"I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened."
"There's a line you cross, you don't never come back from. Point of no return. Dave crossed it. I'm here with him. That means I'm going along for the ride, the whole ride. All the way to the end of the line, wherever that is."
For a Few Dollars More: El Indio crosses it when he forces the man who betrayed him to listen to his family being massacred.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: If Angel Eyes didn't cross it by then, he definitely crosses it when he has Tuco tortured by Corporal Wallace for the name of the cemetery where the money is buried. This after he had been specifically instructed not to torture any of the POWs on the ailing camp warden's watch.
Once Upon a Time in the West: Frank crosses this in his first (and more famous) scene, killing a family and saving their youngest son for last.
Ivan Korshunov is the terrorist leader in Air Force One. While taking over the titular plane, some Secret Service agents are killed. That's bad, but easily predicted. Korshunov then shoots the National Security Advisor Jack Doherty. That's worse, but to be fair, Doherty was an important government official. However, when Korshunov brutally executes Melanie the press secretary while broadcasting her pleas for mercy throughout the plane, he's crossed the line hard, and the audience is now getting impatient for this villain to get his.
In the aussie movie Alexandra's Project, the titular woman's revenge on her husband for years of sexual objectification and financial control is completely and utterly out of proportion with the mistreatment she received, especially since she apparently didn't complain much about it beforehand, and that her "project" is far too elaborate and long-running to be the work of an irrational mind.
In Alien there's "Special Order 937", the company's plan to bring aliens to Earth, at the expense of the crew's lifes. Ash - who was in on this - crosses the horizon himself when he gives Ripley a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown after she finds out about this secret.
Burke in Aliens, when he tries to impregnate Ripley and Newt with alien embryos, so he can smuggle them through quarantine, and ultimately use them for bioweapons research. Even before that, he did the same thing with the colonists themselves. When being interviewed on The Tonight Show, Paul Reiser (who played Burke) revealed that he took his parents to see the film - and when the scene came where his character was killed... his parents simply nodded their silent approval. Damn - if your parents want the character you're playing dead, you know he's passed the Moral Event Horizon.
The King Lear reimagining A Thousand Acres jumps in with abandon, as does its source novel. In the play, we feel bad for Lear, who loses everything to his conniving daughters and ends up alone in the wilderness. We then feel justification when they meet a wicked end later on. But in the movie, how can you feel bad for Larry for losing everything he loves and truck when he raped his two oldest daughters till they were too old to interest him? You just can't. (Roger Ebert's review suggests that he succumbed to Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy watching this film, finding no one to root or even care for in it.)
In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Donald Menken crosses it when he removes Harry Osborn from Oscorp simply for trying to get details on Max Dillondetails that Harry needed to stay alive, if not Spider-Man's blood. This sets off a chain reaction that causes Harry to become the Green Goblin. Not that it makes Harry setting off the chain reaction that ends in Gwen Stacy's death OK by any stretch, of course.
Lyla's father from August Rush. Taking the Stage Mom and Meddling Parents tropes to the max, he tries to keep his daughter on a path that she doesn't want to pursue. After she gets pregnant from her boyfriend, she gets into an argument with her father regarding the baby and her career as a cellist. As she's about to rush out the door, she gets hit by a car and goes into a coma. So what does her father do? He sent the baby to an orphanage after it was born (while his daughter was in a coma) and said that the baby died. Granted he does eventually confess his sins to his daughter, but he better know that there is no coming back from that one.
It's hard to tell when Quaritch in Avatar crosses this, but the most likely candidate is when he murders Grace while our heroes are trying to escape from him.
This trope caused a scene to be removed from Back to the Future Part III. Originally, the movie was to have contained a scene where Buford Tannen, ancestor of Biff, shoots and kills Marshall Strickland in front of the lawman's son. According to screenwriter Bob Gale, the scene was removed because it was felt that after Buford is seen committing such a deed, it doesn't seem right that he not die (and he can't die, seeing as he will need to live long enough to extend the family line).
The scene made it into the novelization of the movie, however. And the Marshall's son grew up with a strong sense of discipline, and made sure it got instilled in all his kids. So Buford just made life hell for all his descendants in general, and Biff in particular.
It's also referenced and possibly canonised in the Telltale Games sequel.
Biff himself definitely crosses it in Part II when he kills George and becomes Lorraine's abusive rapist husband after becoming rich through the Gray's Sports Almanac. Even though this is an alternate timeline that is later rectified, knowing that he even had the potential for it is enough. Thankfully, in the actual timeline he doesn't stoop to such lows.
In Batman Returns, the Penguin crossed the line after he had to ditch the mayor campaign and decided to kidnap all of Gotham's firstborn children, including the babies, with the intention of drowning them in a deep puddle of Shreck's industrial byproducts.
The brilliance of Penguin's character in Returns is that he was already on the other side of the line from the start of the movie. His reemergence into society, his attempts to gather census data on the populace of Gotham, all done from the start so he could identify and kill the first born children of every wealthy family in the city. It is even implied that he's already murdered children back when he was the "bird boy" at the Red Triangle Circus's freak show.
Batman Forever has an In-Universe example. Fred Stickley decides Edward Nygma went over by using him as a guinea pig for his brain manipulation device thing. Despite being an overall awesome and funny villain, Nygma really went over later in the same scene by pushing Stickley out the window for firing him and trying to report him to the proper authorities. He cements it when he tampers with the security log to make it look like a suicide, without caring one whistle about the repercussions it would have for Stickley's loved ones.
In Batman & Robin, Poison Ivy crosses it with attempted murder out of pure jealousy. To further rub salt into the wound, she then lies to Mr. Freeze about Nora's fate. When Mr. Freeze finds out who really pulled the plug, to say he's not very happy would be putting it mildly.
In Ben Hur, Messala crosses it when, knowing that Judah Ben-Hur wasn't responsible for the death of the governor, he arrests him anyway, along with his family, on trumped-up charges simply to make an example of him and crush any potential rebellion by the Jews. To make things worse, one of his chief motivations was that Ben-Hur's ideals clashed with his. He even bans Ben-Hur from drinking with the rest of the slaves, with full intent to murder him by proxy before he even made it to the galleys—and yes, Ben-Hur would've died then and there if Christ Jesus hadn't shown up to give him some water. And all to subjugate the Jews. (By the way, do you know who else subjugated the Jews?)
