Author Topic: Accidental actor deaths on set during fighting scenes  (Read 2569 times)

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Offline eegah

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Accidental actor deaths on set during fighting scenes
« on: April 04, 2013, 04:57:01 PM »
Every time I see some actor pretend to snap someones neck or strangle someone, I wonder if this type of scene (physical combat) ever results in an accidental death, especially when someone as big as Tor Johnson or Richard Kiel is involved. Has this ever happened?


Offline Darth Geek

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Re: Accidental actor deaths on set during fighting scenes
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2013, 05:12:49 PM »
Oh sure. Especially in low budget and foreign made movies where there is little to no oversight or safety laws. I think they go into that in a the documentary Not Quite Hollywood, about Autsralian exploitation movies.

There was a very famous fatality on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie where an actor got his head cut off by helicoptor blades.



Offline wurwolf

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Re: Accidental actor deaths on set during fighting scenes
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2013, 05:15:27 PM »
Vic Morrow
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Offline eegah

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Re: Accidental actor deaths on set during fighting scenes
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2013, 05:20:24 PM »
*sigh* No, not Vic Morrow, Brandon Lee, etc., etc. I'm just looking for actual fist-fight type scenes.


Offline goflyblind

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Re: Accidental actor deaths on set during fighting scenes
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2013, 06:53:56 PM »
chicken, corn, green peppers, chili, *sigh* onions...
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Offline wurwolf

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Re: Accidental actor deaths on set during fighting scenes
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2013, 08:13:08 PM »
What about scenes where the actor is attacked with banana?
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Offline Relaxing Dragon

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Re: Accidental actor deaths on set during fighting scenes
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2013, 08:57:51 PM »
What about scenes where the actor is attacked with banana?

They shoot him, then eat the banana, thus disarming the attacker.

In all seriousness, I actually can't think of an instance where a stuntperson has died in a hand-to-hand combat scenario. Mostly because of how those things are blocked out (and ultimately acted out) that it wouldn't really allow for it. Plus, contrary to what we see in the movies, it actually is rather difficult to snap someone's neck with your bare hands. Also, they tend to just act out being strangled. The guy isn't actually crushing their trachea. It's just movie magic *throws sparkles*

Stunt deaths in films happen when a vehicle crashes into something (either with them in it or the thing being crashed into) or the occasional mechanical malfunction. And also Brandon Lee, but he's an outlier. There's also the instance of Michael J. Fox aaaaaaaalmost being strangled to death on the set of Back to the Future III, but that was in a noose, not between someone's hands.


Offline eegah

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Re: Accidental actor deaths on set during fighting scenes
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2013, 05:10:57 AM »
What prompted me to post this question was a scene in a Burt Reynolds movie that I was watching yesterday where he held saran wrap (shouldn't it have been reynold's wrap? heh) tightly over someone's face until they asphyxiated. It was on there a long time.


Offline wurwolf

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Re: Accidental actor deaths on set during fighting scenes
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2013, 05:19:41 AM »
saran wrap (shouldn't it have been reynold's wrap? heh)

This actually made me lol.
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Offline Variety of Cells

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Re: Accidental actor deaths on set during fighting scenes
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2013, 10:18:18 AM »
Yeah, deaths are much more frequent when cars, machinery or guns are involved.  Hand to hand combat is pretty safe, even in China where they are allowed to actually punch each other. 

But even guns that fire blanks are dangerous.  I was talking to a guy who does prop guns and he told us the story of an actor who was killed by a gun that fires blanks.  He told us that there are two types of fake ammunition: blanks that make a mussel flash whose cartridges don't look real, and real looking bullets that don't have any powder for when an actor has to load a gun on screen.  After an actor did a scene where he loaded some ammunition on screen, the gun was loaded with blanks for the next shot.  But some of the first ammunition was stuck in the gun and the props guy didn't notice.  So when the actor fired the blank that piece that was stuck was propelled out and it killed the actor he was pointing at.


