been a while since the last full team-based CHUD LIST. Too long. With
the goal being to ease back into the swing of things and hopefully get
us on track to a list a month, here’s the latest, BAD FOR US, WORSE FOR
THEM. The concept is simple.
This isn’t a “Best Kills” list.
We’ve done that and done it better than anyone ever could (though we’ll
revisit that at some point to rewrite the history books). This is a
list of forty deaths in cinema, twenty of which that have a profound
affect on the viewer whether by the sheer tragedy of it, how
emotionally impactful it is, or how it is a catalyst for a real descent
in the progression of the story. The other twenty are deaths that go
beyond the call of duty, not because they’re cool or really well
executed FX, but because they are just knee-capping in their immediacy,
brutality, or simple visceral impact. Kills that will probably leave a
We could have done hundreds of these, but here’s twenty of
each from the CHUD staff, delivered two a day for you until the list is
Day Five - Aliens live within us!
Michael Nouri in The Hidden.
“I’ll put the cigarette out, I sweaAGGHHH!”
Sgt. Thomas Beck (Michael Nouri) has been having a bad week. Without any warning seemingly normal people in LA have been going psychotic, committing mass murder while they blast heavy metal and drive around in expensive cars. Nouri’s even more upset when he’s ordered to babysit a Fed played by Kyle MacLachlan, a strange fellow who has a pretty big secret. Turns out that MacLachlan has been hunting down an alien who lives inside people’s bodies, the sole culprit of this murdering spree. Not only that but the Fed’s an alien as well though thankfully he’s one of those happy good-guy aliens like Mac and Me.
The duo finally track down the evil alien inside a fellow cop as he’s pursuing a senator to jump inside, and there is a massive shootout in a hotel with dozens of cop deaths. Near the end Nouri jumps out of cover to shoot at his former coworker’s body and makes the mistake of not checking his clip first, or realizing that the being had been shot about four dozen times before without effect. His gun empty, he raises his hands in the air hoping for a little compassion but the emotion is decidedly alien to his foe, who instead returns his favor of two slugs to the stomach. He falls down as our jaws drop, shocked.
Soon after Kyle MacLachlan finds the alien inside the senator’s body and gets some true vengeance. During the middle of a press conference where the senator announces his bid for presidency MacLachlan busts in like a badass and torches him with a flamethrower before exploding his true form with a little pew pew alien gun.
That’ll teach him to murder Mr. Flashdance.
The Hidden should be spoken about in the same loving tones as the other 1980s scifi masterpieces, but it remains criminally underrated. [Buy it from CHUD!]
Pain of Death: MODERATE. He’s shot twice in the gut, but before he can start screaming “I’m fuckin’ dying here, I’m fuckin’ dying!” he slumps to the floor and is wheeled away to a hospital, where he fuckin’ dies shortly after.
Emotional Loss: HIGH. We’ve had dinner with his wife and watched him tuck in his daughter. We’d spent the whole movie with the guy in shootout after shootout as people around him got blasted away (The Hidden LOVES its squibs) but never thought the guy would catch a bullet.
Will There Be a Closed Casket Funeral: There will be no funeral!
Insult To Injury: Kyle MacLachlan- missing his own family which was gunned down by the same alien entity- decides to jump into the body and live out the rest of his days as Michael Nouri. A dream we’ve all had, to be sure. The irony here is that MacLauchlan will soon get tired of his job and the city and start getting drunk every night (on Heineken, of course), beating on his wife and kid with alien precision.
You should all know it well, but one of the best scenes in John Carpenter’s The Thing [Buy it from CHUD!] is always worth revisiting. When Outpost 31’s geologist Norris suffers a heart attack during the middle of an intense confrontation between the rest of the crew they whisk him away to the doctor’s room to save his life. Too bad they were so busy suspecting each other of being aliens that they didn’t stop to think that Norris might be one all along.
While there’s some debate over whether Norris had a heart attack because the Thing mimics people completely (the man had a heart condition), or because it wanted to fake its death to get away from the ruckus, it sure does fight back when threatened with electric shock. As Doc Copper (Dysart) readies a defibrillator and rips off Norris’ shirt to apply the paddles, he doesn’t expect to get turned into a tasty extraterrestrial treat. But that’s exactly what happens.
After the first shock does nothing Copper tries it again, and instead finds himself plunging the paddles chestlong into what turns into a big gaping maw with gigantic teeth. It’s too bad he never learned that the Hippocratic oath doesn’t apply to Things. (Or Swedes, for that matter.)
“ARGGGHHH well this still beats watching Pro-Life!”
The chestmaw clamps down and Copper screams as he is disarmed, the alien jaw chomping on his former forearms a couple of times for good measure.
Pain of Death: HIGH. Watch the scene again- the Thing doesn’t actually bite his arms off- Copper pulls them off like an animal caught in a trap. Ouch.
Emotional Loss: LOW. The doc’s bedside manners are pretty crappy (“Aw, did the widdle bullet hurt you?”) and we’re too stunned by what happens next in the scene to really take in the death. Although defibrillator paddles are quite expensive.
Will There Be A Closed Casket Funeral: There will be, if they can ever find the body in the bombed out outpost.
Insult To Injury: Despite being very obviously human when killed by the Thing, his body is still tied up and submitted to the famous blood test.
Today’s installment written by Alex Riviello.
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