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 Twelve - Scifi slaughter!
Roddy McDowell, Kim Hunter and a baby chimp doll in Escape From the Planet of the Apes (1971)
I keep threatening to do a Planet of the Apes retrospective
and I really should, if just to get it out of my system. One of my main
theses about this series is simple: these films are really, really
fucked up. How fucked up? Follow this logic:
At the end of the second film, Beneath the Planet of the Apes,
Charlton Heston, the hero of the first film, is shot dead and in his
final moments he sets off a bomb that destroys the entire planet. The whole planet of the apes. Which is Earth in our future, of course. That’s the end of the second film. Out of five.
turns out that some of our favorite characters, including Roddy
McDowell’s Cornelius and Kim Hunter’s Zira, his wife (who famously
kissed Charlton Heston at the end of the first film), managed to escape by traveling back in time to 1973. And so begins the light-hearted movie in the series, very much the Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. It’s all fish out of water stuff as Cornelius and Zira get used to life in a world where apes
are in cages and humans rule, and where they’re media darlings. There’s
all sorts of cultural jokes specific to the early 70s, lots of satire
and broad laughs.
But this is a Planet of the Apes film, and things get dark fast. The two chimps mistakenly let the government know that in the future apes
rule, and they do things like perform medical experiments on humans.
Then it’s revealed that Zira is pregnant. The government types decide
to sterilize the two chimps and abort the fetus. Not that funny
Zira and Cornelius escape,
and she has the baby. They hide on a filthy abandoned tanker ship, but
they’re found by the authorities. In a horrifying final shootout –
during which mild-mannered Cornelius commits murder – the parents are
shot dead and the baby is machine-gunned at close range.
Imagine that you took the death of Spock at the end of Wrath of Khan and you put it at the end of The Voyage Home.
I think that gives you the sense of the tonal shift into horrible that
happens here. And by the way, even after killing all of the leads from
the first three films there were still two more Planet of the Apes movies.
Pain of Death: HIGH. They’re shot dead and it looks like it hurts. Cornelius especially goes down hard and huffing.
Emotional Loss: SUPER
NOVA. This is the third film in a G-RATED series aimed at kids, and
the sweet, funny characters get gunned down by representatives of the
American government. Yikes.
Will There Be a Closed Casket Funeral: These suckers are never getting buried; they’ll be on display at your local museum.
Insult To Injury: It’s
unclear if Cornelius even knows that his wife switched their baby for
another baby chimp at a traveling zoo. He may have died thinking his
lineage was over, not realizing there would yet be a Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.
With David Cronenberg re-remaking The Fly this entry is suddenly timely. The original The Fly,
the black and white classic, is actually more than a little creaky and
never truly blew me away… except for the ending. To my mind the
ending of The Fly contains
one of the most horrifying suicides ever, and it’s followed up by the
same guy dying again. How many other movies on this list have
characters that die not once, but twice?
After being turned into
a fly-man, with his head and his arm replaced by a fly’s head and a
fly’s claw, scientist Andre Delambre realizes that he is done for, and
he’s losing control of himself, becoming more flylike (which I guess
means he’s spending lots of time in the dumpster and around the kitty
litter box), and he’s desperate to end his own life. But a gun or
poison won’t do. No, Andre puts his whole upper body under a giant
fucking machine press and has his wife push the button, crushing him
slowly to death. Jesus Christ, that’s like the kind of thing the
villain does to someone, not how the hero offs himself!
that’s not it for Andre. In one of the most famous moments in 20th
century cinema, it turns out that there’s a fly that got Andre’s head
and arm, and that fucker has been caught in a web in the back yard. A
huge gross hairy spider is about to eat him up when Vincent Price and a
police inspector comes along to hear the guy screeching in a horrible
high-pitched voice ‘Help me! Please! Help me!’. Just as the spider is biting off Andre’s fucking head, the inspector smashes them both with a rock. Poor sucker doesn’t just get smashed once, he gets it twice.
Pain of Death: HIGH.
Getting smushed in a press must really, really suck. And then screaming
in terror as a spider bites down on you just before a dude smushes you?
Emotional Loss: MEDIUM.
The Fly’s not a great movie but a movie with great parts. One of the
great parts is not the performance of David Hedison.
Will There Be a Closed Casket Funeral: BOTH of him are smashed beyond belief. Of course that casket is closed.
Insult To Injury: Since Andre’s lower half is out of the press you have to imagine all his guts came out of his asshole.
Today’s installment written by Devin Faraci.
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