Conventional wisdom says scary movies work best when they trick you into thinking you could be in the same danger as the actors. Over the past few years, few films have tapped into this more effectively than “The Strangers” — a creepy flick about slashers who invade a house and do unspeakable things to a couple, simply because they “were home.”
But if the thought of watching that new DVD this Halloween gets you too creeped out, you’re in the right place. One out of every five homes will suffer a break-in, while your odds of being killed by lightning are 2.32 million to one. The chances are zero, however, that you’ll be eaten by your bed or find a leprechaun growing out of your crotch.
Below is a list of the polar opposite of “Strangers”: The most inconceivable, unrealistic and just plain dumb deaths in the history of cinema. Enjoy the morbid memories and remember: If a cookie ever pulls a loaded gun on you, this article comes with a money-back guarantee.
Death by Starfish (1989’s “The Toxic Avenger, Part II”): Surrounded by evildoers, mutant hero the Toxic Avenger arms himself by running into a restaurant, grabbing a few starfish off a sushi bar, then using them as Japanese throwing stars. If you think it’s hard to imagine a toxic-waste-powered superhero on the attack, try finding a sushi restaurant that serves starfish.
Being Spit Out of a Haunted Elevator (2001’s “The Shaft”): Long before Naomi Watts was headlining dramatic fare like “The Painted Veil,” she was battling the evil within inanimate people-movers. In this early flick an annoying skateboarder gets sucked into the evil elevator, which rockets him to the top floor of a skyscraper, then proceeds to spit him through a hallway, office, observation deck and off the top floor, onto the street below. Don’t you just hate when that happens?
A Leprechaun Emerging From Your Junk (1994’s “Leprechaun 4: In Space”): In this sequel that was somehow robbed of an Oscar nomination for best screenplay, an outer-space Marine named Kowalski has the nerve to urinate on the leprechaun’s severed head. The little guy gets his revenge by entering the man’s Little Kowalski, then re-emerging full-sized while he’s attempting to have sex, as his partner asks, “What the hell is going on in there?”
Jumping Zombie Heads (1988’s “Zombi 3”): Your zombie is dead, and you want to keep its noggin cool so you can show it off to friends later. No problem, right? Well, in this Lucio Fulci film, some poor schmuck opens the door to his refrigerator and is promptly attacked by a decapitated head that somehow flings itself through the air at him. The next time you’re running into the kitchen for an ice-cold Yoo-hoo, there’s no need to duck. We’re just saying.
Being Eaten by Your Bed (1977’s “Death Bed: The Bed That Eats”): Absorbing its victims in a sea of yellow foam and liquid, this ancient four-post bed turned evil after a demon cried tears of blood on it. It uses its sheets as a lasso to capture victims, drinks Pepto-Bismol to aid in its digestion and probably has a nasty bedbug or two. But before you decide you want to stick with your IKEA fold-out, know this: After each death, the bed cleans and makes itself. Come to think of it, maybe the danger of bed consumption is a side-effect worth enduring.
Squashed by Your Laundry (1995’s “The Mangler”): Stephen King comes up with some pretty good ideas, but we have to wonder if he was even trying when he dreamt up this tale of a possessed clothes presser with a taste for human flesh. Oops, forgot to add the fabric softener!
Being Shot by a Snack-Time Treat (2005’s “The Gingerdead Man”): OK, so maybe the soul of a serial killer could inhabit a cookie. And maybe he could somehow hold a gun and squeeze a trigger with his tiny dough hands. But shooting upward of 20 bullets from a pistol, without reloading once? Now that’s just absurd.
A Killer Piñata Ripping Off Your Genitals (2002’s “Demon Island”): Move over, Naomi Watts. Emmy winner Jaime Pressly cashed an early paycheck with this film about college students who encounter a possessed piñata (demons love to inhabit the dumbest stuff, huh?) that doesn’t respond well to being whacked with a baseball bat. Rather than distributing nutty candy bars, the killer kids’ toy responds to a would-be assailant by grabbing itself a handful of nuts and holding them in front of its victim’s face as he dies. Next year, that guy might just want to just go to Chuck E. Cheese’s instead.
Being Turned Into a Plant (1990’s “Troll 2”): In “Troll 2” (which has no relation to “Troll,” nor does it have any trolls in the movie, but that’s another story), the goblins of Nilbog serve their victims green foods and rotten milk, which transforms them into plants, naturally. Then they eat them. The only way to defeat these monstrous vegetarians is to consume a double-decker bologna sandwich while touching the ancient stone hedge (I swear, I’m not kidding). While you should probably make a habit of avoiding rotten milk, we think you’re safe to bypass the bologna.
Cotton Candy Cocoon (1988’s “Killer Klowns From Outer Space”): Try and keep this straight: Somehow, aliens not only understand the concept of Klowns (misspelling = cool), but resemble them. Shooting their human victims with ray guns, they cocoon them inside cotton candy, thereby gelatinizing them into a liquid that can be easily digested with a straw. Sure, it’s a fun movie to watch — but the most dangerous thing at your local big top is … well, OK, maybe it is the cotton candy.
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