In a recent New York Times Magazine piece, Riff writer Alexander Huls yearns for the time when death in a Hollywood movie actually meant something:
The problem is that death at the movies has died. The movie industry has corrupted one of cinema's -- if not all of fiction's -- most emotionally taxing moments into hollow formula, the kind of thing that passes in the blink of a plot point leading to a literal, if not figurative, explosive finale that takes up half the budget.
Of course action films have saccharine subplots that exist only to lend meaning to their staggering body counts. But in recent years, killing a major character in your average blockbuster has become inert thanks to the increasing use of formulas to create stakes.
These days, deaths in Hollywood movies are, quite literally, dime-a-dozen, and we're left with a feeling once articulated, unfortunately, by Stalin: "One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic." Well, website Movie Body Counts has evinced this feeling to a T. The folks behind the site have dedicated an inordinate amount of time to tallying the exact number of deaths in some of Hollywood's biggest movies.
Thanks to NY Times' The 6th Floor, take a look at this infographic sample below. The many epic death scenes in "The Lord of the Rings" were the first of their kind, done digitally and on a huge scale with individuated soldiers rather than thousands of extras. In "300," it's all about the abs and the blood-spurting.
Watch clips of our favorite movie death scenes after the jump. What are your favorites?