Killer Death Scenes: The 10 Most Thrilling Cinematic Snuffs
1. Air Force One (1997)
Terrorists hijack the Presidential airplane, only to find a worthy adversary in Harrison Ford, Commando in Chief. As Ivan Korshuno (Gary Oldman) tries to make his midair escape out of the open cargo door with the First Lady as hostage, Mr. President charges, chokes him with the nearest strap, and kicks him out the door—snapping Badguy Oldman’s neck. The best part? Harrison Ford growling “Get off my plane!”
2. Blade Runner (1982)
It’s 2019 L.A., and Harrison Ford’s Rich Deckhert is a “blade runner”—an assassin of androids called “replicants.” When a small band of replicants realize they’re built to self-destruct after four years, they escape to Earth looking for what we’re all looking for—the chance to live. Replicant prototype Roy Batty’s touching speech, given just after he has saved Deckhert’s life and as his own clock is winding down, is the most moving, human expression in the entire movie. “The things I’ve seen…all those memories will be lost…like tears in the rain. Time to die.”
3. Deep Blue Sea (1999)
This whale (er, shark…) of a flop stinks like it’s been decomposing on the beach for a few weeks. The only saving grace is the shocking yet hilarious death of Russell Franklin (Samuel L. Jackson). The team of scientists has just realized the super-smart sharks they’ve been studying have murderous designs, and the stress is driving them apart. In the midst of delivering a rousing pep talk, Russell is snatched up by the killer shark and dragged into the depths in a rain of spurting blood. Awesome!
4. Fatal Attraction (1987)
Glenn Close plays Alex, perhaps the creepiest stalker this side of Michael Myers. Her murder of a little girl’s pet rabbit in this movie would also probably make the list, that is, if her own death weren’t so fantastic. Armed with a knife in the bathroom of her object of obsession, Dan (Michael Douglas), she is finally subdued and seemingly drowned. Still clutching the knife, she pops out of the water, only to be shot by Dan’s wife. This one’s for the rabbit!
5. Jurassic Park (1993)
Lawyer Donald Gennaro’s consumption by T-Rex makes the list because of its sheer inventiveness. In a torrential rainstorm, a dinosaur on the loose wreaks havoc on the escaping humans. When Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) attracts its attention, he leads the T-Rex to a small thatched-roof structure, which topples, leaving Donald caught with his pants down, literally. He is eaten right from his perch on the toilet, which many would see as the only fitting end to a lawyer’s life.
6. No Country for Old Men (2007)
After successfully outrunning his fate—death at the hands of Javier Bardem’s Chigurh—for much of the movie, Llewelyn Moss is finally done in at an El Paso motel. Chigurh pads down a walkway in his stocking feet before using his compressed-air cattle-killing device to blow open the door to a room. After first killing a gang of Mexicans who are also looking for the money that had disappeared after a drug deal gone wrong, he goes after Llewelyn.
7. Point Break (1991)
This movie has everything: daring bank robberies, thrilling chases, cheeky criminals, tight plot … not to mention tight abs of all those half-naked surfer boys. Keanu Reeves stars as Johnny Utah, an undercover cop charged with following Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) and his band of surfers gone bad. Like Johnny, you can’t help but fall for Bodhi’s charm, and we always get misty at the final showdown—between Bodhi and his ultimate wave.
8. Scream (1996)
Pretty gutsy move, killing off the movie’s megastar headliner, Drew Barrymore as Casey, before the opening credits roll. This self-aware satire of old-school horror movie tropes opens with one of the oldest in the book—a pretty young girl, home alone, fields an obscene phone call that turns into a terrifying cat-and-mouse game with a knife-wielding maniac. Things get stabby just as her parents’ car turns into the driveway. Will they find her in time? Not a chance. But with her dying gasps, Casey effectively breathed new life into a tired horror movie genre.
9. The Rock (1996)
FBI desk jockey Stanley Goodspeed, played by Nicholas Cage, isn’t much of a killer. That all changes when he and a legendary ex-con played by Sean Connery are imprisoned on Alcatraz Island by a group of mutinous mercenaries who are holding San Francisco hostage by aiming missiles filled with nerve gas at the city. The escaping Goodspeed is cornered by a fearsome Captain Darrow (Tony Todd), who is getting ready to cut Goodspeed to to ribbons. But Darrow makes the mistake of standing in front of one of the rockets and is instead sent flying to his death. Adding insult to injury, the last thing he hears is Goodspeed’s cryptic remark about an Elton John song. You guessed it&mdsh;”Rocket Man.”
10. The Terminator (1984)
The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a merciless murder machine sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor. After spending two hours of screen time trying to do so he’s finally blown up when his victims-to-be plant plastic explosives on a gasoline truck. But The Terminator does not stop coming, even though his artificial flesh has melted off. In an abandoned factory, the gleaming chrome Terminator is blown up yet again, this time by a pipe bomb to the abdomen. Not dead yet, he crawls after Sarah Connor, only to be crushed by some otherwise benign machinery. Dead, for this installment, at least.
Want more thrills? Read our list of the top 10 instances of telekinesis in the movies.