In the climactic steel mill faceoff in Robocop, the black guy on Clarence’s crew was taken out with the first shot.
Actually, it was the first ten or fifteen shots.
Considering the budget cuts OCP was inflicting on the police department, you’d think Robocop would be a bit more miserly with his bullets.
It’s not so much that the black characters often die first, but that they’re often seen as expendable or comic relief– not the hero or his/her love interest, who’ll live on 'til the end.
In Blazing Saddles, Cleavon Little plays the only main character who’s black, and he survives to the end (although it was close, when he pulled a gun on himself and said, “Nobody moves or the nigger gets it…”).
In Pulp Fiction, doesn’t the black guy survive, while his white partner dies? At least, so I’ve been told. I personally wasn’t able to make heads nor tails of that movie.
Don’t forget The Shining. Reviewer Pauline Kael was offended by the way Scatman Crothers got the “ax” (quite literally). She compared it to the scene in Huckleberry Finn where Huck tells about an explosion on a steamboat. Asked, “Was anyone hurt?” he replies, “No 'm. Killed a nigger.” :mad:
There was Mimic. The black cop was the first to be picked off by the mutant roaches.
In Blackula, Dracula vamps out on the visiting African prince, Mummuwaldi, thus creating the title character. But since he wasn’t strictly dead, you could say that his wife was the first to die. (You don’t see her death per se, you just assume she dies because she’s locked in the castle room with Blackula and his coffin for a few centuries; then you’re fast-fowarded to the “Present Day”, which is 1970-something.)
So, if you don’t accept his wife, either, than the first man to die is the black half of the gay duo who purchase, then open, Blackula’s coffin.
Good god, I love those movies.
Especially since, IIRC, he only gets hit with a roque mallet in the book.
One of the first, out of three characters! The black man comes right in the middle. By “really”, do you mean the white guy dead when the story begins doesn’t count?
Another one that fits is Planet of the Apes. The black astronaut dies among a pile of people, minor characters that we never get acquainted with.
Actually, in From Beyond, there was also the psychiatrist at the hospital the pituitary gland guy munches down on. And then an EMT operator, and then a bum. All of them are white. I know the EMT and the bum are both bit parts, and the psychiatrist wasn’t that big a character either, but when we’re talking about black characters who die in the first five minutes, we’re not really talking about major characters either, so it fits.
The House on Haunted Hill remake has the black guy surviving till the end. Of course, he’s going to die anyway, but at least he lasted longer than everyone else.
Scream 2 mentioned it as well, and killed off two black characters right off the bat, which got me thinking…were there ANY black characters in Scream?
There is an action/horror movie that fits the last-minute rule. It’s an Alien crossed with The Poseidon Adventure, or artificial intelligence on a ship.
The original people the bad stuff is happening to are Russian, which is interesting. The American sailors barge in and cause problems again. The black man dies, but he found the only place out of the enemy’s sight and created the device by which the two survivors escape. It really looked like he would survive.
I don’t know the title. It came out around November 2002, I think. Or July 2002 on TV.
I’ve seen it, and I think its Virus http://us.imdb.com/Details?0120458
If they ever make an action movie based on the Boston Massacre, it’ll be the Crispus Attucks character.
syncrolecyne, I don’t think there’s ever been an official name or term for the black-character-getting-killed trend in horror, sci-fi or action movies. But as a teenager over 15 years ago, I dubbed this type of character ‘The Sacrificial Negro’ in a moment of inspired sarcasm. Still later, I added the subset of ‘Heroic Sacrificial Negro’ – when the black character has a clear shot at surviving if he’d just haul ass, but dies a heroic death while attempting to save the lives of the other (usually, white) characters. (Charles Dutton in Alien3, Ernie Hudson in Leviathan, Joe Morton in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Samuel L. Jackson in Deep Blue Sea, etc.)
I believe a black woman train conductor was the first to die in Species.
See, I always called it “Pulling a Shining.” That was the biggest peeve with that movie. They wasted all this time drawing a connection between the black guy and the little kid, and made a big huge deal spending all this camera time for him to show up, and then WHAM!! Axe to the gut, and he’s dead. His only true role was to get killed for no reason. But that was all stated already.
The Crying Game
Depends on what you mean by “go”…
This phenomenon is related to the MAAF thing, “Magical African-American Friend”. This is the wise black character (often with magic powers of some sort) whose only purpose in life is to sit around and advise, counsel and protect his pathetic white friend. Oh, and the MAAF will certainly teach his friend how to learn, live life, and love. I guess the idea behind the MAAF is white fear of black hatred…here’s a nice African American, and instead of being pissed at what the black man has to go through in this country, he’s kind, thoughtful, helpful and self-sacrificing. And those black people sure do have a lot of soul!
The “Black Guy Dies” phenom is similar…you have a capable black guy who must die in order to:
- Show how really bad the villain is.
- Show how tough the situation is.
- Save the white guy while sacrificing his life.
- Show how cool the white guy is…black people love him!