If we’ve learned anything from
Hollywood, it’s that there’s a million ways to bite the dust, and
nearly all of them are unpleasant. No film utilizes the fear of the
precariousness of everyday life quite like the gore-horror
franchise Final Destination, even if it is a
prisoner of its own formula. Beginning as each film does with
fairly “everyday” accidents—bridge collapses, racetrack explosions,
roller coaster accidents—and proceeding to the outlandish, just how
far does Final Destination go in order to punish those who
cheat death? The answer: pretty far, yes, but almost never into the
realm of impossibility. (Although yes, to date, no one has died of
Lasik surgery. Also? Statistically speaking, you are wildly
unlikely to die in any of these awful and often upsetting
In the movies…
In real life…
You can only cheat death so many
times before it gets fed up and decides you’re just not worth the
trouble of a spectacular Hollywood finale. Enter Alex Browning, the
protagonist in the first pic of the series. After dodging three
potential deaths, we learn in passing that he finally met his match
with a falling brick to the head.
Yan Zhen Zhao was fatally injured when a brick fell onto her head
back in 1998. The 16-year-old was
an elementary school in Brooklyn when the brick
tumbled from a roof that was under construction.
should always be wary of machines that can chew through a
tough-barked chunk of wood like it’s cotton candy. Chainsaws, axes,
wood chippers—best to keep them in a bolt-locked shed far far away.
Thomas Burke and Kimberly Corman find this out the hard way when
they reach a gruesome end via a flesh-hungry wood chipper in an
alternate ending to FD 3.
Brian Morse was trimming birch trees in
Loveland, Colo., when his gloved hand got caught in a wood chipper.
He was pulled through the machine before anyone could help him.
of death: “total morselization of body.”
A relaxing day at the pool is bound
to go wrong. Or at least it does for Hunt Wynorski in FD
. After the tanned and toned hunk encounters an
excessively-powerful pool drain, his rock-solid body is turned into
a pitiful puddle of guts.
In 2007, six-year-old Abigail Taylor’s internal organs were
partially sucked out of her body while she sat on a wading pool
drain at the Minneapolis Golf Club. Doctors replaced her organs,
and the nation applauded this medical miracle. To make a sad story
more upsetting, she died the next year from rare transplant-related
will regret being tall enough to ride. It doesn’t matter what your
8-year-old cousin says, roller coasters are scary. They’re scary
when they’re working, and they’re extra scary when they’re
careening off their rails. A ride called Devil’s Flight should have
been clue enough, but FD characters aren’t exactly known
for their risk-aversion skills. Death catches up to the survivors
of the Devil’s Flight—though no such luck for the extras, who die
when faulty hydraulics and a freak accident involving a video
camera causes the ride from hell to lurch off the tracks and
plummet to the ground.
While you’re more likely to die on
something like a Sizzler than the Mamba (seriously, that thing is
dangerous!), roller coaster accidents still do happen. Take the
case of a 19-year-old woman who died after the Fujin Raijin II, a
fast-paced coaster in Osaka derailed due to a broken axel. Cause of
the accident? The ride’s axels hadn’t been replaced for 15 years,
as of the 2007 accident.
Elevators malfunction. That’s a
fact. And believe it or not, there are worse fates than getting
stuck in a cramped box on the 31st floor when it’s 105 degrees
outside. In FD2
, Nora Carpenter loses her head when, while
panicking, her braids get caught on a cart full of prosthetic limbs
while riding in an elevator. (As so often happens.) While she’s
struggling to get out, her hair holds her back, causing the
elevator to sever her head.
Dr. Hitoshi Nikaidoh, a surgical resident at a Houston hospital,
by a malfunctioning elevator in 2003. The doctor’s
shoulders were pinned by the doors, which then allowed the ceiling
to slice off most of his head as the elevator continued to move
upwards. Even worse than reading about this terrible story?
Watching it happen—which is what happened to a physician’s
assistant, who was then stuck in the elevator with the decapitated
head for at least an hour.
are, after all, just a piece of meat. Take the death of Peter
Friedkin in the new FD5
he tries to kill a coworker in a botched scheme to add more years
to his life, Peter gets what’s coming to him. And what’s coming to
him is a giant meat skewer to the back. (Bonus: If you haven’t seen
actor Miles Fisher’s cover
Must Be the Place,” well…. Somewhat NSFW!
An 80-year-old Brit named Leslie
Ince was impaled by a 22-inch meat skewer in his own home. He was
found half alive in a cupboard but died a month later in the
hospital. Last we heard, authorities were still trying to determine
if it was murder or a self-inflicted accident.
Liz Stinson is a
Nebraska-based writer. She did not enjoy this research.