In case you weren’t aware, it’s Friday the 13th, that mystical date that occurs every so often throughout the year that brings out a little bit of added caution in even the least superstitious of us all. Did you remember to step over all of the cracks in the sidewalk today?
Here at the Tracking Board we thought we’d confront the spilled salt, the broken mirrors, and the black cats head on by bringing you our 13 favorite on-screen deaths in film. We’re not saying these are the scenes you’ll be rewatching 50 times in your Intro to Film Studies class, just that we’ll be watching them at a least a couple of times today. Or maybe just the one. That might be enough for us. These are not “the best” or “the most shocking” or “the bloodiest,” they are simply OUR favorite and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
Kevin Bacon – FRIDAY THE 13TH
Of course “Friday the 13th” made the cut for our list. How could it not? And what better place to start than the quiet, tense moments of a young Kevin Bacon smoking in bed (it was the 80s, they didn’t know any better) just before…well, you’ll see. You might reconsider sending your kids to summer camp for a while.
Samuel L. Jackson – DEEP BLUE SEA
We love Sam Jackson (who doesn’t?), sharks, and dramatic monologues. This scene from “Deep Blue Sea” combines all three. We’d love to say we saw this one coming, but we really didn’t.
Johnny Depp – NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
80s horror movies seem to have a thing about dudes dying in bed. Given that this time around it’s a young Johnny Depp in a crop top, we’re not exactly complaining. We’ve seen a lot of blood in our time, but there’s something about the geyser that erupts on our screens that just does it for us.
Wallace Shawn – THE PRINCESS BRIDE
Perhaps the least gory and blood-soaked death on our list, Vizzini’s verbose battle of wits with the Man in Black (pre-LOST) remains the most intellectually stimulating one. Plus, it still makes us laugh every time.
Jon Hurt – ALIEN
This scene begins innocuously enough, with a jovial meal shared between friends and co-workers. Nothing could possibly go wrong here, not in a movie called “Alien.” But things go terribly, terribly wrong when one crew member starts choking on nothing before the infamous “chest monster” makes it’s first unwanted appearance. If you have a friend who has never seen this movie, watch it with them. You won’t be disappointed by their reaction to this scene.
Terry Richards – RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
Harrison Ford was famously too ill to film the planned choreographed fight scene and instead asked director Stephen Spielberg if he could just shoot the guy. Turning our Friday the 13th theme on its head, Ford’s gastrointestinal misfortune turned out to be a lucky break as this scene has become on of the most memorable in cinematic history.
Robert Shaw – JAWS
Ok, so maybe we have a thing for sharks around here. What can we say? Even though we know death-by-shark isn’t something we really need to worry about, it’s hard not to feel a little fear of what lurks beneath the dark surface of the ocean. And billions of dollars in special effects weren’t needed to make this chomping death one of our favorites.
Slim Pickens – DR. STRANGELOVE
Stanley Kubrick’s Cold War satire features Major T. J. “King” Kong riding the bomb all the way down. We’re going to go ahead and assume he doesn’t survive the impact.
Alun Armstrong and John Murtagh – BRAVEHEART
Mel Gibson is well-known for the gruesome (and frequent) death scenes in his movies, but this one from “Braveheart” stands as one of the most creative. It’s not often you see someone ride a horse into someone’s bedroom for the sole purpose of murder.
David Paetkau – FINAL DESTINATION 2
Ok, so it’s basically impossible to just pick one death from this carnage-ridden franchise. The “Final Destination” flicks are basically just ways to show people dying in increasingly complicated and convoluted ways. We went this one because it was immediately memorable. Don’t people know not to put their hands down a garbage disposal?
Michael Guido – HOME ALONE
Alright, so maybe this one is cheating, but we don’t care. “Angels with Filthy Souls,” the fictional gangster movie within “Home Alone,” features some of the best dialogue of the whole movie. Keep the change, ya filthy animal.
James Caan – THE GODFATHER
“The Godfather” is a classic for a reason and Sonny’s assassination, carried at a toll plaza at the hands of about a dozen men with tommy guns, is one of the most memorable death scenes in cinematic history. Did they really need that many bullets to take out one guy? The final kick delivered to his face is really the last straw.
Carl Weathers – PREDATOR
A man gets his arm lasered off by an alien warrior and the severed appendage just keeps on firing the gun. That’s all we need to say.
Did we hit all your favorites or did we leave something crucial off? What are some of the deaths that you think should have made the list?
Happy Friday the 13th, guys! Be careful out there today. Who knows what might happen…