We’re all for an inventive murder weapon. The ice-pick in Basic Instinct; chilling. The pencil in The Dark Knight; brutal. The dildo in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; floppy. But if we ran into the kitchen to find a deadly killing tool, we reckon pretty much the very last thing we’d grab is a half chewed vegetable. And yet in this Stephen King adaptation, here it is; murder by corn on the cob. A hapless police deputy is bumped off by getting one stabbed in his spine like an organic, yellow rod of death. Whoever said vegetables were good for you?
The Untouchables (1987)
We’re not blaming Sean Connery for this – he’s a magnificent force in Brian De Palma’s gangster classic. It’s just he dies for what feels like half the movie. Connery is shot by some bloke in a big hat, crumples to the floor, and bleeding like a wounded gazelle, proceeds to crawl across the entire length of his New York apartment… down the stairs, hails a cab, takes in a show, grabs a hot dog, and gets back in time to have a nice chat with Kevin Costner. Well, that’s what it felt like.
Snake in Eagle’s Shadow (1978)
Most men believe a single jab to their chap, if strong enough, would be enough to end their life on this earth. For all of us who’ve caught our member in a zipper it’s the sort of terrifying thought that makes us wake up in the night, our sheets soaking with tears. In his breakout movie, Jackie Chan proved the dick-stab death is not only possible, but more leg-clampingly awful than we ever could have ever imagined. How does his single karate chop to his opponent’s chopper kill the pour soul? We can only speculate… Maybe a massive blood clot? Or just pure shame?
Meet Joe Black (1998)
Okay, confession time. We’ve not seen this film. Every time we try to watch it, fifteen seconds in, and our eyelids shut tighter than Batman’s rubbery pant crack. However, what we have seen is Brad Pitt’s death from this movie; in fact, you probably have too. Back in the days of joke emails (remember them?), this clip was posted around, supposedly footage of an actual road accident. In the footage, an unfortunate, strangely Brad Pitt-ish guy is batted between two cars like a malleable human bowling pin. Always cross at the crossing Brad; you know it makes sense.
Five words were ringing in our ears as we emerged from James Cameron’s love boat epic. No, not: ‘My heart will go on’. But: ‘Get on the door, dick!’. Having failed to have our heart strings plucked by the hammy love story betwixt cheeky peasant Jack and blushing corset-crumpet Rose when it came to the crunch, he died because he clearly misjudged the buoyancy quotient of a wooden door. Come on! There’s plenty of room on that lump of Canadian walnut for two!… Tell her to budge over, mate.
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Tuberculosis is a serious killer. In 2010 it claimed 1.5 million lives, mainly in poverty stricken developing countries. But we can only assume Baz Luhrmann forgot to hire a medical advisor to check the finale to his Gallic musical. As Nicole Kidman succumbs to her TB, there’s no painful days spent in bed – she belts out the last number, pops backstage then suddenly goes a bit squiffy. Before Ewan McGregor can say ‘singing lessons’, she falls into his arms, a trail of blood gurgling from one side of her mouth. If TB could really strike this fast, no-one would be safe.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
The Wicked Witch kicks ass. Let’s face it, if she ever got in an actual fist fight with Dorothy and her support group of freaks, she’d whoop them back to Kansas. Disappointing, then, that her death is hammier than a hot dog factory. In the final showdown, as Dorothy throws a bucket of water to save the burning scarecrow, a splash hits the witch and she starts to disintegrate – water, it turns out, is her Kryptonite. “I’m melting!” she cries, as the actress fails to hide the fact that under her cloak she’s awkwardly climbing into a trapdoor.
The Omen (1974)
We’re not picking on The Omen here but it does have a lot to answer for. Since it gave the world the ‘decapitation by glass sheet sliding off the back of a lorry’ death, and the ‘disembowelment by a falling church spire at 45 degrees’ death, the contrived death movie industry has flourished. In particular, the Final Destination series, which has taken convoluted fatalities to a whole new level. Yep, if the bidet with the conveniently powerful water jet doesn’t turn you inside out, maybe the blender perched on top of the kitchen cupboard will fall on your head and reduce you to a puddle of human jus.
Cast Away (2000)
Anyone who’s watched the movie will testify that pretty soon it’s not double Oscar-winner Hanks that you’re rooting for, but his talented volleyball sidekick. Which makes Wilson’s passing crueller than any other screen death, ever. As he slips off the raft into the choppy seas it’s only then you realise you are are emotionally invested in 22 ounces of leather. And now he’s gone. And we all feel a teensy bit stupid.