Friday, August 12, 2011

Top 10 Stupidest Final Destination Deaths

I had to double time on this article, as I realized that the fifth Final Destination movie it was supposed to preview or coordinate with came out today. The series can be described in two sentences. "Teens escape death in a [plane crash/highway pileup/roller coaster accident/race track disaster/bridge collapse]. Death stalks them one by one, and claims them in gruesome ways." It's the same damn movie five times over, and people keep going to see it. Apparently the first one was halfway decent, though now they're milking the series until, in the true Final Destination fashion, the auto-milking machine starts to suck out blood and innards (ie, film critics will personally murder anyone who continues to watch the new movies that come out and call it part of the experience, and the gross after all the lawsuits will be well in the red).

Now I know I'm complaining about something I haven't seen, what with...well, not watching any of these movies. But it seems like the only reason there's still a demand for this series is to see what ways the writers can come up with people to die. A lot of people have a certain morbid curiosity (it's why I know what a lot of the series' deaths are, after all), so they'll fork over the cash to see how the latest batch bites it. Most of the time it involves some sort of elaborate Rube Goldberg setup. Rube Goldberg, incidentally, died at the ripe old age of 87 after a long illness so apparently he and Death were on OK terms.

"It beats getting decapitated by an elevator."

So without further ado, here are my picks for the top 10 stupidest deaths in the Final Destination movies that have come out to date, minus the latest one which I will not watch. Keep in mind that there are the stupidest deaths...not the worst ways to die, of which there are plenty, but the ones that are absurd. Also, apologies for the clips I can't embed.

10. Movie theaters double as storage units for explosives (The Final Destination)

I'm really not sure how 3D movies came back. The glasses are less stupid-looking, and a bunch of theaters somehow became 3D capable, and quite a few movies now come in with this option. The better ones, like Avatar and How to Train Your Dragon, use it to make it something of an immersing experience without compromising the story. The worse movies use it as a gimmick to throw stuff at the audience. Case in point: this scene in The Final Destination.

Um...did we stumble into Inglourious Basterds or something? What mall theater leaves a depot of highly explosive materials in the megaplex where hundreds of people are concentrated? And not just highly explosive, but "spontaneously combustible" as the one barrel warns, so these things could just blow up for no reason at all. So we get the hot teens chewing the scenery over how they were supposed to be safe at this shitty movie within a shitty movie all along before the massive fireball blows out the screen and hurls a sharp piece of debris at the one girl for a last 3D thrill. Or perhaps your own theater just exploded and killed you? Those wags at The Final Destination sure know how to make you think, but they apparently don't know that most movie theaters have an emergency exit (aka, "the outside") behind the screen instead of a warehouse of nitroglycerin.

This technically doesn't qualify, since the whole sequence is just a vision and the blast is prevented. Still, enough explosives to level a block stored inside a movie theater...

9. The insanely unsafe race track (The Final Destination)

The Final Destination movies always start with some calamity killing dozens of people, and a handful escaping due to a character having a prescient filmstrip of the whole disaster. In the first two movies, it's a horrifying portrayal of a plane crash (thus the only real fitting use of "final destination") and a highway pileup. It gets into more obscure things from there, starting with a roller coaster mishap in the third movie and a race track catastrophe in the fourth movie.

To be fair, auto races aren't immune from tragedy; for some reason people still go to rally car races where the only thing separating spectators from injury or death is a line of tape making sure they don't go onto the track themselves. And a quick search of "race track disaster" brings up the the 24 Hours of Le Mans incident, in which a crashing vehicle did quite a few of the things portrayed here, albeit in the blink of an eye rather than an exaggerated period of half a dozen minutes. According to the Wikipedia article, the flying hood decapitated several people, the engine block flew into the crowd, and an estimated 84 people were killed.

That, however, was in 1955. This movie takes place some 55 years later, when modern race tracks have safety measures such as stronger fences and stop flags to ensure that every car doesn't obliterate itself and hurl debris into panicked grandstands. If the stadium at every racetrack had burning cars flying through flimsy fences and huge chunks of concrete collapsing into the stands, I think NASCAR would be a lot less popular, at least when it came to live attendance. On top of that, you have some downright ridiculous deaths such as the guy who slips and impales himself on a broken bench.

