There have been a great many iconic horror movie villains, but none are as pervasive, or inevitable as death itself. And that was the very real fear that Final Destination first tapped into, upon its release 20 years ago.
So, as the world self-quarantines and lives in fear of a virus, let’s all be afraid of elaborate, over the top ways to die, and celebrate Final Destination’s 20th anniversary with 20 fun facts!
1. Surprisingly this was the first film that James Wong had ever directed. Even now, he’s known more as a TV producer, serving on such series as X-Files, Scream Queens, The Event, and American Horror Story.
2. The story actually began as a spec script for an X-Files episode, which was also inspired by the 1984 film Sole Survivor.
3. Ironically, Devon Sawa went from playing a ghost in Casper (technically in his human form, but still a ghost), to starring in this film, where he kept narrowly avoiding death.
4. In addition to gaining horror fame for playing Candyman, Tony Todd was cast because the producers felt his deep voice would add an eerie quality to the movie.
5. The crash was loosely based on the real life crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996, and even used stock footage from that tragedy in the movie. Many, including critic Roger Ebert felt the inclusion of real life plane crash footage was a bit tasteless.
6. Before casting Devon Sawa and Ali Larter as Alex and Clear, Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst were considered. Which is very strange to imagine now, given their starring in Spider-Man two years later.
7. Many characters were named after iconic horror directors/actors, including: Hitchcock (The Birds, Psycho), Muranu (director of Nosferatu), Schreck (star of Nosferatu), Dreyer (Vampyr), and many more.
8. Each actor who “died” required a full body life-cast made of them.
9. Clear’s cabin was the same one in British Columbia that was in Lake Placid.
10. Rather than “Final Destination”, the Chinese title was the much more ominous “The Death God Comes”!
11. In another eerie creative choice, John Denver’s music was featured throughout the movie. Denver himself tragically died in a plane crash.
12. Final Destination remains the 10th highest grossing horror franchise of all time ($665 million over 5 films).
13. The “alka seltzer” scene following Terry getting hit by the bus had to be extended, because test audiences were so shocked by the sudden death that they needed a few seconds to react and process it.
14. Initially, death was going to appear as a more tangible and physical presence, but the filmmakers thought it was scarier if death was just simply death. Final Destination remains the first “teen horror” film to have a villain like this.
15. There’s actually a fan theory that Tony Todd’s character, Bludworth is the human personification of death, given his immense knowledge on the subject and frequent exposition. Both Todd and director James Wong have laughed this off as just a fun fan theory.
16. One of the few horror franchises where the Rotten Tomatoes score actually went up a bit with each installment.
17. It won Best Horror Film at the Saturn Awards in 2000, beating out Dracula 2000, The Gift, Requiem for a Dream, Urban Legends: Final Cut, and What Lies Beneath.
18. Initially, it was reported that Devon Sawa didn’t return for the sequel due a dispute over pay. However, producers have insisted this is false, and his not returning was due to his character dying at the end of the movie.
19. There is a reboot in the works, which will deal with first responders.
20. Film Studies professor Ian Conrich wrote a fascinating article titled “Puzzles, Contraptions and the Highly Elaborate Moment…” which argues that Final Destination is quite brilliant in its dealing with the frightening inevitability of death.
Which of these surprised you? Which did you already know? Let us know in the comments below. And for more lists, reviews, rankings, and other fun horror content, follow Halloween Year-Round on Facebook and Twitter!