12 Movie Characters Who Were Set on Fire


A few weeks ago, I gave you guys a list of memorable drowning deaths in movies.  It goes without saying that drowning is a pretty horrible way to die.  The only equally painful ways I can think of to be killed are being eaten alive or being set on fire.  Well, we’ve sort of covered being eaten alive, which leaves us – as far as lists go – with being engulfed in flames.

Being set on fire and burned alive doesn’t always result in death, but it always sucks.  I don’t think anybody is going to dispute that.  I managed to compose a pretty eccentric list of movie characters who were set ablaze; I was surprised to see the characters came from all genres of film and not just horror.  Keep reading to see 12 movie characters who were set on fire.

Quinn in Blade (1998)


When we first see Quinn, one of Frost’s vampire henchmen, he’s doing pretty well for himself.  He’s chilling out at a vampire blood rave and enjoying the company of two chicks, one of whom has her face in his lap.  Things turn sour quickly, though, as the day-walker Blade shows up and wrecks all the fun.  Instead of killing Quinn, he stakes him to a wall and then sets him on fire, hoping that Quinn will in turn deliver a message to Frost.

Julian Grendel in The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990)


In this incredibly underrated movie (Dice in his prime, Tone Loc, Lauren Holly, a little Vince Neil, a non-Freddy Krueger Robert Englund, and vintage Ed O’Neill), Wayne Newton plays sleazy record producer Julian Grendel.  He’s behind the murder of rock star Bobby Black, and Ford – as a Rock N’ Roll detective – eventually figures this out.  He splashes his highly flammable drink on Grendel right before exclaiming “Julie, you’re fired,” and sets him ablaze.  Because Dice rules, nobody charges him with using murder.

Pete Bottoms in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)


Liquor store clerk Pete Bottoms has the unfortunate luck of running into the Gecko Brothers, and because Richie Gecko is a complete psychopath,  he gets into a shootout with them.  Richie shoots the bottles out from behind Pete while Seth douses a roll of toilet paper in lighter fluid and sets it on fire.  You can see the result of their plan – and the demise of poor Pete – starting at around 7:44 in the above clip.  You’ve got to love the popcorn, too.

Eric Gordon in Billy Madison (1995)


During the course of the Academic Decathlon, Eric and Billy have to bake pies.  Maybe this was the home economics portion?  Anyway, Eric’s not so good around the kitchen, and his poor baking skills result in his being engulfed in flames.  Billy stands by and laughs, which is what I think most of us would do to Eric.

Johnny Storm in The Fantastic Four (2005)


Well, sure, this one’s a little bit obvious.

Frank Cross in Scrooged (1988)


When the Ghost of Christmas Future appears in Scrooged, he shows Frank Cross his, um, future.  Almost nobody attends his funeral in which is body is cremated.  Soon, Frank finds himself inside his coffin, slowly being wheeled into a giant furnace.  He screams and kicks in agony as he is engulfed by flames.  Scrooged is a great family holiday movie!

Joan of Arc in The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)


Joan of Arc is perhaps the most popular person to ever have been burned alive, but that’s a distinction you probably don’t want to have.  With many convinced that she is a witch (a perfectly reasonable inference), Joan is burned at a stake as a martyr (a perfectly reasonable punishment for a witch).  Apparently, the real Joan of Arc was only 19 when she was set ablaze.

Frank Ricard in Old School (2003)


As part of some test that Dean Pritchard forces Mitch, Frank, Bernard and the rest of the fraternity to undertake (sort of like the Academic Decathlon in Billy Madison, I guess), Frank dresses up as the school mascot and attempts to jump through a ring of fire.  He fails miserably.  And hilariously.

Maj. Duncan Heyward in The Last of the Mohicans (1992)


In the above clip (in the beginning), you can see Maj. Heyward being tied up to a stake and set on fire.  He screams in agony, but fortunately for him, Hawkeye shoots him from a safe distance.  That’s a good friend right there.  I’d take a bullet to the head over being set on fire any day of the week.

Bob Carter in The Hills Have Eyes (2006)


Big Bob Carter and his family run into some pretty scary mutants in the remake of Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes.  I have to admit, this movie messed me up a little bit.  I think most horror movies are silly or dumb – not that Hills is Chinatown – but the brutal, graphic killings in this movie were pretty intense.  Bob Carter is strung up and set on fire, and his helpless family can only scream in horror and futilely attempt to save him.

Sergeant Howie in The Wicker Man (2006)


Yes, the 1973 version is far, far superior, and is, in fact, pretty scary.  That said, I figured y’all would much rather watch Nic Cage being burned instead of Edward Woodward.  Was I right?

Order Henchman in Cobra (1986)


Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a pic of the poor schmuck who gets gasoline kicked on him, let alone figure out who the actor was that played him.  Cobra is so over-the-top (no pun intended) ridiculous, but it’s hard to look away.  You can see the wonderful charring of another human being in the clip above, right around the 1:17 mark.  Marion Cobretti does not mess around.

  • Ted

    You forgot the steward of Minas Tirith in LOTR: Return of the King.

  • IcemanD

    Oh man, Cobra is a wicked movie.

  • Madison

    @ IcemanD

    It is so ridiculous and absurd and gasoline/steroid/testosterone-fueled…but I like it, too.

  • Madison

    @ Ted

    I did! Man, I love that movie, too…good call.

  • Bdougs

    What about the steward of gondor in Lord of the Rings Return of the King. Denathor?

  • Laura

    I laugh so hard at Frank the Tank. He just lost focus. We gotta keep on composure!! We can’t have anyone freaking out!!!

    In the Prestige, I know Hugh Jackman gets shot, but doesn’t the building catch on fire at the end and he’s left there? Maybe he was dead before the fire got to him. That’s more of a house fire I guess.

  • Madison

    @ Laura

    Everything Will Ferrell says and does in Old School is amazing.

    As far as th Prestige, I’m not sure. We don’t really see anyone set on fire, do we? Drowning deaths, well, that’s another story altogether.

  • Laura

    @ Madison

    I know, right? It’s almost sick how much you can quote from that movie. For instance, when someone mentions cheese, I have to swoop in and say, “Cheeese! Didn’t we lock you in a dumpster once?”

    95% of the time, people don’t know what I’m referring to. Which is just sad.

    You’re right with the Prestige. Still a great movie, and great reveal at the end.

  • Josh

    Should have added Ewan McGregor’s character from Angels and Demons.

  • Madison

    @ Josh

    I never saw Angels & Demons, but that alone sounds pretty sweet…

  • Uberhack

    Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire. Fake breasts en fuego.

  • Madison

    @ Uberhack

    I bet there was a lot of burned hair at the end of that scene. The set must have reeked.

  • Josh

    Frank Langella in the Ninth Gate, sets himself on fire on purpose thinking he’s just unlocked the key to hell. But he just burns up until Johnny Depp shoots him to put him out of his misery.

    I think the world needs a Cobra 2.

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  • KAG

    Ahh, that was great watching Nic Cag burn to death, great movies.

  • jso

    You forgot Michael Jackson’s Pepsi commercial.

  • Madison

    @ jso

    I actually laughed out loud at that comment. Nice.

  • Joe

    Character in Waking Life who lights himself on fire. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfSpvyLMk-w

  • Madison

    @ Joe

    That definitely counts! Thanks for the clip.

  • Heather

    they forgot Tom Cruise as Lestat in Interview with the Vampire. 🙁
    it was pretty cool

  • Madison

    @ Heather

    That’s right, totally forgot about that one.

  • Jesus