Archive for Fade to Black

The Obituary Mambo

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2008 by dcairns

No Moe

Reading Paul Donnelley’s Fade to Black, A Book of Movie Obituaries leads one to wonder, wistfully, how the film greats of today will eventually meet their doom.

Come on, it’ll be fun!

George Lucas. Crushed to death under a huge pile of money. Last words: “More!”

Lindsay Lohan. Crushed to death under a huge rock of crack.

Javier Bardem. Crushed to death under his own face.

Werner Herzog. Perishes of heat prostration while hiking into the heart of the sun.

Kate Beckinsale. Just quietly forgotten to death. Last words: unknown.

Tim Roth. Inner vileness.

Luc Besson. Sudden crushing sense of inadequacy.

Arnold Schwartzenegger. Eaten alive by own bicep. Last words: ironic quip.

Dario Argento. Raped to death by his own shadow. Well, it makes as much sense as anything in INFERNO.

Nicole Kidman. One of these days that face is going to snap like an elastic band. God help Keith Urban if he’s standing nearby. Last words: “Ow.” Age: no man can say.

John Hurt. Chestburster. Either that or he makes the mistake of going to sleep lying down.

David Thompson. Already dead. We just haven’t told him. Last words: that book about Nicole Kidman.

Stanley Kubrick. Faked his own death in 2000. Will be discovered hiding in a tea-chest, strangled by his own untrimmed beard and fingernails.

John Travolta. Finally goes supernova, before collapsing in on himself.

Tom Cruise. Thetans. Last words: “I was right!”

Sharon Stone. Karma.

Oliver Stone. Shock, after making good film. Age: 104.

Mel Gibson. Fractures skeleton during a botched attempt to induce the Rapture.

Lars Von Trier. Smugness. And giant scorpions.

Eli Roth. Ass-eating virus.

Michael York. The heat death of the universe. Age: still 35.

Meg Ryan. Smirking.

Tom Hanks. Passive smirking.

Martin Scorsese. Will finally descend to sub-atomic level — no wait, that’s THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN. Scorsese will probably ascend to heaven without actually dying, like Elijah.

Michael Bay. This one’s mine.

The Wages of Sin

Feel free to suggest your own.

But keep it clean!

La Morte Amoreuse

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2008 by dcairns


“Montez liked to take very hot baths and it was during one of these she suffered a heart attack at home in Suresnes, near Paris. She was aged 34. She was buried in a Catholic ceremony four days after her death.”

~ from Fade to Black, A Book of Movie Obituaries. For once, author Paul Donnelley fails to provide the morbid details we crave. Maria Montez, former Queen of Technicolor, had been suffering from depression and weight problems, and the cocktail of medication she was on may have helped hasten her demise. She was found in the tub by her husband, actor Jean-Pierre Aumont, who reported that she had sunk into the water until just the top of her head from her eyes up was visible — like Martin Sheen in APOCALYPSE NOW, or Venus rising from the waters of Venice in FELLINI CASANOVA.


This is a picture I took in Cannes after Fellini’s death — the giant head of Venus, normally on display at Cinecitta studios, had been shipped over to stand outside the Italian Pavilion, marking the solemn occasion.

Somebody once told me that Fellini’s fatal heart attack was triggered by his choking on a piece of cheese that he’d had smuggled into hospital against doctor’s orders, but I have no confirmation of this.

Talking of death:

Maria Montez nearly played Death. Cocteau was trying to raise a big budget for ORPHEE, to star Aumont and Montez, but sufficient funds were not forthcoming, so he slashed the budget and made the film with his friends Jean Marais and Maria Casares (no doubt his preferred choice anyway). Montez was very disappointed, and Aumont tried to cheer her up: “You’ll have other roles, more beautiful and charming ones to suit your personality.”

“But darling,” Montez protested, “Death should be beautiful and charming.”

It should.


Quote of the Day: “Around his nipples were sun rays.”

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on June 5, 2008 by dcairns

The following, from Fade to Black, a Book of Movie Obituaries, by Paul Donnelley, is a bit on the grand guignol side. Skip it if you have a tendency to be squeam, or even just squeam-ish.


‘Albert Dekker’s death at 62 is one of the most puzzling in Hollywood history. He was discovered dead in his Hollywood home, 1731 North Normandie, kneeling in the bath. In each arm was a dirty hypodermic needle, a noose was around his neck, a scarf covered his eyes, a horse’s bit was in his mouth with the reins tied tightly behind his head, a leather belt was around his neck, another around his chest and leather ropes connected the two. A third leather belt around his waist was tied with a rope to his ankles, which were tightly bound. The rope then went back up his body around his wrists and was held in his hands, which were manacled with handcuffs. The word “Whip” was written in red lipstick on his right buttock above two needle marks. Around his nipples were sun rays, also in lipstick. On his thorax was the words “Make me suck,” with “Slave” and “Cocksucker” on his chest. A vagina was drawn on his lower belly. To add to the disturbing sight, lividity had sent the lower half of his body purple. The coroner stated it was “an accidental death, not suicide” but many of his friends believed he had been murdered. They pointed to the fact that $70,000 in cash was missing along with a tape recorder and expensive photographic equipment. Coroner Thomas N. Noguchi (on whom TV pathologist Quincey, M.E. was based) believes Dekker died of auto-asphyxiation during a sex game that went horribly wrong. The case is closed.’

For the incurably morbid, such as myself, Fade to Black has much to commend it. It’s not really obituaries, more like reports from the scene of decease, emphasising the facts of death rather than the lively accomplishments of those taken. I find it fascinating and a touch depressing, but addictive.

Based on his own inferred past-times, poor Albert Dekker might even agree.