Tag Archives: Final Destination

Final Destination #30DaysOfFright

fd7Flight 180, a packed passenger plane, explodes minutes after take-off from JFK killing everyone on board. Everyone accept a small group of passengers who find themselves ejected from the plane after one claims to have had a premonition of the impending disaster.

Now, those lucky few are dying in mysterious circumstances, is it just an accident or is death trying to catch up with them?

Final Destination is an amazing title (it was originally Flight 180) and concept for a horror film. If it sounds like a pitch for an episode of The X-Files, that’s because that is exactly what it started out as.

This unproduced episode was picked up by New Line Cinema, the house that Freddy built, and soon a new horror franchise was born. Talking of The X-Files, the film was written by Mulder and Scully alumnus, James Wong and Glen Morgan, and is also the big screen directorial debut of Wong. He’s no stranger to the odd though having helmed numerous episodes of both The X-Files and its darker sibling, Millennium.

Final Destination flies in the slipstream of the smart and knowing writing of Scream, its deaths however lend more of a debt of gratitude to The Omen films, was it just a nasty accident or something more?

Death is the ultimate villain; it can strike anywhere and can use anything and everything at its disposal. It is also unstoppable so no matter how far you run it will eventually catch up with you. There’s no challenging it to a game of Twister or Battleships to get out of this one.

fd2In horror film terms you also don’t get much more perfect than Death, none of that bogeyman returning due to some oversight. It’s relentless, something which the likes of It Follows cleverly taps into.

The deaths, all inventive, range from the horrendous slip and strangle in the shower (who hasn’t nearly slipped to their death when in the shower in the house on their own) to the frankly Itchy and Scratchy-like death of the teacher in her house featuring a block of knives, kettle, cracked vodka glass and dodgy computer.

fdThat initial plane premonition really grips you from the off and has to be in the running for the most jaw-dropping plane disaster sequences ever realised on film that makes Alive look like a flight in the park. I don’t think I blinked during that scene.

And the cleverness doesn’t stop with the fiery end to the vision, once the group are arguing in the airport we see the plane explode in the distance with the sound wave and smashing glass hitting them seconds later.

And the devil really is in the detail in this film, from the sprinkling of portents of doom that range from John Denver playing in the airport toilet, he died in a plane crash, to a baggage cart that reads 666 to name but two.

fd4The biggest shout out death wise must go to the bus hit though, brilliant, because although you expect it, it hits you with such speed and force that your jump is coiled tighter than ever. A death so audience rousing that the filmmakers had to add in a few extra moments of tablets dissolving in the next scene so that they could compose themselves.

And the names of all those striving to divert death are all nods to famous horror movie directors and actors, Browning (as in Todd, Director of Dracula), Hitchcock (as in Alfred, Director of Psycho), Chaney (as in Lon, star of The Phantom of The Opera) and Murnau (as in F.W., Director of Nosferatu).

fd3Tony Todd (Candyman himself) has a nice but brief turn as a mortician, the suitably named Bludworth, he essentially embodies the character of death and tells the teens the rules of death. I’ll see you soon, he proclaims at the end of the scene and indeed he does appear in the parts 2, 3 and 5. In part 3 he is the ironically the voice of the devil, on a theme park ride.

The deaths may all seem implausible, but you only have to flick through the strange deaths pages of the Fortean Times to see that sometimes real life deaths are often stranger than fiction.

In echoes of The Omen’s original marketing campaign – if something bad happened to you today, perhaps it was The Omen. I now get that Final Destination effect whenever I’m behind a tractor with bales of hay, a van with lots of scaffolding poles (as happened directly after watching Final Destination 2). 

fd6My wife was even less amused when we were about to catch our flight back home from JFK and I noticed a class of high school students travelling on the same flight. It’s just like Final Destination I proclaimed. Death didn’t follow me but a death stare certainly did.

We haven’t seen a new Final Destination for a few years, franchise wise it was a dream as it theory could go on as long as there were inventive deaths and opening scenes of disaster. But don’t be fooled into thinking Death has gone, it’s merely dormant, biding its time. 

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DEATH BECOMES THEM: TOP TEN DEATHS IN JAWS (AND ITS SEQUELS)

Jurassic World has taken a bit of a beating in some quarters over some of its horrible deaths, but then the previous films in the series didn’t exactly skimp on that either and neither did the Jaws series. Before Freddy, before Final Destination and (just) before The Omen, that is what we wanted, inventive and exciting death scenes. The Jaws series has them aplenty.

They say that Hollywood has a habit of chewing up and spitting out talent, little wonder then that Spielberg ‘fondly’ nicknamed the first films creature after his Lawyer, ‘Bruce’. Such a phrase has not been truer when looking at Jaws and its three sequels, all with deaths aplenty. The sequels have all taking a bit of a bashing, certainly they don’t a candle to the original, but they still hold a fondness and even Jaws the Revenge has its moments, well okay then maybe that should be singular.

Anyway ‘Open Wide!’ and ‘Smile, you sons of bitches!’ as we celebrate the best Jaws deaths…ever!

