knife, the original Halloween is hard to top in the gore department. Luckily, the remake was helmed by Rob Zombie; how could it NOT include gratuitous eye gouging?
28 Weeks Later
dudes are still jamming thumbs into each others' eyeballs.
Orson Welles' King Lear
So eager was Welles to gross 1954 audiences out of their fedoras, the director actually changed the traditional staging of Lear's infamous eye-gouge, which typically showed His Highness' torture from reverse. Finally, a reason to like Shakespeare!
Marked For Death
Segal isn't just sticking his thumb into some random guy's eye here. This is how he finishes off Screwface, the main bad guy in Marked For Death. Remember that, it will come up later
Eye-gouging is by no means a man's game. Watch as the beauty above digs her manicured thumbnails into the skull of a vicious cave-beast, like a modern Susan B. Anthony if Susan B. Anthony spent less time voting and more time digging her thumbs into dudes' eyes like a deranged Siskel & Ebert.
Evil Dead's a cult classic because even a great thumbs-in-the-eyes like this isn't the grossest part of the movie. That honor belongs to the pencil-in-the-ankle or the tree rape, two things we definitely can't make a list of.
Steven Segal kills his way through dozens of mercenaries to get to the big boss of Under Siege, Tommy Lee Jones. When they finally meet Segal, once again, makes a thumb print on someone's brain. Segal is supposed to be a real-life akido master, so why did he end two movies made just two years apart by sticking his thumbs into a fake head full of goo?