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Boris Karloff in The Walking Dead

Boris Karloff (1887 - 1969)

Film Deaths[]

  • The Criminal Code (1931) [Galloway]: Shot to death by prison guards during an escape attempt.
  • Frankenstein (1931) [Frankenstein's Monster]: Burned to death in a burning windmill, after Boris drops Colin Clive to safety. (NOTE: although the monster turned out to survive in Bride of Frankenstein, (as well turned out to survive in several sequels to come) the filmmakers did intend this to be an genuine death scene, thinking they would never make a sequel. but I'll be only listing the first "death").
  • The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932) [Dr. Fu Manchu]: Hacked to death with a sword by Charles Starrett when Charles comes to rescue Karen Morley. (Thanks to Jeffrey)
  • The Mummy (1932) [Im-Ho-Tep/Ardath Bey]: Rapidly decomposes into a skeleton when the idol of Isis takes away his immortality.
  • Scarface: The Shame of a Nation (1932) [Gaffney]: Machine-gunned by George Raft in a bowling alley, when Paul Muni orders him to due so by his whistle.
  • The Ghoul (1933) [Professor Henry Morlant]: Dies of an unspecified illness; he later returns to life due to the cursed jewel he was buried with, and is finally destroyed by being burned to death.
  • The Black Cat (The House of Doom; The Vanishing Body) (1934) [Hjalmar Poelzig]: Skinned alive by Bela Lugosi after being suspended by his wrists; we only see their shadows on the wall during the skinning.
  • The Lost Patrol (1934) [Sanders]: Shot to death by Arab snipers while wandering through the desert after going mad.
  • The Black Room (1935) [Baron Gregor de Berghman/Anton de Berghman]: Playing a dual role as twin brothers, "Anton" dies of starvation/dehydration (off-screen) after being knocked into a pit by "Gregor." "Gregor" is later impaled on a sword when he falls into the pit and lands on the sword still clutched in "Anton's" arms.
  • The Raven (1935) [Edmond Bateman]: Shot in the back by Bela Lugosi after Boris frees Irene Ware and Lester Matthews from Bela's death-trap; Boris manages to throw Bela in the death-trap before dying of his wound.
  • The Invisible Ray (1936) [Dr. Janos Rukh]: Explodes due to his radioactive contamination, while in mid-air after jumping from a window after saying goodbye to his mother (Violet Kemble Cooper). (Thanks to Anton)
  • The Walking Dead (1936) [John Ellman]: Executed (off-screen) by the electric chair; we only see the lights dimming in the prison during the execution. His body is shown afterwards in Edmund Gwenn's laboratory before Edmund brings him back to life. He is later shot repeatedly by Ricardo Cortez and Barton MacLane, then dies once again while talking to Edmund.
  • West of Shanghai (War Lord) (1937) [General Wu Yen Fang]: Executed by a firing squad. We only see the soldiers firing, and Boris' body is not shown afterwards.
  • The Man They Could Not Hang (1939) [Dr. Henryk Savaard]: Executed by hanging (off-screen); he is later brought back to life by Byron Foulger using Boris' own experimental technique. He is later shot by Don Beddoe, and dies after using his technique to revive his daughter (Lorna Gray) and then destroying his equipment.
  • Tower of London (1939) [Mord]: Stabbed with a sword by John Sutton in the battlefield (after John had just killed Basil Rathbone). (Thanks to Dignan)
  • The Ape (Gorilla) (1940) [Dr. Bernard Adrian]: Shot by police while Boris is disguised as an ape; he dies shortly afterwards as Maris Wrixon comes to his side (having finally been cured by Boris' experiments). (Thanks to PortsGuy)
  • Before I Hang (1940) [Dr. John Garth]: Shot to death by Stanley Brown after Boris tries to strangle him.
  • Black Friday (1940) [Dr. Ernest Sovac]: Executed in the electric chair. We only see the switch being thrown and the lights dimming after James Craig reads Boris' journal explaining the reason for his crime.
  • British Intelligence (1940) [Valdar aka Franz Strendler]: Killed in an explosion, along with his confederates when a Zeppelin bombs the location in his hideout before he can send information.
  • The Man with Nine Lives (1940) [Dr. Leon Kravaal]: Shot to death by rangers. (Thanks to Dignan)
  • You'll Find Out (Here Come the Boogie Men) (1940) [Judge Spencer Mainwaring]: Killed in an explosion (along with Peter Lorre and Bela Lugosi) when a dog throws the dynamite that Peter had thrown at Kay Kyser and Kay's band. (Played for comic effect.)
  • The Devil Commands (1941) [Dr. Julian Blair]: Killed by the electromagnetic field when his machine goes out of control. (Thanks to Dignan)
