An ode to cautionary tales, this episode points out all the great reasons to just skip the gym. Those muscles aren’t going to do you any good if you are dead—seriously, hideously broken, bloody and dead. We enlist the aid of Rewatch Podcast’s Cory Metcalfe to help us work through the best in workout horror.
5. Final Destination 3 (2006)
Director James Wong returned after missing Episode 2 and picked up right where he left off: fun and horrifying Rube Goldbergs of Death.
A young Mary Elizabeth Winstead stars ad Wendy Christensen, she of the premonition about shoddy workmanship on that roller coaster. Naturally, those she saves are on Death’s list now. These films are not rocket science. A group of people cheats death. One by one, Death comes a callin’.
The fun is seeing how each demise works itself out. And Lewis (played by Texas Battle – that is a name!) gets it good.
4. Happy Birthday to Me (1981)
Director J. Lee Thompson had seen better days (Cape Fear, Guns of Navarone), but this switcheroo slasher boasts a weird vibe that makes it compelling.
It also contains a very early workout death scene. We all knew Greg had to go, and how fitting that this vane elitist got his on a workout bench. If he’d thought for one second just to drop the weights on the ground over his head…but Greg wasn’t exactly known for smarts.
3. Tragedy Girls (2017)
DirectorTyler MacIntyre’s whole approach in this film is pitch-perfect. Stars Brianna Hildebrand and Alexandra Shipp bring these bestie characters to vibrant life and the story around them is whip-smart and funny.
Speaking of funny, Craig Robinson has little more than a cameo, but he brings that Craig Robinson vibe, making this particular workout scene an uncomfortable comedic gem.
2. The Toxic Avenger (1984)
Melvin Junko’s whole life was a workout horror. Put upon and picked on, this little janitor only wanted to get his work done.
The Troma classic—awaiting an unbelievably well cast reboot from director Macon Blair—clearly had to be part of this list. Seeing Toxie finally get revenge on those Tromaville health club bullies.
1. Final Destination 5
Director Steven Quale’s prequel may be the best of the Final Destination bunch. The 3D horror takes full advantage of the intricate death sequences—especially the opening bridge set piece. Nice!
It helps that writer Eric Heisserer (Arrival, Birdbox, Lights Out, The Thing remake) knows how to write. The 5th installment feels less like a return to the well and more like an interesting riff on destiny. It also has some great support work from Tony Todd, Courtney B. Vance and David Koechner.
But we’re here to watch Candace die.