Recently, I attended “Super Cutz: The 100 Best Kills” at the Alamo Drathouse, which contained way more than a hundred onscreen deaths from a gamut of movies, many obscure but some mainstream. Read on to see how the event measured up.
First, let me offer the Drafthouse’s description of the two-hour feature:
Join us as we sit in a theater together and turn the spotlight on the Grim Reaper of movieland as he disembowels, detonates and decapitates again and again and again. We’re not watching for character development or thematic resolution or any of that garbage; just the most life-defying acts of human extermination in film history. No man, woman, child or puppy is spared as the equalizing fist of mortality crushes cinema’s best and worst into quivering red chowder. Tear yourself open and unleash the KIIILLLLLLLL!!!!!
In truth, I was quite reticent to go this killing feature. I hate spoilers, and I was pretty certain that a remarkable onscreen death qualified as a major plot point in most movies. Fortunately, I was convinced to go anyway, in part by the chance to visit a new Alamo Drafthouse (I think I’ve been to a half dozen), but more by the Halloween spirit. After all, what else could I see? ‘Paranormal Activity 4’? Not now, not ever.
Before the feature and after Alamo’s prescreen antics, we viewers were told that the scenes that made cut were taken from an online submission process. (It seems that this has been going on for a few years.) We were encouraged to provide feedback and to submit for next year. We were also informed that each scene would feature its movie title in the bottom left of the screen while a cumulative kill counter would appear at the bottom right. We were likewise warned that the context for each death might not be so obvious, which alerted my spoiler sense but actually wound up making some scenes all the more ridiculously enjoyable.
When I saw that one scene came from ‘The Story of Ricky’, I instantly started laughing. I was the only one in my group who had seen the movie prior to this. On the other hand, during another scene that depicted an apartment full of hookers bursting into flames while an angry neighbor prepared to complain about the noise (combusting hookers are loud, it would seem), the lack of any context really made it even better. (I doubt I ever would have watched ‘Frankenhooker‘, so it’s hard to say that the movie was spoiled for me.) The most recent movie that I noticed was ‘Final Destination 2‘, in which a character gets killed by a ladder, a low point for best kills. Of course, we also saw a major scene from ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark‘ where beauty quickly turns to face-melting.
Several scenes were too unsuitable for polite conversation to discuss here, but I’ll mention a pair of less explicit movies, ‘Street Trash’ and ‘Anthropophagous’ (the latter having two separate scenes). The scene from ‘Street Trash’ featured a disenfranchised man, who after consuming a bottle of savory blue liquor, slowly dissolved. ‘Anthropophagous’ had some unsettling “The bad guy defiantly devours himself to show how hopeless the situation is for everyone else around” scenes.
One scene that brought quiet to the theater came from the original ‘Assault on Precinct 13‘. Again, being familiar with the movie and the eerie creepiness of its beginning, I wasn’t too surprised by the disquiet that resulted. Later, however, there was a mixed reaction for ‘Beware! Children at Play’, which I was unfamiliar with prior.
The scene from ‘Rambo: First Blood Part II‘ where Rambo stares down a bad guy before blowing him up with an explosive tipped arrow wasn’t received with a lot of enthusiasm. But it was immediately followed by the parody scene from ‘UHF’, which brought the house down.
By the end, we passed more than a hundred kills. The onscreen destruction of Japan pushed the numbers way up before the final scene, taken from ‘Dr. Strangelove‘.
Other featured movies that I can recall included ‘Dead Alive‘, ‘An American Werewolf in London‘, ‘Stone Cold’, ‘Welcome Home, Brother Charles’, ‘Scanners’ and ‘Creepshow‘. Many scenes skewed towards the obscure, but the whole composition was well crafted, in my opinion. I heartily recommend it now or in the future. I recommend beer as well, but I that think that popcorn is as intense a food as I would venture.
What are some of your favorite kill scenes from movies? Tell us in the Comments below.
I’d argue for the death of Emil in Robocop.
I was just saying to J-Zyber that ‘RoboCop’ is a perfect go-to for “best” anything.
Dr. Nate Boss
Maybe…except for “best” Blu-ray. 0/2 so far!
Easily one of the best kills is the head rip scene from Hatchet, that and others in that movie are fantastic, the head chop sex scene from Hatchet 2 is freaking hilarious too.
Also quite a few of the kills from Laid to Rest are fantastic and have amazing FX work 🙂
I keep wondering what the “onscreen destruction of Japan” from Dr. Strangelove is supposed to be. The end of the film depicts the end of the world as we know it; Japan very well may be destroyed in that sequence, but it’s never specifically identified or, so far as I can tell, identifiable. The stock footage used is of actual atomic blasts; I’m pretty sure all of it is from US postwar tests (I recognize most of the footage), and none of them are from Japan. Neither in testing nor in war have atomic weapons ever destroyed Japan at large; terrible though the blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were, they destroyed only a tiny portion of Japan’s land area.
Please forgive the uncertain verbiage. The onscreen destruction of Japan to which I refer is from another film which I did not name due to a concern for spoilers. That clip can be found here:
Watching it again, it probably covers more than just Japan anyway. (It is a lot more like ‘Dragonball Z’ than any kind of stock footage anyhow.)
In regards to ‘Dr. Strangelove,’ which I am arbitrarily less concerned about spoiling, I have always understood the inference of the film’s conclusion as the lone detonation having triggered the Russian doomsday device, thus insuring M.A.D. At any rate, the running counter for ‘Super Cutz’ seemed to jump from a number close to the population of Japan towards a number more approximate to the entire population of the Earth. (I would hope that they subtracted a reasonable estimate of the mine shaft gap category of survivors, but I can only speculate.)
OK, I see now that my reading was a little careless.