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Death Proof, Pam (Rose McGowan)

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Film: Death Proof (2007)
Deceased Character: Pam (Rose McGowan)
Archetype: Innocent Bystander
Killed by: Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell)
Killed with: Car

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'Death Trap' icon 'Unique' icon 'Bludgeoning' icon 'Broken Neck' icon
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Written by Old Bluffer 28th Feb 2009

Pam is a strawberry blonde, at a rather rundown, tacky watering hole, seemingly run by Quentin Tarantino.  She is on nodding terms with the main group of brash women at one of the tables,  but she is on her own at the bar, and happens to be sat near a grizzled fellow wearing a garish jacket with "Icy Hot" emblazoned on the back. He also sports a striking scar down one side of his face, and is altogether someone you would imagine has "character".

She makes a general enquiry about whether anybody can give her a lift back and he instantly slides his car keys over to her, and volunteers his services.

"Fair lady, your chariot awaits."

She's not completely stupid though, and decides to find out more about him before committing to the ride.

He introduces himself as "Stuntman Mike", a veteran stuntman who has worked on a host of TV and film productions that she is far too young to remember.

Tarantino (in his role of barman) vouches for him, and he should be a safe person to drive, as he's tee-total too.  As the night wears on, he talks to a few other girls, and seems a harmless enough old guy.

What she doesn't know, is that Stuntman Mike is a perverted serial killer, who photographs sexy young women, stalks them for a bit and then slays them in a car crash to get his rocks off.

Actually, Stuntman hasn't even been stalking Pam, he's after the group who are drinking shots and getting steadily more drunk. If Pam wants to come along for the ride though, he's more than happy to assist.

There is a great deal of dialogue before anything much happens, although Mike does manage to scrounge a sexy lapdance from one of his primary targets.

Eventually though, everyone is ready to leave, and Pam accompanies him out to his car.

At this point, she should really have thought about catching a taxi, as his 1970 Chevy Nova features an enormous skull motif, and a bizarre "duck" hood ornament.  Even more disturbingly, the passenger area doesn't appear to have a seat, and is separated from the driver's side by thick plexiglass.

Old Stuntman soothes her fears though. There is a a perfectly innocent explanation to his slightly unusual ride. He's a stuntman after all, and sometimes directors need to put a camera inside the car so as to film a stunt from the inside.  That's why she doesn't have a seat, but he extends a short metal tube and places a "saddle" on it - she can sit on this for the ride home.

As an added bonus, he glibly points out that he won't be able to put his hands on her knee due to the plexiglass screen. All very well, but what she doesn't notice is that there is no seat belt.

He also tells her that the car has been heavily reinforced so as to make it "Death Proof", something that is handy if you are doing stunts (or crashing into other cars in order to murder babes)

Even though he is creepy, Mike is a bit of a charmer, so she figures what the hell and gets in.

Mike pulls out of the carpark smoothly and casually asks whether she needs to go left or right.  When she tells him "right", he says "Oh, that's too bad..."

Still blissfully unconcerned, she ask why.

"Because it was a fifty-fifty shot on whether you'd be going left or right. You see we're both going left. You could have just as easily been going left, too. And if that was the case... it would have been a while before you started getting scared. But since you're going the other way, I'm afraid you're gonna have to start getting scared... immediately!"

Now that is a hell of a thing to hear from a scarred stranger whilst you are sitting in what you now realise is a highly effective trap.

Stuntman now shows off some of his fancy driving moves, putting the vehicle through a series of aggressive manoeuvres.  Poor Pam is slammed brutally against the sides and we now see she has nothing to hold onto.

Bruised, battered and bleeding, she starts to hurl abuse at her captor, but as her ordeal continues she changes tack and starts to beg for her life.

For Mike though, she is merely the foreplay to the main event of the trip, and he decides to end her life quickly.

"Hey, Pam, remember when I said this car was death proof? Well, that wasn't a lie. This car is 100% death proof. Only to get the benefit of it, honey, you REALLY need to be sitting in my seat."

He then callously slams the brakes on and Pam is catapulted forwards to smash her head on the reinforced windscreen.  With a broken neck, she spasms a few times on the floor, and then her suffering ends.

Mike is now free to pursue his main quarry.  He speeds after the four doped up, drunken girls and then spins round ahead of them, behind the crest of a hill.  Killing his lights he opens up the throttle and screams towards them in a head-on collision.

As you'd imagine, the girls are far too busy listening to music and speaking drunk talk to notice the all but invisible Death Proof car hurtling towards them, and when the collision happens they aren't even braking.  The combined speed is later revealed to be over 200mph and the effects are suitably fatal.  One girl has her leg ripped off (she did have it dangling out of the window at the time so wasn't entirely blameless), and they are all violently mangled.

Stuntman himself gets banged up a bit, with a few broken bones and other less serious damage. He was right though, his car was death proof.

Interestingly, the police are pretty sure he committed murder, and even work out he did it as a sick, sexual fetish. They are powerless to prosecute though, as Mike took care to turn on his lights just before the crash, he was free of any alcohol in his blood (whereas the girls were off the chart), he had witnesses to show that Pam asked him for the lift of her own volition etc. In short, it is very much a perfect multiple homicide.

4 categories : Death Trap, Unique, Bludgeoning, Broken Neck

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Other Death Reviews for Death Proof (2007)

Pam (Rose McGowan)
Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell)

Number of views for this review since 30th May 2008: 6378
This review has 2 comments. Reply to the comments
Comment 1 by 'old bluffer' (reply to this comment)
One possible mistake in this film is that I would have expected the police forensics to be able to work out that Stuntman Mike's car was the one on the wrong side of the road at the time of the collision - which would mean they could do him for reckless driving at the very least.

I'd have to rewatch the film to be sure of this though, as it's possible that the girls were driving mostly in the middle of the road.
Comment 2 by 'Drewboiii' (reply to this comment)
does rose mcgowan have to die from a broken neck in every movie shes in? or at least, every movie she dies in?