Because the “Final Destination” franchise doesn’t have a physical boogeyman like Jason or Freddy, the movies have a lot more leeway in how they kill characters off. If you’ve been in a hole for the past decade or so, here’s how it works: People miraculously cheat death at the beginning of the movie and then get picked off one by one through bizarre, Rube Goldberg-esque coincidences. Many of these deaths seem absurd, but we decided to comb through the morgue files and find times when they actually happened IRL.
One of the first bizarre deaths in the film series comes when English teacher Val Lewton drips vodka into her computer monitor, which explodes and sends shards of glass into her throat. While death by exploding computer typically isn’t quite so dramatic, it has happened. In 2009, a software engineer named Vijayakumar was found in front of his blown-up computer, dead and horribly burned. His roommate heard a loud sound while he was in the bath and went to investigate, finding Vijayakumar already dead. The cause of the explosion wasn’t determined at press time, but there’s one “Final Destination” demise that has happened in real life.
In the second “Final Destination” movie, Nora Carpenter gets her hair stuck in such a way that it traps her head between elevator doors. When the elevator moves, she gets gruesomely decapitated. This sounds like an urban legend, but minus the hair part it’s actually happened multiple times! Elevators are supposed to have safety interlocks to prevent them from moving while the doors are opened, but they don’t always work. In 2014, a particularly gruesome incident claimed the life of a Russian woman in the Moscow suburbs. When the doors suddenly slammed closed on Olga Tilinina and trapped her body, she was violently ripped upwards and her head was severed in front of her 2-year-old son. That kid’s gonna need some therapy.
Oxygen Tank Explosion
This is something that’s been a trope in numerous action movies and video games — the tank of oxygen that’s just waiting for one thing to set it off. In “Final Destination 2,” Eugene Dix is hospitalized after a car accident but not killed. In the hospital, his oxygen tank somehow springs a leak and sparks from amalfunctioning electrical outlet turn his room into a horrific ball of fire. Scary as hell, but not unprecedented. In 2013, a man and wife were killed when a passenger in their car lit a cigarette near an oxygen tank and it blew up. Ronnie Joe Pratt and his wife Deborah were in the vehicle with two other people when Tina Brooks lit up, causing a massive explosion that utterly destroyed the car. Both Pratts were killed in the blaze.
Exploding Barbecue Grill
The last death in “Final Destination 2” comes out of nowhere, as minor character Brian Gibbons is suddenly blown to bits by an exploding barbecue grill during the cookout that closes the film. Although we’re not going to say that barbecues are dangerous per se, there is precedent for being cautious. In 2011, a man namedDoug Gripp was cooking up burgers on a gas grill at the Grace Community Church in Noblesville, Indiana, when the whole thing suddenly went up with a huge bang. Gripp, a beloved volunteer, had operated the grill before and police have no idea as to what caused the shocking accident. He was pronounced dead at the scene, but thankfully nobody else was hurt.
One of the most memorable slayings in the series comes in the third installment, when a pair of high school girls get trapped inside their tanning beds, which malfunction and overheat, burning them to death. While that’s a slightly dramatic turn of events, people have indeed died while inside a tanning machine. Rhonda Waits of Sansom Park, Texas, was found inside her tanning bed at home face down and not breathing in 2012. The bed, which was on a timer, had turned off as normal and police couldn’t find any sign of foul play. Other people have been badly burned by their beds — in 2002, Kentucky woman Larri Brown had to go to the hospital after the timer stuck on her tanning machine.
This is a bit of a modification, but in “Final Destination 3,” Perry Malinowski leaves this world courtesy of a flying flagpole through the back. Winds powerful enough to rip a pole from its moorings and impale someone aren’t terrifically common, but cases of death by flagpole have been reported. Probably the most notable happened in Norway, when a 49-year-old woman was instantly killed when the flagpole of a church dislodged and fell on her head. Heidi Rusten Lohrmann was walking outside of Oslo’s Holmenkollen Chapel on Christmas Eve when strong winds snapped the pole, sending it flying into her head and knocking her to the ground. When paramedics arrived, they pronounced her dead at the scene.
Nadia Monroy was one of the survivors of the McKinley Speedway disaster in the fourth “Final Destination” movie, but her good luck didn’t last long. In the parking lot, a tire rockets through the air from an explosion inside the speedway and cleanly decapitates her. Although stories of people killed by tires aren’t that common, it certainly does happen. In 2013, Aila Masud was driving her kids to school outside of Atlanta when a tire came loose from a truck heading the other direction and launched itself over the median. The stray wheel smashed right into the front of Masud’s van, killing her. Thankfully, her children weren’t badly injured, but it’s still a freak tragedy that has no good explanation.
Hit By An Ambulance
The “Final Destination” movies are all about irony, and you can’t get more ironic than being run over by an ambulance. In the fourth movie, George Lanter is a speedway security guard with a huge amount of guilt from surviving the massive accident that opens the flick. As he’s working with other survivors to get Death off of their tail, he steps out into the road and is splattered by an ambulance. Life imitated art in the U.K. when an elderly woman was crossing the street in what they call a “pelican crossing,” only to have an ambulance speed through and plow into her, ending her life.
Guts Sucked Out By Pool Drain
One of the most disgusting deaths in the franchise happens in the fourth film, when Hunt Wynorski tries to get his lucky coin out of the drain at the country club pool and pays for it with his life. Hunt winds up with his butthole over the drain as it agonizingly extracts his intestines, which seems far-fetched except for the fact that it really happened. Abigail Rose Taylor was a young Nebraska girl who sat on a pool drain in 2007 and had parts of her bowel and intestinal tract pulled out by the suction. She didn’t perish on the scene, but unfortunately succumbed to complications from the transplants the next year.
Cut In Half By Plane Wing
In “Final Destination 5,” Molly Harper is killed when the plane she’s taking to Paris starts disintegrating in midair and she’s sucked out and cut in half by the wing. That’s a little over the top, but being bisected by an airplane has happened closer to the ground. In 2012, a South African senior citizen named Sinangele Asuza was illegally gathering firewood around Ermelo Airport when a small plane came in for a landing. She made a dash across the runway as a small plane was coming in for a landing and the pilot couldn’t change course fast enough. The impact that the left wing made when it hit her was enough to cut her body clean in half, killing her instantly.
10 ‘FINAL DESTINATION’ MOVIE DEATHS THAT HAVE HAPPENED IN REAL LIFE