Mortal Kombat is infamous for its violence. The series has been courting controversy since it was first released as a "photorealistic" and ultraviolent fighting game.
It made headlines back in the mid-90s for its depiction of violence, and the three first games were even banned in Germany. The most recent Mortal Kombat title was banned in Australia, and received widespread coverage from American TV stations. Comedian Jon Stewart even highlighted the game's gratuitous violence in his coverage of the Supreme Court decision to allow the sale of violent games to minors.
The biggest uproar over the game stems not from the fact that it's a fighting game, but rather because it's a fighting game with grisly fatality moves. These moves can be executed by each of the game's fighters upon the defeat of their opponent, and they range from the ultraviolent to the "holy fucking shit, did that really happen" form of ultraviolence that would make your grandmother get into a fit.
We've lovingly compiled ten of the most memorable fatality moves to grace the series.
#10 Quan Chi, Mortal Kombat 2011
He rips off your leg and beats you to death with it. Classy.
#9 Kintaro, Mortal Kombat 2011
Here, Kintaro makes Mileena part ways with her arms. She'll no longer need them without a head.
#8 Kung Lao, Mortal Kombat 2011
Kung Lao takes a cue from the Bond villain Goldfinger in this gruesome fatality.
#7 Darrius, Mortal Kombat: Deception
It's a pity this fatality didn't make a reappearance in the latest Mortal Kombat. Just try not to think about it too hard or it'll give you a headache.
#6 Johnny Cage, Mortal Kombat 3
Johnny Cage's three-headed punch originated from a glitch in the first game, and unless you've played through the entire series it'll make absolutely no sense. It is hilarious.
#5 Sektor, Mortal Kombat 3
It might not look like much these days, but Sektor's compactor attack is the kind of invasive thought that goes through your mind whenever you see a piece of heavy machinery.
#4 Skarlet, Mortal Kombat 2011
Skarlet gives herself the most disgusting facial in history.
#3 Rain, Mortal Kombat 2011
Freud would have his work cut out for him if he had to analyze the designer who came up with Rain's bubble burst fatality.
#2 Sub-Zero, Mortal Kombat 1
Sub-Zero's decapitation fatality rips his foe's head from his body and holds it up as a trophy, spine and all. It freaked moms out worldwide.
#1 Noob Saibot, Mortal Kombat 2011
This particular scene—in which Noob Saibot wishbones his opponent with a clone of himself—graced TV audiences in the United States on Jon Stewart's Daily Show. Noob Saibot's moves are arguably the most gruesome of the whole series.