The men of Ward 3, in Blindness, have theirs when they demand that the other wards send the women to them in exchange for food. Their rape even kills one woman.
Carlitos Way: Carlito Brigante (as narrator) provides the quote at the top of the page in reference to his lawyer, David Kleinfeld.
In the film Cracks Miss G arguably crosses this when she molests a drunken Fiamma. She definitely crosses it when she refuses to give Fiamma her inhaler, allowing her to die
In Cube, Quentin grows steadily more hostile over the course of the film, but he doesn't make the full transition into becoming a genuine threat to the group until he kills Holloway by letting her fall to her death. It's not very surprising that our protagonists eventually try to get rid of him afterwards.
In Batman Begins, the League of Shadows seems earlier on like a group that's dedicated to justice, even if their notion of what qualifies as justice seems rather warped. When they talk about how Gotham needs to be destroyed, that does not confirm that they mean it, given the nature of their training. Then you get to hear a bit more detail on how they plan to do it, but that still doesn't rule out that the option of talking them out of it before it's too late. Then you see Ducard switch on a microwave emitter, vapourizing the water supply that he apparently knew had been laced with Crane's drug, as a means of drugging the people of Gotham, including the innocent children, into mass panic. Not exactly justice...
He also does it in an incredibly callous way, accompanying the switch on (accomplished with a dainty flick of the wrist), with a fucking one-liner:
Ra's Al Ghul: Gentlemen, it's time to spread the word... (*flick*) and the word is panic.
Carmine Falcone crosses it by hiring a hitwoman disguised as a reporter to ice Joe Chill, and when Bruce confronts him about it, he casually taunts him before eighty-sixing him.
Carmine Falcone: Yeah, you got spirit, kid. I'll give you that. More than your old man, anyway. In the joint, Chill told me, uh, told me about the night he killed your parents. He said your father begged for mercy. Begged. Like a dog.
In The Dark Knight, the Joker's likely crossed the line well before the movie began (if he didn't, he crossed it when he killed Rachel and followed it up by driving Harvey to madness). It's implied most of the mobsters (with the exceptions of Sal Maroni and Gambol) crossed it when they hired the Joker in the first place.
Bruce sums it up pretty neatly after Judge Surrillo and Commissioner Loeb are killed: "Targeting me won't get them their money back. I knew the mob wouldn't go down without a fight, but this is different. They crossed a line." Alfred then tells him, "You crossed the line first, sir; you squeezed them, you hammered them to the point of desperation, and in their desperation they turned to a man they didn't fully understand." That line highlights Maroni's dilemma; he only let the Chechen hire the Joker because he thought it was the best way to keep the mob afloat; Maroni hates the Joker as much as the good guys, and he admits to Batman that the Joker was not the kind of guy you'd want to get in touch with when you want to get something done, to put it lightly.
In the novelization, Maroni decides the Joker went over when the informant he had hired to find out whatever he could about the Joker dies after drinking poisoned coffee. The Joker is so secretive, there's no line he won't cross to make sure nobody finds out who he really is.
In The Dark Knight Rises, if Bane doesn't cross it by snapping Batman's spine and leaving him in a prison pit, broken and helpless, then he crosses it shortly thereafter when he seals off Gotham City, turning it into an anarchist hell.
If you're to believe the novelization of the first film, Talia's plan to subject Gotham to nuclear holocaust in Rises goes beyond the pale even by her father's standards, as he would never have resorted to nuclear weapons (since he considers nukes to be powerful enough to make most of the Earth uninhabitable for most life forms, and since his goal was to save humanity from itself...); the fact that she's doing it in her father's name only makes it worse.
One Gotham police officer crosses it when, after Blake tells him that Bane's nuke will go off anyway very soon, he callously destroys the bridge Blake and a school bus full of children are trying to cross. Never mind that he was Just Following Orders, destroying that bridge was completely unnecessary and, on top of that, endangered numerous innocent lives. No wonder Blake called him and the other guards "sons of bitches" and threw his badge into the river just after Batman dragged the nuke out of harm's way.
Invoked by Frank Talby in Day Of Anger with a 10th lesson in gunfighting after the protagonist shoots and mortally wounds him in a gunfight.
Frank Talby: Your last lesson, Scotty: when you start killing, you can't stop it.
Hans Gruber of Die Hard crosses this when he kills Mr. Takagi simply because he refuses to tell him the password to the vault.
The sequel ramps it up with Colonel Stuart, who guides a plane full of innocent passengers into crashing into the runway. All because McClane had the audacity to kill the men they had stationed at the annex skywalk.
And then subverted in the third film. The bomb planted in an elementary school turns out to be a dud.
Scorpio from the first movie starts out sniping out his victims for fun, which is already pretty nasty stuff, but it gets worse when he kidnaps a 14-year-old girl, hides her in a well with limited oxygen supply and sends the police a message that if ransom money doesn't drop in time, the girl will die. Scorpio then proceeds to tell Harry Callahan that he changed his mind and is going to let the girl die anyway. When the girl is found, she's dead (and it's strongly implied Scorpio repeatedly raped her). Owing to a technicality because of the way Harry handled the arrest and interrogation, he would've been a Karma Houdini had Harry not proceeded to go after his blood for the effort with full intent to spill it.
In the second movie Magnum Force,Brigg's death squad cross the horizon when they kill Charlie McCoy when fleeing the scene of their most recent vigilante killing. A more observant viewer could argue they cross the horizon earlier when they attack a mobster at a pool party and kill a large number of innocent guests in the process.
District 9: It hard to list the main characters who don't do this.
Wikus, who is ostensibly the "hero" goes over the horizon in the eyes of many when he kills unhatched prawns by burning them, while jokingly comparing the sounds to popping popcorn. It is ultimately subverted as he grows to sympathize with prawns due to his gradual transformation into one and grows more and more horrified by MNU's policies.
Koobus Venter is psychotic mercenary who claims "I like watching you prawns die". so it is hard to know when he's already crossed the line but during the movie, it's somewhere between his casual murder of Christopher's already neutralized friend, and his torture and beating of Christopher. It's hard not to feel joy seeing the prawns give him his due.
Obesandjo is a crazed gangster who is notorious for his exploitation of the aliens, from gouging them on the price of cat food, to whoring them out, but it's his murder of a prawn he sold cat food to so he could eat him that is truly disgusting.
