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#1
Old 08-14-2014, 07:10 PM
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Choking someone to death in movies

Actually has nothing to do with the current thread on asphyxiation or Robin Williams; I've been thinking about this for some time.

In the movies, we see someone choke another person to death. It usually follows the pattern of
Grab throat
Victim goes unconscious
Attacker never checks vitals and lets go of victim almost immediately
Victim is dead

My understanding is that being choked can result in unconsciousness, brain damage or death. How long from the time the victim goes unconscious e.g. sleeper hold until they are dead i.e. how much longer should the attacker keep choking the movie victim?
#2
Old 08-14-2014, 07:13 PM
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Need answer fast?
#3
Old 08-14-2014, 07:14 PM
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About five minutes.

I've heard.
#4
Old 08-14-2014, 07:31 PM
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That used to always bug me. You'd choke someone, they'd fall over, but in my mind, they should come back around a few minutes later relatively unscathed. I read later that if you choke them hard enough to render them knocked out, you may have crushed their windpipe enough to kill them. True or not, it's good enough for me not to question it every time I see it happen in a movie.
#5
Old 08-14-2014, 07:43 PM
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Yes, this is one of those movie tropes where five minutes of tedious making-sure-they're-dead is condensed into a few seconds. The only movies that do a realistic amount of time spent choking are the ones that really want to emphasize the brutality or inhumanity of the act.

It's a little like how often people in movies pick up the phone on the first ring or answer the door immediately after the first knock. Not realistic at all, but we don't want to wait twenty seconds listening to a phone/doorbell ring before the movie can proceed.
#6
Old 08-14-2014, 07:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
I read later that if you choke them hard enough to render them knocked out, you may have crushed their windpipe enough to kill them.
As noted in the other thread linked to, choking can also lead to heart failure, which is also eventually fatal.

You wouldn't want to rely on either mechanism to kill someone, but it is possible that choking someone for 10 seconds could kill them. It's just not very plausible.
#7
Old 08-15-2014, 02:24 AM
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Yeah, this is right up there with the blow to the head that knocks someone out for a long time, whereupon they regain consciousness with no ill effects. Or drowning someone, say in the toilet or sink until they stop struggling, then let them lie on the floor. Or the guy hit with one bullet, dies instantly unless the script requires him to revive with sufficient strength to make the ending of the movie tense.

These are all Hollywood clichés, like the bullet that goes through the windshield but appears to have no effect on the rear window. Human bodies can do some weird stuff; what could kill A may have nowhere near the same effect on B.
#8
Old 08-15-2014, 02:44 AM
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True the person may come back to good after even 5 minutes, But the person can be fatally injured within a short time, so do not test it out - Do not choke anyone, or squash/hit the throat as the trachea, voice box can be injured easily.

Last edited by Isilder; 08-15-2014 at 02:47 AM.
#9
Old 08-15-2014, 07:13 AM
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Like the CSI/doctor/cop picks up hand of recumbent victim, fails to find a pulse and declares said victim dead.

Annoying but just movie shorthand I guess.
#10
Old 08-15-2014, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
Yeah, this is right up there with the blow to the head that knocks someone out...
I loved the scene in High Risk (1981) where the guys are trying to sneak into a guarded compound. One of them comes up behind one of the guards and whacks him on the head to knock him out. But instead, the guard starts yelling in pain.
#11
Old 08-15-2014, 10:23 AM
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Choking scenes are also one of the more unrealistic visuals, requiring major suspension of disbelief, in Hollywood movies. The standard fake fingers around the throat visual is way more gentle than actually choking level of constriction really is, but you could easily hurt an actor by making it more realistic. Kind of like movie CPR, showing it how it would really look would be dangerous.
#12
Old 08-15-2014, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
It's a little like how often people in movies pick up the phone on the first ring or answer the door immediately after the first knock. Not realistic at all, but we don't want to wait twenty seconds listening to a phone/doorbell ring before the movie can proceed.
You haven't seen Once Upon a Time in America, I presume?
#13
Old 08-15-2014, 11:33 AM
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From The Human Body, by Isaac Asimov:
"Despite the cartilaginous stiffening, it is still possible to close the windpipe by force. To do this by hand takes considerable effort, however, and the windpipe must be kept closed for several minutes against wild struggling if a victim is to be choked in this fashion. It is not an easy way to commit murder."
#14
Old 08-15-2014, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlGauss View Post
You haven't seen Once Upon a Time in America, I presume?
I'm not sure if I have... but with a running time of three and a half hours, they clearly had lots of time to wait for phones to ring!
#15
Old 08-15-2014, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
Yes, this is one of those movie tropes where five minutes of tedious making-sure-they're-dead is condensed into a few seconds. The only movies that do a realistic amount of time spent choking are the ones that really want to emphasize the brutality or inhumanity of the act.
Also, in reality, when a person is chocked, generally their sphincters will release, causing them to urinate & defecate all over the place. In fact, that loss of control over the sphincter muscles is one sign of death or near-death of the victim.

But you seldom see that in these movie scenes!
#16
Old 08-15-2014, 05:15 PM
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Everyone who is choked dies.

eventually
#17
Old 08-16-2014, 03:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
It's a little like how often people in movies pick up the phone on the first ring or answer the door immediately after the first knock. Not realistic at all, but we don't want to wait twenty seconds listening to a phone/doorbell ring before the movie can proceed.
You'd like Breaking Bad. I almost had to turn it off a few times. Not because of the horrific violence or the high emotions but because any time someone was knocking on the door or ringing the phone it would go on and on and on and on... Worst mark against an otherwise excellent series.
#18
Old 08-16-2014, 03:34 AM
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I've rendered more than a few people unconscious via strangleholds (blood) as opposed to choke-holds (air). Depending on the level of constriction, I've had people loose consciousness in as little as 10 seconds. I've never held one longer than 20-25 seconds.
If I was trying to kill them I'd maintain constriction for several minutes, as I was trained.
I do not use choke-holds nor apply pressure to the trachea except under extreme circumstances as it's too easy to inflict permanent crush damage to the windpipe.
#19
Old 08-16-2014, 05:37 AM
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Years ago I was researching deaths in Judo, and discovered that apart from unfortunate things like heart attacks during training, about the only verified case of a death was when a teacher (Sensei) instructed a very strong but inexperienced student to apply a strangle to him and to hold it, so that the move to break it could be demonstrated. The student dutifully did so, and the Sensei passed out almost instantly, the student held the strangle for some minutes until it dawned on him that there might be a problem. Sensei didn't wake up.

OTOH, strangling in the movies makes a lot of sense. Done right it is silent, and no-one will notice until the theatre is empty and the staff are cleaning up for the next session.
#20
Old 08-16-2014, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francis Vaughan View Post
OTOH, strangling in the movies makes a lot of sense. Done right it is silent, and no-one will notice until the theatre is empty and the staff are cleaning up for the next session.
Please don't disturb my friend, he's dead tired.
#21
Old 08-16-2014, 09:31 AM
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Many years ago the LAPD banned the use of a particular choke hold as there had been several deaths of suspects.
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#22
Old 08-16-2014, 04:04 PM
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Watch the extended version of the opening scene in the Return of the King. Seems like it lasts forever.
#23
Old 08-16-2014, 04:32 PM
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Actually [b]Breaking Bad[/i] also has a fairly long and difficult to watch choking scene, but not manual strangulation (a bike lock and a metal post make a type of garrote.)

I tried finding it but failed, but anyway a very prolific serial killer said in an interview that he specifically has a problem with how strangling someone is portrayed as so easy. He had strangled several of his victims, and was essentially bragging about "how you have to be very strong to do it."
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