Death is pretty much the only certainty any of us have in life, and movie depictions of death are usually poignant or spectacular. However, they are also often just melodramatic, over the top, and flat out inaccurate. Rather than go with realistic methods of death, many films contain unbelievable movie death scenes that viewers accept as possible because they have been shown so many times. These movie death myths have become tropes that are used throughout the industry, and few people question. Like unbelievable dialogue, it all boils down to some bad and rather misinformed writing.
Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be any end in sight for unbelievable ways characters die in the movies. The ways characters die in movies that are fake - be it scientifically or just logically - will probably only increase in bizarreness. But here, at least, you will find the truth of these death deceptions. Whether you truly believe liquid nitrogen will turn you into glass for the shattering or that a person could actually be cut straight in two with a razor-sharp string, its time to sort out the rational fears from the straight-up ludicrous ones. Thanks to a few experts who know real science from fake science, here's a dose of reality about those movie deaths that may have looked cool but were just straight up #fakenews.
It might seem easy to blow up a car if you watch a lot of movies. Apparently, all it takes is shooting a few bullets at a vehicle's gas tank, and a vehicle will quickly erupt into flames or explode spectacularly. Real life is a bit of a different story. Gas tanks in cars are specifically made to be as safe as possible. They have to be able to withstand strong impacts in case the vehicle is involved in a crash. There is also not very much oxygen inside a tank, certainly not enough to cause a rapid fire or explosion. Meanwhile, most bullets are simply not powerful enough to pierce the reinforced gas tank or ignite the fuel inside.
So, although any circumstance where you're being chased by someone with guns isn't ideal, no need to worry much about your escape car exploding.
Obviously, this form of deathly destruction makes for some dramatic cinema. All one need do is douse any person they want dead in gasoline, drop a lit cigarette into the liquid petrol, and watch everything go up in flames. The only problem is that gasoline is not so easy to ignite. Although cigarettes burn at a hotter temperature than it takes for gasoline to ignite, it is extremely difficult to use a cigarette for this purpose.
Researchers have used a variety of different methods to see if a cigarette could light gasoline but failed in more than 2,000 attempts. They believe that the liquid either smothers the cigarette or reduces its temperature too much before it can ignite the gas. This doesn't mean anyone gets a free pass to smoke at gas stations, though.
Heroes in action films have the uncanny ability of swiftly (and cleanly) killing their enemies in hand-to-hand combat. One of these killer moves is the palm heel strike to the nose, a move where the hero forcefully thrusts their hand into their enemy's face. Movie science says the nose bone is shoved so hard that it busts into the enemy's brain, effectively killing them. In Con Air, this palm heel is the whole reason Cameron Poe (Nic Cage) is imprisoned.
This type of death is impossible for an obvious reason: our noses are nearly all cartilage, so there is no pointy bone waiting to pierce your brain upon impact. There is a tiny portion of bone at the top of your nose, but it still can't kill you.
Even if a person were to get hit so hard that the tiny part of bone became dislodged, there is no way the bone could get to your brain – that's the whole point of having a skull. Yes, a person could die from blunt force trauma or other indirect reasons after getting a nasty palm heel to the nose, but it won't be in the form of a bone-induced lobotomy.
In the movies, liquid nitrogen is portrayed as some sort of magical substance that is capable of flash freezing anything it comes into contact with. While it can be used to shatter objects in real life, such as flowers or other small items, it is wildly impractical to kill someone with it as shown in films. Liquid nitrogen can reduce the temperature of skin very quickly but takes a very long time to significantly reduce the internal temperature of a human.