8. Unwanted face piercings (Final Destination 3)

If I'm interpreting this scene correctly, Ramona Flowers there is somehow interpreting a photo from the Carnival of Roller Coaster Death and translating it into "That little whirlwind is going to impale that guy with a bunch of stakes." At which point Death just decides that he'd much rather pile everyone under Ikea surplus and vault a bunch of stuff at a Goth girl so she falls into a possibly triggerless nail gun.

I don't do much in the way of home improvement projects, but I'm pretty sure nail guns need something to set them off. Was there a single frame of the nail gun trigger snagged on the table edge somewhere in this mess? Do some nail guns just operate by pressure alone? Let's watch that opening scene from the fourth season of The Wire, mainly to get a bit of a palette cleanser with some decent multimedia but also to learn some more about this particular power tool.

7. Window panes do not work that way! (Final Destination 2)

You've narrowly avoided a disaster which has killed dozens, and now the people who also cheated death are meeting their demise in ways which are gruesome and painful. In a sense, it's amazing these people aren't hiding out in a bomb shelter and waiting until Death is sated on the latest earthquake victims or something. But I guess you could stare Death in the eye and go about your daily business and run idiotically into a restricted zone to hassle some pigeons:

For shame, Final Destination 2 writers and producers. You couldn't think of some bloodier mishap, say a pane of glass guillotining him lengthwise from head to toe and leaving a couple of slices of human like you see in all the science museums these days? Instead, they decide that window panes versus humans must be done in a flat, head-on way that, for some reason, flattens this poor kid like he's made of mashed potatoes. Granted, this chart does suggest that giant panes of glass are heavy enough to do damage before they shatter, but judging from that clip I have to guess that Death was trying to trap him in the Phantom Zone and only got halfway through or something.

6. Muscles don't make you immortal, ass (Final Destination 3)

You've cheated death but discovered that Death is a nasty character and wants to, um, kill you. What's a guy to do? Why, punch Death in the face, I guess. That seems to be Jock Footballstar's attitude here:

So to recap: the team keeps a stuffed bear in the weight room, like any team with a bear mascot of course. A claw gets knocked into the face of some big guy (who, for a big guy, takes the unprecedented step of flinching away from a bear claw), and then there's some scimitars and head smashing and all.

I think the main thing to take away from this is the question of what school decided that a wise investment would be a coat of arms whose swords are sharp enough to slice through a fucking metal cable. I can only imagine the conversation that must have taken place for that:

Superintendent: I say we need razor sharp scimitars on the coat of arms in the weight room.
Board of Education Member: Are you sure? You know, we could use an upgrade to the computer lab. We're still on Windows 95 and-

5. Yes, but can you make the pool drain dangerously powerful? (The Final Destination)

All right, I guess this is another one I might have to renege on. A simple search for "pool drain" uncovers this CNN story about how drains can exert 500 pounds of vacuum force and disembowel people. The stupidity factor lies more in the reason for Beef Jerkass heading to the bottom of the pool in the first place. OK, so his cell phone is dead and maybe this club has a pay phone he needs to use, but how is he going to check his voice mail? How is he even going to remember the number of the people he wants to dial in this, the age of mobile? Is he just really desperate to do his laundry and can't make do with only 30 minutes of drying?

"Curse you, socialist quarter! This is what happens when you put a Democrat in the White Houuuuu-[explodes]"

And we all know his reaction wouldn't be to go diving into the pool after a measly 25 cents, even in this economy. He'd go off onto the links to commit roid rage against whatever golfer looks like a reasonable enough culprit for a mis-aimed ball, or at least whatever golfer looks thrashable enough, which is to say, all of them. Death could have had a lot of fun figuring out a death out there, too, perhaps involving Rodney Dangerfield and a yacht.

4. Horse breaks the laws of physics (Final Destination 3)

I can at least appreciate that some of these setups are clever and even possible somewhere in the multiverse. There's a reason we have the phrase "freak accident," after all. But then there are scenes like this:

Putting aside the fact that the horse is only tied to a loosely planted flag, there's also the question of whether something with one, that's right, one horsepower has enough force to fling a javelin-like object in a nice arcing trajectory across the fairgrounds and right into some nice girl's back. If it did happen, odds are some people looked at this tragedy as some good inside information on the next Kentucky Derby results.

