Saturday, October 21, 2006

Top 5 Movie Deaths

"The horror, the horror..."
Here are the finest five of them all.

5) Psycho (1960)
The shower scene with about 90 splices in it. The shower scene that took 7 days to shoot. The shower scene that made people scream. The shower scene spoofed and immitated a thousand times since. The shower scene that's been spoiled from the huge buzz, which at the end makes you ask yourself "what's the big deal?". So, unless you're pushing fifty, I can't really think of a reason this scene impressed you the very first time. Would it stay in cinematic history, were it shot today? I don't think so. Hitchcock's myth played a big part back then, that's for sure. So, the fifth place is really more of a tribute, but I acknowledge the fact that Hitchcock played it brilliantly. Killing the lead character in the middle of the film, and creating the background for a shocking ending, makes you realize that Alfred didn't get the King Of Suspense title in vain.

4) Apocalypse Now (1979)
There isn't much to be said about maybe the best movie ever made, but once you watch this masterpiece you realize that it lives up to its name. For 150 minutes Francis Ford Coppola succesfully manages to create this myth around Marlon Brando's character. And then we are introduced to Colonel Kurtz, and we gaze in awe. In awe for Brando's performance and the movie's grand finale. We watch, while listening to The Doors' The End, as Captain Willard butchers Kurtz. More like a sacrifice than an assasination, this death earns 4th place for meaning alone, which shouldn't be explained but left solely to the viewer's judgement. Enough said.

3) Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)
The Ark is opened, and all hell breaks loose. Well, actually it's more like God's wrath, but when you watch Nazis' faces melt or explode and spirits soare, you ain't exactly thinking. This being an Indiana Jones movie, which translates into a family-friendly actioner, gets a little edgy towards the end, offering some naive 8-year-olds life-time traumas. So, if you come to think of it, you would have saved yourself of all those Nazi-melting filled nightmares if you had actually heard your brother advicing you to close your eyes. Smart bloke, that Indy fella.

3) American History X (1998)
Director Tony Kaye uses violence in order to tell an actual story, not just for the sake of it. So, via flashbacks we witness how the racist Neo-Nazi Derek Vinyard becomes a reformed citizen. When the scene with the "put your mouth to the curb" comes along, you are just in the right mood to get the anti-racism message. But the director doesn't overdo it, he doesn't use graphic violence, he just gives us a close-up on the boy's face biting onto the curb, and then cuts just before Edward Norton stomps on his head. It's the sound that makes it so terrifying, so disturbing. Stays in your mind for ages.

1) Irreversible (2002)
Most brutal on-screen death ever. This movie became famous, or maybe infamous, due to its 8 minute rape scene of Monica Bellucci. But I assure you, whoever watched this one will remember it for that fire extinguisher scene. As this movie is told backwards, we first witness Marcus and Pierre looking for Alex's rapist. Long story short, they end up in this perverted club -Rectum- where they engage in a fight which can best be described as "just wrong". After Marcus gets his arm twisted and broken, Pierre, the up-until-then calm guy grabs a fire extinguisher and hits the guy's face, over and over and over again, and the single shot shows every last thing, from the broken teeth to the final mushed face. Your jaw drops and you get the tingling feeling up your spine. Whether or not this is an extreme depiction of violence made entirely to cause fuss, it's another story. This death is more efficient to a viewer's cinematic experience than any other movie death, so it wins first place.

Alien's chest bursting scene would be No 5, but Psycho took its place. Other contenders include Se7en's off-screen murders, Wizard Of Oz "I'm melting" witch, exploding fat guy at Monty Python's Meaning of Life, Bambi's mother is shot, Meet Joe Black's car pinball, Jaws' opening scene, American Psycho's axe scene, Pulp Fiction's car scene, Braveheart's freeeedom scene, Carlito and Tony Montana's deaths, Scream's screaming Drew Barrymore, Blade Runner, Return Of The Jedi, the Final Destination deaths, Killed Bill, Deep Blue Sea's Samuel Jackson scene and House of Wax's Paris-Hilton-gets-it scene (pure joy this one).


Jeff said...

Love your blog. Keep it up.

Dave said...

Great choices. I've seen all except 'Irreversible'.

mentwras said...

it's a sick and pretentious movie, I wouldn't recommend it to ya, unless you want to satisfy your curiosity.

By the way, top 5 movie breasts, coming soon...

Anonymous said...

Very Nice blog.

oni said...

:) Thanks for your shout :) Love movies! Most of these death scenes made me cringe, especially in American History X and Irreversible (watched both at the cinema and people were walking out hehe)

*bookmarks to watch* Great blog ^_^

Anonymous said...

Not having seen Irreversible, American History X is the single most violent act I've seen in the movies, even without actually being shown.

I have my own list, "Favorite" death scenes. In no order:
Joe Montagna in House of Games, "Please Sir, may I have another?"; Dennis Hopper in Red Rock West; Slim Pickens in Strangelove, and recently, Michael Caine in Children of Men, "Pull my finger!"

Something about panache...

simon said...

That's a nasty way to go, Irreversible is up there at the top where it deserves to be for sure. Having seen Pan's Labyrinth though, I might put the incident at the start of the movie in my top 5. The General simply smashes the butt of a beer bottle into some poor chap's face until he's dead. Very crunchy.

Anonymous said...

William Dafoe in Platoon

Anonymous said...


"American History X and Irreversible (watched both at the cinema and people were walking out hehe)"

It's actually sick to be proud to be able to stay in the cinema with scenes likes these. Humans do have issues with this creepy thirst for violence...Jeez..Go to some civil war anywhere and watch, if you can, people have their arms and everything chopped, and i think you'll feel like a sissy...Cause THAT is violence. Real violence. If you don't think *uncomfortable* with some rape scene, hum, it kind of sucks. i think.