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Well that escalated quickly. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 unexpected movie deaths.
It goes without saying, but this entire list is one giant spoiler, so spoiler alert.
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#10 – Carolyn Fry: “Pitch Black” (2000)
This flawed hero crash-lands on a deserted planet, with primitive criminal Riddick in tow. Clearly the protagonist we’re meant to root for, Fry spends the movie keeping him and the shady monsters at bay, so we shouldn’t be shocked that she bites it. But, sigh, we are: just as she redeems herself, that sense of “they’re gonna escape” sets in. Then, boom: down with less than five-minutes left.
#9 – Dick Hallorann: “The Shining” (1980)
You know that thing about black guys always dying in horror movies? He’s the original. Without Dick, we wouldn’t even know what the shining is. But that’s all he’s good for, even though they make it look like he’ll save the day. He comes running from his sunny hideaway after Danny Torrance shines to him when his dad goes full axe-murderer. But, well, it doesn’t work out too well.
#8 – Julian Taylor: “Children of Men” (2006)
Even if you’d read the book this was based on you woulda been surprised because it’s completely different. When you see someone like Julianne Moore in a trailer, you presume she’s going to serve an important purpose in the film. We guess her function here is to show how hopeless the world can become after 18-years of female barrenness, as she’s unceremoniously offed while trying to escape an ambush.
#7 – Hoban “Wash” Washburne: “Serenity” (2005)
Fans of the cancelled but cult hit show Firefly got to catch up with their beloved characters in this film. And you’d think that’d be a good thing. But we figure most enthusiasts were not expecting that some of those characters would end up impaled by a Reaver harpoon. We’ll explain: after a tense flight and even tenser landing, Wash reaches his Zen. Theeeen dies. Seriously, screw you movies.
#6 – Chad Feldheimer: “Burn After Reading” (2008)
Brad Pitt is no stranger to unexpected movie deaths: between playing what’s in the box with John Doe or ping-ponging between cars minutes after he’s introduced in “Meet Joe Black,” he’s shocked us before. But it’s the time his buddy Clooney accidentally kills him that gets us most. No matter what happens, this will always be the movie where Brad Pitt gets shot in the face.
#5 – Vincent Vega: “Pulp Fiction” (1994)
John Travolta is on both ends of unexpected deaths in this Tarantino mindbender. The first comes when he and fellow hitman Sam Jackson are feuding about divine intervention when… ’Course, Vincent Vega’s own untimely demise is also a WTF moment, considering he’s a main character and there’s still an hour in the movie to go. Don’t worry, though: Tarantino never tells stories in order, so he’s back pretty soon.
#4 – Lt Col Austin Travis: “Executive Decision” (1996)
We thought it was in Steven Seagal’s contracts that he could. Not. Die. Like, look at this cast of characters: you’ve got the ass-kicking, ponytail-wearing lead, some geeky guy in glasses, Halle Berry and a guy called Rat. Who do you think dies? But Seagal does go out in style by sacrificing himself to save the others and being sucked into oblivion. Like forty minutes in.
#3 – Marion Crane: “Psycho” (1960)
Today’s generations have seen this death scene so many times it’s really not that shocking anymore. You know: knife, violins, screaming, dead. But consider this: it was 1960, and Hitchcock’s movie was being marketed on the strength of its famous star, Janet Leigh. Then you actually get to the theater and, after tons of buildup, see she gets it in the shower halfway through. Quite the switcheroo, we’d say.
#2 – Billy Costigan: “The Departed” (2006)
If you’re able to keep up with this movie and its multiple good-guy bad-guy moles, you know Billy Costigan is one elevator ride away from being out of the undercover cop business. And, you think Matt Damon’s gonna buy the farm. But then the doors open, Leo’s brains go flying, and details that explain what the hell is going on flood in. Yeah, the end’s a shocker too.
#1 – Russell Franklin: “Deep Blue Sea” (1999)
Nobody plays the angry guy who gets dismembered by toothy animals like Sam Jackson. However, we’re still reeling from his demise in Deep Blue Sea, considering he’s the movie’s biggest star. In the middle of an inspirational speech about how he and his fellow shark-bait are not going to die, he… dies. And when the main-MAIN character ends up swimming with the genetically mutated fishes at the end, fuggedaboutit.
Do you agree with our list? Which movie deaths left you with your jaw on the floor? For more top 10s about your favorite flicks, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.