We proudly present a collection of cinematic moments where funny movie villains offed their targets, but those demises were strangely - and intentionally - funny.
Yes, this list could consist entirely of Jason Voorhees' greatest hits, Freddy Krueger's creative 'dreams,' or foolish James Bond henchmen - and certainly, each of those franchises make an appearance here. Indeed, perhaps we'll dive into those very topics with more specificity later. For now, though, this is what we'll be delving into!
When it comes to showcasing a cinematic cessation that is somehow intense and chuckle-inducing, these villain kills all strike the appropriate balance.
- 1473 VOTESPhoto: Warner Bros.
"He stole my balloons!" That aggravated caterwauling from the Joker (Jack Nicholson) after his plan to poison the citizens of Gotham City has been dashed by Batman (Michael Keaton) kicks off a quick comedic interlude in which an irritable maniac takes out his so-called "number one guy," his ever-loyal lieutenant Bob (Tracey Walter) after borrowing the latter's pistol.
It's a cartoonishly cruel moment from a biting comic script by Sam Hamm, played for yuks by a three-time Oscar-winner who could always so effortlessly straddle the line between drama and comedy in so many of his memorably unhinged performances.
- 2274 VOTES
In 'Gremlins,' Mrs. Deagle Takes A Stair Lift Ride To HellPhoto: Warner Bros.
Gremlins makes a killing in expertly navigating the horror/comedy threshold. Perhaps the funniest slaying of the Joe Dante-helmed Christmas classic comes when a swath of the little, green monsters dress up as holiday carolers and sing their insanely hummable Jerry Goldsmith-penned theme song outside the mansion of the cruel Kingston Falls real estate magnate Mrs. Deagle (Polly Holiday). Her house, by the by, is crawling with cats all named after various forms of international currency. When Deagle opens the front door to her house to shoo the carolers away, she promptly discovers they are terrifying beasts, barricades herself inside, and makes for her stair lift to escape to the second floor of the property.
What she doesn't realize is that an engineering-genius gremlin has short-circuited her electric stair lift, which promptly sends her screaming up the curved staircase at an expedited pace, until she is careening from a second-story window and landing headfirst on her snowy front lawn. It plays like a Chuck Jones Looney Tunes adventure, and we find ourselves weirdly on the side of the creatures.
- 3266 VOTES
In 'Die Hard,' Hans Gruber Responds to Mr. Takagi Telling Him 'You're Just Gonna Have To Kill Me' With A Nonchalant 'Okay'Photo: 20th Century Fox
During the first (but certainly not the last) time we realize Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) is really not bluffing when he threatens to end a hostage, the German ex-terrorist turned thief masquerading as a terrorist tries to use the gentle presentation of a handgun to intimidate Nakatomi Corporation executive Joseph Takagi (James Shigeta) into supplying him with crucial access codes to the company's on-site bank vault, which contains $640 million in bearer bonds.
A sweating Takagi tries to stall, but Gruber is nothing if not persistent. He gives him a final count. Takagi tries to call his bluff, telling Gruber, "I don't know it, I'm telling you. Get on a jet to Tokyo to ask the chairman. I'm telling you, you're just gonna have to kill me."
Gruber offers up a laissez-faire "Okay" and complies, shooting Takagi through the head at point-blank range.
John McTiernan was another expert director when it came to adding clever comedic beats to relieve tension. Here, in the immediate aftermath of Takagi's execution, we see that Gruber's henchmen Theo (Clarence Darnell Gilyard Jr.) and Karl (Alexander Godunov) had a side cash bet as to whether or not Mr. Takagi would give Hans the codes before his luck ran out.
- 4195 VOTESPhoto: Orion Pictures
Omni Consumer Products Senior VP Dick Jones (Ronny Cox) proudly presents "the future of law enforcement" to a boardroom full of his fellow corporate executives: ED-209, a self-sufficient police android prototype that still has a few bugs in its system.
In the original 1987 Paul Verhoeven-helmed sci-fi/action satire, featuring an incisive screenplay from Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner, the oversized robot is activated and trots into the boardroom. Jones selects a volunteer, wide-eyed Mr. Kinney (Kevin Page), to act as an "arrest subject" for a simulated demonstration of ED-209's capabilities. Unfortunately for Mr. Kinney, in one of the movie's many moments of excessive and happily gratuitous violence, the robot (emitting an animal roar) fails to register that Mr. Kinney is no longer a threat and blasts him to kingdom come.
Mr. Kinney is very, very dead by this point. An executive asks, "Somebody want to call a godd*mn paramedic?!?" Verhoeven's intention in loading up on absurd heapings of violence was to emphasize the surreality and humorous elements of this rather bleak story.
This ED-209 scene, along with the cold-blooded demise of heroic Detroit cop Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) that ultimately leads to his resurrection as the titular cyborg, was so brutal that it gave the Motion Picture Association of America pause with regards to certifying RoboCop with an R rating. An NC-17 rating would have doomed the movie's commercial box-office prospects, so the project was ultimately submitted eight times to the MPAA review board before it received the desired accreditation.