8 Oct 2015

DISASTER FILMS - Analysis [Part 3]

Films have formulas and rules, but how well do films follow those formulas?  Are the Disaster Film Rules accurate?

The results for the rest of the rules for Disaster Films.  (Continued from Part 1 & Part 2).

Ten films were tested:

RULE #6 - Death

Prelude deaths

There will be a couple of minor, meaningless deaths early on.  Something that can be ignored or left undiscovered: an engineer investigating a strange noise in the boiler room, or someone if by a small chunk of asteroid.  These deaths tie into the initial destruction mentioned above.
  • Yes - The Towering Inferno; Jaws; Dante's Peaks; The Day After Tomorrow; Into the Storm.
  • Sort of - Airport 1975; Deep Impact.
  • None - The Poseidon Adventure; Airplane!; Daylight.

Mass casualties

There will me many sudden random deaths in the initial destruction.

  • Initial Disaster The Poseidon AdventureDaylight; Dante's Peaks; Deep Impact; The Day After Tomorrow.
  • Resolution rather than initial - The Towering Inferno; Into the Storm.
  • None - Airport 1975; Jaws; Airplane!

The black guy

Minorities will die earlier and have a higher death rate.

  • Minorites die first - The Day After Tomorrow (Lots of Japanese people)
  • Minority dies (part of group) - Airport 1975; Deep Impact; The Day After Tomorrow; Into the Storm.
  • Some Die, Some LiveDaylight.
  • Probably survive, movie doesn't care Into the Storm.
  • SurvivesThe Towering Inferno; Dante's Peak.
  • None - The Poseidon Adventure; Jaws; Airplane!


Some will be killed by panic, often caused by media revealing the too much information.

  • Large numbersThe Poseidon Adventure; Deep Impact.
  • Some Ignore Instructions - The Towering Inferno.
  • Panic, no deaths - Jaws; Airplane!; Dante's Peak; The Day After Tomorrow; Into the Storm.
  • NoneAirport 1975; Daylight.

The important guy

...will die a horrible/ironic death, hoisted on his own petard.
  • Initial Disaster (Instant) The Poseidon Adventure.
  • Killed escapingDante's Peak.
  • Lives (Bad)The Towering Inferno; Jaws; Daylight; The Day After Tomorrow.
  • Lives (Good)Airport 1975; Airplane!; Dante's PeakDeep Impact.
  • Secondary Import DiesThe Towering Inferno.
  • NoneInto the Storm.

The bad coward

This a person who's already bad and, in a final act of cowardice will abandon the others, often in a way guaranteeing the death of the rest of the group (sometimes to cover their mistakes).  Just when they think that they're safe, however they are killed.  Will usually be the important person.

  • Killed (thought safe) - The Poseidon Adventure; The Towering Inferno; Dante's Peak.
  • Partial - Daylight.
  • NoneAirport 1975; Jaws; Airplane!; Deep Impact; The Day After Tomorrow; Into the Storm.

  • Important person The Towering Inferno; Dante's Peak.

The good coward

This is a person who sensibly refuses to (or only grudgingly agrees to) put themselves in danger, even when it can save many other lives.  This coward will, however, have a change of heart and risk their life to save others.  This will usually kill them.  This type of coward is often the nerdy expert, or the wash-out.

  • Partial (killed) - Dante's Peak; Into the Storm.
  • Partial (survive) - Airplane!
  • None The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno; Airport 1975; Jaws; Daylight; Deep Impact; The Day After Tomorrow.

  • Wash-out - Airplane!
  • Nerdy expertDante's PeakInto the Storm.

The older woman

Will die protecting children.
  • Saving group The Poseidon Adventure; Dante's Peak.
  • Protecting child (ish) - The Towering Inferno.
  • Non-heroic death Daylight; Deep Impact.
  • None/minorAirport 1975; Jaws; Airplane!; The Day After Tomorrow; Into the Storm.

The usurped official

 Will often dying redeeming himself for submitting to the important person.

