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Threatisms: Creative Threats in Film & TV

13 September 2010

A lot of writing comes down to taking a convention or trope and making it your own. One of my favorites in film is the multitude of ways in which a character conveys menace. So, the “threatisms” category of his blog is where I’ll chronicle some of cinema’s best threats.

Note that these aren’t necessarily catch phrases, though some catch phrases are threats. They are simply a character warning of danger, be it from themselves or the world at large.

And why not begin with one of the most quoted, from William Goldman’s master fencer in The Princess Bride.

WESTLEY, INIGO, AND FEZZIK

moving toward them. Actually Fezzik is dragging Westley, who
is, in turn, dragging Yellin's sword like a stiff dog
leash --Westley simply hasn't the strength to raise it.

						CUT TO:
							 108.

COUNT RUGEN

as the confrontation is about to start.

		RUGEN
	Kill the dark one and the giant,
	but leave the third for
	questioning.

And as his Warriors attack --

Inigo goes wild, and maybe the Warrior's are good, maybe
they're even better than that -- but they never get a chance
to show it because this is something now, this is Inigo gone
mad and the six-fingered sword has never flashed faster and
the FOURTH WARRIOR is dead before the FIRST ONE has even hit
the floor. There is a pause. Then --

		INIGO
		(to Rugen, evenly and soft)
	Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya.
	You killed my father. Prepare to
	die.

						CUT TO:

COUNT RUGEN

For a moment he just stands there, sword in hand. Then he
does a most unexpected thing. He turns and runs the hell away.

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