You’ve got to be Choking!


I am not demanding realism from my horror films but why can’t they just punch each other in the face, instead of choking each other? (Guest blog by DAVID SAUNDERSON originally published on Classic Horror Campaign on 24th April 2012)


Horror films are full of stupid, unbelievable things. That is what makes them awesome.

I would never question a man turning into a wolf, a vampire disintegrating into ashes at the sight of dawn or a zombie being brought back to life through voodoo or another unholy practices.

But I was rewatching The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) recently and something really annoyed me.

I am talking about the scene where Christopher Lee’s Creature attacks his creator, Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing), and grabs him by the neck and starts throttling him.

Now, I am no trained killer but even I know that would be the least effective way of killing a bloke.

But this happens in all horror films, not just The Curse of Frankenstein.

First there is a bit of a struggle, maybe a swing or two and then someone gets the upper hand and starts strangling their opponent.

With so much medical equipment around the Baron’s Lab, one of the two could have grabbed a flask and glassed their foe. But no, they grab each other by the neck and within seconds one of them drops to the floor an unconscious mess.

Maybe the blood is cut off from their brains – making them black out – this is possible. But I highly doubt it.

How difficult is choking a person?

Melbourne crime reporter John Silvester described the act of strangulation in this article from The Age newspaper last year (Here is the original article if you would like to read it.)

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“Imagine grabbing a large jar from your pantry only to find it won’t open. You apply all your strength but it stubbornly refuses to move. So you try again, squeezing for 10, 20 and finally 40 seconds, then it gives way.

“Your arms ache and your wrists hurt, but then there is fleeting satisfaction over a minor victory.

“Now imagine using the same strength while having those hands around someone’s throat – a person flailing against you, fighting for life.

That is what you have to do to strangle someone. It takes a particularly determined, strong and manic person to kill with bare hands, holding that grip for a minimum of 40 seconds but usually for more than three minutes.

When drug dealer and body builder Attila Erdei strangled a man in 1992 over a $60,000 debt, he was later recorded complaining: ”My hands, they hurt for three days.”

 So as you can see, if a huge strong brute of a man has trouble doing it, how is a barely alive, stitched up reanimated corpse going to do it.

Anyway, that is my little rant for the day. Please don’t test any this out of home. You have been warned.

Written by DAVID SAUNDERSON of The Spooky Isles for Classic Horror Campaign website (which unfortunately no longer exists).


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