Moral Event Horizon/Film

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

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    "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."
    Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Hope


    Other Examples

    • Hard to decide when Rotti Largo crosses the line in Repo! The Genetic Opera, but between Poisoning Marni and convincing Nathan it was his own ineptitude, turning Nathan himself into a Tragic Villain, pressing Mag into white slavery and then murdering her when she shows defiance, grooming Shilo as the next head of Geneco. and sponsoring laws that legalize murder it must have happened somewhere along the way. Even compared to the every day evils of the population he is beyond redemption, especially when you realize the odds that The Plague that caused mass organ failure was probably something he cooked up, too. If that is the case, I'd call that the line.
    • One of the most famous crossings of the Horizon: the destruction of Alderaan (a planet implied to have millions of innocent civilians living there) by the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope. Vader is considered darkly awesome, but not as many people feel that way about Grand Moff Tarkin, the one who ordered the whole thing, and doesn't seem to have a second thought about it. In case Leia's reaction didn't convince you that there were millions of people on that planet, Obi Wan's reaction confirmed it. The Expanded Universe tries to humanize Tarkin occasionally. It generally fails - even when he's having an affair with his Evil Redhead protege (who is, incidentally, the only person who can make him laugh...yes, Tarkin has a sense of humor), he still comes across as a Complete Monster with no redeeming qualities. This was a chilling example of the "Banality of Evil." Vader and Palpatine are Sith lords, but Tarkin is an ordinary guy, no different from you or me, who is just doing his job. His job happens to be killing billions of innocent people. Which he likes to do.
      • The Expanded Universe has an even clearer Moral Event Horizon for Tarkin in his earlier days. He's captaining a ship sent to collect taxes from a planet. Some of the natives, protesting unjust taxation practices, stage a demonstration on the landing pad to prevent the ship from landing. Tarkin lands the ship anyway. On the landing pad. With the protesters still on the pad. According the expanded universe backstory, that's when the Rebel Alliance realize that they have to depose the Empire by force if they were willing to do crimes like that.
      • 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 between the three of them.
    • 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 too obvious. 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. Note, this is just when he crossed the horizon. He kept right on going. He's a moral Magellan, really.
    • Mystery Men subverts this trope by having the protagonists accidentally commit the act that would solidify Casanova Frankenstein's status as a Complete Monster 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 the entire city.
    • Clu from Tron: Legacy has his at varying parts in the movie, his first coming when he ordered the genocide of the ISO population. They just keep on getting more extreme until the final showdown on the bridge. Kevin Flynn, who suffered from being trapped in the Grid for an equivalent of 1,000 years, finally faces his own program. While Clu gloats about how he created the perfect system, Flynn reveals that Clu's purpose was a mistake; in other words, perfection is impossible to achieve. Unable to accept this, Clu approaches his creator and kicks him to the ground. And then he turns his attention to Quorra and Sam with the intent of killing them both IN FRONT OF HIS OWN CREATOR. If Clu didn't cross the line by that point, he surely did after that.
    • John Wayne, in The Searchers ("Stand aside, Martin.") Words fail me...
      • Even though Ethan Edwards is a general bastard, he never crosses the horizon 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.
    • Sam from Kidulthood. He bullies the lonely Katie and even 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.
    • 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 Nightmare Fuel 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).
      • This is parodied in the film Fatal Instinct when Ned comes home to find his pet skunk missing and a stock pot of boiling water on the stove. After the obligatory "NOOOO!", Lola Cain (the Alex Forrest character) informs him that YES!, it IS linguine pomodoro (with basil!)
        • And again parodied in an episode of Eek! The Cat based on the movie, when Eek's girlfriend Annabell raises the lid on a pot of boiling water on the stove. After Annabell screams we discover it is indeed a rabbit, except he's just taking a hot bath and demands privacy.
    • 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, he crosses the point of no return. Then, just to be extra nasty, he throws Andy in the solitary confinement cell for two months just to break his spirit, which just makes it supremely awesome when Andy proves that his spirit is unbreakable.
    • In The Proposition, it's bad enough that Arthur murdered the Hopkins family (although deleted scenes show that Patrick survived), but when we learn that he raped a pregnant woman to death, 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, Complete Monster 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.
    • Alexander Nevsky: When the Teutonic Knights throw babies into a huge bonfire.
