September 3, 2010

The Place That All Roads Lead To

So, a little bit ago, the latest segment in According to the Movies dealt with death, and no matter how you try and mess with it, you can never escape it! I posted two pictures of death in film, both radically different. The summed up the vast spectrum that death can occupy in the movies. One image was from The Seventh Seal; the other was from The Final Destination. Lovely Jess of Insight into Entertainment commented on the piece, expressing interest in seeing my deconstruction of death in film taken to a new level! Well, I can never say no to a woman! So, if you'll indulge me, I'll attempt to delve deep into the world of cinema and see how death is treated! Join me, won't you?

So, today, we're going to look at a few different depictions of death in film! We'll start off with a classic.

As The Seventh Seal comes to a close, Death, who has been dogging Block and his companions throughout the whole film, finally claims their lives! This depiction of death is probably one of the most muted in film, but one of the most powerful! Rather than show us the gory details, Bergman decides, instead, to not show us anything at all, apart from the dance at the very end! This process of not showing is actually scarier, but not so much that you can't handle it. Bergman is giving us a vision of death that carries a whole ton of weight, but, at the same time, not so much that it is unbearable! The demise of these characters means something; the whole story was leading up to this one moment. You spent that whole of the movie getting to know and relate to Block and his companions, so that when the moment of judgement comes, it is like a punch in the stomach! This is one of the best depictions of death in film!

Now, let's look at a depiction that is in a completely different spectrum!

Ok, fucking YouTube won't let me embed, so click here to see the video I intended to show! It's a compilation of all the death scenes in the remake of Friday the 13th. Warning: Very Bloody!

So, this type of cinematic death has a completely different mindset then that of The Seventh Seal. This type of death is meant to thrill and entertain! Ok, the studios would have you believe that it is meant to frighten as well, but, who are they kidding? Now, I, at least, have a slight issue with this type of death in film! What is it with our fascination with seeing teenagers getting butchered on screen? What makes teenagers so prime for hunting in the movies? Being a teenager (18. That's still a teenager... right?), I am more than a little disturbed by all this love of underage murder! Think about it. How many slasher films can you think of that don't involve teenagers getting mutilated in some way? There's not a lot, and, if there are, they clearly didn't do well. For example: the remake of Friday the 13th. Those kids were just going on a weekend trip up to their friend's cabin! They probably packed their bags and said goodbye to their parents with a casual, "I'll see you on Sunday night". Well, they never make it home, as they are, that very same night, butchered by some man in a mask! I'm sorry, but that's fucked up! Also, why the hell does it have to be so gratuitous? Ok, Jason, we get that you are pissed off and have mommy issues that would make Freud scratch is head. But, do you have to draw out all your murders to such ridiculous lengths? Come on! Have some class! Death in slasher films, though fun and thrilling (sometimes), does away with the seriousness of the matter, which, in my opinion, is not the way to go about it.

Ok, next up, we have something a bit lighter!

The Darwin Awards, though not an adaptation of the book series, deals a lot with people accidentally killing themselves in horrendously stupid ways! Now, this is meant to entertain as well, but, unlike slasher films like Friday the 13th, there is weight behind these deaths. These people are idiots, plain and simple! I could say that there are lessons that go with each death scene, but that's too cliche, so I won't say it.

But, no, just because the deaths in The Darwin Awards entertain, they still have weight! You can make death fun, but still have it be serious! This is another good way to go about depicting death in film!

On another note, I love Metallica's reaction to the car flying off the cliff!

Death in film is not going anywhere anytime soon! People want to see people losing their lives! I just get a little frightened by how much death is made out to not be a big deal in the movies! It's very rare, these days that is, that we get a film that treats the subject of death in the same manner as The Seventh Seal. That's alright! I just think we need to keep the mindset that death is a serious thing! But, people want to see their blood and guts! Guess Hollywood has to provide! Kill me now!


  1. Great job!!! What a cool look at death. It's crazy because it made me realize that most films feature "dying" more than death. You featured death really well. For all the movies about "dying" we rarely see the death.