From ‘Psycho’ To ‘Jack Ryan’: Hollywood’s Love Affair With Bathroom Violence

Bathroom Main

Last week, a new clip from the upcoming film Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit debuted and I assume that a lot of people were probably thinking, “Oh cool, the classic Tom Clancy character is back for some more spy adventures!” But not me. After watching that clip, all I could think was, “Good Lord, Hollywood loves including scenes of graphic violence that take place in bathrooms.”

So I sat down with my trusty quill pen and some parchment and I starting thinking of some of those classic moments, not so I could rank them like any violent bathroom scene is greater than another, but so I could pay tribute to the time-honored tradition of watching people get killed next to a toilet. Also, ranking these scenes is futile, because True Romance is No. 1. I read two lists that didn’t even have True Romance on them, so just the thought of having to debate that made me ill.

Alas, this list is not complete. It is only a sample of the many, many times that fights and gruesome murders have taken place in imaginary restrooms on the silver screen, but I like to think that I’ve included the classics. Feel free to correct me by figuratively smacking me upside the head with a toilet lid.

1960 – Psycho

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Was this Alfred Hitchcock classic the first film to ever include someone being killed in a bathroom? Probably. I have no clue what happened in movies that were made before 1960, because I wasn’t alive. If any of the movies made prior to my birth (long after 1960, mind you) were important, the studios would have waited for me. The people involved with Psycho (the original, not the craptacular Vince Vaughn remake) should feel lucky that I’m even talking about this film, if any of them are still alive. Anyway, the image of Marion Crane being stabbed to death in the shower might be the most famous murder in Hollywood history. (Although, I’d argue that it’s Vinh Kelly in Gleaming the Cube.)

1967 – The Dirty Dozen

You know how I said that any movie that was made before I was born isn’t worth watching? The Dirty Dozen is an exception. In fact, if your kid was born today, you better make sure he watches it tomorrow. That way he can watch Charlie Bronson do what he always did best – beat the crap out of two guys at one time with punches that looked like flies that couldn’t land on aircraft carriers. But that was the beauty of Hollywood’s era of the macho actor. They didn’t need any fancy fightin’ choreography like Jason Statham. They just punched, dammit.

(Bronson’s bathroom fighting can be seen in the trailer around the 2:12 mark. And about that trailer, they don’t make ’em like this anymore. Lee Marvin relaying what each actor said about his character is wonderful. “Trini Lopez as Jimenez… he’s crawling with hate!” Simply wonderful.)

1979 – The Warriors

The first REAL bathroom fight scene to ever be recorded (thanks to my decision to ignore five decades of cinema), The Warriors reminded us that it doesn’t matter how stupid you dress as long as you’re able to shatter a guy’s rib cage with a baseball bat. The thing I’ve always wondered, though, is if anyone stopped and said, “The Punks? Really? We’re on roller skates, dude.”

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