A Few Of My Favourite (Deadly) Things
‘So, I guess you think a lot about killing people,’ said the customs officer as he went through my bag yesterday. I’d told him I was a writer because I was trying to explain why I had four copies of the same book in my bag. And I suppose I do think about murder rather more than the average person. But no matter how original the death, you can bet someone got there before you. Here are just a few of my favourite movie demises.
This one’s a good argument for cordless phones. Tom Neal is the pianist on the run with Ann Savage whom he manages to strangle through a motel room door, after getting mad at her and pulling on the telephone cable that’s passed through to the next room. What he doesn’t realise is that she’s passed out drunk on the bed with the cord around her neck…
All of the ‘Final Destination’ Films (2000-2009)
Based on an idea so bonkers that it could have been stolen from a Phillip K Dick novel, these five films were really great fun, even though they were basically five versions of the same story (and to be honest you can miss Part 4, the weakest). In each a major disaster occurs and the survivors realise they’ve cheated ‘death’s grand design’, so they’re picked off in new Heath Robinson-esque ways. The films are atmospheric and suspenseful, and will make you fear everyday objects. Here’s one of the unexpected deaths, involving dumb lottery-winner Evan.
‘The Abominable Dr Phibes’ (1971)
Vincent Price is the avenging doctor wiping out all those responsible for his beloved wife’s death, killing them according to the plagues of Egypt, which stretches a point to include this death! Robert Fuest from ‘The Avengers’ directed, and you can tell. Both this and the sequel are great fun, set in the roaring 20s.
Michael Gough works in a circus run by ringmistress Joan Crawford, here seen in her late terrifying stage, strutting around in a high-cut fetishistic outfit that makes the most of her legs. When Michael leans back against a tent-pole having a smoke, someone is on the other side of it. One thump with a mallet and a steel tent spike has gone straight through the hole in the pole, into Gough’s brain. This is the film in which Diana Dors gets cut in half with a circular saw, too!
It’s time someone revived Dr Phibes – Mark Gatiss perhaps?