3. He should have just asked to be friends (The Final Destination)

I guess it's a requirement of the Final Destination universe that cars have to be leaking gas at all time. They must be perpetually at war in that universe to secure oil reserves for their fuel inefficient vehicles, the dumb motherfu-

Oh. Right. OK, let's just take a look at the clip.

So yeah, I'm not even sure why the tow truck's tank is spouting about a gallon of gas a minute, which seems to be the main cause of death here. Maybe there was something I missed earlier. Maybe he just decided to poke a hole in it to douse a cross for the burning, which seems to be his point in visiting this guy's house because the guy stopped him from going back into Le Mans Redux to save his wife or some such thing. Or maybe his company's motto is "Carter's Towing: We'll Pick You Up, But We Should Really Only Drive With A Half Tank Since There Are A Couple Of Punctures We Need To Patch Up At Some Point."

2. Death really hates educators (Final Destination)

Ah, teachers. Underpaid and overburdened with the responsibility of turning our youth into the leaders of tomorrow. Also, completely unaware of their surroundings.

I'm not sure about temperature differentials and all, aside from the time I spent working in a restaurant where the explicit instructions were to not leave an empty coffee pot heating on the burner because if you tried to fill it with water again it would explode in your face. Also the time my mother heated a Pyrex dish of something on the stove and it did just that, except for the my face part. Still, I think even the high school restaurant employees among us would recognize if a cup or container cracked open and started spilling liquid all over the place. Not so much the English teachers on Long Island, it seems. In all the ways Death succeeds in wounding this woman without delivering the fatal blow, I can only think of him as the incompetent hitman in Mulholland Drive. Hasn't he had hundreds of millions of years of practice in this sort of thing?

The idiot majority on YouTube believe the message of this clip is "teachers have flammable blood." No, it's more a result of this alcohol trail which is so very comprehensive that it can track its way back to the source bottle and detonate that. Perhaps vodka, like everything else in this universe, is just gasoline with another name. Credit is due for the teacher slipping on her own blood but recovering, but the fact that so much of her kitchen (and, after this clip, her entire house) winds up detonating is a bit odd. Was the teacher pulling a Breaking Bad sort of operation and running a meth lab in her kitchen cabinets?

1. The news media, now with more explosions! (Final Destination 2)

Given that I work in the media field, it's no secret that the TV news vans can show up awfully quick on the scene, sending either the rapid response SUV unit with a cameraman and good-looking reporter or the satellite truck which is apparently the exact same thing but allows you to broadcast live from the scene rather than just tape some footage for the next Live At Whatever. In this clip, it seems the former option has responded to a bad-enough car accident out in the middle of nowhere.

And once again you have to play the Breakfast Machine music as the ever-leaking vehicles over in Final Destinationland, the world's worst amusement park/alternate universe, as a cigarette ignites a gasoline trail that somehow leads from the accident to the news van (did they just decide that they needed to pull right up next to the wreck before the firefighters chased them off?), blows up the van, and throws some barbed wire at this Rory guy. Even assuming it would make it that far, with that much force, it's not razor wire or piano wire or anything that typically has the slicing capability in movies. It's probably just there to ensure the sheep don't wander off. Rory would likely get a couple of rusty puncture wounds, but I guess they didn't want to show a slow death by tetanus.


  1. All these deaths could've been avoided if people actually paid attention to detail and noticed things or didn't act like morons.

    The lesson isn't that we aren't in control of our own destinies. It's to be aware of fuckin' morons.

  2. All these deaths could've been avoided if people actually paid attention to detail and noticed things or didn't act like morons.

    The lesson isn't that we aren't in control of our own destinies. It's to be aware of fuckin' morons.

    1. I love these movies because I'm psychic and I saw my friend die and he did but not as gruesome as this. I love it because I am lucky I don't see things like this in my visions

  3. Also, I think Death kinda "helped out" for those more illogical parts. Like the infamous leaking liquids or crap igniting faster.

    Seriously I think that. It's gotta be the only way.

    Either that or the writing staff Didn't Do the Research and only went with how they "thought" things would work.

    1. Well remember the kid who slips on the water and dies because the shower head wraps around his neck? The water draws back into the toilet. There was definitely some outside influence.

  4. omg that is freaky i hate nail guns arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  5. He dived into the pool after that coin because it was his "lucky coin" - this is explained earlier in the movie.