    • 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. Then, to finally get the children to tell him where the money is, he threatens to cut off the son's fingers, one by one, in front of the very young daughter. His Karmic Death, offscreen though it may be, is immensely satisfying, especially since everyone seems to be revelling in it.
    • 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.
    • 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 of course, 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.
    • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street:
      • Judge Turpin, who is established as a dog-kicking machine after he has Benjamin Barker, who would become Sweeney Todd, sent away to Australia 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.
      • 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 is the one who actually kills his wife, however. Not knowing it's her: he just does it because she's in his way. And then he's about to do the same to his disguised daughter.
      • Hell, everyone crosses it at one point or another, even Toby (as mentioned on the Film section of Complete Monster). Sweeney's actions are just more forgivable than the others', considering what the Judge had put him through.
    • Johnny Wong of Hard Boiled tops John Woo's other villains in terms of sheer nastiness with his conduct in the hospital sequence in the second half of the movie, with his willingness to gun down innocent patients that try to escape the hospital. His most despicable act was the massacre of a group of patients standing between him and Alan, which is only stopped when Mad Dog, his Dragon, blasts the Mini-Uzi right out of his hands and calls him on this psychotic move, which ultimately gets Mad Dog killed.
    • 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.
    • 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 likable- even the brutal opening attack on the town doesn't keep him from being allowed to come back in later movies as a good guy. By contrast, the new Big Bad Cutler Beckett of the next two films, however, 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 him.
    • 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, since he didn't do anything that harmed Romulus, simply arrived too late to save it. Nero's pretty clearly off the deep end.
    • 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 basically 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 a Complete Monster 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's Matrix lines, causing them to drop dead right in front of Neo and Trinity.
    • In The Spirit, The Octopus crosses the line with what he does to that kitten.
    • Affably Evil gangster Sam in the Infernal Affairs films has his MEH moment towards the end of the second (first in internal chronology) film, when he lets his Thai buddies massacre the non-active-gangster members of the Ngai family, including an old woman and a small child.
    • 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.
    • If he hadn't crossed it already, Paul Giamatti's character in Shoot'Em Up cements his status as a Complete Monster when he runs over what he believes to be the baby that Smith (Clive Owen) is protecting.
    • Well, by the time he shows up in the movie, we know Khan Singh is a bastard, if a magnificent one, especially if you've seen 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.
    • 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. The Godfather 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 pretty much 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 The Godfather Part III, but his past soon comes back to haunt him in the form of Andy Garcia...
    • 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.
    • 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, of course, 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.
    • 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.
    • Potter was bad, but Blue is even worse. Forging signatures approving of lobotomies for those who don't need them, killing two patients, and trying to rape another TWICE!? Blue definitely makes Mr. Potter look like a small-time bank robber.
    • In Magnum Force, the second Dirty Harry movie 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.
    • Goodfellas plays with the idea of the MEH with the character of Tommy. 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, not to mention 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 "Fuck off." no less!
    • In Ip Man, Colonel Sato loses any chance of being sympathetic when he coldly guns down Master Liu. Even his superior, General Miura, doesn't take it well.
      • 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.
    • In New Jack City Drug Lord Nino Brown was already a bastard, but during a hit on his life at a wedding, using a little girl as a human shield pushed him into Complete Monster territory.
    • 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, vaporizing 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...
      • In The Dark Knight, the Joker's likely crossed the line well before the movie began, and if he didn't, he crossed it when he killed Rachel and followed it up by driving Harvey to madness.
      • And from The Dark Knight Rises, we have Bane and Talia Al-Ghul's entire plan of cutting off Gotham City from contact with the outside world, turning it into a chaotic hellhole while uplifting convicted criminals, the poor, and other people who are at the bottom of society while planning on obliterating it all in a nuclear explosion.
    • In The Phantom The 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!"
    • Two possible ones for Hans Gruber: either when he kills Mr. Takagi when he refuses to tell him the password the the vault, or later on when he threatens John McClane's wife to get him to surrender.
      • 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.

