Before helming this summer's reboot of Star Trek, Lost mastermind J.J. Abrams was the patron saint of sudden bus accidents. Abrams is known for creating drama through mystery and the unknown, but sometimes all the drama in the world can't do the job of something with more than four wheels abruptly flattening someone.
Like a slasher film with a Michael Bay budget, Identity stuck respectable actors like Jon Cusack and Ray Liota in a rainy motel, and then took sadistic pleasure in killing them off one by automobile-liquefied one.
Though J.J. Abrams waited only three episodes before weaving a suprise bus accident into his latest series, he at least managed to give it a unique spin. In this one, the victim isn't surprised by his new role as a human goo splatter.
As the Final Destination franchise slaughtered its way through sequel after sequel, its trademark deaths became laughably complex and elaborate a far cry from the first installment, when all it took for the Grim Reaper to dispose of whiny teenagers was 12 tons of rolling steel and a victim with poor peripheral vision.
Unlike dramas, which typically include sudden bus hits as a shocking twist of fate, comedies like Ghost Town use the device as a morbid joke. Comedy. Drama. All we care about is seeing A-list actors pulverized into a bloody vehicular manslaughter statistic.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Only one person in Dawn of the Dead gets suddenly hit by a large vehicle, though several more zombies are suddenly hit by Ving Rhames and that's more or less the same thing.
Sudden accidents are not a new obsession for JJ Abrams, he even worked one into the first season of his first TV show. Any idiot can work an abrupt bus accident into a show about sci-fi government agents or a magical island adventure, but it takes a real maestro to squeeze one into a WB teen romance.
The Tina Fey-scripted Mean Girls was praised for adding dark humor to the otherwise bubblegummy genre of high school comedies. How dark, you ask? Almost as dark as the tire tracks left on Rachel McAdams, after the film's twisted climax.
After five seasons of Lost, the much ballyhooed smoke monster has only killed four people. Sudden bus accidents have killed two. The fans demand to know Mr. Abrams, what is the bus?! Who is driving it? Is it the same bus that was on Fringe, and if so what are the implications to canon?