Film Ways Dying In Real Life Is Different From Death In Movies And TV  

Jacob Shelton
179.7k views 11 items

As a society we are surrounded by death, and not just because our bodies are ticking time bombs, waiting to keel over at an unknown moment. In just about every film and TV show, someone dies in one way or another. But the way death is portrayed in movies and how it actually happens are completely different animals. Film and television deaths have to be entertaining, and they need to hit us in the feels. Tangible death is rarely perfect, and it’s usually very messy. That’s just one of the ways the media gets death wrong. It’s almost like the entertainment industry has an aversion to making anyone look gross, even when they’re dying.

Aside from the definite "ick" factor that’s present in all deaths, one of the big TV death fails is making everything look way too easy. There was a time in the '90s where everyone was getting their head chopped off willy-nilly, and there’s no way that beheading someone is as simple as chopping up a carrot.

Aside from the ease with which people are killed in film and on television, there’s an entire world of death that the entertainment industry either refuses to get right, or is ignorant of. If you’ve wondered about what it’s actually like to hang someone, or be set on fire, then prepare to have all of your weird questions answered. Next time you’re watching a movie and somebody bites the dust, remember, it’s nothing like the real thing. 

Getting Your Throat Slashed Is... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Ways Dying In Real Life Is Different From Death In Movies And TV
Photo: Dimension

You've seen this in a million movies, but the effect is always the same: a quick flick of the wrist and the neck opens up, pouring out a tasteful amount of blood. But how does it work in real life? Getting your throat slashed severs your trachea, which keeps you from screaming, then it severs the carotid artery preventing new oxygenated blood from reaching the brain.

Lastly, it severs the jugular vein, allowing blood to easily flow from the brain. The whole operation takes much longer than it does in the movies because your heart keeps beating, so more blood keeps pumping and spraying everywhere. If you like to stay clean, it's best to avoid slitting someone's throat. 

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This is something that audiences never see in movies, and there should really be a lot more of it. Who needs the realism of seeing a film played at 120 frames-per-second when no one's bowels are evacuating when they die? When you die, the muscles that are constantly tensing up around your bowels stop doing their job, and everything just falls out. So every time you see, say, Sean Bean die on screen (AKA almost every Sean Bean movie), just remember that he'd be leaving behind an awful mess for the clean up crew. 

Getting Disemboweld Is Super G... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Ways Dying In Real Life Is Different From Death In Movies And TV
Photo: Paramount Pictures

When a person gets disemboweled in film, it's usually a fast slit and a quick dump of the organs kind of thing. This is probably for reasons both cinematic and budgetary, because traditionally disembowelment tends to be something that takes a long time. In films like Braveheart, or Begotten it's a fairly simple task that's done at the end of a long torture session.

In reality, however, it was used as a form of torture until at least the '60s in Vietnam to frighten civilian peasants at a local level into cooperating with the Viet Cong. A more modern example of the insanity that is disemboweling is this Florida man who ripped his girlfriend's guts out through her vagina after she said her ex's name during sex. The process was neither quick, painless, or clean, as police said that they found "human tissue" spread throughout the home. 

Burning To Death Takes Forever is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Ways Dying In Real Life Is Different From Death In Movies And TV
Photo: Platinum Dunes

People burn to death in movies all the time. The Wicker Man, The Omen III, half of the Friday the 13th movies, and at least one of the parts of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise feature someone going up in flames. It seems like a quick and easy thing to do, but in real life it's super hard to kill someone by setting them on fire.

First you have to get them to be still long enough to soak them in gasoline (or whatever your preferred accelerant is), and then you've actually got to light them on fire. Once you do that, your victim starts choking to death because the fire is consuming all of the oxygen around them. Even if you do end up subduing your intended victim, tying them to a tree, and pouring gasoline down their throat, it's going to take them a long time to die.