Copycat

PLOT SUMMARY

Sigourney Weaver plays a psychiatrist who specializes in serial killers. She suffers from agoraphobia and her only link to the outside world is her computer. A serial killer who copies the methods of famous serial killers (hence the title) threatens her on-line. Holly Hunter plays a cop who is on the trail of the killer. Together they try to identify him and, hopefully, despatch him.

More Information:IMDb

Actress: Sigourney Weaver
Hanged With: Steel Cable
Result: Non-Fatal

This is the first of two hangings in the film. After giving a presentation on criminal psychology, she’s escorted to the bathroom where she prepares to do her business. Unbeknownst to her, one of the members of her audience is hiding in a nearby stall. Her police escort doesn’t notice him and leaves Sigourney to herself. We then see the killer remove the women’s’ shoes he was wearing to avoid detection and starts stringing a steel cable over a section of pipe above the stall Sigourney’s in. Then, just as Sigourney’s about to take her seat, the killer drops the noose around her neck and quickly pulls down on the other end to tighten it. Sigourney caught completely by surprise, can only react as she’s swiftly pulled up off the floor. The killer then fastens his end of the cable to the stall he’s in, leaving Sigourney to struggle against the noose while trying to maintain what footing she has left on the toilet seat.

Hearing the commotion, the cop standing guard cautiously enters the bathroom.  Upon seeing Sigourney strung up, he pulls his weapon and starts checking the stalls.  Soon, he’s also taken by surprise as the killer raises a knife to his throat.  After debating whether to shoot or stab him, the killer does both and then wipes his knife off.  The clip ends with a shot of the guard’s partner running toward the bathroom.

Edits

None needed.

Thoughts

As a fan of lift-up, lasso-style hangings, this scene was right up my alley when I first saw the movie in ’95.  I only wish it had involved a throw-away character to treat us with a great death scene.  In 2012, it was eclipsed by a death scene in a French flick called Blind Man.

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Blind Man

PLOT SUMMARY

A police inspector must solve two grisly murders. The problem is that his only suspect is a blind man.

More Information: IMDb

Actress: Elsa Kikoïne
Hanged With: Wire
Result: Fatal

Elsa Kikoïne plays a Cultural Liaison and contact for a General in the French military who’s been selling weapons to Pakistan. Something went wrong during a recent exchange, so the General has recruited a former combat pilot, who went blind after a crash, to serve as a Hitman to take out everyone involved. Elsa is his first contract.

Her murder is the opening scene in the movie. It starts with her and her bodyguard arriving at her apartment on a rainy night. After getting out of the car, she asks him to come up because she’s afraid. He reluctantly agrees. When they enter, he casually examines the first floor, and then goes upstairs where he checks the closet. He notices the light won’t come on, but thinks nothing of it, and goes back downstairs. He then tells her there’s no one in the apartment. She offers him a drink, and he politely declines. A brief pause later, and he leaves. She locks the door behind him. As she proceeds back into her living room, she’s lassoed from above with a wire, and lifted a few inches off the floor.

During the struggle, the movie cuts between her, and the bodyguard waiting for the elevator outside the door. He hears glass shatter inside her apartment the moment she’s attacked, and returns to the door to listen for any other commotion, but can’t hear anything above the din of the elevator. We’re treated to several terrific shots of her stiletto-clad feet kicking, and equally impressive headshots as she gasps for air, trying in vain to get her fingers between the wire and her neck. Her death ends with one last kick of her feet as they come to rest. The bodyguard is then shown leaving the building. The clip ends with a nice shot of Elsa’s death stare and the wire used to hang her with now draped loosely over her head and laying on the ground next to her.

Edits

After Elsa’s attacked, there are a few cuts to her bodyguard waiting for the service elevator to come back up.  I removed them all.

Thoughts

This scene is something I’ve fantasized about for as long as I can remember. It has everything I’ve ever imagined about this type of scenario.

  • Well-dressed, professional woman
  • Surprise attack from above by unseen killer
  • Thin wire used so she can’t pull herself up
  • Reaction shot right before she’s pulled up off the floor
  • Hands clawing at the wire around her neck throughout the attack.
  • Plenty of heel-clad foot shots
  • It’s fatal!

It’s as if the filmmakers read my mind and shot exactly the kind hanging I’ve dreamed of all my life.

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Killer Movie

PLOT SUMMARY

A reality TV director copes with a spoiled celebutante and a show gone haywire when a masked killer starts bumping off the crew in this slasher-movie satire.

More Information: IMDb

Actress: Ciya Batten
Hanged With: Chain
Result: Fatal

After talking to another character about a film production issue, Ciya leaves and briskly walks down the hallway of the school they’re shooting in.  She finds something on the floor in front of a maintenance door and examines it.  Realizing it belongs to someone she’s looking for, she enters the room and finds an entire makeshift control booth with monitors set up showing views from various security cameras.  As she watches a playback of some footage, she starts thinking it’s a practical joke by a reality TV show she thought was canceled, and calls out to the host with a laugh.  She gets no response, and suddenly realizes she’s now watching someone being murdered.  Humor turns to horror, and she keeps watching as the killer sneaks up behind her with a chain.

The killer deftly slips the chain over her head and starts pulling her back toward a pulley affixed to the ceiling.  He gives the chain several good yanks, pulling Ciya up in the process.  At this point, we’re treated to an excellent closeup of her stiletto-clad feet kicking furiously as she’s lifted high above the floor.  The camera stays on her feet during the rest of the hanging.  Then, Ciya exhales one last gasp before dying, and her lifeless feet quickly come to rest.  The killer checks the rigging, and, satisfied Ciya is dead, leaves her body to be found later.  The scene ends with an equally great, full-body shot of her corpse.

