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10 WTF Movie Character Deaths

Didn't See That One Coming

By Dirk Sonniksen     May 18, 2010


WTF Movie Character Deaths
© Bob Trate/Mania
 
Everyone loves a good death scene, and being unexpected makes it even more enjoyable. Some on our list are abrupt, some intended to give meaning to the story, and some merely intended for shock value. Regardless, they all deserve a spot in the annals of WTF death history. Here for your enjoyment are some of our favorite WTF death scenes in movies. Please be aware there be spoilers ahead…
 

10. Final Destination (2000) - Terry Chaney

All of the deaths in Final Destination (parts I, II, III, and IV) are WTF deaths of a sort. Our favorite comes in the first installment when bitchy Terry Chaney decides to leave her friends and step out into the street... and linger there just long enough to eat the front of a bus. It’s a quick moment to be sure, but one you’ll want to rewind and watch over and over again, not just for the unending fun of it, but to see a character you really hate get what’s coming to her.
 
 
 

9. Butch Cassidy & the Sundace Kid (1969) - Butch & Sundance

One of the most successful westerns to grace the screen, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid features hunky duo Paul Newman and Robert Redford, the two unlikely leaders of the Hole InThe Wall Gang. Butch and Sundance eventually find themselves in Bolivia robbing banks under the moniker Bandidos Yanquis, but things don’t go as planned, and they are eventually surrounded by the Bolivian army. With a standoff eminent, the two go out (literally) with guns blazing, having no idea they are outnumbered. It is believed that the real Butch and Sundance committed suicide during a standoff in the same South American country, although there are those that claim the two were never caught, and lived out their days in the United States.  
 

 

 

8. Meet Joe Black (1998) - Joe Black

While Brad Pitt’s death scene in Meet Joe Black is a tad on the digital side, we still felt it worthy of our list. This resembles our tenth runner up, Final Destination, as Brad Pitt ambles out into the street... lingering... wait for it, wait for it... blam! Fortunately for Joe, he will end up bedding down with the very woman that got him killed in the first place... and escort her father into the afterlife.
 

 

 

7. Executive Decision 1996 - Lt. Colonel Austin Travis

A team of crack commandos headed by Lt. Colonel Austin Travis attempt to board a high-jacked airliner using the ever-popular docking-from-below maneuver by an experimental aircraft. See any problems with this scenario? No, indeed—this maneuver should go off without a hitch! That is until the hatch gets stuck, and Steven Seagal is trapped inside. With everyone screaming to get out of the hatch, Lt. Colonel Austin Travis does what any semi-leading man would do... he closes the hatch just as it is ripped to pieces by the force of the breakup, sending him sailing into the afterworld and a great WTF death.
 

 

 

6. Three Days of the Condor (1975) -  Joseph Turner,  G. Joubert and  Leonard Atwood

One of the most suspenseful political dramas ever made, Three Days of the Condor follows Joseph Turner, a CIA guy who reads books to find clues as to who’s overthrowing who in world politics. Turner stumbles on a doozy of a lead that sends him on the run, but how long can he keep it up? Turner eventually ends up at the home of Leonard Attwood, an evil bastard that is quickly dispatched by the killer, G. Joubert. Three Days of the Condor makes our list not for its notoriety among films, but for its abrupt shock value. If you haven’t seen this gem, do yourself a favor and check it out.
 

 

5. No Country for Old Men (2007) - Llewlyn Moss

What would a list be without a Coen Brothers film, and No Country for Old Men is ripe for our WTF Death list. One of the creepiest antagonists ever, Anton Chigurh, shoots it out with Moss, taking it from a hotel room to the streets, with both men sustaining wounds. Do we ever see Moss get it? Of course not, that would be too easy! Instead, the Coen Brothers screw with our heads as they do in all their films, and we have to imagine this one for ourselves.
 
 

4. Pulp Fiction (1994) - Vincent Vega

Quentin Tarantino has created plenty of WTF moments, and the fate of Vincent Vega is no different. Indeed, Vincent Vega is the hit man you should hate, but just can’t. He and Jules are a killing duo that exude personality, charisma, and a certain naiveté that eventually gets Vincent killed. In this case, it was to Vincent’s detriment that he left his gun on the counter during a bathroom visit. In fact, something bad always seems to happen when Vincent is in the bathroom, and in this case, it’s Vincent that gets it when Butch catches him unawares coming out of the crapper.
 

 

 

3. Deep Blue Sea (1999) - Russell Franklin

Deep Blue Sea is a craptastic flick featuring scientists who genetically mutate sharks in an attempt to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Yes, the script is that bad. It doesn’t take a big stretch of the imagination to guess that genetically mutating sharks cannot go well... and it doesn’t. The sharks begin exhibiting all kinds of funky traits, which include being super-smart and swimming backwards. Enter Russell Franklin, played by Samuel L. Jackson. While giving the scientists a “pep talk,” a shark literally jumps out of the pool and drags him under, ripping him in half. An incredibly unpoetic death for an actor who should have never taken the part in the first place.
 

