kelly-away-from-home on Mar 3rd 2019 at 3:27:40 PM
Last Edited By:
kelly-away-from-home on Mar 14th 2019 at 3:57:36 PM
Page Type: trope
Guns are dangerous. It's kind of their thing. Sometimes, though, our heroes need a way to make it look like they're shooting someone when they aren't. Enter the Hollywood Blank. In Real Life, blanks are extremely dangerous, and mishandling them can (and has) resulted in the deaths of actors. The high pressure gasses used can fracture bones, and parts of brass casings and paper wadding can be driven into flesh.
In fiction, however, blanks are completely harmless, producing nothing more than a loud noise and flash of light. Also commonly seen will be characters using unmodified weapons with blanks. Some guns, like revolvers and bolt-action rifles, can be used without modification, but automatic and semi-automatic guns must be extensively modified in order to cycle blanks properly, and cannot be used with live ammo afterwards.
- In In Bruges, when a petty crook tries to rob one of the main characters, who he doesn't realize is a much more dangerous gangster. The main character takes the crook's gun away from him and shoots him in the face. The gun turns out to be loaded with blanks, but the blast of flame and hot gas destroys one of the petty crook's eyes. The main character then upbraids him for being stupid enough to try to rob somebody without real bullets in the gun.
- In the solution of the Sir Henry Merrivale novel The Ten Teacups, in which the victim is wrongly assumed to have been shot at close range because he had a powder burn from when the killer "accidentally" shot him with a blank cartridge the previous day.
- In one of ''The Continental Op's stories, a minor crook steals the Op's gun and shoots him in the gut before fleeing. As it turns out, the Op actually anticipated this and loaded his own gun with blanks. He still gets a painful burn from the shot (and it ruins his shirt), but doesn't suffer any long-term harm.
- In an episode of CSI: New York, in which one Victim of the Week was accidentally killed by a blank-firing gun going off point-blank in his chest. The murderer — a down-on-his-luck actor that was humiliated by the victim — makes clear as he confesses that he didn't thought a blank could do that.
- In an episode of Law & Order, a murder scene from a web series within the show results in the actor dying for real, on camera. The detectives spend a while fruitlessly investigating who could have swapped out the blanks for real bullets. Then they find out from the coroner that there was no bullet; the victim was killed by a blank fired too close.
- Averted in one segment on 1000 Ways to Die. An abusive father tries to scare off his daughter's boyfriend by "shooting" him when he catches them together in her room. After traumatizing his daughter and her boyfriend, he mocks them by admitting that the bullets were blanks, and attempts to demonstrate by putting the gun to his own head and pulling the trigger. The burst of air from the blank cracks his skull, sending fragments into his brain and killing him on the spot.
- This is how Brandon Lee was killed while filming The Crow. A prop tech not certified as an armorer had to come up with inert "dummy" rounds on short notice and simply removed the gunpowder (but not the primers) from six cartridges and reseated the bullets. The primer from one went off and propelled the bullet slightly down the barrel, creating what's known as a "squib load." When a later scene (the scene where Funboy shot Eric Draven) required a blank to be fired, the blank propelled the bullet down the gun with near the force of a live round, which struck and killed Brandon.
- This was how the model and actor Jon-Erik Hexum accidentally killed himself while messing around with a prop gun on a TV show set - he fired a blank into the side of his head at point-blank range and the blast from the explosion fractured his skull and drove a piece of it into his brain.
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