Halloween Movies for Shooters: Gun Choice in Horror Films

    Halloween Movies for Shooters Gun Choice in Horror Films

    Spooky Season is in full swing, and we here at TFB wanted to get into the spirit, so today I have a special Halloween edition article for all you ghouls and goblins. Although we’ve done some All Hallow’s Eve-themed work in the past, and we’ve also touched on movie guns from time to time, I thought it might be interesting to marry the two ideas for Halloween 2020. The horror film genre is inexorably married to this time of the year, and I know there are plenty of slasher, zombie, and paranormal movie buffs in the gun community. What follows is a cherry-picked selection of some Halloween-appropriate films, each of which features a notable firearm or the notable use of a firearm. Bear in mind, this is not a best-of list for scary shows or of best guns to take down Halloween monsters; after all, some great horror films don’t even feature guns prominently – or at all. We’ll take a look at the hand-cannons in each scenario, and I’ll offer ideas for different firearms that could’ve been used for the situation or scene in question. Get your costumes and candy buckets ready, kids!

    Who can forget James as "Count Tactula" from Halloween 2016? Classic Reeves.

    Who can forget James as “Count Tactula” from Halloween 2016? Classic Reeves.

    A SELECTION OF HALLOWEEN MOVIE GUNS:

    28 Days Later

    Let’s kick off this scream-fest with a fan-favorite title, 28 Days Later. This one gets viewed a lot around Halloween, and for good reason. The picture of Britain being turned into a bleak, post-apocalyptic hellscape by a virus that turns people into raging, zombie-like monsters is certainly terrifying. Even worse is that these zombies aren’t slow-moving and shuffling, they come at you fast and furiously. Partway through the film, the protagonist survivors find themselves caught up in a mansion that’s been garrisoned and fortified by some insidious soldiers. These Brits’ arsenal includes the 7.62mm L7A2 machine gun, which they use with good effect as a group of zombies try to breach their perimeter. However, it takes a minute and looks a bit touch-and-go as to whether they’ll be able to fend off the horde. If they had an M134 Minigun instead, they could use that same caliber to much more quickly and easily address the problem. Compared to the L7A2’s 1000 rounds-per-minute rate of fire, the Minigun can achieve 2000 up to a blistering 6000, depending on the model. Combine this with a feed system that ups the L7A2’s paltry 50-round belt to a 500-5000 round supply, and those zombies running across the field would pose a far lesser threat.

    This L7A2 was good, but a Minigun would've been truly devastating in 28 Days Later.

    This L7A2 was good, but a Minigun would’ve been truly devastating in 28 Days Later.

     

    Tremors

    I couldn’t let this list go without paying homage to the paragon of preparedness that is Burt Gummer. In his valiant crusade against the “Graboids” during the 1990 monster film classic Tremors, Gummer employs a cavalcade of excellent weaponry. The gun wall in his rec room is one which most of us would be proud to have, and I have to salute Gummer for his taste, as there are more than a few exceptional guns in his arsenal. One of my favorites, however, has to be his Elephant Gun. This beastly 12.5 pound 8-gauge side-by-side shotgun was fed slugs, which were then fed in turn into an ill-fated Graboid monster who dared break into ol’ Burt’s beloved rec room. The behemoth shotgun was a hammer-fired William Moore & Co. creation from Belgium. Meaning no disrespect to the venerable and formidable Elephant Gun, I would love to have seen the kind of havoc Gummer could’ve wreaked with a reciprocating .50-cal GM6 Lynx.

    If the current ammunition shortages don't improve soon, we'll all be able to identify with Gummer's Tremors 2 post-ambush lamentation, "I am COMPLETELY out of ammo... that's never happened to me before."

    If the current ammunition shortages don’t improve soon, we’ll all be able to identify with Gummer’s Tremors 2 post-ambush lamentation, “I am COMPLETELY out of ammo… that’s never happened to me before.”

     

    Se7en

    This brutal play on the seven deadly sins from 1995 features some outstanding dramatic tension with an all-star cast. In it, Morgan Freeman plays Detective Somerset, a grizzled old veteran cop on the verge of retirement. He and his younger partner, Brad Pitt’s Detective Mills, work to track down a serial killer through his series of cruel and grisly crimes. Somerset’s service weapon in the film, a Smith & Wesson Model 15 revolver, serves to accentuate his old-school nature. This .38 Special wheelgun would surely have been considered somewhat outdated by many of his junior colleagues at the time, and in confirming contrast, the other officers are equipped with more modern semi-autos like Glocks and SIGs. Mills himself carries a custom Springfield 1911 with a ported slide/barrel and stag-horn grips. If Somerset hadn’t been so set in his ways, he might’ve relinquished the aging Model 15 in favor of a more contemporary Gen 2 Glock, or maybe a Beretta 92FS, which would also have been appropriate for the time. But then, such a move would’ve clashed with the character’s world-weary fatigue born of a long career facing evil, as exemplified in his quote, “Ernest Hemingway once wrote ‘The world is a fine place and worth fighting for’. I agree with the second part.”

    By the time of the film, Smith & Wesson's Model 15 was nearing the end of its 50-year production run, having been first released in 1949.

    By the time of the film, Smith & Wesson’s Model 15 was nearing the end of its 50-year production run, having been first released in 1949.

     

    Army of Darkness

    Our next movie shifts Halloween into a bit of a lighter-hearted mode, from the comedy horror sub-genre. After the mayhem that ensued in the first two Evil Dead films, protagonist Ash Williams finds himself thrust back in time. Mired among the Medieval Age’s “primitive screwheads”, Ash’s iconic “Boomstick” – a 12 gauge Stoeger Coach Gun that the character misidentifies as a Remington – serves as a massive, anachronistic advantage for him. Prior to wielding it in his battle against the “She-Bitch” and his own evil doppelganger, Williams uses the shotgun to blast Lord Arthur’s sword in half. He then addresses the stunned crowd, “This… is my BOOMSTICK! The twelve-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart’s top of the line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That’s right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about a hundred and nine, ninety-five. It’s got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That’s right. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart. You got that?!” Since I find it impossible to picture the character with something too different than this iconic scattergun and clearly anachronism isn’t an issue for this franchise, why not simply update the classic Boomstick? Something like a Remington TAC-13, a Mossberg 590 Nightstick, or a Black Aces Shockwave Semi would occupy essentially the same niche and provide the same functionality as the coach gun, but provide increased capacity. “Good, bad – I’m the guy with the gun.”

    Hail to the King, baby! (...and cue the screeching about trigger discipline. It's a comedy film, relax.)

    Hail to the King, baby! (…and cue the screeching about trigger discipline. It’s a comedy film, relax.)

     

    What do you think, readers? Do you agree or disagree with any of my suggestions, or have a better idea for any of them? What other horror movie gun usages do you find interesting, fun, or otherwise worth mentioning? Can you think of any relevant Hollywood mistakes or egregious oversights? Please feel free to head to the comments below to suggest, debate, and discuss. Credit to IMFDB for the images and much of the background on the firearms above; they’re a great resource for movie gun info. From all of us here at TFB, Happy Halloween! See you at the range.


    Photos courtesy of the Internet Movie Firearms Database.
    Will P

    Former US Army infantryman, lifelong hunter and hobby/sport shooter. Perpetual firearms student, always seeking to become better and learn more. Interested in all shooting disciplines and passionate about all kinds of guns. Contact on Instagram: @WillTFB


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