Saturday, April 17, 2010

Disheartening horror deaths: Why them??

"Death, the one appointment we all must keep, and for which no time is set." ~Charlie Chan

They ought to tack onto the end of that quote- 'except if you're in a horror movie...', because the time is certainly set for that.
Over the years, I've cheered out loud when some of the most annoying or stupid characters have met the ferryman, but have been equally as bummed out by many a horror movie death.
We all know a lot of the jack-asses that met their untimely ends, but let's take a look at some of the deaths we weren't so excited about...

Oh, and I was alerted (after the fact) to perhaps add a spoiler warning - so here it is. *SPOILERS AHEAD!*
Just in case the title of the post didn't give it away;)

Who out there didn't want Quint (Robert Shaw) to live in Jaws? I really don't know of anyone. Poor guy goes through the whole Indianapolis ordeal only to be gulped down by a Great White anyway. Shit, at least he got to see the show, right?

Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers, The Shining) was only trying to help the Torrance family by trekking the snowcat up the Sidewinder in a major snowstorm, but alas met a gruesome end when Jack met him in the hallway and landed that ax dead center in his chest. Bummer. Guess he didn't see that one coming, eh?

Would the ending of À l'intérieur really been that much different if they'd have just let Sarah (Alysson Paradis) live? Okay...yes. It would have totally changed it, but for heaven's sake did it have to be so disturbing? But that was the whole jist of Inside, wasn't it?

So we got a trade off here, in the rather pathetic remake of House of Wax. To allow Chad Michael Murray to live, we had to sacrifice Jared Padalecki. Entirely the wrong choice in my opinion. I'd trade up several CMM's for Jared. But hey, at least his death was relatively cool.

Poor Norma (Jayne Eastwood). In Dawn of the Dead (2004), all she got done doing was helping people. Saving lives, that kind of thing. One glance at the zombie baby and uh-oh - she gets out the gun, but doesn't get a chance to save the day here. Can't say she didn't try. She did get off a good shot to kill zombie baby's dad.

It's really not Will Smith's character's eventual death I'm so concerned about here (I Am Legend), it's the damn dog. It's common knowledge that the death of animals in a movie disturbs me far more than any human. And the death of Sam took me days to get over. Days, even months people! Actually, I'm still not over it. The fact that Dr. Neville had to be the one to do the deed - that much worse.

Shocker! When Juno accidentally stabs Beth (Alex Reid) through the neck with her pickaxe, it was the biggest surprise of The Descent. I wanted Juno to die a most miserable death at the hands of those freaky white flukeman humanoid cannibals. And thankfully, I got my wish.

Damn if this wasn't the biggest bitch of an ending, maybe ever! In Night of the Living Dead, just when you think everything's going to be alright....he's made it through the night.....the zombies are being shot down and burned in the bonfire....and the authorities are just outside the house, ready to take Ben (Duane Jones) off to safety. And then, the unthinkable happens.
Another one for the fire...

In the little seen Shrooms, viewers have the pleasurable opportunity to watch Johnny Depp doppelganger Jack Huston race through the Irish woodlands, high on mushrooms and being chased by some kind of bizarre ghostly murderer. I didn't expect his death, and was truly bummed to know he wouldn't be in the inevitable sequel. But man, was he nice to look at.

Another fine-looking dude that ends up dying is Mickey (the delightful and delicious Timothy Olyphant) in Scream 2. When at first it seems he is on his own when he is revealed as the killer, we then discover Billy's mom was head honcho and pulling the strings. But again, who the hell cares? He made it almost through the entire film, and was the only stare-worthy participant in that flick.

Anyone who's seen Opera has to have a memory of sheer shock when Mira (Daria Nicolodi) gets a bullet through the eye when looking through a peephole in a door. Classic, and yet a total surprise. More so when you realize director Dario Argento and Nicolodi were ex-lovers. Can you imagine how many people have daydreamed about such scenarios?

In The Strangers, the viewing audience is so wrapped up in the film by the time Mike (Glen Howerton) arrives that no one expects the end result here. Which is to say that Mike is actually the first to die. Too bad he was only there to pick his best friend up after a rejection by his girlfriend. Should've stayed out of it, buddy. You'd still be alive.

So I'm a sucker for a pretty face. I actually didn't mind Evan (Kevin Zegers) at all in Wrong Turn. It was his annoying girlfriend that got under my skin. Hey, all the dude wanted to do was smoke some weed and get a bit of oral action. What the hell did he go wander off into the woods for, anyway? Foolish men, foolish choices.

