QUICKSAND, in films, TV, novels, & reality

Discussion in 'General Film Discussion' started by Jeffbert, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. Jeffbert

    Jeffbert Well-Known Member

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    :eek: This is the thing that most terrified me as a child. That the ground itself could simply swallow me, was just too much. I have had no encounters with the real thing, though; but have read about some who claim they did. So, the MYTH BUSTERS did a show about it, which I found inadequate, as they talked about buoyancy but did not discuss backpacks, heavy clothing, or other weights. The big guy pushed the little guy down, released him, and he popped up again, demonstrating the buoyancy. They had spoken to a geologist about grades of sand most likely found in QS, etc., but I think they used too high a volume of water injected, as it was very thin. There was a History Channel program about a year ago that also included homemade QS. These guys' QS was so thick, that they simply could not pull their guy out of it. In an episode of BATMAN, the RIDDLER (this one time portrayed by the ADDAMS FAMILY GUY) had made a QS trap, and, though stuck in it, Batman gave Robin hope for survival by mentioning buoyancy.

    So, anyway, as an adult, I still find it (on TV, etc.) usually makes my stomach tighten. I recall reading NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS, one of whose stories featured QS, as I had done a text search on a classic literature CD for QS (among other things), & that it took me a very long time to finish the story because it upset me, just thinking about it. :LOL: :p Anyway, I have seen all TARZAN movies but TARZAN'S THREE CHALLENGES, in no fewer than three of them, the bad guy dies in QS. Bela Lugosi's one portrayal of the Frankenstein Monster dies in QS, as do more than a few characters in movies. In the film, WOMAN IN THE DUNES which TCM will show 3:45 PM Friday, 03/03/2017, the QS is depicted very differently than in any film, TV show, or novel I have ever experienced. It is very thick, & the guy sinks so slowly that he does not even realize he is sinking until it is up to his knees.
    his pursuers come with boards strapped to their feet, and dig him out. They talk about those who had not been rescued, who supposedly had drowned, and whose possessions were there for the taking by anyone willing to dig for them.
    I suppose the thickness depends on the volume of water entering the mass of sand, but other than this one film, every depiction of QS was like applesauce, it was so thin.
     
  2. The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

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    Yeah, I wanted a scene like this in my latest WiP but the smallest amount of research showed how unlikely it was to be effective in real life. Where quicksand kills it tends to be because -- like the Morecombe Bay sands -- people can't move fast enough when the tide rushes in, so they're not killed by being swallowed by the sands, they drown in the water.

    Having said that, people do die in things like grain silos, where they sink into the grain and can't get free -- no water there, of course, and the grain size is thicker than most sand grains I imagine.

    As to film depictions, there is a death by quicksand in the film-within-the-film of The Artist, and, of course, there's the lightning sand in The Princess Bride -- neither very realistic. And in novels, it features in a Peter Wimsey story, but off the top of my head I can't remember which one.
     
  3. Frost Giant

    Frost Giant Well-Known Member

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    The "lightning sand" also appeared in the third Mad Max film. They had a book in my grade school library about making QS, but the experiment wasn't successful to our satisfaction since we were looking to submerge a Star Wars figure in it.
    Eddie Izzard met a gruesome QS fate in the 2004 film Blueberry (known as Renegade in the US.)
    To me, the Tar Pit is a far deadlier trap than QS. The fossil finds in actual tar pits depict a grim scenario of animals becoming mired in it, dying slow deaths while attracting predators that also become stuck and also die slow, miserable deaths.
     
  4. Jeffbert

    Jeffbert Well-Known Member

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    Isn't tar much lower in density than either water or sand? Or is it typically a mixture of tar & sand? Anyway, in Jonny Quest, that old guy in the wheelchair vainly trying to rescue his pterodactyl for the tar pit, would himself, be gone rather quick, no pun intended.
     
  5. Frost Giant

    Frost Giant Well-Known Member

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    Not sure about the density comparison or Johnny Quest. I was thinking more of the real life tar pits (an example being - La Brea Tar Pits - Wikipedia )
    I guess that bothers me more than QS because rather than drowning the animals in tar pits are usually subjected to slow, agonizing deaths. They create quite a fossil record for us to study, though.
     
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