Janet Leigh’s shower scene in “Psycho” is the “best movie death” of all time, according to a critics’ poll published Thursday.
The 1960 Alfred Hitchcock thriller beat other iconic movies such as “The Godfather” (22nd) and Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs” (23rd) in the non-scientific poll by Total Film magazine.
Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb” (1964) came in second, with its surreal ending in which Slim Pickens rides an atomic bomb.
Other highly rated movie deaths were the fatal plunge of the ape in 1933’s “King Kong,” which came in third place, and the demise of Bambi’s mother in the 1942 Disney movie “Bambi,” which came in sixth.
“Some of the deaths in the poll, like The Wicked Witch melting in ’The Wizard Of Oz’ (13th), are iconic but laughable, but nearly 45 years on, ’Psycho’s’ shower scene is still distressing,” said Total Film deputy editor Simon Crook.
“It’s the sheer violence of the edit rather than any explicit gore — 70 different angles, over 90 cuts and those shrieking violins. It’s a master class in montage and audience manipulation.”
Crook added: “Knowing that the blood is Bosco’s chocolate syrup and that a pulped casaba melon stood in for the stabbing noises does nothing to reduce the impact.”