I was watching Patriot Games, the Philip Noyce directed, Tom Clancy authored, Harrison Ford grimaced thriller. And at the end, (SPOILER) Sean Bean, the madcap Irish terrorist who has apparently forgotten all about his noble terrorist cause and is now hellbent on making Harrison Ford unhappy, is killed by the sharp one two of falling on something spiky and being impaled from behind and then as he breathes his last dying gasp being blown up. It was only what he deserved. But this set me thinking about how many villains receive the stab in the back. Ming in Mike Hodges' Flash Gordon gets the pole of the space ship through the back and Saruman in Lord of the Rings. I'm sure there's got to be more than one Bond villain who goes that way. There's an obvious reason why this might be a popular endgame for the baddie of any film: it is a classic cinematic reveal. Either, something we can see coming but they can't, or something that happens, the eyes widen in disbelief and then the camera pans down to reveal protruding spear etc. The captain of the boat in Apocalypse Now though he obviously isn't a baddie as such. You can see I'm flailing for examples here so I'd appreciate as many as possible. There could be an article in this. I know that it would be easy to imagine this as some repressed gay fantasy. So that's exactly what I'm going to do. Macho Hollywood showing its hand when it comes to back door demises. Could be a title.
John Bleasdale is a writer. His work has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, Il Manifesto, as well as CineVue.Com and theStudioExec.com. He has also written a number of plays, screenplays and novels.