Lookback: on death in the movies

LOOKBACKFrom 2007:

One thing that most teenagers neither know nor expect to see in movies is death, the ultimate reality of life. I’m not talking about the ersatz mass murders that are the subject matter of your average Hollywood shoot-’em-up, but the real wrong thing itself, the knowledge of which is not normally accessible to young people, least of all by going to the local multiplex. Truth sometimes finds its way into the movies–accidents happen–but when it comes to death, Hollywood is incapable of honesty, and the bigger the budget, the balder the lies. Movie stars live forever or die nobly, uttering memorable last words and expiring with a smile; you never see the catheter, or smell the pus. Even the appalling simplicity of violent death is beyond the imaginative grasp of most directors. It always seemed to me perfectly appropriate that when Janet Leigh took her last shower in Psycho, the blood running down the drain was really chocolate syrup.

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