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Top 10 Fake Out Deaths in Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Nick Spake They're not quite dead yet. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Fake Out Deaths in Movies. For this list, we're taking a look at big screen characters that were supposedly permanently dead, but then turned out to still be alive. Special thanks to our user NickSpake1 for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 Fake Out Deaths in Movies

They're not quite dead yet. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Fake Out Deaths in Movies.

For this list, we’re taking a look at big screen characters that were supposedly permanently dead, but then turned out to still be alive. We’re excluding characters that purposely faked their deaths because we have another list for that. Also, a spoiler alert is probably called for.

#10: Harry Potter
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2” (2011)

As the Harry Potter series came to its epic conclusion, many fans had one question on their minds: would Harry make it out alive? In a shocking turn of events, it’s revealed that our hero is a Horcrux and must sacrifice himself to defeat Voldemort. As the dark lord casts the Avada Kedavra spell, it appears there’s no going back. Upon arriving in limbo, however, Harry finds that this was all part of Dumbledore’s master plan. After a bittersweet reunion with his mentor, Harry returns to his body for one last duel with Voldemort. Harry truly lives up to his title as the boy who lived.

#9: Sergeant James ‘Bucky’ Barnes
“Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011)

There seems to be a rule in superhero movies that every hero’s best friend either needs to tragically die or live long enough to see himself become the villain. Steve Rogers isn’t able to save his pal Bucky during a train assault as he plummets to his apparent death. Since this is a Marvel movie, however, no major characters stay dead. About 70 years later, Captain America once again crosses paths with Bucky, who has been brainwashed into becoming the Winter Solider. This revelation comes as a major blow to Rogers, who was just starting a new bromance with Falcon.

#8: Marty McFly
“Back to the Future Part III” (1990)

Marty McFly certainly knows how to fake his audience out. First he pulled that stunt on the roof in “Back to the Future Part II.” Then in the following sequel, he took us by surprise yet again. During a standoff with “Mad Dog” Tannen, Marty attempts to take the high road. Mad Dog isn’t willing to live and let live, however, and fires on his unarmed opponent. Lucky for Marty, he’s picked up a few tricks by watching old spaghetti westerns starring Clint Eastwood. Marty doesn’t kill Tannen, but he does appropriately knock him out into a wagon of manure. Ha, ha, running gags.

#7: Gandalf the Grey
“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001)

“The Lord of the Rings” is a franchise of numerous fake out deaths and none had a greater impact on us than Gandalf the Grey’s. Some of you may be thinking that Gandalf doesn’t belong on this list since he technically did fall to his demise in “The Fellowship of the Ring.” It was undeniably a tearful death that left everybody devastated. The thing is, though, he comes back alive and well in “The Two Towers” as Gandalf the White. In our books, being resurrected still counts as deceiving the audience. In any case, we’re just glad Gandalf lived to fight another day.

#6: Karl
“Die Hard” (1988)

Karl isn’t your average throwaway movie henchman as he sought vengeance for the death of his younger brother. Karl and John McClane ultimately have a thrilling fight, and while McClane beats Karl to a bloody pulp, Karl knows how to take the punishment. Although their confrontation ultimately appears to have Karl hung out to dry, he somehow resurfaces in the end to take one last shot at McClane. In the midst of all the mayhem, however, Sgt. Al Powell steps up and triumphantly redeems himself. Huh, Carl Winslow killed another guy named Karl. How do you like that?

#5: Marty Mikalski
“The Cabin in the Woods” (2012)

“The Cabin in the Woods” has a ton of fun with familiar horror tropes and archetypes. In another movie, Marty Mikalski would just be the stoner loser who bites the dust early on. At first, it looks like that’s exactly what happens to him as he’s dragged away by zombies. Just when it appears that the movie is wrapping up, however, Marty comes back with a vengeance and sets out to take down the big, bad Facility. Not bad for a human sacrifice everybody labeled as the fool.

#4: Billy Loomis
“Scream” (1996)

Before there was “The Cabin in the Woods,” there was this meta horror movie. “Scream” cleverly keeps the audience guessing about whether or not Billy Loomis really is Ghostface. After getting stabbed to death by the masked killer, it seems that Billy is no longer a suspect. His murder was all staged, however, with corn syrup substituting for blood. Eventually, Billy is taken out for real…or is he? After all, the killer always comes back for a final scare. Not in Sidney’s movie, though.

#3: The T-800
“The Terminator” (1984)

The Terminator wouldn’t be the Terminator if he were so easily terminated. Blowing up in a truck may completely burn off the T-800’s flesh, but that’s not about to stop him from completing his mission. Rising out of the rubble, the endoskeleton continues to pursue our heroes into a factory where Kyle blows him up again with another pipe bomb. So now the T-800’s dead, right? Nope, his torso keeps hunting Sarah until he’s flattened in a hydraulic press. So now the T-800’s dead, right? Well yeah, but a storm’s still coming.

#2: Alexandra ‘Alex’ Forrest
“Fatal Attraction” (1987)

Even when she appears to be dead, Alex Forrest will not be ignored. In an intense bathtub brawl, Dan holds his stalker under water and drowns her. As Alex takes her last breath, Dan and the audience are finally able to rest easy. Oh no! Alex is still alive! Look out, Dan! She’s got a knife! Phew…it’s okay, Beth came prepared with a gun. Many critics argued that “Fatal Attraction” should have stuck with its alternate ending of Alex killing herself in an attempt to frame Dan instead of going the slasher movie fake out route. Admit it, though. This scene never fails to make you jump out of your seat.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- King Harold
- “Shrek 2” (2004)
- The Driver
- “Drive” (2011)
- Superman
- “Superman Returns” (2006)

#1: Freddy Krueger
“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984)

Classic horror movie monsters like Freddy Krueger never die. No seriously, they never die. The main character can figure out Freddy’s weakness, confront their fears, and seemingly overcome the villain. In the end, however, Freddy’s never going to stop coming for you. It makes for an immortal ending to “A Nightmare on Elm Street” as Freddy lets Nancy know that he’s still out there. Freddy might have pulled the rug out from under us this time, but there’s no way that he’ll fake us out again in any of the sequels, remakes, or crossovers. Um, right?

Do you agree with our list? What big screen fake out death caught you off guard? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to

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