Unless you’ve been up for three days doing mescaline, you may remember when I told you about ABCs of Death 2, Drafthouse and Magnet’s new anthology of horror shorts. It’s already out on VOD and hits theaters October 31, and in an innovative promotional move, they had each of their segment directors choose their all-time favorite cinematic death and made a supercut out of it. Waaay better than prank-vertising. (Also, I truly appreciate someone choosing Top Secret!)
Y is for Youth segment director Soichi Umezawa (previously interviewed here), weighed in exclusively on his favorite death, from Brian DePalma’s The Fury. Which, oddly enough, I’ve referenced as my own favorite movie death on numerous occasions. I swear we didn’t plan this. I guess it just figures that the guy who made a giant silicone penis for the film and I would have similar tastes.
THE FURY (Soichi Umezawa)
When I was 12 years old, I first saw CARRIE on TV after it was recommended to me by a movie-loving uncle. Later on, when THE FURY was being broadcast, someone told me “This one’s also got a great ending!” and my unsullied, youthful memories came back to me like “Aha! I remember the hand bursting out of the ground!” Then right before my eyes, John Cassavetes exploded and the shock it gave me was even greater than the one I had in CARRIE.
I was completely influenced by THE FURY. When I was 13, I made an 8mm film for my school’s arts festival that involved a transfer student with psychic powers (though I wasn’t able to blow up a person for it). It involved a student gaining similar abilities in order to do battle with him, and when those powers were finally shown onscreen, I zoomed-in three times on his eyes, which was shamelessly copying the same scene [in THE FURY].
This way of dying (or way of killing) – to blow up a person or living thing without using any tools or weapons – while maybe unrealistic, is very suited for movies, and I think it really matched the film’s theme of “I’ll take revenge on you”. It made the film a pleasure to watch and I think brought a lot of excitement to its viewers. The ability to snuff out the existence of your opponent in an instant was, for a sensitive pre-teen, something that had a lot of appeal.
And now I’ve grown up into an adult. This time, those memories are something that I’d like to transfer to my filmmaking as opposed to real life, and dream of doing every day.
It’s been 36 years since The Fury, and I can’t believe that half the movies made since then haven’t ended with a person exploding shot from three different angles. It’s that good.
Here’s the full list of deaths, in no particular order.
Once Upon a Time In the West (Charles Bronson guns down three gunslingers in the opening)
Alien (John Hurt dies from the chestburster alien)
Sometimes a Great Notion (drowning scene)
Hard Core Logo (where Joe Dick kills himself)
Men Behind the Sun (Deathcamp prisoner thrown in pressure chamber and squished until his bowels explode)
Contraband (face explosion)
Le Trio Infernal (where the killers slice up body parts and throw them into a bathtub filled with sulphuric acid).
Death Proof (the car crash & rewind on girls’ deaths)
Suicide Club (schoolgirls hold hands, jump in front of train)
The Lion King (Mufasa’s fall)
Cache (the scene where the old guy slits his own throat)
Let the Right One In (pool scene where the bullies are killed while the boy is underwater)
Theatre of Blood (Robert Morley is force fed his own poodles)
The Terminator (1984)
The Dark Knight Rises
King Kong (1976)
Titanic (Jack Dawson/Leonardo DiCaprio drowns)
The Stepfather: death by 2×4
The Deer Hunter
Hausu (the scene where the piano eats the girl)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (face melting Nazis at the end of the film)
Songs From the Second Floor (sacrifice of the innocent little girl)
The Fury (the scene where John Cassavetes explodes)
Shogun Assassin (one of the Masters of Death gets his throat slit by Lone Wolf, and proceeds to have a hilarious inner monologue as he’s dying)
Top Secret! (the Nazi falls from a tower and shatters on the ground)
Robocop (ED-209 malfunctions in the boardroom, shooting the OCP executive)