3 Movie After-Lives and Their Horrific Implications

Written by Chad Echakowitz

 Photograph by   Mathew MacQuarrie

Photograph by Mathew MacQuarrie

It’s something we think about often. Human beings are burdened with the sad knowledge that one day we will face death and there is nothing we can do about it. This impending doom has been something that has enraged some, and frightened many more. Consequently, we have theorized what happens to us once we go to that eternal sleep and the results have been fantastic. Heaven, Purgatory, Valhalla, and Reincarnation are just some of the great theories that people have created over the millennia. Films have come up with some pretty spectacular theories too (I mean, who hasn’t cried at the end of Meet Joe Black?). Unfortunately, not all of the after-life scenarios created by the silver screen have been knockouts. Here’s a list of just some of the films where the depiction of the afterlife is genuinely terrifying.

1.     Titanic

This is a beautiful love story that has resulted in so very many boat-related antics. However, they really missed the boat (get it?) with creating a heartfelt afterlife. In the final moments of the film, it is implied that Rose dies peacefully in her sleep after she has thrown the Heart of the Ocean in to the deep blue sea. In the next sequence, we are given a point of view shot of Rose walking through the Titanic’s Staircase Room with people who were on the ship, dressed in their fanciest dinner attire, standing on either side of her. We pan up to find a young Jack standing at the top of the staircase. He turns around and sees Rose. They embrace and then everyone starts clapping. This is supposed to be a cute moment where, finally, Jack and Rose will be united forever. They could not be more wrong.

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If this is Titanic’s version of the afterlife, it is really messed up. The film implies that every person who was on the Titanic will now spend the rest of eternity on the Titanic, whether you survived the sinking or not. This alone is horrible. Basically, you’re now stuck for an eternity on a ship which you probably have some serious PTSD-based feelings towards. And don’t say “Oh, but they looked so happy!” Yes, they were happy because there was a new arrival to this torture chamber, a new person to talk to, seeing as they’ve only had this finite number of people to talk to for the last 80 or so years.

Additionally, you’re not even the center of your own afterlife. Unless you are Jack and Rose (which you’re not) you have to stand around, waiting for Rose to finally die and then you have to watch them kiss (weird) and then clap. But after that, what’s next? Do you go back to hanging out by the pool? Attacking the guy who forgot the binoculars? What are you supposed to do for the rest of forever on a boat? Sure, it would be fun for like, a year but then you’d get bored as the long stretch of time wears you away into insanity. But at least the amenities are nice. So... enjoy that.

2.     Star Wars

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We don’t get too much information about the After-Life in Star Wars but from what is said, we become part of the Living Force and live on through that. But then, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Anakin Skywalker and Qui-Gon Jinn all come back as Force Ghosts. That implies that when you die in the Star Wars Universe, you end up floating along as little Midichlorian Particles and then you’re manipulated – against your will – by anyone who can use The Force to do whatever they want (usually lifting heavy things).

So it seems like you have two choices once you’re dead in the Star Wars Universe. Either you come back as a Force Ghost and all you do is sit on rocks and give advice and then disappear back in to the ether, or you become Midichlorian Particles and get manipulated by some jerk who can control The Force, so you’re basically his or her slave. So both choices suck a lot and there’s nothing you can do about it. So... Enjoy that.

3.     The Marvel Universe

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Okay, so bare with me on this one; it’s not technically an afterlife. No one in the MCU ever seems to die. Agent Coulson somehow returned from death after Avengers, Nick Fury didn’t die in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and so many other characters who were believed to be dead in the Marvel Universe just seem to keep coming back to life. Imagine what that does to a person’s psyche. To grieve over someone you thought was dead, just for them to come back to life again. Alternatively this will bring up a lot of jealous feelings in some cases where loved ones do die in order to advance the plot. For example, can you imagine the hatred that Peter Parker feels for everyone who gets more than one chance at life? Why wasn’t Uncle Ben given the same luxury? This causes some really strong, really powerful people to have an incredibly warped sense of finality and closure. That is not what you want from someone who can destroy a city block in less than 10 seconds.

Additionally, you can imagine how exhausting life would be. You fight crime over and over and over again and then, finally, the sweet embrace of death comes to take you away and NOPE. You get time-traveled, or there’s a clone of you, or some other convoluted thing happens that keeps you fighting crime over and over again for all eternity. There’s no escape as your soul weeps for an end that will never come. So... Enjoy that.

Death happens to all of us. It’s unavoidable. But whatever is coming your way after you die, whatever you believe, it is important that you have some slight comfort in knowing that it is probably not going to be as horrific as any of these. And I want you to enjoy that.