Edits

None needed.

Thoughts

In my fantasies, my favorite types of scenarios are professional women in peril.  I’m also a foot fetishist.  Put the two together, and you can understand why this scene absolutely rocked my world. 

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Actress: Gloria Votsos
Strangled With: Gloved Hands
Result: Non-Fatal

Gloria is being chased by the killer and finds herself cornered against a locked door.  The killer catches up to her, and she struggles to get free of him.  He secures a grip around her neck and starts strangling her.  He then reinforces his leverage by lifting her up against the building.  Several seconds later, she loses consciousness, and the killer lowers down to the ground.  Later in the movie, it’s revealed that she survived the attack.

Edits

During the struggle, the scene cuts twice to another character nearby.  I removed both cuts.

Thoughts

I’m a huge fan of throat lifts.  This one’s pretty good, but I’ve seen better.

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Body Double

PLOT SUMMARY

A young actor’s obsession with spying on a beautiful woman who lives nearby leads to a baffling series of events with drastic consequences.

More Information:IMDb

Actress: Deborah Shelton
Strangled With: Phone Cord
Result: Non-Fatal

Craig Wasson plays Jake Scully, a struggling actor who comes home to find his girlfriend with another man and has to find a new place.  Between his acting workshops and his role in a vampire B-movie, he scans the paper looking for anything.  He happens to meet a fellow actor who needs a house sitter.  Both are pleased with the arrangement that will have staying in the house, to sweeten the deal, Frank shows him his ‘favorite neighbor’, a sultry looking woman who strips with her window open each night.  When Jake witnesses a murder, the police try and pin the crime on him.  During the investigation, Jake discovers that there are several coincidences between the murder and his actor friend, but must hunt them down himself, without the police.

In this scene (the murder), Jake is watching the woman’s house through Frank’s telescope when he sees an intruder casing the wall safe in her bedroom.  He then sees the woman (Deborah Shelton) return home and heads upstairs to slip into something more comfortable.  As she enters her bedroom, Jake pans back and forth between her and the intruder.  He tries to phone her and warn to get out of the house, but it’s too late.  The moment she picks up the phone, the intruder grabs it and starts strangling her with the phone cord, lifting her off the floor during the attack.  Unfortunately, she gets the upper hand, kicks him in the shin, and they both fall back onto her bed.  Later in the scene, she’s finally killed off-screen when the intruder uses an industrial-sized drill on her abdomen, impaling her and drilling a hole in the floor in the process.

Edits

During the scene, there are several cuts to Jake trying to call her.  I removed all of them.

Thoughts

Though non-fatal, this is a fantastic scene.  We get a couple of beautiful close-ups of her feet (clad in snakeskin, peep-toe, slingback heels) as she’s lifted off the floor and starts kicking during the struggle.  My only criticism is how weak the thief is when she retaliates.  One kick to the shin and they’re on the bed?  :: roll eyes ::

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Blow Out

PLOT SUMMARY

This stylish Brian DePalma thriller plays off the theme of the unsuspecting witness who discovers a crime and is thereby put in grave danger, but with a novel twist. Jack is a sound-man who works on “Grade-B” horror movies. Late one evening, he is “sampling” sounds for use in his movies, when he hears something unexpected through his sound equipment and records it. Curiosity gets the better of him when the media become involved, and he begins to unravel the pieces of a nefarious conspiracy. As he struggles to survive against his shadowy enemies and expose the truth, he doesn’t know who he can trust.

More Information: IMDb

Actress: Deborah Everton
Strangled With: Wire Garrote
Result: Fatal

This is the second strangling in the movie and takes place in what I believe is Grand Central Station.  It opens with John Lithgow reading the latest headline about his murderous exploits while eavesdropping on a hooker (Deborah) and a Navy sailor on leave haggle over the price of a blowjob.  Lithgow then starts fidgeting with his watch garrote as they agree on a price.  Afterward, he follows her to a row of phone booths and pretends to make a call while he waits for her and the sailer to finish up.  The rendezvous abruptly turns sour, and she’s left trying to collect herself.  John gets her attention through the row of booths and offers $50 for the same action.  She agrees, motions him to give her five minutes, and then heads for the bathroom.

John follows her in and quietly takes a position in an adjoining stall as she starts brushing her teeth.  He pulls out his garrote and wraps it around his gloved fingers.  The camera shows a few close-ups between Deborah brushing and Lithgow waiting for his moment to strike.  Deborah senses something isn’t right, and when she looks up, is unable to react before John snares her.  In one smooth, deft move, he wraps his garrote around her neck and lifts her off the ground.  The camera then cuts to a close-up shot of her feet from outside the stall door as she starts furiously kicking.  The camera slowly pulls back to a wide shot of her feet from across the bathroom as she dies, and then lingers for a moment as they dangle mere inches above the floor.

Edits

There’s a brief shot of the sailer and his friends hanging out together after he and Deborah finish negotiating the price of the blowjob he wanted.  I removed it.  No further editing was necessary.

Thoughts

There are three asphyxia scenes in this movie but this one has always been my favorite and is one of the best I’ve ever seen.  As a foot fetishist, the long shot of her feet after the initial attack made up for the lack of any more shots of her expression during the struggle.  My imagination has always filled that gap.  If I had a top 5 list of favorite stranglings, this scene would be on it.  I remember buying this on VHS what seems like eons ago now, and the excitement I felt upon learning it was on DVD.  I ordered a copy that day, and have never been happier to have this scene in widescreen.

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