  • House of Frankenstein (1944) [Dr. Gustav Niemann]: Drowned when the monster (Glenn Strange) carries him into a quicksand bog while trying to get away from the mob of townspeople. (Glenn was found and revived in the 1945 sequel House of Dracula, but Boris wasn't so lucky. (his skeleton was shown))
  • The Body Snatcher (1945) [John Gray]: Beaten to death with a chair by Henry Daniell in Boris' shack; we only see their shadows on the wall during the killing. Boris' body is shown afterwards (in a way) when Henry robs a grave and hallucinates that the body is Boris'.
  • Isle of the Dead (1945) [Gen. Nikolas Pherides]: Stabbed in the back by Katherine Emery when he tries to kill Ellen Drew; he dies in the arms of Jason Robards Sr. shortly afterwards.
  • Bedlam (1946) [Master George Sims]: Suffocated when the inmates of the asylum seal him inside a wall, thinking he's already dead (having been stabbed in the back with a trowel by Joan Newton). We see a close-up of his face when he regains consciousness just as the last stone is put in the wall.
  • Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (Dick Tracy Meets Karloff; Dick Tracy's Amazing Adventure) (1947) [Gruesome]: Shot in the back by Ralph Byrd while trying to escape, outside Boris' hideout.
  • Tap Roots (1948) [Tishomingo]: Shot by a Confederate sentry, as he tries to steal their flag.
  • The Strange Door (1951) [Voltan]: Shot by Charles Laughton's guards; he dies shortly after managing to rescue Richard Stapley.
  • The Black Castle (1952) [Dr. Meissen]: Stabbed in the back by Stephen McNally, as Boris looks over Richard Greene's and Rita Corday's 'suspended animation' bodies.
  • Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953) [Dr. Henry Jekyll/Mr. Hyde]: Falls to his death off a balcony while trying to escape from the police; his body changes from Hyde to Jekyll after his death. (Thanks to Dignan)
  • Corridors of Blood (1958) [Dr. Thomas Bolton]: Stabbed in the stomach in a struggle with Christopher Lee, Boris manages to throw acid on Christopher's face, mortally burning him. (Thanks to Brian)
  • The Haunted Strangler (Grip of the Strangler) (1958) [James Rankin]: Shot to death by police.
  • Frankenstein 1970 (1958) [Baron Victor Von Frankenstein]: Killed by a burst of radioactive steam while struggling with Mike Lane.
  • Black Sabbath (I Tre volti della paura; The Three Faces of Fear) (1963) [Gorca]: Bitten on the throat (off-screen) by a vampire; we only see him after he returns to his home as a vampire himself.
  • The Terror (The Castle of Terror; The Haunting; Lady of the Shadows) (1963) [Baron Victor Frederick 'Eric' Von Leppe]: Drowned by Sandra Knight during a struggle in the water, while Jack Nicholson drowns Dick Miller. (Thanks to Robert)
  • Die, Monster, Die! (Monster of Terror; The House at the End of the World) (1965) [Nahum Witley]: Falls to his death when he fell off the balcony and broke into pieces while chasing Suzan Farmer after his body turns into radioactive stone. (Thanks to Michael)
  • The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966) [Hiram Stokely, the Corpse]: Dies (off-screen) of natural causes; the movie opens with Boris' ghost climbing out of his coffin and being assigned to perform one last good deed before he can go to heaven.
  • The Sorcerers (1967) [Professor Marcus Monserrat]: Burned to death through his telepathic connection to Ian Ogilvy, when Boris causes Ian to crash his car while Boris and Catherine Lacey are struggling for control of Ian's mind; their mental connection causes Boris and Catherine to experience Ian's fiery death.
  • Dance of Death (House of Evil; Macabre Serenade) (1968) [Mathias Morteval]: Burned to death (off-screen), after he suicidally sets the cellar on fire in an attempt to end his family's curse; the movie ends with Boris playing the organ as the house burns around him.
  • Mad Monster Party (1969; animated) [Baron Boris von Frankenstein]: Killed in an explosion (along with everybody else on the island) when he throws the vial of his formula to the ground. (Played for comic effect.)
  • Cauldron of Blood (El Coleccionista de cadaveres; Blind Man's Bluff) (1970) [Charles Badulescu]: Accidentally walks off of a cliff. We see an obvious dummy going over the cliff, followed by a shot of Boris' body floating in the water below (although it's clear that the water has only been superimposed onto a shot of a perfectly-dry Boris lying still).
  • Snake People (La Muerte viviente; Isle of the Living Dead; Isle of the Snake People) (1971) [Carl van Molder a.k.a. Damballah]: Crushed to death by falling rubble when Rafael Bertrand causes an explosion in the cult's cave lair; his body is shown lying in the debris afterwards. (He is wearing a black mask/veil, (and the film was completed after his real-life death) so it's probably not actually Boris but a stand-in for this scene.)

TV Deaths[]