Of course the true monster of the film could very well be Piet Smit, an MNU executive and Wikus' father-in-law. As an executive of MNU, he's probably responsible for the abuse the aliens endure, or he doesn't feel like changing the status quo . But he certainly crosses the line when he allows a mutuated Wikus to be dissected live, even after the poor guy begs him for help, and then remorselessly lies to his own daughter about what is happening to Wikus. You really hope that the exposure of MNU's crimes will the bring the heat on him.
Bartleby of Dogma hits this early when, upon entering the Despair Event Horizon, he realizes God would never love the Angels the same way he did the humans and decides to wipe them all out. Just to drive the point home, when he finally reaches the church that can allow him and Loki to go home, he decides to have a little fun and slaughter everyone there. Loki certainly wasn't kidding when he decided to live the rest of eternity in exile rather than assist Bartleby in his mad scheme.
At first Brett and his gang seem like the typical bunch of bullies, but suddenly their actions begin to be a lot more excessive as the movie goes on. But ït's just after Steve kills Brett's dog that make the teenagers go too far in their decisions.
Delacourt ordering Agent Kruger to shoot down three stolen shuttles, each containing elderly and sick immigrants from Earth. The council in Elysium wastes no time in condemning her for this. And she knows she's over the line, because after Kruger slits her throat, she refuses medical attention from Frey, because she knows she deserves to die for what she had done.
To say nothing of Kruger. It's not a question of if he crosses this, but when. Here are a few highlights:
He makes it crystal clear to Max that he's not a nice person by killing Max's best friend Julio in front of his eyes. Though Julio had just been shooting at him.
In any case, he's undoubtedly over the line when he decides not to have Matilda cured anyway after he loses what little is left of his sanity.
In the Schwarzenegger action/horror film End of Days, Satan crosses the line in his very first scene to establish what a monstrous piece of work he is. He possesses a New York banker while the man is having dinner with some friends, then makes out with a woman in front of her husband and threatens him to shut up with a Death Glare. He doesn't stop there, as he promptly leaves the crowded resteaurant and blows up the whole place for no reason at all, killing everyone inside.
The Warden from Escape from Alcatraz is bent on systematically forcing his prisoners to walk the plank very slowly — and then jump into the Despair Event Horizon. He actually succeeds in doing so to Doc by inflicting Disproportionate Retributionover a simple painting of him. The poor guy then deliberately severs his own fingers afterward. That may have been cruel even by the Warden's standards, but he doesn't cross the MEH until he crushes one of Doc's chrysanthemums in front of the rest of the inmates, thus directly resulting in Litmus dying when he overexerts himself trying to retaliate on the spot. And then he adds insult to injury by reminding Frank Morris after Litmus's death that Alcatraz will very likely be his final resting place. Yep, we're talking Umbridge-level evil here. And what makes it all the worse is that unlike Umbridge, he only gets away with three unaccounted-for prisoners (including Morris), who he quickly decides had drowned in their escape attempt, never knowing what may have really happened that night.
Alex Forrest of Fatal Attraction loses all sympathy when she takes Dan's daughter's pet rabbit and boils it alive in the family's pressure cooker in a scene of pure horror that coined the term "bunny boiler" for Yandere types in the West, and has since become a staple usage of bunnies in horror lit (for example, R.L. Stine's books).
Peter Friedkin crosses it in Final Destination 5 when he takes Bludworth's warning to "kill or be killed" seriously by going after Molly; however, we only lose all sympathy for him when he kills Agent Block and goes after Molly anyway as a witness to the murder of a federal agent even though he doesn't need what was left of her own life anymore.
Unique in that the film essentially revolves around this trope for a side character who is only sporadically followed after the initial bridge accident. His crawl into the Moral Event Horizon is extremely slow and gradual due to his traumatized and panicked state, and is essentially the climax of the film until the Twist Ending. He is an obvious side-protagonist to begin with, good-natured and only wanting to help everyone survive. But throughout the film, he begins to slowly snap after the violent death of his girlfriend, which causes him a strikingly slow gravitation toward the Despair Event Horizon and a feeling of injustice that he is utterly confused about what to do, feels hopeless and helpless without being able to picture a future for himself now, and he's the only person in the group willing to take the advice of Bludworth. As his turn to die comes closer, he reasons that since Death itself is impartial, then he can be, too, and so anything he does is completely justified because it's not for him to determine who dies next. Throughout the film he gradually loses his status as protagonist, and crawls slowly into the Moral Event Horizon as the events in the movie unfold.
In Ginger Snaps Unleashed it turns out that Brigitte's new friend Ghost had attempted to burn her grandmother alive, but failed to kill her. It also turns out Ghost plans on using Brigitte's lycanthropy to finish the job for her, so she locks Brigitte in the basement. That is just overkill and no good reason was given for her attempt on her grandmother's life.
Carlo Rizzi in The Godfather crosses the Moral Event Horizon when he cheats on Connie Corleone, only to physically and verbally abuse her when she calls him out on it, knowing that it will send Sonny into a furious rage and get him killed on orders from Barzini, who Carlo is secretly working for. Part II, meanwhile, was built around Michael Corleone's descent past the Horizon. He bottoms out when he has his brother Fredo killed. Interestingly, Tom Hagen averts this — he tells Frankie Pentageli to kill himself, but ensures him that his family will be protected.
Michael at least makes an ultra-serious effort to redeem himself in Part III, but his past soon comes back to haunt him in the form of Vincent Mancini...
Goodfellas plays with the idea of the MEH with the character of Tommy DeVito. While Tommy is unquestionably evil, he doesn't quite seem to cross the Horizon when he kills Billy Batts. While clearly an over the top move, Batts declared he was a rapist in prison, and was looking to take over Jimmy's businesses, which is why Jimmy helped kill him, plus him going out of his way to insult Tommy to boot. Tommy does, however, launch himself miles over the MEH when he shoots Spider, a young associate, to death. Over a "Go Fuck Yourself", no less!
Alan's status as a Comedic Sociopath is cemented at least as far asThe Hangover Part II is concerned, as whereas in the first film, he drugs everybody only because he just didn't know any better, in this film, he does the same thing because he wants to cause malice to one of the characters. That character, by the way, loses a finger because of him. That said, the events of the third film are enough to convince him to turn his life around. Then The Stinger comes along, the Wolfpack is drugged yet again (along with his new wife, Cassie)... and this time, he's not responsible. How could he have known what Chow laced the wedding cake with?
