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Sorting Algorithm of Mortality

Panik: Why aren't you dead?!
Yami: As I explained earlier, I'm the main character. You, however, can just go right ahead and die.

So you're watching a horror show, slasher flick, or maybe an action show that promises a high body count. In order to prove just how high the stakes are and how willing the show is to be Darker and Edgier and scarier, it bravely advertises that Tonight Someone Dies! Not just anyone though, but someone on the poster!

So who dies? That's a tricky question. Kill the wrong person, or too early, and you risk angering the viewer. Execs and writers have, through time, trial, and (mostly) error, discovered that killing off "unpopular" minorities is safer than popular ones or majorities.

This has led many to notice patterns, a kind of Sorting Algorithm of Mortality, whereby a character's odds of gruesome, violent death are established relative to the rest of cast. The following is a rough generalization; some movies or shows might mix it up depending on which roles and traits a given character has, but few outright subvert or avert it, and when they do, it's painful.

Compare Acceptable Targets. Once killed, see Sorting Algorithm of Deadness to see how likely they are to come back. See also Rule of Empathy.

To use the Sorting Algorithm of Mortality, simply add the Scream Score for each applicable row, then divide by the number of applicable rows (at this point, 13 or fewer). Remember: this is a relative score, so you need at least 3 characters from the same movie or series to establish a baseline. To keep this page clean, please put speculation on the mortality of a cast in the Wild Mass Guessing Sorting Algorithm of Mortality page.

Likelihood of death So dead   Average life expectancy   Die? Me? Ha!
Scream Score! 5 4 3 2 1
Age Older and Wiser Parent, clueless and/or vicious teens Single adult Protagonist teens Child
Sexual Orientation Slut, Bisexual, Innocent Virgin Gay Straight Reluctant, Asexual Celibate
Love Interests by Genre Rich Bitch, Horror Genre Hooker with a Heart of Gold, Temporary Shallow, Romance show Shrinking Violet Distressed Damsel, Action Series
Role Villain, Faceless Goons, Mooks, Red Shirt, The Obi-Wan, The Big Guy Loners, Plucky Comic Relief, Mauve Shirt, Long-lost Friend, The Smart Guy The Lancer, Hero of Another Story, The Sidekick, The Scrappy Ignored Expert,
Those Two Guys, The Chick, Supporting Protagonist
Hero, Creator's Pet
Race Black, Twofer's, Leomon Mexican, Arab Asian Indian/Native American Caucasian or The Same As The Writer
Gender Tough Girl, Ambiguous Gender Feminine Man Male Token Girl Action Girl, Final Girl
Aesthetics Ugly Fat "Average" Fashionably Scarred The Cutie
Personality Nihilist, Crazy Survivalist, Innocent, Pragmatic Jerk Jock, The Ditz, Insufferable Genius Nerd, Jerk with a Heart of Gold The Captain, The Watson All-Loving Hero, Friend to All Living Things
Flaws Too Dumb to Live, Skeptical, Genre Blind, Dirty Coward, Greedy Fell astray, The Stoner, Butt Monkey (gritty), Smartass Wears Glasses Crippling Phobia Mentally Handicapped
"Virtues" Holier Than Thou, Curious, Pragmatic, Ambitious Quiet Girls and Quiet Guys Smart, Genre Savvynote  Determinator The Pollyanna, The Fool
Species Robots (non-living), Undead, Snakes, Arthropods Cats, Clones, Mechanical Lifeforms Human, Human Aliens Pretty Aliens Dogs (except in literature) (or Disney)
Occupation Retiring Law Officer, Villain by Default, Happy Family Man, Competent secondary female Military Commander, Anyone Serving Under Him, Vehicle Drivers, Hero's Best Friend, Mentor Scientist With Questionable Ethics, Innocent Bystander Adventurer Archaeologist, Teacher Super Hero, Nun
Prognosis You Are Already Dead, Take a Moment to Catch Your Death, Post-Mortem One-Liner, Last Stand Your Days Are Numbered, Pre-Mortem One-Liner, You Shall Not Pass Prepare to Die, He Didn't Make It, Time Bomb, Pre Ass Kicking One Liner, Jump Scare You Have No Chance to Survive, If My Calculations Are Correct Badass Boast, Million to One Chance, Ineffectual Death Threat
Health Chunky Salsa Rule, Incurable Cough of Death Overdrawn at the Blood Bank, Soap Opera Disease I Can Still Fight, Made of Plasticine, Littlest Cancer Patient Made of Iron, Only a Flesh Wound, Ill Girl Nigh Invulnerable, Healing Factor, Consumption
  5 4 3 2 1
Pool predictions Killed Mid-Sentence Drop A Bridge On Him Sacrificial Lion, Stuffed into the Fridge Sacrificial Lamb, Dead Star Walking Plot Armor, The Worf Effect


Sliding Scale of Living ToysSorting Algorithm of TropesSliding Scale of Objective vs. Subjective Games
Sole Surviving ScientistHorror TropesSpiders Are Scary
Sorting Algorithm of Face Heel TurningLaws and FormulasSorting Algorithm Of Threatening Geography
Sorting Algorithm of DeadnessDeath TropesSpared by the Adaptation

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