Week 6 of EW’s 2011 Summer Movie Body Count continues with Super 8. For those of you who do not possess an extra-terrestrial memory, here’s a reminder of the rules. SPOILER ALERT: Things are about to get messy!
For a monster movie with a plot predicated upon an off-screen death and a catastrophic train accident, Super 8 had very few actual, confirmed fatalities. There were several pump fakes, most notably, Dr. Woodword — ya know, the dude who rammed his pickup head-first into a moving train. Instead of winding up a smear on the railroad tracks, he was discovered by the Super Six kids still breathing, and able to raise his voice and hold up a gun to boot, in his shredded tin can of a vehicle. Woodword showed up later lying in a secret Air Force hospital room bed, only to then meet his demise (confirmed by the reliable flatline tone) via a lethal injection. Survives a head-on collision with a freight train, dies weak and feeble from a syringe. That’s just not right.
(Speaking of the crash, there was presumably a crew operating the train, but our specific rules regarding the Body Count prohibit including off-screen deaths, and seeing as Woodword survived the disaster, who’s to say the train crew didn’t, too?)
Once the monster was loose, it seemed at first that he went on a little killing spree, wasting the sheriff at the gas station, the yokel gas station attendant, Breen, and the power and light worker who was attacked in his cherry picker. Curious, though, that we never saw any corpses. Then, once Alice was also attacked by the creature in a similar fashion, it seemed less likely that those previous victims were dead — no way they’re murdering the young, sympathetic girl, the movie-within-a-movie’s leading lady, so maybe all these attack victims are held captive somewhere, perhaps cocooned in slime or contained in high-tech pods or something. Turns out they were hanging upside down in a subterranean lab created by the alien, but we saw that several of them were most certainly quite alive, meaning that none of the attacks witnessed earlier could be tallied as confirmed kills. However, in another moment of delicious J.J. Abrams irony, the sheriff, while attempting to lead everyone out of the monster’s lair to safety, was thrown violently by the monster (as was the hair-curler lady), and though we never learned for certain, we’ll rack up those as a pair of deaths, because it’s just too preposterous to think someone could survive two separate attacks at the claws of a 20-foot alien.
More certain was the pair of deaths on the bus (there likely were more, but we only saw two). The solider in the front of a bus who was squished like a grape by a giant monster limb was a startling, bloodless but brutal delight, and then there was Nelic. Ahhh, Nelic. This blond, heartless Neidermeyer was just too evil to sneak away with his life. Trapped in the back of the same bus where his compatriot was just flattened, Nelec engaged in a brief stare-down with the creature he had spent his career torturing, just before it turned him into a red stain on the window.
Despite all the roaring, destruction, and mayhem, Super 8 only clocked in with five confirmed on-screen deaths, bringing the 2011 Summer Movie Body Count total up to 269. And now, it’s time to vote for your favorite death. Do one of Super 8‘s kills deserve to make the final cut? Weigh in now!