 

 

2. Psycho (1960) -  Marion Crane

Marion Crane steals 40 large from her company, only to hide out in the one motel in the area whose owner happens to be Norman Bates. After dining with Bates, Marion decides to take a shower... what a great idea... what could possibly go wrong? After Norman finishes with Crane, he dumps her body and her car in a swamp, and the fun continues. For its time, Psycho’s famous death scene with Janet Leigh was a real WTF moment, not only because it was fairly brutal for 1960, but also because in true Hitchcock fashion, no one saw it coming. 
 

 

 

1. Inglourious Basterds (2009) - Hitler

In another of Quentin Tarantino’s weird alternate universes, we have a makeshift band of Jewish Nazi hunters headed by Lt. Aldo Raine, the quick-witted Tennessean who wants each of his men to bring him 100 Nazi scalps. But the weirdness truly begins when history is rewritten, with Omar and Donowitz gunning down Adolf Hitler, making for one hell of an ending, and the top WTF death on our list. We won’t be shedding any tears over Adolf’s death, and give Tarantino high honors for some of the finest historical revisionism ever!
 
 
 
 
 If you enjoy WTF, check out 10 WTF Movie Endings6 WTF Moments In Movies. If you are looking for the comic flavor, check out 5 WTF Comic Book Character Origins. Both of those articles were written by Dirk Sonniksen...WTF???
 


 

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COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 37
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Chopsaki 5/18/2010 1:07:25 AM

The very first chest burster in Alien before we knew what to expect, Return of the Jedi: Boba Fett going out like a bitch, The Deer Hunter: Russian Roulette, but I'd have to say the best by far is...The Mist! That scene at the very end with 5 survivors and only 4 bullets, I mean...just...wow. Frank Darabont, you sir have balls.

SarcasticCaveman 5/18/2010 1:52:26 AM

Back when it first came out, I have to imagine that Trekkies had a huge WTF moment on Spock's death scene in "Wrath of Khan".  Main characters aren't supposed to DIE! 

madmanic999 5/18/2010 2:33:35 AM

I think the Departed should be on here somewhere.... That was the BIGGEST WTF death EVER.

marcd30319 5/18/2010 4:19:15 AM

11. Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze: Don Rubio Gorro

This quirky cult fav had plenty of WTF moments, but the death of this weakly, thumb-sucking, pint-sized clerk-turned-criminal got his ill-gotten rewards the hard way when the climatic earthquake caused the golden geyser to erupt, drenching Rubio in molten gold. And the final insult is when his gold-encased body is found, the musical cue of "La Cucaracha" is played. A true WTF death!

 

rgtchtiger 5/18/2010 4:40:43 AM

 It's a sub-par movie at best, but Heath Ledger's fate in The Patriot had my jaw on the floor.  First of all, the entire shootout between his militia and the Brits was intense, and I honestly did not see his death coming.  It was the most shocking moment of the entire film.

And SarcasticCaveman is right - where is Spock's death on this list?  How is it not at or near the very top?

 

 

Flint521466 5/18/2010 4:42:08 AM

Donnie's heart attack in The Big Lebowski was a WTF for me.  It wasn't gruesome or anything.  It was just so random.

David Warner's head gettin' lopped off by a sheet of glass in The Omen stands out to as well. 

jppintar326 5/18/2010 4:45:48 AM

As I recall, we don't actually see Butch and Sundance die.  It ends on a freeze frame of them going to their deaths.  I always thought that was cheesy especially since the deaths of Bonnie and Clyde and all the main characters in The Wild Bunch died very violently.  We actually saw them die.  I compare Butch and Sundance to these two films because they are from the same era.  I personally think Wild Bunch and Bonnie and Clyde stand the test of time better because their stories were more serious while Butch and Sundance had a story that was a little too jokey at times.

For that reason, I think The Wild Bunch and Bonnie and Clyde deserve to be on this list, not Butch and Sundance. 

Here's another one: the death of Julianne Moore early in Children of Men?

ultrazilla2000 5/18/2010 4:59:15 AM

When a few puny missiles took out "Godzilla" in the 1998 American travesty.  The "King of the Monsters" killed by a couple of missles?!?  WTF!?!

LooneyBinJIm 5/18/2010 5:15:46 AM

I think the opening scene from Ghost Ship with the gorrote wire should get honorabe mention.

ponyboy76 5/18/2010 5:49:09 AM

Not sure who wrote Deep Blue Sea , but they must have watched a lot of cartoons. That is one funny ass scene. SLJ is trying to get all inspirational and a giant shark just jumps out the water and eats him.  Hilariously cartoonish.

That scene in Ghost Ship is definitely a WTF?

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