What do mermaids, mutants, pirates, cowboys, nice aliens, mean aliens, handsome vampires, gross vampires, evil fascist wizards, evil fascist robots, evil fascist Nazis, evil communists who have the redeeming trait of not being fascist, and homicidal psycho rebel apes have in common? They’re all going to kill — or be killed — at your friendly neighborhood multiplex this summer. Because, fellow moviegoers, today marks the beginning of the summer blockbuster season: Four straight months of slambang superhero action, epic science-fiction battles, and historically-inaccurate explosive devices. And, in honor of Hollywood’s most important season, we’re kickstarting our official Summer Movie Body Count.
We’ll be in the theater right next to you every week, counting every fatal gunshot, every decapitation, every bomb, every Avada Kedavra, and every Smurf-icide. The hunt began at midnight this morning, when Thor decimated the galactic population of Frost Giants, and it won’t be over until late August, when Final Destination 5 ends the summer in a veritable orgy of death-by-household-object and A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy ends the summer with a veritable… orgy.
We want you to play along at home, and in the interest of making this as precise as possible for the stat-geeks in the audience, here are the rules:
1. We’re only counting deaths that legitimately occur onscreen. So, just because Michael Bay shows a skyscraper being knocked over by Megatron, don’t just round up to 5,000. Also, let’s not forget that most of Michael Bay’s skyscrapers are probably empty, because…
2. Hollywood is currently in the grip of a horrific PG-13 pandemic, which means many of the deaths that occur onscreen will be bloodless non-human deaths. This is because the MPAA doesn’t think a twelve-year-old should see a human being get comically decapitated, but they have no problem with showing the same twelve-year-old an image of Thor’s hammer slicing a Frost Giant in half. Hooray for ambiguously legislated morality! Hence, we have opened this body count to any species who have achieved human-level sentience or beyond. No, cute little dogs don’t count. Because they are stupid.
3. In the interest of letting everyone play along, we’re focusing our official Body Count only on films with wide releases in 2,000 theaters or more. However, if you catch an indie film that features a particularly gruesome fatality, be sure to mark it down, because…
4. We’ll be handing out awards. We’ll be on the lookout for the best deaths, the funniest deaths, the saddest deaths, the best last lines, the most unexpected murder weapons, and more. Each week, we’ll ask you to vote on your favorite death of the summer so far.
We’ll be back on Monday to report on the all the deaths in this weekend’s wide releases: Thor, Something Borrowed, and Jumping the Broom. So, probably just Thor. But you never know — maybe Ginnifer Goodwin goes on a murderous shotgun rampage at the end of Something Borrowed. I’ve said too much! Spoiler alert!
Here’s to a fun, frothy, comically kill-tacular summer at the movies, PopWatchers. Now get counting!