Offline wurwolf

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Re: Accidental actor deaths on set during fighting scenes
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2013, 10:25:04 AM »
This is the guy you mean, right? Jon-Erik Hexum? I had to look it up because it's been so long.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon-Erik_Hexum#Death

Quote
When the scene did not play as the director wanted it to play in the master shot, there was a delay in filming. Hexum became restless and impatient during the delay and began playing around to lighten the mood. Apparently, he had unloaded all but one (blank) round, spun it, and in what would appear to be a game of Russian roulette, at 5:15 p.m., he put the revolver to his right temple and pulled the trigger.

Hexum was apparently unaware that his actions were dangerous. Blanks use paper or plastic wadding to seal gunpowder into the cartridge, and this wadding is propelled from the barrel of the gun with enough force to cause injury if the weapon is fired within a few metres of the body should it strike at a particularly vulnerable spot, such as the temple or the eye. At point blank range, the effect of the powder gasses is similar to a small explosion so although the paper wadding in the blank that Hexum discharged did not penetrate his skull, there was enough blunt force trauma to shatter a quarter-sized piece of his skull and propel the pieces into his brain, causing massive hemorrhaging.
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Offline Variety of Cells

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Re: Accidental actor deaths on set during fighting scenes
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2013, 10:45:27 AM »
This is the guy you mean, right? Jon-Erik Hexum? I had to look it up because it's been so long.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon-Erik_Hexum#Death

Quote
When the scene did not play as the director wanted it to play in the master shot, there was a delay in filming. Hexum became restless and impatient during the delay and began playing around to lighten the mood. Apparently, he had unloaded all but one (blank) round, spun it, and in what would appear to be a game of Russian roulette, at 5:15 p.m., he put the revolver to his right temple and pulled the trigger.

Hexum was apparently unaware that his actions were dangerous. Blanks use paper or plastic wadding to seal gunpowder into the cartridge, and this wadding is propelled from the barrel of the gun with enough force to cause injury if the weapon is fired within a few metres of the body should it strike at a particularly vulnerable spot, such as the temple or the eye. At point blank range, the effect of the powder gasses is similar to a small explosion so although the paper wadding in the blank that Hexum discharged did not penetrate his skull, there was enough blunt force trauma to shatter a quarter-sized piece of his skull and propel the pieces into his brain, causing massive hemorrhaging.

Nope, this person killed the other actor he was firing at, not himself.  Though it goes even further to show that prop guns are still very dangerous. 


Offline eegah

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Re: Accidental actor deaths on set during fighting scenes
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2013, 10:49:46 AM »
This is essentially what happened to Brandon "Laser Mission" Lee. Bullet was still in the chamber when the blank fired, so he got shot.

Still not really what I'm looking for (not that it isn't interesting). I know "equipment failure" accidents have led to deaths, but have fist-fights? You know, pretend strangulation, neck breaking, etc.


Offline wurwolf

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Re: Accidental actor deaths on set during fighting scenes
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2013, 11:01:47 AM »
I'm trying to decide if your avatar matches your question.
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Offline Relaxing Dragon

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Re: Accidental actor deaths on set during fighting scenes
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2013, 11:48:31 AM »
This is essentially what happened to Brandon "Laser Mission" Lee. Bullet was still in the chamber when the blank fired, so he got shot.

Still not really what I'm looking for (not that it isn't interesting). I know "equipment failure" accidents have led to deaths, but have fist-fights? You know, pretend strangulation, neck breaking, etc.

Like I said above, I really don't think so. Beyond the difficulty in choking someone (though I image there's been close calls), it takes an awfully long time to beat someone to death. Too long for it to be an accident.

Although apparently Malcolm McDowell nearly drowned on the set of A Clockwork Orange in the bit where his head was shoved underwater, and his breathing apparatus failed. Had Kubrick left him under there a little longer, he likely wouldn't have woken back up.