March 11, 2007

Now's Not A Good Time To Lose One's Head!

While dining prior to 300, Guys Movie Night participants George, Ilan, Jed, and myself discussed our favorite decapitations in the movies. Yes ladies, this is the kind of thing guys talk about when you're not around. Here's a brief selection:
  • George reports that he was desensitized to decapitation by years of viewing the Conan The Barbarian movies on HBO growing up.
  • Jed and I enjoyed Lucy Liu in Kill Bill, chopping off the crime boss's head at the conference table. I don't know why his head would shoot up in the air, but the blood pulsing out of the neck was very realistic. Jed pointed out that he imagined the PA crouched under the table with the squeeze-bulb, making the blood gout on cue.
  • There were three great decapitations in 300:
    1. Leonidas defeats a giant by slicing its head off with his sword: at first we can't see if he's made contact or not, but then the head topples forward in slow motion, and we get a good look at the bone, sinew, and gristle. This shot actually got some applause from the audience!
    2. When the campaign is going poorly, Emperor Xerxes has a general executed, by an unusual method- Xerxes's executioner is a obese giant with lobster-claw hands. The general's head is put on the block, the lobster-claw gboes down, and then we're treated to a slow-motion shot of the severed head ascending and rotating through the air. Once again, I am not clear on why the head would spin through the air, intead of simply falling to the ground, but it was cool to look at.
    3. Thirdly, and inevitably, the Captain's son, Keanu Reeves-as-Ted Logan Esquire, is decapitated. As soon as we learned that the Captain was bringing his warrior son along, we all knew he was marked for death. After one of the battles, Faux Keanu is standing amongst the dead when a random enemy on a horse gallops by, chops his head off, and disappears. The severing head isn't the cool part- the horseman did such a nice job, that the body stays upright for a few seconds, almost as if Keanu is so dumb he doesn't know to fall over when he's dead.
  • You gotta give it up to Aragorn in The Fellowship Of The Ring. Just as the Uruk-Kai is about to finish off Boromir with a point-blank arrow shot, Aragorn arrives. The orc doesn't want to go down, until finally Aragorn lops his head off.
  • Speaking of Hobbits, Ian Holm's head gets knocked off by Yaphet Kotto in Alien, but they plug his android melon back in long enough for Bilbo to be snide and patronizing, then they flame-broil him.
  • Speaking of aliens, doesn't someone's severed head grow spider's legs and crawl around in John Carpenter's remake of The Thing? I think Kurt Russell says "you gotta be f***ing kidding me" before he roasts that one too.
  • I have not seen all of Resident Evil, but there's a creepy-cool part where some of the soldiers are trapped in a chamber with slice-and-dice lasers. The type that cut though you so easy that the parts all stay in place for a second until you fall apart like a hard-boiled egg.
  • There's a cute decapitation in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, where a Persian emperor chops off his Treasurer's head, which goes flying and falls in a harem girl's lap, where he winks at the girl.
  • Then there's the movie which made America scared of storage lockers forever: The Silence Of The Lambs, where Clarice Starling finds a cross-dresser's severed head in a jar.
  • When Maximus first becomes a Gladiator, he finishes off his rival with a dual-sword decapitation, followed by the line "Are you not ENTERTAINED!?"
  • Of course, we can't forget Highlander, a movie devoted to chopping heads off, where Clancy Brown repairs a near-decapitation with some staples?
  • While we're talking about near-decapitations, let's recognize Nearly Headless Nick (John Cleese) in the Harry Potter films.