One of the things that caused Alan to reform in the third film? Chow selling them out and stealing some more of Marshall's gold. That was so heinous, Alan only saved Chow's life at the end so he could dissolve their friendship in person.
In HellboyII Prince Nuada starts off by unleashing a swarm of ravenous tooth fairies in a room full of people, the tooth fairies ate every last bit of everyone in that room till there was nothing left of them. There is absolutely no purpose to this either, as he already has what he came for. He does it to fuel his own sadism.
In the dark comedy, In the Company of Men, Villain Protagonist Chad ruins the lives of Howard and Christine by having the former betrayed and demoted and the latter was tricked into sleeping with him simply because it was fun to him. The worst part is that despite having a decent paying job and a girlfriend who never left him. This was still not enough for him and does things out of boredom.
In the sequel, the Twister started off as a Jerkass already, but became irredeemable after pummeling Master Hung to death in a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown and then in the single most honest and realistic portrayal of western contempt for Chinese warrior culture ever committed to film, happily loudly mouths off how he is going to murder every Chinese warrior in Hong Kong in the upcoming match held to clear his name.
Mr. Potter from It's a Wonderful Life does this by threatening to have George Bailey arrested for committing bank fraud, being short eight thousand dollars. This comes right after Mr. Potter accidentally comes into possession of this money, so he knows darn well what he's doing. Then, minutes later, George Bailey contemplates jumping off a bridge... If you think Mr. Potter has any chance of redemption after this, you've got some issues.
"Why George... You're worth more dead than alive."
There was a scene filmed in which Potter dies, presumably from a sudden heart attack, just in case The Hays Code censors invoked the anti-Karma Houdini clause.
In Skyfall before we even knew who Raoul Silva was he already crossed it when he blows up MI6 headquarters.
In Joe Dirt when it was revealed that Joe's Parents left him on the Grand Canyon, and they knew, but never bothered to pick him up. The only reason they wanted to see their son again was because he got famous! While it's true that most of the people in the film were typical assholes towards Joe, but this was the first time that he fell into despair.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park: In one of the rare variants where a good guy crosses this, unintentionally from the writers. Nick Van Owen, to some of the fans, crosses this by unloading the bullets from Roland's gun. This guy just doomed many people, who helped him out, by the way, to die simply because of his displeasure with hunting. The worst part is that since he's a good guy, this isn't viewed as such in the movie, furthering the Designated Hero aspect.
In Kick-Ass D'Amico is most firmly established as a complete psycho-ass when he murders both some guy unfortunate enough to be wearing a Kick-Ass costume and an innocent witness to said murder. He did believe it was the real Kick-Ass and that he'd been killing D'Amico's men. He really crosses the line when he finds out Kick-Ass had nothing to do with it but still insisted on him being beaten and executed on a live webcast. The sheer look of sadistic pleasure on his face and the disgusted look Chris gives him when they're both watching it said volumes about what a bastard he was.
Actually, there was a brutal logic to Frank ordering Kick-Ass' death. As he explained to Chris, no one knew who Big Daddy was, while everyone knew Kick-Ass. Hence, killing Kick-Ass alongside BD would send a far more powerful message to any would-be costumed vigilantes. Still doesn't take away the fact that it was also For the Evulz.
In Kick-Ass 2 Chris crosses the line when he has Dave's father murdered. Arguably even earlier, when he orders Mother Russia to decapitate Colonel Stars & Stripes.
Even though he isn't successful, the fact that he attempts to rape Night Bitch also counts.
Kickboxer's Tong Po, no matter how much of a Badass he may be, definitively crosses this line with his physical and sexual brutalization of Mylee, Kurt Sloane's Love Interest, his way of reminding the viewers how much of a bastard he is and why one should root for Kurt to win the upcoming match with him.
They would actually use Tong Po's MEH to write off Jean Claude Van-Damme's character in the sequel. Tong Po kills him differently after losing the tournament, setting up the revenge story for the last remaining brother.
Sam from Kidulthood. He bullies the lonely Katie and instigates the "tough" girls into brutally beating her in front of the class (in the sequel Adulthood, it's stated that the bullying has gone on for years). After Sam harasses the broken Katie and promises to kill her the next day, Katie goes home and commits suicide. In the end of the film, he takes a baseball bat to a party and kills the protagonist Trife in front of his pregnant girlfriend.
Wong Hoi from The Killer crosses this when he betrays Ah Jong, just because the latter is spotted by the police during the hit against his nephew. And if that wasn't enough, he later on in the film, savagely beats Fung Sei, Ah Jong's handler, and takes Jenny hostage in the ending after killing the priest trying to bring her out of the church.
Near the end of Killshot, Richie and Blackbird are about to leave Richie's Woobieish girlfriend Donna's home to settle the score with Carmen and Wayne, the husband and wife they were pursuing for most of the movie. Donna fell in love with the dangerous but kind Blackbird while the violent Richie just used and abused her. Realizing this, Richie stops the car and walks back inside to murder Donna in a jealous rage as Blackbird stares blankly ahead with a broken expression on his face. It's so pointlessly cruel that the filmmakers were clearly trying to make Richie irredeemable in the audience's eyes compared to the more sympathetic Blackbird, who's so pissed off that he finally murders Richie himself later on.
The bullies (especially the male ones, particulary their leader Anders, Paul and few others) and, by extension, almost the entire class from the Estonian film Klass. They were protrayed as good-for-nothing assholes who bullies Joseph and Kaspar to no end. But putting the blame on Joesph in spite of the fact that they started the bullying in the first place and forcing Kaspar to fellate Joseph at the beach while being held at knife point and photographing said sexual act without showing the knife, might catapult them over the line. The only one who stay out of this line is is the goth girl Kerli, who is disgusted with the class' treatment of them. In a Laser-Guided Karma fashion, Joseph and Kaspar goes to Joesph's house to steal the guns from Joseph's father and taking them into the school with them. They allow Kerli to leave the cafeteria before killing the bullies to avenge themselves. While the ending is terrifying, the class can be seen as having their deaths coming because of choosing to treat the main characters like they did for no apparent reason and those who escape the shooting will still have to deal with the fact that the people they cruelly bullied almost killed them.
