Schultz, N.W., & Huet, L.M. (2000-2001). Sensational! Violent! Popular! Death in American movies. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 42 (2), 137-149.

Abstract: Examined death as portrayed in different types of American film. Death events were scored for number and type, use of death words, demographic characteristics, 23 different actions of instigators, and 24 reactions of recipients. Trained observers scored 25 popular films, 16 popular/award films, and 24 award films. The predominant depictions of death were attacks by weapon, threats, risks and conversations. Most common reactions in death scenes were fear, shock, protest and aggression. ANOVA comparisons across the three types of films showed that popular and popular/award films contained significantly more sensational death actions, such as non-weapon attacks, threats of death, close calls, risks taken, and accidents. Award films were significantly more likely to include scenes of routine, medical death events. No significant differences in use of language were found. Instigators in death scenes were six times more likely to be males. Female characters were nearly twice as likely to be recipients as instigators. ANOVA comparisons indicated that reactions involving escape, fear, no harm, relief, and ambiguity were significantly more common in popular and popular/award films. Award films, on the other hand, included significantly more expressions of sorrow and sadness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)