9 Movies That People Actually Died Watching

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Great films have the power to move us to laughter, tears and even ... death. In this feature, we’ll screen nine flicks that actually resulted in the end of a human life. We dare you to watch them all in a row in the most morbid self-thrown film festival of all time.

A Fish Called Wanda

One of the most underrated flicks of the late '80s is "A Fish Called Wanda," a crime caper with a great cast and some unforgettable scenes. One of the most memorable is when Ken Pile, Michael Palin’s character, gets chips stuck up his nose. This bit was so hilarious that, in 1989, a Danish audiologist named Ole Bentzen started laughing so hard that he hyperventilated and elevated his heart rate to a staggering 200-500 beats per minute. The strain was enough to give him a fatal heart attack, and he died in the theater.

Lone Survivor

Peter Berg’s dramatization of the true story of a four-man Navy SEALs team in Afghanistan hunting down a top Taliban leader spawned real-world violence during a screening in 2014. At a theater in Tampa, Florida, suburb Wesley Chapel, a man named Chad Oulson was watching the film with his wife Nicole. A few rows behind him sat 71-year-old retired police officer Curtis Reeves, who got so irate that Oulson was texting during the film that he confronted him and pulled a gun, killing Oulson with one bullet. The biggest irony? Earlier in the film, Reeves had been texting, as well.

Grand Mastihttp://o.aolcdn.com/dims-global/dims3/GLOB/resize/700x600/http://www.blogcdn.com/slideshows/images/slides/294/214/9/S2942149/slug/l/mens-movies-died-watching-03-masti-grand-masti1-1.jpg

It’s not just American movies that have a death toll. Bollywood has been responsible for a cinema fatality or two. Case in point: "Grand Masti," a 2013 sex comedy directed by Indra Kumar. The plot is pretty basic stuff—three guys who don’t like their wives go to their college reunion, get tempted by foxy ladies and harassed by the principal. In between there are plenty of boner jokes—boner jokes so hilarious that Mangesh Bhogal, a 22-year-old man from Vasai, laughed himself into a massive stroke. He was rushed to the hospital but paramedics declared him dead before he arrived.

The Passion of the Christ

Mel Gibson’s blood-soaked take on the life of the Son of God drew a lot of intense reactions, but the most intense came from 56-year-old Peggy Scott, who worked as a sales manager for two Wichita-area radio stations. Scott went to a Kansas theater to take in the flick, but it turned out to be too much for her. During the climactic crucifixion scene when Jim Caveziel’s bloody mess Jesus is nailed to the cross, Scott’s heart stopped and she died. She’s not the only person claimed by "Passion" either—a Brazilian pastor also kicked the bucket during a screening in 2004.

The Creeping Unknownhttp://o.aolcdn.com/dims-global/dims3/GLOB/resize/700x600/http://www.blogcdn.com/slideshows/images/slides/294/215/0/S2942150/slug/l/mens-movies-died-watching-04-quatermass-xperiment-poster-01-1.jpg

You might have noticed that there aren’t too many horror films on this list, which seems strange. Those would be the movies that you’d think elevate the heart rate above the norm. But you have to go back to 1956 to find a fatality during a scary movie, and that was "The Creeping Unknown," the American re-titling of 1953’s "The Quatermass Experiment." A nine-year-old boy named Stewart Cohan of Oak Park, Illinois, was so upset by the creepy tale of an alien organism that his undersized heart collapsed under the strain and he expired in the theater.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipsehttp://o.aolcdn.com/dims-global/dims3/GLOB/resize/700x600/http://www.blogcdn.com/slideshows/images/slides/294/215/2/S2942152/slug/l/mens-movies-died-watching-06-twilight-photofest-eclipsetwili-1.jpg

We’d personally prefer the solace of the grave to having to watch any of the awful Twilight movies. That’s not to belittle the sad fate of a 23-year-old transient named Damian Anthony Smythe in Wellington, New Jersey, who bought a ticket for "Eclipse" in 2010, settled in for the duration and passed away in his seat at some point during the film. Smythe had started drinking alcohol during the film and downed at least half a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red before slumping unconscious in his seat. Cause of death was acute alcohol poisoning.

Black Swanhttp://o.aolcdn.com/dims-global/dims3/GLOB/resize/700x600/http://www.blogcdn.com/slideshows/images/slides/294/215/3/S2942153/slug/l/mens-movies-died-watching-07-black-swan-photofest-blackswan2-1.jpg

Darren Aronofsky’s brutal ballet melodrama "Black Swan" was an intense meditation on the pursuit of perfection, but one moviegoer in Latvia was less than impressed. In 2011, at a screening of the film in a Riga multiplex, a 42-year-old man was confronted during the credits for eating his popcorn too loudly by a younger man. Instead of apologizing for his noisy chomping, the older man escalated the argument until the other guy pulled a gun and shot him. The killer was a 27-year-old graduate of the Latvian police academy who also held a law degree.


James Cameron’s CGI-saturated sci-fi epic was one of the most visually spectacular movies of the last few years, but all that excitement wasn’t healthy for a 42-year-old Taiwanese man named Cuo who saw the film in 2010. Cuo had a history of high blood pressure, and when he headed to a theater in Hsinchu to watch the flick, it got his heart pounding so hard that he suffered a stroke. Ushers got him out of the auditorium and to a nearby hospital, but he died as a result of a massive brain hemorrhage.

The Dark Knight Riseshttp://o.aolcdn.com/dims-global/dims3/GLOB/resize/700x600/http://www.blogcdn.com/slideshows/images/slides/294/215/5/S2942155/slug/l/mens-movies-died-watching-10-dark-knight-photofest-darkknigh-1.jpg

Probably the most notorious film fatality of all time occurred during a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colorado. The auditorium was packed with fans for a midnight showing of Christopher Nolan’s grim hero flick when a deranged man named James Holmes came into the theater with a tactical shotgun, a semi-automatic rifle and two canisters of gas. He opened fire indiscriminately on the shocked audience, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others. Police apprehended Holmes in his car outside the theater, and he has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and is scheduled to go to trial in December 2014.

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