6 Films that Unwittingly Increase your Fear of Death

I decided to submit a pitch to one of my favourite pop culture websites: Cracked.com. For those of you who haven’t explored it yet, give it a try! They encourage people to submit pitches for articles that may or may not be published on the website. Even if it’s not published, you get great feedback on what you have pitched. I decided to try it out, and it was only after I received feedback about it that I realised my proposed article really didn’t make a lot of sense, or perhaps it was just too obvious. I intend to keep trying, but I’d like you to have a look for yourself. The title of this entry is the title of my pitch. Oh, and apologies for the clumped paragraphs, I’ve tried everything to edit it!

We all have our own theory of what happens after we die. Perhaps there is a heaven where we are reunited with our loved ones, or, if there really is a God, we can do anything we want, be it illegal or downright insane! Hollywood has given us its own version of what the afterlife looks like. If it’s their intention to scare us into living our days to the fullest in preparation for the doom and gloom that’s to come, mission accomplished!
1. Beetle Juice
Adam and Barbara Maitland had their lives cut short when a small dog decided not to spare them and sent them to their watery graves. For them, death involves being trapped inside their conveniently big house surrounded by an overly colorful dessert where lurks a giant zebra snake creature. Their only means of escape from the house is through a drawn door that leads to a very depressing waiting room.
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2. The Lovely Bones
When Susie Salmon is murdered by her creepy, dollhouse-making neighbor, she is transported to an afterlife that allows her to choose her surroundings using her mind. When she isn’t moping over her parents’ inability to see her killer practically taunting them, she and her dead friend are modeling and putting their faces on the cover of Deceased Weekly.
3. Flatliners
The loss of life is only temporary in this movie. However, while the images of the afterlife are not clear, what it reveals is that your past sins are lying in wait for you on the other side. Never mind if you lived a law-abiding life, if you swore at a little girl in the playground or decided one woman wasn’t enough for you, it will strike you down the moment your heart stops.
4. The Sixth Sense
It’s nice to imagine that if there really is an afterlife, you can revert back to a time when you looked youthful and pretty. Not in the Sixth Sense. Unless you died smiling or through some natural, unscathed cause, you’re going to look like that forever. Cole Sear can see dead people and instead of telling the audience whenever he’s looking at someone who is clearly not alive, we are given a clue that they are dead. There is the woman with half her head missing, and the three poor bastards who are hanging at the top of a set of stairs. Are we bound to our cause of death for all eternity? Because maybe we should make plans!
5. Titanic
The ships sinks, that much is obvious, and there is a lot of death. Rose DeWitt Bukator is one of the lucky survivors and goes on to tell a money-hungry group of people how she is still alive today. At the end of the movie, we are lead to believe that she has died peacefully in her sleep and we are taken to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean to the ruins of the Titanic. The ship goes from decay to brand new and we are basically given a glimpse of Rose’s afterlife in which all those who perished on the liner are waiting to greet her and see her make out with a man who wasn’t her husband throughout most of her life, or the father of her children. And that’s not it, were the people waiting for her stuck on that ship since it perished? What if they wanted to spend their eternity somewhere else?
6. The Others
The idea of death in this film is that wherever you die you will be stuck in that place forever, no matter how dreary. If you try to leave you will be caught in a fog and forced to turn back. And you don’t even get the perks of haunting those who have moved into your residence, intentionally anyway. With no one to tell you that you are in fact dead, you are forced to become terrified of the living.
************* Draft Entry (Titanic)
It is worth noting that for a ridiculously large sum of the world’s population, namely America, the Titanic is simply a fictional story created by James Cameron. After all, who would believe that a ship branded ‘unsinkable’ would actually sink in real life? Unfortunately, this irony is just one of the reasons that this ship and its tragic end are so popular.
Jack Dawson is an out-of-work artist who manages to win a ticket on board the Titanic so he can return home to America. In contrast, Rose DeWitt Bukator is child of privilege, betrothed to the nasty Cal to ensure that her family doesn’t fall into poverty. Aside from a sinking ship, that would be the worst thing in the world. They are sailing back to America to wed and live financially happily ever after.
Jack and Rose’s love story begins like all great relationships do – through a suicide attempt. Rose decides she doesn’t want to return to America and marry a man she barely knows for the sake of money. She breaks down after a dull dinner with her mother and decides to throw herself off the back of the ship, obviously! Luckily, Jack shows up just in time, practically teasing her that she doesn’t want to kill herself. In another twist of irony, Rose nearly falls to her death after deciding to live another day. Jack saves her and what follows is a whirlwind romance based on a promise to never let go, until, you know, one of them does.
Following the fate of the Titanic, Rose and Jack are stranded in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Being a true gentleman, Jack stays in the water and allows Rose to lie atop a straying fireplace. Inevitably Jack dies. For a minute, Rose seems to prefer to stay with him, but when the only lifeboat to come to their aid turns away, suddenly the idea of dying with the man of her dreams doesn’t appeal to Rose anymore and she allows him to drop down into the ocean, promising to never let him go. Eh, do we see a little contradiction here? Rose survives and lives to tell the tale to gold-digging Bill Paxton eighty-four years later. As Jack predicted, she soon passes in her sleep surrounded by pictures of her doing the things Jack promised to help her do. They weren’t great with their promises, were they?
The Afterlife…
Rose is brought back to the Titanic in all its former glory and is welcomed by those who perished on the liner. At the top of the stairs, Jack waits for her and kisses her to the applause of their rude, gawking audience.
But wait a minute! Were those people forced to stay on that ship all this time? We’re sure they had better places to spend their eternity. Maybe not all of them wanted to remain aboard a ship that made the poor feel like lepers. One can only assume that the majority of the third class passengers only got to see that fancy part of the ship in their afterlife. And we see Murdock standing near comic relief Irishman Tommy: the man he shot in cold blood before blowing his own brains out. We don’t know about you but we wouldn’t want to spend eternity with the man who killed us and forced us to live on that ship for nearly a century.
We can only hope that Rose was the last of the Titanic passengers to finally kick the bucket and join the ship so that it could reach its destination. Be it New York or somewhere worth spending your eternity. Perhaps that was why they applauded! One thing seemed certain in the film, however, Rose’s husband, whom she implied did exist, wasn’t anywhere to be found. After all, who wouldn’t choose Leonardo DiCaprio?
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