Watch 26 Epic Death Scenes, Picked By 26 Different Directors

In the many, many years that movie marketing has been around, we’ve seen everything from tie-in amusement park rides to Icee cups. But Drafthouse Films and Magnet Releasing have come up with the greatest promotional tool ever for their anthology horror ABCs of Death 2: they asked all 26 directors to name their favorite cinematic death scenes, and then put them all together in one explosive, disturbing and mildly depressing supercut! Check it out below, and be mindful of its highly NSFW material.

It’s kind of tough to just get on with your day after watching that kind of thing, at least without mentally picturing people’s heads exploding. But then, some of you probably did that already. There are some real surprises in there, with Nigerian director Lancelot Imasuen choosing Leonardo DiCaprio’s cold-water passing in Titanic of all deaths as his pick. I also feel like my life is better now knowing that Cube and Splice director Vincenzo Natali’s favorite death scene is from RoboCop. Sadly, no one chose Jason Voorhees whipping the sleeping bag-bound girl against a tree.

There are a lot of celebratory shots in that video, but one of the more downbeat clips comes from the 1970 film Sometimes a Great Notion, the sophomore directorial effort from Paul Newman. This death was the pick for director and animator Bill Plympton, who granted us an exclusive short essay explaining why this particular scene has remained with him.

I've been asked to write about my favorite death scene from a movie. The first and most powerful scene that comes to mind is from one of my favorite films, which wasn't a great success. Sometimes a Great Notion was written by Ken Kesey, and starred Paul Newman & Richard Jaeckel as brothers.During a logging sequence where they are floating the giant timbers to the saw mill, Jaeckel's character falls between two of the massive redwoods and he gets stuck. He claims the log has pinned his butt underwater.At first, he laughs at the absurdity of the situation - they both have a good laugh, until they realize the logs are rotating him, and he's being dragged underwater.Eventually, his entire body is underwater, and Paul Newman's character has to give him oxygen to breathe orally - it's a macabre mixture of humor, pathos, brotherly love and oral sex. You see Richard's face 4 inches under water as he slowly dies.The scene had a very powerful effect on me, and that's why I never became a logger."

And see, I never became a logger because I’m lazy and I’d have to move. This scene should have been emotionally horrific enough to completely replace "quicksand" as the most terrifying slow-death imaginable, but somehow it doesn’t come up all that often. Those who want to experience the one-of-a-kind sequence in its entirety can watch it below.

You’ve seen all the directors’ names. Now go and watch their outlandishly awesome short films in ABCs of Death 2, which is on VOD right now, with a theatrical run starting on October 31. Also, feel free to fill the comments section identifying the 23 other deaths I didn’t mention. Good luck.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.