Initially, we can sympathize with Clyde Shelton's desire to kill Clarence Darby as vengeance for killing his wife and kids. But then there's how he goes about it: paralyzing his body, taking him to his lab and chopping of his limbs with a chainsaw, making a video of this, and sending the video to Nick Rice.
He definitely crosses it when he murders his cellmate for no other reason then to advance The Plan. Although there are many different views, this is the most widely cited.
When Lindy takes NZT to escape from an assassin, she uses a little girl as an Improvised Weapon. When she is free of the effects, she doesn’t want anything to do with NZT or Eddie.
Any other user hooked on NZT is willing enough to torture or kill for another dose of the stuff.
Warden Drumgoole in Lock Up crosses it by transferring Frank Leone into his prison and trying to keep him locked up beyond his sentence for the sole purpose of getting back at him for humiliating him all those years ago. Yep, whereas the Alcatraz warden was just doing his job, albeit in a twisted fashion, Drumgoole is motivated by petty revenge, and if that motivation alone isn't enough for you, then wait until you see what methods he uses to try to provoke and abjectly humiliate Leone...
Ross Ormond crosses it in his first scene when he disrupts Don Gallico's premiere performance, using a previous contract as his excuse. As Gallico and Lieutenant Bruce try to fight the C&D in a court of law, Ormond cements it when he marries Gallico's wife, triggering Gallico's Start of Darkness.
Gallico is a subversion, as he's only committing murders because he's compelled to by a variety of circumstances; however, it becomes clear by the end of the film (and Lieutenant Bruce even admits as much) that he's losing his mind. As for the four murder attempts he makes (three of which are successful):
He beheads Ormond with his buzzsaw illusion after the whole "wife theft" thing is revealed to him. It would've ended there, except:
His wife starts to figure out the truth about what had happened to Ormond, having started to become as much of a bitch as he was in life, so Gallico, disguised as Ormond, asphyxiates her and pins it on Ormond.
The closest Gallico gets to the MEH is when he tries to burn Bruce alive in the furnace. At this point, he admits that he just can't stop killing and that he would rather be electrocuted for his crimes than locked up in an insane asylum. This is especially shocking because Bruce is his only intended victim who hasn't wronged him in any way, except by trying to get his fingerprints.
Stefan crosses it in Maleficent when he betrays and mutilates the woman who loved him so he could take the throne.
Zod has a number of possible crossing points in Man of Steel:
Faora gives a breather to Lois, because humans can't breathe the Kryptonian atmosphere. When Superman starts coughing up blood and passes out, Zod explains that Superman can't quite breathe the Kryptonian atmosphere either after living on Earth for so long, and they were counting on it to de-power him. Meaning Zod was perfectly willing to kill Superman from the beginning.
Not hesitating to destroy the human population just so the Kryptonians can thrive again - even though they already had the means to repopulate their race, possibly on another planet. They could repopulate on Earth without killing the native inhabitants in the terraforming process, it would just take some adaptation time, which is relatively simple to achieve as demonstrated by the few minutes it takes Zod himself to adapt, and maybe moreso since these new Kryptonians would've been born into the environment. So they were really just killing people for no reason, or for no reason greater than prejudice against "inferior bloodlines."
In-universe: the leaders of Krypton view Zod's failed rebellion as this trope, and sentence him and his followers to the Phantom Zone.
Discussed at length in Man Of Tai Chi, with Donaka Mark (Keanu Reeves) selling his audience on the chance to watch a fundamentally good person (protagonist Tiger Chen), descend into immorality, with the execution of defeated fighter Uri Romanoff serving as the MEH. Tiger refuses to kill Uri, so Donaka tries again, forcing Tiger into a battle first with an Indonesian martial artist, and finally himself, in the hopes of making Tiger kill and thus ruining him. In the end Donaka forces Tiger to kill him, but fails to actually destroy the other man's life. As for Donaka himself, he crosses the MEH when he knifes one of his other fighters to death over his refusal to kill.
In Iron Man 1Stane pushing the board to file the injunction against Tony. Weirdly, this is completely innocuous in the world of business (not exactly nice, but sometimes it's a very necessary move). However, the reason it is the Moral Event Horizon is because we learn that he did such a thing right after Tony confronts him about dealing on the black market. Yep, pettier than Apple.
In The Avengers, an in-universe example happens in the midst of Loki's attempt to take over the Earth: attempted genocide of the human race. It's so bad, he starts Thor: The Dark World serving a life sentence in the dungeon; three of the heroes threaten to kill him if he betrays them; and Jane slaps him in the face when next they meet.
The Villain Protagonist from Woody Allen's Match Point, who has an affair with his friend's (soon-to-be-ex) lover while being engaged to the friend's sister and continues the affair well into the marriage. After he gets his mistress pregnant and she confronts him about it, he murders her and her unborn child in cold blood and in an elaborate scheme that makes it seem like a robbery gone wrong.
Match Point recycles its plot point from Crimes and Misdemeanors, with Judah (Martin Landau). His evilness is so cleverly hidden it takes you a while to realize what he is, sometimes requiring a second viewing.
Cypher steps over the line in The Matrix with his betrayal of the Resistance. In exchange for permanent re-insertion into the Matrix, he tips off the Agents to the group's location and, after Morpheus is beaten up and captured by Smith, he fries Dozer and Tank. Following that, he pulls the plug on Switch and Apoc, killing them right before Trinity and Neo's eyes. The worst part is how much he visibly relishes it, gloating and taunting Trinity over the phone as he does it. He's finally taken down when Tank, who is Not Quite Dead, fries Cypher just as he's about to pull Neo's plug as well.
In Missing in Action 2: The Beginning, Colonel Yin loses virtually all respect when he reveals with a headshot to one prisoner that he only used empty guns in previous "executions" to bluff the others into thinking he's bluffing when he tells a prisoner he'll kill him for crimes against Vietnam. The worst part about it is, by the time that poor guy's head gets blown off, all the prisoners were completely fooled. He loses what little respect he has left some time later when he betrays Braddock's trust by convincing him to confess his guilt against Vietnam so he can administer some medicine to Franklin only to poison him, and when Franklin's all but dead Yin burns him alive on a funeral pyre as Braddock watches helplessly and yells for him to stop it.
