#3. The Da Vinci Code - A Dying Man Writes a Message in His Own Blood
The Absurd Scene:
In The Da Vinci Code, the police find a murder victim who, despite suffering severe gut stab wounds, had the time to write out, in his own blood, a complex message that would eventually lead to the killer. Also, two hours of bullshit.
We've already pointed out that this particular strategy makes no sense -- and yet we see blood messages all the time in movies and TV shows, even ones more grounded in reality than The Da Vinci Code.
First of all, if the person had time to write something down in literally the most time consuming way possible, surely they had time to, you know, call for help. Also, would a blood message even be readable? It's not like you can erase it and start over (not without giving yourself another stab wound, anyway).
"Hand me those forms! I've got time for maybe three signatures before this dries."
After being stabbed a whopping 86 times, a student in England used his last ounce of strength to write "DAV" on his computer -- bypassing the keyboard altogether and scrawling the letters directly onto the machine with his own blood. Soon afterward, a man named David Heiss was arrested and confessed to the crime. Yep, just like in the movies, the victim wrote his own killer's name, presumably after deleting all his porn.
And this isn't even the only time it's happened: After a man, also in England, was brutally attacked by a friend, he was left with a mouth so swollen that he was unable to speak. When the police asked him to say his attacker's name (presumably just to dick him around), he responded by writing it in blood.
Of course, neither of these guys wrote something as long-winded and pointless as the victim in The Da Vinci Code, officially making them better writers than Dan Brown.
#2. Sweeney Todd -- The Human Pie
The Absurd Scene:
Sweeney Todd is about a barber and a baker who strike a lucrative business partnership: The barber kills people, and the baker turns their flesh into delicious meat pies, which she then sells. In the Tim Burton film version, the barber and the baker are played by Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, because of course they are. Here's the scene where they come up with the plan.
While a barber serial killer doesn't seem that far-fetched, a lady who turns corpses into pies and feeds them to other people, without them realizing it, doesn't make a lot sense. She would have to be not only especially coldhearted, but also a damned good cook. But, then again, nobody goes into a musical (or a Tim Burton movie, for that matter) expecting anything resembling a coherent story.
Anyone else craving a pot pie?
Between 1939 and 1940, Leonarda Cianciulli, an Italian housewife, killed three women, sliced their corpses into little pieces and turned them into tea cakes that she fed to her friends and family. Of course, there wasn't any human flesh in these particular cakes: She made them with the victims' blood. The flesh she turned into soap.
<the Italy Wiki
She was also the real life Tyler Durden.
"As for the blood in the basin, I waited until it had coagulated, dried it in the oven, ground it and mixed it with flour, sugar, chocolate, milk and eggs, as well as a bit of margarine, kneading all the ingredients together. I made lots of crunchy tea cakes and served them to the ladies who came to visit, though Giuseppe and I also ate them." That's not a quote from the movie -- that's Cianciulli's official statement.
Like in Sweeney Todd, Cianciulli had worked out a clever and profitable system for her crimes: All three women had come to her asking for advice, and she had convinced each one to move to another city and prepare postcards to be sent to her relatives explaining the decision. Then she killed them with an axe, took their money and sent the postcards away to avoid suspicion. By the third murder, she remarked that she was getting better at it and "the cakes, too, were better: that woman was really sweet."
Her tools are currently on exhibit in the Criminology Museum of Rome, because Italy is weird.
It's probably wise to keep an eye on anyone who owns a meat cleaver like that.
#1. Goldfinger -- James Bond Has a Tuxedo Under His Wet Suit
The Absurd Scene:
The opening scene of Goldfinger is perhaps the most perfect summation of the James Bond character. It begins with Bond emerging from the water in a wetsuit ...
Only one man could make a duck hat look cool.
... and then, after knocking down a guard and rigging a compound to explode, Bond removes his wetsuit to reveal ...
... a perfectly crisp tuxedo. Bond calmly lights his cigarette while the place explodes, and in the following two minutes proceeds to make out with a nude lady and murder a Mexican assassin with a lamp. All of this happens before the credits even start. No explanation is given because none is necessary: It's just James Bond being his usual outrageously cool self.
The "tux under the wet suit" scene is so iconic that it now shows up whenever a movie wants to make it clear that the main character isn't a real secret agent but Hollywood's idea of one: If that can happen, the chances of the movie including an helicopter explosion go up by 200 percent.
Some wear it better than others.
In the movie, Bond's entire mission is to make something blow up. That's all. He puts on the suit and goes into the bar afterward, because he's a functional alcoholic. When a real MI6 agent did the same thing, on the other hand, he did it because he had to sneak into a Nazi-occupied casino and retrieve two other secret agents. That's right: The reality is even more James Bond than James Bond himself.
<Ga het na, National Archive
And the real secret agent had an even better chin than Sean Connery.
Peter Tazelaar was a Dutch agent working for MI6 during World War II. Under orders from the Dutch queen, who was hiding in Britain at the time, Tazelaar was dropped near the Dutch coast, swam to the docks, removed his specially designed rubber oversuit to reveal a pristine tuxedo and walked up to the casino. In order to make it past the sentries, Tazelaar made himself reek of cognac and pretended to be drunk.
"Really wish I'd thought of that."
Once inside, he extracted the two other agents and left. And then he did it again -- a few years later, he had to pull off the exact same stunt. Not only that, Tazelaar was also described as a womanizer and fond of missions involving casinos -- he wasn't James Bond with a Dutch accent, James Bond was Peter Tazelaar with a British one. According to the historian who uncovered the wetsuit mission, it's possible that one of the screenwriters in Goldfinger, a former agent himself, could have known about it and intentionally based the scene on Tazelaar.
Also, Moonraker may have been based on the time Tazelaar stopped a devious space plot.
Mohammed Shariff can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more instances of reality being way cooler than fiction, check out 7 Real Car Chases Way Crazier Than Anything in the Movies and 6 Soldiers Who Survived Shit That Would Kill a Terminator.
And stop by LinkSTORM to learn how you can make the Death Star trench scene a reality.
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