This one cut me deep. I know for the plot of An American Werewolf in London to advance Jack (Griffin Dunne) had to die, okay? And I do realize that he is the only one on this list that stayed on throughout the movie even though he was a "walking meatloaf". But damn I liked the guy. He was hilarious...and better looking than David Naughton in my book.

"Hello Pickle!"
Poor Shaun's mom (Penelope Wilton), utterly oblivious to the zombie apocalypse going on all around her in Shaun of the Dead. When she utters the hilarious line "It's been a funny sort of day, hasn't it?" - it just encapsulates the humor of the film. Too damn bad they actually did come to get you, Barbara...

As you can see, it is now blatantly obvious that I'm disgruntled when attractive men die in horror films. I'm shameless in that though, and so I admit I was fairly upset when Paul (Jared Leto) died a horrific death by swinging ax in American Psycho. I'd read the book, knew it was coming, but was still dejected. Maybe I just hate to see sexy guys die, I don't know.

And my ultimate "oh shit...not HIM" death? Johnny Depp as Glen in A Nightmare on Elm Street. I mean, who dies like that? In an explosion of blood from bed to ceiling?
Then again, I can't say I'm not happy he took that role - seemed to have gotten him started not only in movies, but in the genre I'm so damned fond of. Cheers!

HorrorBlips: vote it up!


Jason said...

First off you might want to add a spoiler warning to this post, since it gives away alot of major plot points.

Quint was a total bad ass but he had it coming. After a lifetime of hunting sharks the big daddy of them all had come for him. To top it off his huge ego makes him destroys the radio, leaving them stranded. I love the guy but it was fitting.

I always felt bad for Scatman, he went all that way in a snow storm only to get killed in 30 seconds of arriving.

Will Errickson said...

In the uncut DVD version of THE BURNING, the raft massacre is disturbing because the kids murdered are all nerdy and likable, and none have had premarital sex. But of course the daddy (or mother) of them all is Marion Crane's death in PSYCHO.

Melissa Helwig said...

Great post! I totally agree with all your choices because I also get irrationally upset when cute guys die in horror flicks. I was so upset when Kevin Zegers died in Wrong Turn. And I just watched An American Werewolf in London for the first time a few weeks ago and I was shocked when Jack died. He was the funny AND cute one! Same goes for Jared Padalecki, Timothy Olyphant, Jared Leto and Johnny Depp. But the death that upset me the most was definitely the dog in I Am Legend. Worst. Death. Ever.

Sarah from Scare Sarah said...

There is something about these that are more scary, more tension filled than we give them credit for. You know they're heading towards death in a predictable way.

Great post.

C.L. Hadden said...

Jason: Spoiler warning added - thanks. And I agree Quint had it coming, but man..what a way to go.

Will: So true about The Burning! Those poor kids didn't know what hit them. As for Psycho, Marion had a run in with karma, I believe - although it was a bit lopsided. Stealing money doesn't usually tend to end with a nasty death.

Melissa: I can't believe you didn't already know Jack would die in An American Werewolf - how did that spoiler never get to you? Cool. That's one of my fave movies!
And we won't discuss the 'Legend' dog again, okay? *sniffle*

Sarah: Very true - we knew it was coming, and yet still...major disappointment when death came anyway...

Chris Koterba said...

Great post! The MINUTE I saw the poster for "I Am Legend" I knew it was going to happen, I went into the movie already with a lump in my throat and was neigh on inconsolable as events played out. It would take a person with a special sort of soulessness not to react to that scene. Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

I was so pleased when I stumbled across your blog a few days ago.... I really relate to your taste, and enjoy your writing style and your sense of humour!

Regarding animals, most especially dogs, I'm EXACTLY the same.... slice up all the humans you want, but leave the dogs out of it! I always have to skip the scene in "The Thing" where the alien is absorbing the Huskies, 'cause I'd like to enjoy the rest of the movie instead of crying over the dogs.

I agree with pretty much your whole Depressing Horror Death list [especially Sam!] and, besides any and all dogs who die in any movie, I'd add Darry Jenner from Jeepers Creepers to my personal list. Justin Long is one of those guys that I didn't actually find all that attractive.... until he SMILED. That smile hooked me, and I've had a thing for him ever since! So not only is he a crush of mine, but his character is such a decent and likable guy (he may argue a lot with his sis, but show me college-age sibs who DON'T still fight like cats and dogs; however, when the chips are down, they seem to do everything they can for each other), that it totally breaks my heart when he gets iced.

Thanks for a great blog, looking forward to reading lots more from you!

Christine Hadden said...

Anonymous: Thank you for your enthusiastic response and kind words about my blog, much appreciated!!
Hope we don't let you down :)