Continued from part 1.
#5: Falling thousands of feet off a highway overpass in a Ford Pinto
Movie: Blues Brothers
Happened to: Illinois Nazis
Made the list because: How tall will that highway overpass be once it is completed? I mean, they pass the top of the Sears Tower—at the time, the tallest building in the world—on the way down. Plus, I hate Illinois Nazis.
Bonus: The filmmakers had to get an “Air UN-worthiness Certificate” from the FAA before dropping the Pinto—in other words, proof that the car would not fly. So, if you own a Ford Pinto, you can rest assured that your ride will not suddenly take to the skies, but instead will stay grounded and explode like it was designed to.
#4: Eaten by that giant thing on Tatooine
Movie: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Happened to: Boba Fett, assorted extras
Made the list because: According to C-3PO’s translation, the pit monster—“Sarlaac”—doesn’t kill you right off. In fact, “in his belly you will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly digested over a thousand years.” It kills you…by extending your life for a millennium?
#3: Melting like ice cream after looking into the Ark of the Covenant
Movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Happened to: German Nazis
Made the list because: Can your face really do that? It’s still made out of skin, right? I mean, having your head explode makes sense, because a head can explode. But can skin melt? Plus, according to 2 Samuel 6:6-7, they should have actually been killed as soon as they touched the Ark to take off the lid, and not just because they looked into it.
Bonus: Pick a death, any death: the Indiana Jones movies (the first 3; I haven’t bothered to see the 4th) are full of very weird deaths, and it was hard just picking one. Other equally strong candidates included the man in Temple of Doom who had his heart ripped out (with no apparent side effects) and then being dipped in molten lava; and aging hundreds of years in seconds when picking the wrong goblet in Last Crusade. In Raiders alone, you also had death by experimental flying wing propeller and the always-popular bringing swords to a gun fight. And then there is jumping out of a plane without a parachute, bringing a horse to a tank fight, getting shot and then run over by a truck, falling into a deep canyon, hitching an underwater ride across the Mediterranean on the outside of a submarine—oh, wait; those were all Indy, and he somehow survived each one.
#2: Death by harp music
Movie: Kung Fu Hustle
Happened to: Coolie, Donut, and the Tailor
Made the list because: Though much less known than the previous example, this Chinese movie is well worth the watch. One of the attractions is this strange scene, where 3 kung-fu masters are killed by…the sound of music. Literally killed by sounds, coming from an instrument known as a guqin (literal translation: “ancient stringed instrument”). OK, so it is not technically a harp, but “death by zither music” just didn’t sound as good.
Bonus: Could it possibly, demonstratively, be the world’s worst music?
#1: Having an alien burst out of your chest and perform a Broadway routine
Happened to: Kane
Made the list because: The “chestburster” death from “Alien” was bound to make this list—I mean, that’s really strange—but it was topped in that category by its own spoof. What’s weirder than having an alien pop out of your chest while you’re eating dinner? Having an alien pop out of your chest while you’re eating dinner, don a top hat and cane, and dance off while singing “Hello, My Baby”.
Bonus: “Not again…” The same actor, John Hurt, plays the man killed in both the “Alien” and “Spaceballs” versions.
- Hit on the head with a house, or dissolving in water (Wizard of Oz)
- Stepped on by a tree (Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers)
- Death by suntan (Sunshine)
- Launched out of an upstairs window by a stair lift after being serenaded by caroling monsters (Gremlins)