Death Scenes

Once Upon a Time in the West

Editor’s Note: In the spirit of spooky time, the filmmakers behind The ABCs of Death 2 have all chosen their favorite movie deaths of all time, and Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado have agreed to shed some light on why they chose theirs. Take it away, Keshales and Papushado… There are million ways to die in the west, especially in Spaghetti westerns but the best way to go is being shot by the late and great Sergio Leone. This director really knows how to turn death into a huge spectacle of emotions. His death scenes are films within a film and the opening scene of Once Upon a Time in The West is the pinnacle of his work. For oh so many minutes Leone builds great tension by placing three gunmen in a train station. They all wait for their prey: Harmonica (Charles Bronson). It’s a long wait, and Leone stretches the time and our patience. By the time Harmonica gets out of the train we almost want to shoot him ourselves for having us wait so long. And then it happens. It’s quick and abrupt – the complete opposite of the build up. The composition is great, the pacing is spot on, but what makes this death scene the best in the history of cinema is the dialogue between the gunmen and Harmonica: Harmonica: Did you bring a horse for me? Gunman: Well…looks like we shy one horse. Harmonica: You brought two too many. The best lesson in subtraction we’ve ever had!


The Best Short Films

Why Watch? “You cut it right out of her, John.” Bloody Cuts has made some strong short films, and this blend of a police thriller and a home invasion flick toys with fear using simple tools: words and imagery that puts something foul in your mind. Fortunately, in this tale of a murderer being interrogated by a detective, we also get the money shots and an excellent turn of the plot that should please just about anyone. It’s the kind of solid horror work that brings an evil smile to your face and sends a shiver through your heart. If you’ve still got one. What will it cost you? Only 5 minutes. Skip work. Watch more short films.


Boiling Point

Death is a profound thing. It has long been utilized in the art of storytelling to make the fiercest of impacts. From the first written work of fiction (“Beowulf”) to the works of Shakespeare to the films of Uwe Boll, death has been ever present. When handled correctly, a death can be a haunting memory in a film, a momentous moment that effects the viewer on a very real and very emotional moment. Let’s cut to the jump so we can discuss a lot of spoilery stuff and bitch about how a thoughtless death is cruel to the character and an affront to the audience.


Best Bathtub Death Scenes

When I lived in DC, I took at least two showers a day because of the swamp heat and humidity. Even then, after reaching what could technically, numerically be called adulthood, I would find myself checking cautiously behind the curtain (from time to time) for psychotic serial killers. The bathroom, and the bathtub in particular, is an incredibly vulnerable place. After all, we are (usually) alone. We are cornered. We are naked. Many films have exploited this vulnerability, but not all of them do it for fear. In fact, it turns out that where we spend .6% of our lives can also be an incredibly poignant space. It can also be hilarious. Many films have killed characters in the bathtub, but only a few could float to the soap-covered top as the best of the best.

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published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.29.2015
published: 01.28.2015

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