Death is very common when it comes to some of the most popular films out there as that kind of hook or moment can help to really cement a film. Some handle it better than others, some resonate with us in very different ways. The death of Bambi‘s mother is a big one for a certain segment and younger audiences when they see it but you react differently to it than you do, say, Psycho with the shower scene. It’s a concept that’s introduced in films for all ages and you get exposed to it early on, often thought as a way to help kids cope with things and to not keep the world away from them too much.
I can distinctly remember the feeling I had at just seven years old watching Obi-Wan Kenobi be struck down and felt and reacted just like Luke. Star Wars was the first film that I felt like I was growing up with as it’s the first live-action one that I really remember. And watching that arc through Empire and Return brought a lot of things to the surface.
But the death that just resonates with me completely and is my go-to when I really think about the subject is that of John Hurt from Alien. I didn’t see this until a few years after its release when I was a bit older and just about every death in that film was terrifying to an eleven-year-old in the early 80s. But the John Hurt scene, knowing how it was set up to surprise the actors as well in order to get more honest reactions, is just as intense now as the first time I saw it even with as much as it’s been parodied – with Coupling having done it the best.