The Big Bad of Braddock: Missing in Action III, General Quoc, immediately crosses it when he shoots and kills Braddock's wife.
Mystery Men subverts this trope by having the protagonists accidentally commit the act that would solidify Casanova Frankensteins status as evil by frying Captain Amazing with the psychofrakulator. Casanova still indirectly crosses the horizon when you understand that he plans to unleash the terrible device on all of Champion City.
In New Jack City Drug Lord Nino Brown was already a bastard, but during a hit on his life at a wedding, he used a little girl as a human shield.
In The Night of the Hunter Harry Powell, a serial killer and self-appointed preacher, gets out of prison and marries a bank robber's widow, believing her children know where the stolen money is hidden. When she overhears him asking the children about the money, he slits her throat as she lies in bed.
Willy Bank of Ocean Thirteen was bad enough when he conned Reuben into using his connections to benefit the hotel/casino, and worse when he threatened to have Reuben tossed off a roof if he didn't sign his partnership away. But when Reuben tells him "We've been around long enough, we both shook Sinatra's hand!" and Bank replies "Screw Sinatra's hand!", we know he deserves everything Danny and his crew are going to do to him for violating the code of honor among men that shook Sinatra's hand.
It's obvious from his first appearance that Captain Vidal of Pan's Labyrinth is a very unpleasant man. At first, it almost seems a little tooobvious. But there might have been a softer side lurking there somewhere. But after he crushed the skull of an innocent boy with a bottle and shot both him and his father with a mixture of boredom and vague pleasure, it was made clear how evil he was. Though they were brought to him as suspected rebels, but shortly after killing them, Vidal himself verifies their innocence when he searches through their stuff; his only reaction is tell his men to "search these assholes properly before you come bothering me." And this is just when he crossed the horizon. He kept right on going.
Sean Miller from Patriot Games crosses the Horizon when he shoots up the car Ryan's wife and daughter are in while on the freeway and causes them to crash, injuring and hospitalizing them. His response? "They're gone."
In The PhantomThe Movie, the Big Bad Xander Drax seems to be Affably Evil at first (being played by Treat Williams helps), but slides into Faux Affably Evil territory in the scene where he punishes a librarian who unwittingly leaked the research he was doing for Drax to a reporter. Drax has the hapless man examine something under a microscope...which has retractable blades hidden in the eyepieces. As the victim screams piteously in agony, Drax laughs, snaps his glasses in half, and says, "Well, won't be needing these anymore!"
There are two potential crossing points for Johns in Pitch Black, although which one is the true MEH is up for debate. The first is when he steals the morphine from the crashed spaceship - he's a junkie - so Fry's friend has to die in screaming agony. The second is when he suggests Riddick kill Jack and drag her behind to put the creatures off them - he offers to keep the others off Riddick's back in exchange.
In Riddick, Santana's crossing point comes when he murders Riddick's pet right in front of him. Sure, he's done quite a bit of malicious stuff before that point, including coldly shooting a Disposable Woman within five minutes of his landing, but murdering the poor thing in front of Riddick had no purpose other than to mentally torture his quarry after capturing him. He didn't need to go after the poor thing, he just did it For the Evulz!
While Captain Barbossa of the first Pirates of the Caribbean was still a bad guy, he was Affably Evil and he and his crew had enough interesting personality quirks to be likeable in their own way- even the brutal opening attack on the town doesn't keep him from being allowed to come back in later movies as an Anti-Hero. By contrast, the new Big Bad Cutler Beckett of the next two films was an outright bastard and crossed the MEH around the time that he had a ten-year-old boy hanged for piracy or even just associating with pirates.
Blackbeard crossed this when he had Syrena tied up half in the water for a slow, painful death to extract a tear from her. Phillip, who before stated that everyone had some good in them, admits he was wrong and there is no chance of redemption for Blackbeard.
General Chase crosses this mere minutes into Plunkett And Macleane. Likely to remove all sympathy for a man hunting outlaws, he proceeds to torture a dying man. Complete with Eye Scream.
It's bad enough that Arthur murdered the Hopkins family (although deleted scenes show that Patrick survived), but when we learn that he committed double murder and child murder at the same time by raping a pregnant woman, we accept that yes, he's got to die, Affably Evil or not:
Cpt. Morris Stanley:"Arthur Burns is a monster. An abomination. You were right to break company with him; what happened at the Hopkins' place was unforgivable. Did you know that that poor woman had a child in her belly?"
Similarly, Eden Fletcher decides to flog young Mikey to death. For the record, Mikey is a retarded 14-year old who is barely aware of his crime.
In Scream 4 Jill (one of two Ghostfaces on this occasion) soars gazelle-like over the MEH either when she kills her own mother (played by Mary McDonnell, compounding the offense for some viewers) as part of the latest Woodsboro massacre just so she can be famous a la Sidney Prescott, or when she gleefully stabs her own partner in crime, Charlie (who himself may have crossed it with his attempt to kill Kirbynote played by Hayden Panettiere, compounding the offense for some viewers), in the heart just as he realized too late that he was in way over his head.
Averted in The Searchers. Even though Ethan Edwards is a general bastard, he never crosses the MEH even though he has every right to, seeing as the Comanches utterly massacred his brother and sister-in-law, scalped them, RAPED HIS OLDEST NIECE TO DEATH, and then press-ganged his youngest niece into their tribe. But when it comes to the point where he's about to put a bullet between his niece's eyes, he doesn't, showing that he wasn't wholly irredeemable.
Warden Norton in The Shawshank Redemption is cold and corrupt, but not generally unreasonable. He even becomes somewhat chummy with hero Andy Dufresne after he begins doing financial work for the prison. But when he orders the death of Tommy to ensure that Andy will never have his name cleared - even in the original novella he settled for having Tommy transferred to another, less strict prison - he crosses the point of no return.
At first, Professor Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows comes across as an Affably EvilWorthy Opponent to Holmes, but any possible claim to playing fair is utterly destroyed when he announces his intent to make Watson collateral damage for no other reason than to hurt Holmes, and in the same breath reveals that he has already poisoned Irene Adler because she outlived her usefulness. And that's just the beginning; he speeds joyfully deeper throughout the course of the movie. Disturbingly brutal torture is involved.
If he hadn't crossed it already, Paul Giamatti's character in Shoot 'em Up running over what he believes to be the baby that Smith (Clive Owen) is protecting.
