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 Nine – A Day For Infuriating Demises
Tom Hulce in Amadeus
Way to go Salieri, way to fuck it up for the rest of us.
the kind of film that can scare the shit out of any creative person who
isn’t a certifiable genius. The “Patron Saint of Mediocrity,” Salieri
is a character no person would want to share attributes with, but it is
difficult not to relate to the frustration that comes from an epic
struggle to produce good work in the face of the effortless quality
(that only you can really appreciate) produced by a savant, a genius
like Mozart. It does not help that Salieri is a gnawing little rat of a
man, plagued by petty jealousies, and a perpetual anal rod presence.
The fact that this annoying wet blanket mother fucker -this mediocre
piece of shit- kills a master musician and maybe the greatest artist in human history, just plain sucks.
If Milos Foreman identifies with Salieri’s struggles with mediocrity, it is not on display here. Amadeus is a masterwork that paints a rich, layered portrait of late 18th Century Vienna, and fills it with tour de force
performances, vivid photography, and constantly remarkable examples of
filmmaking craft. The story organically winds through the lives of
Salieri and Mozart, defining and shaping them as men, and as artists.
As the story draws to a close though, we witness a sequence that will
continue to rank highly among the most powerful of film scenes. As
Mozart nears the brink of mortal exhaustion from working on two
soul-draining projects, Salieri uses Mozart’s vulnerability to extract
a final great work from him. Salieri’s disgusting little plan is to
claim it as his own, and usurp Mozart’s glory after his death. It is in
this scene that Foreman somehow manages to capture something
impossible- a moment of genuine virtuosity. Salieri fiercely
transcribes the notes that Mozart seemingly plucks from thin air, and
arranges into a flawless composition. Tom Hulce’s remarkable
performance gives us a glimpse of raw genius at work, while F. Murray
Abraham earns his Oscar by deftly balancing his performance between
Salieri’s greed and his awe.
Once the sun has risen and Mozart’s wife has returned to care for him,
we find that he has died. Mozarts’ fellow composer, filled with such an
unrequited hate, has literally worked the genius to death in service of
a piece that will never be finished, and will bring him nothing but
guilt until he dies his mediocre little death.
Pain of Death: Low. Exhaustion can’t be fun, but there are far more excruciating ways to die.
Emotional Loss: HIGH. Sure he had a shitty laugh, but he made music that could kick your ass.
Will There Be A Closed Casket Funeral? NOPE. Just a big ole pile of naked deads, and some lye.
Insult To Inury: Salieri was such a little shit.
Ralph Meeker, Timothy Carey, and Joe Turkel in Paths of Glory
Stanley Kubrick’s Paths Of Glory
is one of the angriest films you may ever see. It is the rare war film
where the powerful deaths don’t occur in the hellish fury of combat by
enemy hand, but in the quiet between battles at the command of your own
officers. Every scene, every line, and every frame of this film is
geared towards infuriating any audience member who happens to have a
heart or a conscience. The story concerns three WWI soldiers chosen by
French command to die, as a scapegoat for the larger “cowardice” of the
701 Regiment while storming an impermeable target. The soldiers are
admirably defended by the only courageous man in the film, Colonel Dax
(Kirk Douglas), but are nevertheless condemned to public death by
Perhaps it is cheating to create an entry that actually represents
three deaths, but I challenge you to chose what is a worse reason for
being selected to die- because you happen to be socially unpopular,
because you were witness to the selecting officer’s cowardice, or
because you were randomly chosen despite being a decorated and brave
soldier… Each man is more innocent than the last and yet they
experience an irrationally expedient process that ends, not with a
last-minute pardon or reprieve, but with them (one with a mortal
headwound already) being unhesitatingly executed. Kubrick is unafraid
of capturing the weeping and slobbering fear these men face before
their deaths, rather he decidedly dwells on it, until all three dead
men unceremoniously slump from their wooden poles.
Every moment of this film is directed with an anger for the
incompetence, ambition, and mercilessness that can be found in military
command (and in general humanity). Paths of Glory
is filled with Kubrick’s trademark tracking shots- shots that serve to
expose the brutality of trench warfare, the futility of defense in a
kangaroo court, and the grim business of an unjust death sentence.
Colonel Dax would be a rallying figure of hope in a lesser movie,
instead he is simply a conduit for the bitter disgust that we feel. The
same is true for all of the small moments of justice in the film- they
are quickly made feeble in the face of more inevitable, useless death.
Pain Of Death: LOW. Killed instantly by firing squad.
Emotional Loss: EXTREMELY HIGH. You seethe as they are sentenced, your heart breaks as they wait, and you are horrified when the end comes.
Will There Be a Closed Casket Funeral: NO, until Corporal McBlowsUpHisOwnGuys has to do those confirmation shots to the head.
Insult To Injury: The
men were shot after the high command was already aware of the
commanding general’s treason. They were still made examples of.
Today’s installment written by Renn Brown.
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