Movie deaths can be an emotional thing. They can move us to tears, shock us with their abruptness, make us fist-pump at the death of the bad guy, or make fanboys swear vengeance on a filmmaker. Whatever the scenario, they’re an integral part of narrative cinema.
Less integral, perhaps, are these unintentionally hilarious (yet clearly brilliant) on-screen croaks. It should go without saying again, but SPOILERS AHEAD.
Still reading? It’s not Game Of Thrones level spoilers, but I still don’t want to ruin anything for you.
Okay, here we go.
6. Dragon Leap, Reign Of Fire (2002)
Matthew McConaughey kicking the bucket in Reign Of Fire falls slap bang in the middle of the entertaining, completely ridiculous, but mostly entertaining category.
After travelling to London with Christian Bale and Izabella Scorupco to battle the dragon queen and put an end to the dragon scourge which has destroyed the planet, McConaughey, dressed as Bane, decides to climb a massive tower and drop the mic in the most badass way possible. Arming himself with an axe/pickaxe hybrid and a Gerard Butler scream, he charges off the edge, for no apparent reason other than to look fucking cool, into a dragon’s gaping mouth. Jumping the shark? Child’s play.
5. Balloon Head, Total Recall (1990)
“Cohaagan! Give these people air!”
If Cohaagan had known his fate, he might have been more inclined to listen to Arnie’s Get to da choppa! style plea to save a town full of mutants on Mars. After being ejected into Mars’ atmosphere unprotected, his face, in entirely realistic fashion which was key to this film, begins to balloon up like an auto-inflate lifeboat while his eyes pop out like jack-in-the-boxes. It completes a hilarious and pretty satisfying end (he’s a bit of a douche).
4. Death By Crotch Grab, Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow (1978)
I don’t know what’s funnier: the way Jackie Chan grabs a dude’s forbidden fruit to kill him, or the way the guy dies after it happens.
3. Jumping Into An Acid Lake, Dante’s Peak (1997)
Before you call me an insensitive jerk, the actual death scene of the grandma in Dante’s Peak isn’t hilarious (it’s actually pretty sad considering she passes in front of her grandchildren). It’s the reason she has to die that’s…well, stupid. They’re on a boat on an acid lake about 10 feet from the shore (even less to the pier). The motor’s gone and they’re moving slowly, but they’re clearly going to make it. So what does gran do? Leap into the acid and ruin everyone’s day even more.
The whole scene is tinged with comedy because it’s just so ridiculous, and it makes you feel even more sorry for the surviving characters who went back to rescue their grandma, only for her to perform a deluded sacrificial manoeuvre which did nothing but slow them down even more when she had to piggy-back on Pierce Brosnan.
2. Chainsaw To The Face, Evil Dead (2013)
Forget Saw and Hostel; Evil Dead, Fede Alvarez’s remake of the 1981 cult classic, is definitely the most violent, gory, blood-drenched movie you’ll ever see. No scene displays it more clearly or hilariously than the climax, where Jane Levy’s Mia, after ripping her own arm off to get free from being stuck under a truck, revs up a chainsaw and proceeds to plough it through her possessed friend’s face.
For the sake of being a decent person, you’ll notice I didn’t attach a screen-cap of the scene. But you should still definitely watch it:
1. Head Wobble, The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Marion Cotillard is a damn fine actress who’s won an Academy Award for her work in La Vie en Rose and is consistently one of the best things about whatever film she happens to be in, which makes it surprising that she gave us probably the most hilariously unconvincing death cinema has ever seen.
Near the end of The Dark Knight Rises, Cotillard’s Miranda Tate is revealed to actually be Talia al Ghul, the daughter of Liam Neeson’s Ra’s al Ghul and the orchestrator of pretty much all of Batman’s troubles. Needless to say, when the truth comes out, Talia goes batshit crazy (pun intended) and drives a lorry off a bridge, killing herself in the process – but not before she has the chance to say a few last damning words to Batman and go to the light in full head shake mode. Here’s the glorious moment in GIF form:
You get the idea. Every time I see it I can’t help but think of the guy who wrote his dying breath on a wall in Monty Python And The Holy Grail. If she had a pen I like to think she’d do the same.