Initial Disaster (Instant) The Poseidon Adventure.,
Injured/sick earlyAirport 1975; Airplane!
Survives Jaws; Daylight; Dante's Peak; The Day After Tomorrow
UnknownDeep Impact.
NoneThe Towering Inferno; Into the Storm.

The expert tradesman

Will die trying to hold his equipment together (figuratively, but possibly literally).  This may occur early on just prior to the initial tipping point or near the end during the ridiculous resolution.  If during the ridiculous resolution will probably have last words ironically mocking the expert or gently encouraging his equipment.
  • Last Death - Jaws; Dante's Peak; Into the Storm.
  • Initial Disaster (Instant) - The Poseidon Adventure (Presumably); Deep Impact; The Day After Tomorrow.
  • Survives - The Towering Inferno; Daylight.
  • None - Airport 1975; Airplane!


Someone will cut their own rope.  Perhaps not always literally, but someone will sacrifice themselves to stop rescue attempts from killing others.
  • Leading man The Poseidon Adventure.
  • Other Deep Impact; The Day After Tomorrow; Into the Storm.
  • None - The Towering Inferno; Airport 1975; Jaws; Airplane!; Daylight; Dante's Peak.

Slow death

A number of people will die slow deaths, with a long goodbye and too much talking to people who should be trying to escape.
  • TwoThe Poseidon Adventure.
  • One Daylight; Dante's Peak.
  • Delayed death Into the Storm.
  • None - The Towering Inferno; Airport 1975; Jaws; Airplane!; Deep Impact; The Day After Tomorrow.

Bad options

Someone will die proving that their idea for an escape route isn't the best option they claimed.
  • Leader & Group - The Poseidon AdventureThe Day After Tomorrow.
  • Individuals - Daylight; Dante's Peak; Into the Storm.
  • None - The Towering Inferno; Airport 1975; Jaws; Airplane!; Deep Impact.

Reminders of danger

There will be some quick random deaths of survivors as a reminder that everyone is at risk.  Unexpected explosions, falls or sharp bits of metal are favourites.  An explosion causing a fall onto a sharp bit of metal would be prefect.

  • Yes The Poseidon AdventureThe Towering Inferno; Jaws; Daylight; Dante's Peak; Deep Impact; The Day After Tomorrow.
  • Injury only Airport 1975
  • None Airplane!;  Into the Storm.

One half of a couple

...will be killed.  As noted above it can be a member of the loving couple or lead a member of the bickering couple to realise they did love each other.  It may lead to the sacrifice of the other member of the couple (who will stay and die pointlessly rather then leave the one they love.)
  • Female only diesThe Poseidon Adventure (2); Daylight; Deep Impact. 
  • Male only dies The Towering Inferno (2)Daylight; Deep Impact.
  • None - Airport 1975; Jaws; Airplane; Dante's Peak; The Day After Tomorrow; Into the Storm.


... will tend to surive.
  • Survive The Poseidon Adventure; The Towering Inferno; Airport 1975; Airplane; Daylight; Dante's Peak; Deep Impact; The Day After Tomorrow; Into the Storm.
  • Mixed - Jaws; 


... are claimed to be immune to death and pass their immunity onto those around them.  But that's cute furry pets.  Bird, especially canaries, are bound to die as warning that there's gas, smoke or too much heat.

  • Survives - The Towering Inferno; Airport 1975; Daylight; Dante's Peak; Into the Storm.
  • Killed - Jaws.
  • None The Poseidon Adventure; Airplane; Deep Impact; The Day After Tomorrow.

    • Owner survives (Present) - Airport 1975.
    • Owner dies (Not present) - The Towering Inferno; Daylight; Dante's Peak;
    • Owner dies (present)Jaws.
    • Owner survives (Not present) - Into the Storm.
    • Person with pet suvives - The Towering Inferno; Daylight; Dante's Peak;

    The lead male

    • Noble sacrifice The Poseidon Adventure; Deep Impact.
    • Survive - The Towering Inferno; Airport 1975; Jaws; Airplane; Daylight; Dante's Peak; Deep Impact; The Day After Tomorrow; Into the Storm.

    continued in Part 4.
    ~ DUG.
    Please do the survey below to determine future rule sets.

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