Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Nightmare Fuel / The Green Mile

Go To
They cooking him good! He fryin' now!
  • Can anybody watch Delacroix's horrifically botched execution (pictured to the right) and NOT react in sheer horror? Deliberately sabotaged by Percy, the sadistic guard, the scene goes on for several excruciating minutes. Instead of wetting the sponge that goes on the head of the person sitting in the chair, he leaves it dry, which interferes with the conductivity. As a result, instead of a relatively quick execution, the poor man's head catches fire and he dies an excruciating, tortuous death.
    • Making it even worse is that John Coffey gets to feel everything Delacroix is feeling - every agonizing second - during the execution. Frank Darabont stated such horribly botched executions - albeit with a few less special effects - actually happened.
    Hal: Why don't you shut it down!?
    Paul: He's still alive! You want me to shut down while he's still alive!?
    • The corpse itself made it even more frightening. Unlike Arlen's or Coffey's, where the corpse would only show minor burn marks, Del's shows the reason why they call an electric execution a "cooking". Darth Vader on Mustafar looked good in comparison.
    • The book version of the scene, written by Stephen King himself, is even worse, as it vividly describes Del's eyes oozing from their sockets while he's slowly cooking to death; and when the execution's done and the Paul uses a stethoscope to check for a heartbeat, Del's skin slides off his chest like a done tom turkey.
  • The flashback to how Wild Bill kidnapped the two little girls is also incredibly disturbing. Seeing it go from shots of a happy family to the family's hired hand threatening the girls before raping and killing them is like something out of a nightmare. A Youtube comment described it perfectly:
    "Throughout most of the movie, Percy was the true villain and Bill was mostly a comic relief character. He actually had a lot of funny moments, despite being a dangerous lunatic. But then you get to this scene and it completely changes. In an instant, Bill becomes one of the most terrifying villains in cinematic history. An outright monster of a human being that makes Percy look like a good guy."
    • How bad is it? Sam Rockwell, the actor who played Wild Bill, utterly despised that scene, not just out of genuine disgust for what the character was doing, but because he actually got along really well with the actresses who played the girls off-set. It was so bad that one of the girls actually started crying just because of how real it got.
  • Paul's fate. He ends up outliving his whole family (except perhaps his grandchildren and their families) because he receives part of the life force of the death row inmate John's healing power. He believes this is punishment from God for executing John, despite him agreeing to the execution. As a result he's very much alive in the present day and in fairly good health despite being over 100 years old. And as Mr. Jingles is still alive and moving around despite being at least 64 years old, some math must be done: Mice normally only live less than four years. The average life expectancy of a white male in 1935 was 61. That means Paul is going to live at least eight hundred and seventy-six more years. Medical curiosity notwithstanding, it's likely he's only going to die if he kills himself.
    • Nightmare Retardant, as John himself looked in his late seventies, despite being 108 years old. Perhaps he will outlive the record-holders of longest lives by a few decades at most, but not for very long.
  • The way Wild Bill grabs John while the guards are taking him to the truck, Wild Bill was thought to be unconscious until he suddenly grabs John causing him to see Wild Bill's entire life and fearfully calls him a "a bad man" to which Wild Bill just sadistically smiles and responded with "that's right nigger, as bad as you want". The entire scene seems to imply that Bill has caught onto John's ability and just did it to torment him, that same experience was so horrifying for John that it also traumatized Paul when he was shown the same vision.
  • John Coffey not only feels all the pain going on around him, but it's implied he can sense pain that's happened in the past (he hears the screams of those who died in the electric chair long after they're gone) and, perhaps, that he can sense all pain everywhere. The story is set from 1932 to 1935. The first German concentration camps were being built in 1933. Also with the upcoming World War, the Cold War, the genocides committed by various dictators in the future... Maybe Coffey pleaded to be executed because he knew what was coming and wanted to check out early.
    • Knowing how much life-force John had, maybe he himself was a Long-Lived person as well, personally seeing the slavery in America rise and fall, the colonization all over the world, the Civil War, The First World War, with all the pain and tragedy that followed. Knowing for more than many lifetimes what humans can do to each other, and for each other. As he himself stated, he is so detached from the modern world he can feel himself no longer belong to anymore. Perhaps, John had had enough of this cursed life, and the Who Wants to Live Forever? theme of the movie, and decided to bow out of the stage when he had the opportunity to.
  • The Solitary Padded room. Even "Wild" Bill begs not to be put in it.
  • One book-only character, Arthur Flanders (nicknamed 'The President') murdered his elderly father for insurance money but got his death sentence commuted to a life sentence — only to be drowned in the prison laundry twelve years later. And not in water but in dry-cleaning fluid; by the time they pulled him out his face was almost gone and they had to identify him by his finger prints.
    On the whole, he might have been better off with Old Sparky...but then he never would have had those extra twelve years, would he? I doubt he thought much about them, though, in the last minute or so of his life, when his lungs were trying to learn how to breathe Hexlite and lye cleanser.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: