5 Impossible Ways To Die In Movies
Movies speak to the very essence of the human experience. Or, barring that, they at least show us 6,000 different ways to kill a bad guy. And yet, you may be shocked to learn that some of our most beloved movie murder methods wouldn't work in the real world. For example ...
You Can't Freeze Somebody With Liquid Nitrogen, Much Less Shatter Them
According to movies, liquid nitrogen is the coldest thing in the Universe. If you come into contact with it, you're a human popsicle. Get hit while frozen, and you'll shatter into a million pieces like an ice sculpture at a rowdy wedding. Side note: Probably don't invite us to your wedding.
A canister of the stuff breaks and freezes Christian Slater to death in Mindhunters. Jason uses it to shatter a woman's head in Jason X. Liquid nitrogen is so dangerous it even stops the T-1000 in Terminator 2.
Why It Wouldn't Work:
Liquid nitrogen is definitely dangerous. If you come across some, try not to stick your genitals in it, no matter how much Space-Jason pressures you. But it isn't nearly as dangerous as movies would have you believe. If you briefly come into contact with the gas, you'll feel a bit chilly ... as you calmly walk out of its range. As for the liquid, well, here's a guy throwing cups of it into his own face for fun:
It is so mild, in fact, that some businesses use it in freezing chambers, as a form of therapy to help cure people of their free time and disposable income.
You Can't Simply Shoot Explosives To Detonate Them
If you've ever played a video game, it has been driven into you so hard that it's pure reflex by now: You see a bright red barrel-
"Shoot it," you have just answered automatically.
In Furious 7, Vin Diesel takes a bag full of grenades (Vin doesn't leave home without one) and affixes it to the bad guys' helicopter. Then The Rock shoots the bag and everything explodes in a glorious orange ball of death.
Damn, we suppose this is why you shouldn't keep grenades in the house. One of the many stray bullets that you encounter during the day could set them off.
Why It Wouldn't Work:
As the star of an action movie, it may surprise you to learn that grenades are more than little metal balls filled with explosions. They contain a complex chain of features intended to make them blow up when the grenadier intends, and not at any other time. Releasing the handle sets off the striker. The striker hits the percussion cap and creates a spark. The spark lights the fuse, which burns for a few seconds until it, in turn, ignites a small amount of detonating fluid. That goes off, creating a very small explosion, which then sets off all the explosive material inside the grenade, called Composition B.
Shooting a grenade is a fine idea, meant to bypass most of those steps and ignite the Composition B with the kinetic energy of the bullet itself. It's a fine idea ... But Composition B is a mixture of TNT and RDX, two explosives used by the military specifically because the risk of accidental detonation is low. In fact, RDX is specifically stated to be unaffected by small arms fire.
Check out this Mythbusters segment. A handgun bullet actually disarms the grenade, while a shotgun blast turns it into so much inert dust:
But what about C4, the grenade's high-class cousin? It's so stable that it too can withstand gunshots. In fact, it can be literally set on fire and still not go off:
This is why law enforcement officers can open fire on people with bombs; there is little chance of setting them off, unless you accidentally hit a tiny portion of the detonator. And while it would be a lot more exciting to live in a movie world, where shooting anything with gas in it reduces a whole building to rubble, it's probably best that bomb squads don't have to deal with Michael Bay physics.
You Can't Cut Somebody's Head Off With A Wire
In movies, the human body has the structural integrity of an overripe peach. Are you a serial killer trying to butcher a cabin full of teenagers AND make your daughter's recital tonight? Well, a quick way to disconnect some heads from some bodies is to string up some razor-thin wire at neck height. Victims trying to sprint out the front door to safety? Not without their heads, they aren't. Escaping the property in conveniently located snowmobiles? Boom, wire across the road.
Hell, even esteemed Professor of Murderology Bruce Willis pulls this move in Die Hard: With a Vengeance, when an industrial wire chops a guy clean in half, even though it's moving no faster than a really motivated duck.
