99 WAYS TO DIE IN THE MOVIES
by The Kobal Collection
Published by The History Press
Available from Book Depository
If you’re an avid reader of HorrorCultFilms, then you’ll know how much we love death scenes in movies. Hell, we even have a Death of the Week/Month segment dedicated just for those scenes. So imagine my delight when The History Press unveiled their new book 99 WAYS TO DIE IN THE MOVIES.
The 6.6″ x 7.5″ paperback book features the iconic Jaws poster on the front before the inner pages reveal some of the most memorable and some of the most obscure death scenes in the history of film. Being burned alive, stabbed, impaled, strangled by Liam Neeson, poisoned, bitten, shot, mauled and run over are just some of the executions on display.
Each of the 99 pages of death share a still image from the movie they’re taken from along with the title of the film however not all the photos show the actual death scene. For instance, there’s a page showing Drew Barrymore yelling for her life in Wes Craven’s beloved teen slasher Scream and whilst I can understand there’s probably not a decent shot of her actually being stabbed in the movie, I would have used the still of her hanging from the tree instead or not featured Scream at all (or at least not that particular kill). Also, if I’m being quite specific, 99 Ways To Die In The Movies doesn’t show 99 different ways as we see many deaths repeated: being burning, bitten and stabbed just a few of the book’s favourites. If I was doing a book named 99 WAYS TO DIE IN THE MOVIES, I’d probably go out of my way to find 99 different ways.
Whilst it can be fun to discover what titles and deaths have made it into this book, there are some that left me scratching my head such as the inclusion of the two little girls in The Shining and the death of the Vanessa Fembot in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. We never see the girls die on-screen in The Shining so their inclusion is debatable, though it’s obvious they died, whilst can you really “kill” a Fembot? Sure she blows herself up but to die means she was alive to start with but that’s a whole other Artificial Intelligence self aware conversation I won’t get into.
As a book, 99 WAYS TO DIE IN THE MOVIES can be fun but I would have liked to have seen a bit of a write up on each of the deaths to accompany the stills as it’s not always clear what is going on in the photo, especially if it’s taken right before a death scene. Just a bit of writing would have added to the book enormously. As it stands, the publication is not much more than a look-book, something to flick through and take at face value, when I feel it could have been that bit more. It’s worth a flick through once or twice but due to its lack of proper content, I doubt it’s a book that will get ‘well read’.