Now, this isn’t an article about actors like Owen Wilson Jonathan Brandis who actually did kill themselves; rather, it’s a rundown of ten memorable suicides in modern cinema. And unlike James Vance, these guys got it right. Some characters off themselves to avoid humiliation, while others do it for a greater good. Here are ten (or eleven?) characters who decided that living wasn’t an option:
1. Private Gomer Pyle – Full Metal Jacket
Perhaps the most memorable of any movie suicide is seen in Full Metal Jacket. After weeks of abuse from his drill seargant and fellow soldiers, a broken-down Private Pyle blows his brains out with his rifle while sitting on the toilet. Pyle’s death is a truly distubring scene.
2. The Predator – Predator
The only man remaining from his team, Dutch is left to fight The Predator alone. The Predator beats the hell out of him, But Dutch manages to crawl to a trap he rigged and set it off, causing a humongous log to drop on the Predator’s head. In an awesome move that is saturated with spite, the Predator activates his self-destruct device while laughing manically (or, playing back a recording of Billy’s laugh?). Dutch somehow manages to not only survive but to have no serious injuries after the nuclear blast. Also: am I alone in thinking that the movie is unrealistic only in the sense that there’s no way a group of hardass soldiers like Dutch’s team would run around with a cute female prisoner and NOT gang rape her? It’s tough for me to take the movie seriously because of that flaw. An alien coming to Earth to hunt humans for sport, though? Sure, I’ll bite.
3. Warden Samuel Norton – The Shawshank Redemption
The crooked Warden Samuel Norton exploited his prisoners for profit and money laundered, so you don’t feel too bad when he offs himself. After learning that Andy had sent evidence of the Warden’s crimes to the newspapers, Warden Norton decides it’s better to be dead. He makes a mess of his death, opting for the ol’ gun-under-the-chin method.
4. Ellen Ripley – Alien 3
Ellen Ripley is pretty much the coolest movie heroine ever, so it’s fitting that it’s Ripley herself and not an alien that eventually kills her. Well, sort of. In Alien 3, Ripley’s got an alien queen growing inside of her. Instead of letting the Wayland-Yutani Corporation quarantine and study the queen, Ripley falls back into a giant furnace like she’s taking the Nestea Plunge, killing herself and the alien.
5. Johann von Wolfhausen – Beerfest
At his funeral, Johann von Wolfhausen appears in a videotape with a message to those in attendance. He addresses his grandchildren, instructing them to spread his ashes at Thereienwiese. Johann then chugs a beer and pulls the plug to his life support, dying instantly. And somewherein the world, some sick f*ck gets off on stuff like that.
6. Detective John Hobbes – Fallen
In Fallen, Detective John Hobbes tracks down a spirit called Azazel that jumps from body to body and makes its host do horrible things. Seriously. This is a real movie for which Denzel Washington read the script and said, “Yeah, I’ll totally be in this sh*t. This is a sweet idea.” Anyway, Hobbes becomes possessed with Azazel, but not before he smokes a poison-laced cigarette. If he kills himself, Hobbes reasons, Azazel will have nowhere to jump and will die, too. Hobbes dies, but Azazel lucks out and jumps into a cat that was in the vicinity. I honestly think Fallen may have been ghost-written by Denzel’s six year-old kid.
7. Lt. Col. Matthew Markinson – A Few Good Men
OK, I know this picture of JT Walsh isn’t from A Few Good Men, but I just couldn’t find one of JT Walsh as Markinson. I tried hard, too, but once I started finding pics of scenes from the gay porn “A Few Good Men,” I figured I had searched enough. In the Rob Reiner version of this movie, Markinson was part of a cover up to hide the death of Santiago. Rather than face exposure for this conspiracy, Markinson puts on his full uniform before blowing his brains out with a pistol.
8. Private Jenette Vasquez & Lt. William Gorman – Aliens
“You always were an asshole, Gorman.” In an act of altruism, bad ass Vasquez and Lt. Gorman destory themselves – and a ton of aliens – with a grenade. This buys time for Ripley and co. to escape from the remaining aliens. I think Vasquez would just pulverize me in bed, by the way. There’d be a lot of crying and self-doubt after that session.
9. Russell Casse – Independence Day
While maybe not as preposterous as Fallen, ID4 is a pretty silly movie. It’s still very watchable, though, and one of my guilty pleasures. Russell Casse claims to have been abducted by aliens that stuck things up his butt, so it’s pretty understandable that he’s looking for vengeance when they arrive. Casse returns the favor, flying a jet right into the alien ship’s most powerful weapon – an obvious metaphor for anal probing. The collision causes a giant explosion, killing Casse but bringing down the giant alien aircraft with him.
10. John Hatigan – Sin City
After re-castrating Junior Roark (aka That Yellow Bastard), Detective John Hartigan beats him to death. To protect Nancy Callihan from the Roark family, who is sure to seek revenge, Hartigan shoots himself in the head. With Hartigan dead, the Roark family will have lost its most valuable lead in the seach for Nancy. “An old man dies, a young woman lives; fair trade.” Especially when that young woman is Jessica Alba.