Brick Top in Snatch torments the main characters throughout the entire film, but crosses the horizon when he decides to burn the caravan belonging to Mickey's mother with her in it.
This happens in The Sound of Music when Liesl's boyfriend Rolfe joins the Third Reich. He threatens to shoot the von Trapps when he catches them trying to escape, but the Captain confiscates the gun and then says:
Captain von Trapp: You'll never be one of them. (beat) Rolfe: (yelling out) LIEUTENANT! LIEUTENANT, THEY'RE HERE! THEY'RE HERE, LIEUTENANT! (blows whistle)
Well, by the time he shows up in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, we know Khan Noonien Singh is a bastard, if a magnificent one, especially if you've seen Star Trek: The Original Series. But when he starts putting worms in people's ears, you realize that perhaps he's kicked it up a notch on the Evulz scale; but you say to yourself that he's intelligent and charming and surely he can be reasoned with. But...when he listens to a minion kill himself and doesn't so much as blink, merely ordering the surviving minion to hurry up and carry out his orders, you realize this guy ain't coming back from the horizon. Khan also certainly reminded the audience that he was evil when he activated the Genesis device instead of surrendering to the Enterprise. He knew that he would take down at least one of the Enterprise's own, if not the entire freaking ship. He would have wiped out many people just to satisfy a longtime desire for revenge. It wound up that Spock, Kirk's closest friend, sacrificed himself to save the Enterprise.
Star Trek: Nemesis: Shinzon went from "Attempt to make a TNG version of Khan" to "complete and utter dickwad" when he mind raped Troi as she was having sex with Riker. He does this just to get rid of his sexual frustration and to scare Troi, and the writers use this to try and prove that he still is capable of evil. This just went too freaking far.
The destruction of the planet Vulcan and most of its 6 billion inhabitants at the hands of the Romulan villain Nero and his crew avenging the death of their own planet in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek. The death of Spock's mother Amanda as he helplessly reaches out for her just heightens the tragedy. What makes it worse is that he's getting revenge for something that 1) hasn't actually happened in this timeline and 2) wasn't Spock's fault in the first place: future-Spock did nothing to harm Romulus and simply arrived too late to save it, and worse yet, past-Spock has done nothing pertaining to the incident at all. Nero's pretty clearly off the deep end.
If his plot to start a war with the Klingons didn't do it, Admiral Marcus definitely crosses the line with the revelation that he never intended to spare the Enterprise or her crew, no matter what Kirk said or did.
John Harrison/Khan has several possible MEH's:
Manipulating Thomas Harewood into blowing up himself and a Starfleet institution by curing his daughter's condition.
Attacking a gathering of Starfleet officers, killing Admiral Pike in the process.
Betraying Kirk, then attempting to murder the Enterprise crew after his people were returned to him (or so he thought), at a point where none of the crew posed any threat to him.
Setting the fatally damaged Vengeance on a collision course with San Francisco after believing that his crew had been killed.
Similarly, Palpatine crosses the Moral Event Horizon in Revenge of the Sith, with "Order 66" which involves having his troops massacre the Jedi. You see various Jedi working WITH the troops, only for their trust to be betrayed when said troops take out their guns and begin blasting the Jedi away.
During the same movie Anakin comes VERY close to the horizon by massacring the children of the Jedi Temple. However, by Return of the Jedi, Anakin Skywalker (or Darth Vader) is a subversion of this trope. He had done many atrocities possible, killing millions of people. In fact, everyone (with the exception of Luke) thought that Vader was beyond redemption. Even Obi-Wan. Redemption Equals Death in this case though, and the expanded universe material is clear that he's only been redeemed in Luke's eyes (and Leia's, albeit only after she reads diaries made by her paternal grandmother that describe her father). However, at the end of Jedi his Force ghost is standing with Obi-Wan and Yoda as they watch the Ewok celebration, and they seem to be all smiles, as if there were no hard feelings among the three of them.
After Babydoll's mother dies, her wicked stepfather tries to rape her, and when she resists, he attempts to do the same to her sister who accidentally gets killed by Babydoll, and then has Babydoll institutionalized... in a Bedlam House run by a crooked orderly who has a lobotomist coming in five days from the date of committal. Oh, and he forges signatures.
Other than Blue agreeing to arrange a lobotomy for a patient who he knows shouldn't be in the asylum and does not need a lobotomy in exchange for a lengthy amount of bribed cash, he shoots Amber and Blondie, and then tries to rape Babydoll twice.
To be fair, the shooting and first rape attempt happened in the bordello reality, so we don't know how much of it actually happened.
Judge Turpin, who is established as a dog-kicking machine after he has Benjamin Barker, who would become Sweeney Todd, Sentenced to Down Under on a false charge so that he could have Lucy for himself, crosses the Moral Event Horizon during the "Poor Thing" sequence where he has the Beadle take Lucy to the Judge's place, where he has a masked ball in progress, and then proceeds to rape her once she's cornered and at his mercy. Then, as if that wasn't enough to make us hate him, we get a scene later on in the movie that has Turpin sentencing a little boy to death — which was actually a stand-in for a much squickier scene that involves him getting...rather worked up over his sixteen-year-old ward Johanna, who he eventually decides to marry. And then, when Johanna won't go along with this and wants to marry Anthony? He has her thrown into a madhouse to spend some time among mad people.
Unbelievably, it's even worse than what's described above. The scene where the Judge sentences a child to death IS NOT A STAND-IN. Yes, you did hear that right. The original play has both that and the squicktacular "Mea Culpa" scene. The Judge really is very democratic - he kicks dogs of all descriptions.
Mrs. Lovett gets hers when she locks poor Toby into the evil basement where she and Sweeney have been conducting the uglier parts of her business prior to joining Sweeney in trying to kill him for suspecting too much, as well as a retroactive crossing when it turns out that she lied to Sweeney about his wife being dead, which meant that Sweeney didn't recognize her as the Beggar Woman until it was too late.
Sweeney himself reaches the point of no return, both morally and mentally, during Epiphany when he decides that revenge against the Beadle and Judge (whom he failed to kill moments earlier) is not enough and decides to kill practically everyone who comes in for a shave.
Taken 2: Murad threw away any sympathy audiences might have had for him as an avengingPapa Wolf when he tried to make Bryan's wife bleed out and promised to complete his son's attempt to sell Kim into sex slavery.