Is yours below? If not, which is it and why?

JAWS (1975) AKA THE ORIGINAL AND BEST

Chrissie Watkins

jaws chrissie watkins 1975The opening night time attack is up there with the shower seen from Psycho and even after all this time packs a punch like a train. It’s the perfect opener for a movie (indeed Spielberg even copied it himself of sorts in 1993 in the opening of Jurassic Park). It effectively sets the shark up as a Jack the Ripper like monster. The noise, the screams and the music all blend to still create a sense of dread in the pit of your stomach. Also one of the most iconic, and oft-imitated, poster images ever. She was the first…

Pippet the retriever

Ishot-1297You may scoff but one moment this dog was happily jumping around the surf, the next we see a floating piece of wood, which can’t be good. Showed that anyone could be next and that this fish didn’t care who it devoured. It takes someone with balls to have an animal die on screen.

Estuary victim

As a child this death haunted me when I closed my eyes. A man in a row boat comes to help Michael Brody and chums on their boat when the unfortunate soul is tipped from his boat and seen hanging to the side of his upturned craft to only have the open mouthed shadow of the Great White sweep up to him and drag him sinking beneath the waves, For me, at that moment I certainly don’t see a mechanical shark.

Only his leg is left, which can be seen drifting to to the bottom of the ocean floor. I used to try and convince myself that perhaps he survived but I think his estuary victim credit tells me what really happened…

Ben Gardner

jaws (1)We might not see him meeting his maker but we join Matt Hooper in the fright of his life when his head comes bob, bob bobbing along. Even now you know it’s coming but just not exactly when. This moment was captured in the safety of Editor Verna Fields’ swimming pool due to the film needing a jump moment. It certainly got it.

Quint

Ironic as Quint is roughly translated as five in Italian and he is the fifth human victim of the movie. Early he and the crew of the Orca drank to their legs so it was only fitting that this was the way he went, legs first. Nice blood explosion in the mouth as well before he is dragged to his watery grave.

Jaws

Well I say watery grave as he exploded with the shark several minutes later. A master stroke of tension as the Orca slowly sinks with Brody and rifle on its mast, which if you notice is ticking down to his ‘death’ like the second hand of a clock. Smile you son-of-bitch indeed.

JAWS 2 (1978) AKA THE ONE WITH THE ANNOYING TEENAGERS ON BOATS

Water skier

Also the poster girl for Jaws 2. A technically brilliant scene that showed that even those on water skies were not immune to the jaws of doom. The photography and tension in this scene is one of the highlights and showed how much more versatile the shark models and special effects were only three years later. Clearly lots of lessons had been learnt. It’s two for one on the deaths front here as the boat manages to pour petrol all over herself and then fire a flare at the shark blowing herself up and scarring the shark, just to make her all the more sinister (boo, hiss). We do get another payoff though as the corpse comes in one the tide straight into Chief Brody’s arms.

Boy on boat

Much of the film is spent routing for the shark to pick off the annoying teenagers, something of a pre-curser to Halloween and Friday the 13th as the shark is basically stalking and slashing (or should that be gnashing) them. The best death from these has to be that of Eddie Marchand who is dragged (echoing Chrissie in the first film) across the water and slammed into his boat – he hangs on for dear life and even pulls part of his boat with him as he is dragged under leaving his now hysterical girlfriend alone.

Helicopter pilot

Hey we are safe! Don’t count you chickens yet kids. Shark Vs quite frankly rubbish 70s helicopter and kills pilot with a quite frankly lame beard. In the original we never see what happens but on the Jaws 2 DVD there is great footage of him under the water as well. Worth checking out.

JAWS 3D (1983) AKA THE ONE AT SEA WORLD

Philip FitzRoyce, played by Simon MacCorkindale

A shame TVs ‘Manimal’ couldn’t change into a fish as he might have escaped this monster. Notable as we see and hear him being crunched up inside the shark’s mouth and then have him dangling like a piece of food stuck between his teeth. Was nice they tried something different with a death.

Now I know this film has been slammed but I actually really like the concept, essentially Jurassic World of sorts in many ways, and the ending to the movie. It’s a variation on the original but I like the original way they tried to do it. I certainly found it tense and exciting. I even like the 3D explosion – the blood and guts quota is certainly all here – and even have a soft spot for the upper and lower 3D jaws.

JAWS THE REVENGE (1987) AKA THE ONE WITH MICHAEL CAINE AKA THE ONE THAT’S NOT MUCH COP…REALLY IT ISN’T

Sean Brody

A film of little note, this could be included alone for the death of the franchise. It does have its moments in places though and none more than the death of the youngest Brody, Sean, who is now a cop in Amity like his old dad was (Scheider decided against this one so they killed his character off screen – as shameful as the whole Alien 3 Newt death – what a waste). Still Sean Brody is worth a mention as one of the main original characters to kick the big yellow barrel, juxtaposed with Christmas Carols and sepia shots of the original, just to remind us how crappy this film is.