Death is terrifying, ever-present, incredibly sad, always looming closer to us... and maybe a little bit funny?
Thinking about death is a very tense experience, which is why we all should be grateful for the incredibly funny movie deaths that have graced our screens and broken that tension, if just for a moment. The more seriously something is taken, the funnier it is to take shots at it. To look into the abyss coming for all of us, then laugh because someone met that abyss by getting swallowed by a T. rex while sitting on a toilet seat. That's a beautiful human experience.
If you think death is something never to be joked about, that's a perfectly valid (and wrong) opinion to hold. Maybe you could read a list of unfunny death scenes. If only there were a way to change your mind, though. All that immediately comes to mind is this list of the funniest movie deaths in cinematic history. Watch, enjoy, contemplate your own mortality, and vote up the scenes that make you giggle in the face of that darn abyss.
- Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing
Bill Murray's sudden appearance and demise in Zombieland is a stroke of genius. Despite the obvious fantasizing of taking over a celebrity's mansion in the event of an extinction-level scenario, no zombie movie had ever really explored this dynamic before. There's something inherently fascinating about being a celebrity in a post-celebrity, post-apocalyptic world, and honestly, that could be a movie in itself.
Murray's demise once again uses the contrast of "this is a movie, of course, they're going to be okay" with the stark reality of "oh, no, they are absolutely not okay." Murray is convinced to pull a prank on Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) by Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) and Wichita (Emma Stone), who both assure him it's going to be hilarious because Columbus is like "a little bunny." Naturally, when Murray enters the room dressed like a zombie, Columbus blows a hole through his chest with a shotgun.
Luckily, Murray's passing isn't quite as immediate, and he deadpans through some hilarious lines before drifting away.20711Hilarious demise?
- Photo: Miramax Films
Humans all seem to have an innate belief that our lives, and thus our deaths, have some sort of meaning. Even in the language of film, we've grown accustomed to the fact that if we know a character's name, if we've heard them speak, their death will hold some measure of gravitas.
That's why it's so brilliantly funny when Vincent Vega (John Travolta) accidentally blows Marvin's head off in the middle of a casual conversation. The deadpan delivery of "I shot Marvin in the face" only adds to the comedic contrast of the moment. A man has perished, a mother has lost her son, yet Vincent and Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) discuss this in the same tone they discussed cheeseburgers at the beginning of the film.
It's... well, it's hilarious. Is that okay to admit? Who knows, but the important thing is that this scene is funny.17825Hilarious demise?
- Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing
The Other Guys sets up Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson as two of the biggest bad*sses to ever live. Like the great action heroes who have come before them, these two seemed invincible. That's why when they leap off a skyscraper in pursuit of a group of high-tech bad guys, the audience is positive they'll land on some sort of awning and keep up the chase - and that's also why it's so uproariously funny when they instead simply smack into the ground, lifeless.
Never in recorded history has there been a more abrupt, or funnier, transition to a funeral. And on a side note - what bush were they aiming for in the first place?13712Hilarious demise?
- Photo: Universal Pictures
Sometimes when looking back on historically funny death scenes, it's hard to appreciate them for what they were because there have now been so many derivative versions of the scene. How many movies nowadays - from horror, to sci-fi, to romcoms - feature a character getting eaten by a T. rex straight off the toilet? Too many to count!
Well, when Gennaro was first plucked off his porcelain throne to be devoured by a hungry T. rex in Jurassic Park, that was the first time something like that had ever happened. Hard to believe, right? This scene also receives slapstick bonus points for the entire bathroom surrounding Gennaro falling to pieces like it was a set piece in a Charlie Chaplin movie.14724Hilarious demise?