In There Will Be Blood Daniel is never portrayed as a particularly good guy, coming off even to his financial backers as being cold and brutal, to the point that when his son is deafened by an oil rig explosion, Daniel has him sent away in the most Parental Abandonment-tacular way possible, so as not to interfere with business. We later learn that H.W. was sent to a school for the deaf, which is fine, but did Daniel really need to be so heartless about it? It's not until the end of the film that he crosses the line, when- as his son tries to make amends so their family isn't irrevocably split, Daniel brutally and cruelly tells him I Have No Son — for no other reason than to spitefully make the split irrevocable.
If you sit down and think about it, it's worse than it seems. Not only does he tell his son that he's glad that he truly isn't his son, but after his son gets up and leaves, he starts screaming "Bastard from a basket!" at the top of his lungs. To his deaf son. He wasn't screaming it at him to hurt HW, he was screaming it at him simply because of his own hatred and bitterness, and because he was that fervent in his heartlessness that he didn't even care if the object of his derision heard him, he just wanted to pour out his hatred, even though there was no one to hear it.
In The Third Man, there's Harry Lime's sale of watered-down (and therefore, highly damaging) penicillin to sick and dying Austrian children.
In Titanic, Cal Hockley crosses it when he decides to frame Jack for stealing the Heart of the Ocean. This was around the time the Titanic hit the iceberg too, and so Jack would have drowned in the brig if it weren't for Rose saving him. When Cal tries to redeem himself (in Rose's eye's at least), it is still shown he wishes to leave Jack to die. When Rose ultimately refuses to leave the boat without Jack, Cal attempts to shoot them both, in public no less. Not Good With Rejection much?
In Tombstone, Sherman McMasters, a member of "The Cowboys" outlaw group quits in disgust, enlisting the aid of Texas Jack Vermilion and Turkey Creek Jack Johnson, and tells Wyatt Earp that if he needs help, they're on his side. McMasters decided that Curly Bill and Johnny Ringo, the leaders of the Cowboys, have crossed the Moral Event Horizon by ordering a (failed) hit on the Earps' wives.
The Big Bad of Total Recall (1990) crosses it when Quaid desperately begs him to turn the oxygen fans of the Mars colony back on as the hundreds of innocent people are suffocating. "Fuck them."
Trading Places: The bathroom conversation is one for the Duke Brothers. For the whole movie, we've seen them pretty much destroy Winthorpe's life and elevating Valentine's life to solve the Nature Versus Nurture question and a one dollar bet. Not only are they going to leave Winthorpe in the poor house, they are going to take away everything they gave to Valentine because he's black, meaning they don't even believe in "nurture over nature". After this point, you're hoping that the main characters will destroy them. And they do.
Sentinel Prime brutally killing Ironhide in Transformers Darkof The Moon. Also, the Decepticon's genocidal attack on Chicago in the same movie might have finally driven home the point that yes, the Decepticons really ARE evil.
Laserbeak: "Is your daddy home?", said right before killing the poor girl's parents right in front of her.
When Soundwave brutally executed Wheeljack after the Autobot had surrendered and was begging for mercy, you knew he deserved everything that happened next.
Any sympathy for Dylan leaves when one sees the lengths he's willing to go to ensure that he isn't harmed by the coming Alien Invasion. Like when he reassures himself that he's safe... while watching hundreds of innocent civilians be slaughtered by the Decepticons.
TRON: Legacy: Clu is a dog-kicking program who takes pleasure in viewing and participating in games to derezz citizens in Tron City. It's not a question of if CLU crosses the line, but when. Here are some milestones:
Stealing Tron's light jet and leaving Tron to die in the Sea of Simulation after Tron refuses to shoot down the Flynns and crashed his jet into Clu's. Needless to say, much of the fanbase turned against Clu after seeing that.
And even before all of that, the genocide of the ISOs. Since he viewed the ISOs as an imperfection (as well as threatening his ability to create a perfect system, which is exactly what he was made to do), he purposely reprograms an ISO into a virus to infect and derezz ISOs in Evolution. This was not just used as a distraction for Flynn while he takes over the Grid, it was also used as an excuse to turn the Basics against the ISO population.
Turning the Games lethal, when Flynn explicitly made the Games non-lethal, which just seemed to be a dick move to punish Programs that annoyed him (and/or piss off Tron).
Viktor in Underworld Rise Of The Lycans shows just how firm his anti-Lycanfundamentalism is when he votes "aye" to his own daughter's execution, thus sealing the unanimous vote against her. Though he does it remorsefully, he cements it by blaming it all on Lucian for impregnating her, rather than himself for dealing out the punishment. Is it any wonder that you'd be polarized concerning the vampires and Lycans if you saw this installment in addition to one of the first two?
Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Judge Doom demonstrates the Dip by dipping the cute little shoe affectionately rubbing his boots. What makes this even scarier is that as the shoe goes into the Dip, smoke not unlike that which comes out of the smokestack of an incinerator starts coming out of the Dip as if Judge Doom was using the thing to burn that poor shoe alive.
The Wolverine: If Mariko's comments are anything to go by, Yashida crosses it by faking his death and working with Viper to further the plot of the film through such means as sending Yakuza goons to kidnap Mariko and forcefully removing Logan's Wolverine powers (at one point, he even goes so far as to cause chaos at his own funeral!).
The Yakuza was sent by Shingen, not Yashida. Yashida sent Harada to look after Mariko, so there was no reason for him to hire the Yakuza. His real Moral Event Horizon, if not trying to steal Wolverine's Healing Factor, was killing Harada, his own grandson.
If Erik hadn't crossed it before, it's definitely when he orders the Sentinels under his control to "do what [they] were built to do". Not only is he willing to murder other mutants, he also just doesn't care beyond his moral agenda. Granted, he did do some morally questionable stuff in the earlier films (such as, for example, turning Stryker's planned mutant genocide on humanity itself), but it's quite clear that he had mellowed considerably since 1973, and the fact that his future self is firmly with the good guys in this film only proves how much he'd matured morally over half a century and is most certainly no small miracle.
The deaths of the original Emma Frost, Angel, Azazel, and especially Banshee end up pushing Trask over the MEH when it's revealed that he murdered them and studied their remains to further his research on the Sentinels.