Trying to pick 7 death scenes that stand out above all the rest is like picking one grain of sand in the desert. It's a fool's game. For every great morsel that you pick out of the cinematic ether, there is another that's just as good, or maybe even better. Faced with the futile task of whittling down the myriad of options, I decided to think about types of death. That should narrow things down a bit, right? Well, there's the serious, funny, long, short, graphic, strange, animal, human, science-fiction, romance and everything else in-between. Basically, thinking in terms of themes doesn't narrow things much. Nevertheless, there are always death scenes that resonate.
For whatever reason, whether it's a perfectly laid out shot, or seeing the right thing at the right time, there are those that stick out. They're the scenes that you bring up in conversation, and argue about over a beer or two. For me, those films are:
1. American History X
Fifty years ago a shocking, violent death would make a viewer's stomach turn. These days, it's a bit harder. We've seen rivers of blood, scary death pictures, and almost every type of horror, both in the news and in entertainment. However, the curb stomping scene from American History X stands out as one of the most disturbing deaths I've ever witnessed in a movie. Derek (Edward Norton) empties his gun towards an escaping car of thieving accomplices before turning to the wounded one they left behind. Out of bullets, he forces the dying man's face to the curb, and "curbstomps" him. It's curious how weapons of death can be less terrifying than a simple pair of steel-toed boots.