Why It Wouldn't Work:
According to an astrophysicist with enough time to write about these things, thin wire cannot cut through a human body at those speeds. If it's thin enough to cut you, it's weak enough to snap first. If it's too thick to snap, you'll only get knocked on your ass.
"But what about snowmobiling into it?" You wonder, snowmobiling. Well, let's look into that. A man in Toronto once rode his motorcycle neck-first into some wire strung across the road. It did cut his neck up severely, but that was because it was kite-fighting wire that was coated in ground-up glass.
Another rider, this time a teenager, did tragically lose his life after hitting some steel wire on his motorcycle, but that was due to head injuries after being thrown from the bike. So yes, serial killer with a busy schedule, it is technically possible to slaughter a cabin-full of horny teens using only a wire. But first you have to teach them how to ride motorcycles, and then teach them that helmets are a government conspiracy to make their hair look stupid.
You Can't Drive Somebody's Nose Into Their Brain
Action heroes know that the nose is the glowing weak point of the face -- the "testicles of the head" if you will. You can instantly end any opponent by delivering a quick upward jab into their nose. It will drive their nose ... bone(?) into their brain, killing them on the spot. Bruce Willis (who else?) does it in The Last Boy Scout. Henry Winkler threatens a man with it in Heroes (the 1977 movie, not the TV show). Hell, Nic Cage does it without even meaning to in Con Air, so you know it's legit.
Why It Wouldn't Work:
Wait, nose bone?
Notice that big hole where your nose would be? That's because your nose is all cartilage. There isn't a column of hard bone to shove into your brain like a piston; there's only mushy cartilage. Well, there is a tiny little bit of bone at the very top.
But fine, let's say you get rocked so hard that the little smidge of bone snaps off and flies up toward your brain. There are no conduits big enough to let skull fragments travel from your nose up into your brain -- they will get stopped by other parts of your skull. Which is, y'know, the point of having a skull.
You Won't Be Devoured By Piranhas
Piranhas are basically aquatic velociraptors. A swarm will clean the flesh off your bones in 30 seconds flat. It happened to some poor mooks in You Only Live Twice. Hell, there's an entire horror series based around how instantly deadly these little bastards can be.
Why It Wouldn't Work:
Piranhas are like aquatic velociraptors, in that their legacies have been greatly exaggerated. Piranhas are about as interested in devouring a live human as Steve Bannon is interested in devouring steamed kale. Check out this clip from River Monsters, wherein a guy gets into a tank full of piranhas ... which actively avoid him.
The few recorded instances of piranhas killing people all come from drought conditions that resulted in food scarcity, thus forcing them to move to a new habitat. In the case of one girl who was found dead with her legs eaten by piranhas, it is unclear whether or not she had drowned before being eaten. This teen who allegedly committed "suicide by piranha" was reported to be drunk, and died of blood loss from "dozens of bites." Had he been sober and not actively trying to be killed by piranha, he could have easily escaped.
Most cases that get reported as "PIRANHAS DEVOUR SWIMMERS" wind up generating fewer stitches than headlines. So how did they gain their reputation as pure swimming death? Teddy Roosevelt, of all people.
In a book about his adventures in Brazil, Roosevelt recounted the time he saw a swarm of piranha pick clean a cow carcass in a matter of seconds -- and the world has been running with that story ever since. What he didn't know was that the locals wanted to put on a show for him, so they had first starved an enormous group of the fish before he arrived. When Roosevelt showed up, it was no longer a regular school of piranhas; it was the school from Dangerous Minds. They weren't crazed monsters. They were overcrowded and neglected. These piranhas were victims of circumstance. Michelle Pfeiffer was ... the cow? This analogy got away from us.
For other ways we're going to ruin movies for you, check out 6 Movie Monsters That Just Wouldn't Work and 5 Iconic Fantasy Characters Whose Bodies Wouldn't Work.
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