    Simon: I'm a soldier, not a monster. Though I sometimes work for monsters.

    • Initially, we can sympathize with Clyde Shelton's desire to kill Darby as vengence 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.
    • It's hard to tell when Quaritch crosses this, but going from just being portrayed as a mentor earlier on to being portrayed as an irredeemable psychopath later on suggested that he must have crossed it during the movie. Here are some possible moments:
      • It could be when he decides to have his army ransack the Na'vi home just because they're not willing to turn it over voluntarily; it's not like it was ever his to take.
      • Or maybe when he decides to gas the crowd of Na'vi while they are gathered. The way it's carried out, one cannot help but be reminded of the Nazi gassing of Jews.
      • Then when his own troops defect from the mission, Quaritch shoots a ship that has Sully's human form and Trudy on it. It's the first time in the film he directly tries to murder his own soldiers, but at this point it isn't much of a surprise.
    • Willy Bank of Ocean's Thirteen was bad enough when he conned Reuben into using his connections to benefit the hotel/casino, and even 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.
    • 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.
    • If Detective Hoffman didn't cross this by making one of Jigsaw's games a public display in Saw 3D, he did so when he killed Jill Tuck in cold blood.
    • 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.
      • 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 when he was a circus freak (I mean literally - as his job).
    • 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 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.
    • Scorpio from the first Dirty Harry 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).
    • The remake of King Lear, 1000 Acres, jumps in with abandon. 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.
    • Sentinel Prime brutally killing Ironhide in DOTM. 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.
    • In The Third Man, there's Harry Lime's sale of watered-down (and therefore, highly damaging) penicillin to sick and dying Austrian children.
    • 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.
      • A somewhat unique example 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 basically crawls slowly into the Moral Event Horizon as the events in the movie unfold.
    • Tony Montana from Scarface may have crossed either this or the Despair Event Horizon when he unleashed his little friend on Manny for getting too friendly with Gina, though he does subliminally regret the action toward the end of the film. Sosa's hitman, however, does cross the line by insisting on blowing up Gutierrez's wife and kids with him when they get into the same car he's driving. Tony takes offense and Pets The Dog in a spectacularly gory fashion at literally the last second.
    • Warden Drumgoole in Lock Up crosses it by keeping Frank Leone locked up beyond his sentence for the sole purpose of getting back at him for humiliating him all those years ago. And if simple revenge doesn't push him past the line, then wait until you see all the hell he has in store for Leone, and that Goddam electric chair!
    • Similar to Drumgoole is the Warden from Escape from Alcatraz who is hell-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 Retribution over 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 evil. 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 really happened.
    • Sylvia Ganush in Drag Me to Hell establishes how evil she is when she condemns someone for stealing a necklace that was quickly returned to her, a reaction that would be understandable from someone like her if the thief wasn't 10 years old.
    • In Missing in Action 2: The Beginning, Colonel Yin loses 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 Frankiln's all but dead Yin burns him alive on a funeral pyre as Braddock watches and yells for him to stop it.
    • Viktor in Underworld Rise of the Lycans crosses it when, with his own daughter's life at stake, he votes "aye", thus sealing her unanimous death sentence--and does so without pity despite Lucian calling him on it. And while the fact that he did regret that in the long run would normally disqualify it as a MEH, he then accuses Lucian of murdering her even though he was present and chained up to the point where he couldn't even TOUCH her. 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 installments?
    • In Zombi 3, General Morton, a Flat Earth Atheist, crosses this either when he conducts a search-and-destroy operation in a hotel where he discovers the horribly mutated remains of the one nutjob that escaped alive after two of them had tried to steal the Death One virus his scientists were working on (and were trying to find a cure for on moral grounds), simply to contain the virus (though given that he may not have had access to infection screening technology at the time, this being the '80s and all, said search-and-destroy operation would likely be excusable), or when he burns said nutjob over warnings from the same scientists about the environmental impact his actions could have. If he crossed it with the latter action, the following five carelessly-chosen and Genre Blind words definitely pushed him over: "That's ridiculous, pure science fiction!"
    • Johns has two in Pitch Black. The first is when he steals the morfine from the crashed spaceship, so Fry's friend has to die in screaming agony. The second is when he suggests he and Riddick kill Jack and use her as bait for the creatures.
    • Limitless: NTZ is a drug that gives you Super Intelligence. Another secondary effect of NZT is to let the user ignore the Moral Event Horizon:
      • 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 willingly enough to torture or kill for another dosis.
    • 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.
    • At first, Professor Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows comes across as an Affably Evil Worthy 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 into Complete Monster territory throughout the course of the movie. Disturbingly brutal torture is involved.
    • 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, cross this line. Their treatment towards Joseph and Kasparr is very cruel and despicable, even for bullies. In the beginning of movie, they bully and belittle Joseph in a basketball game, then fully undress him and push him into the girl's changing room. This was so bad that it made Kaspar, one of the bullies, have a change of heart and become Joseph's friend after realizing what he has been doing. Then the bullies begin targeting both Joseph and Kaspar and their bullying gets worse: stealing Joseph's notebook and not giving him it back, later forcing Joseph to apologise for telling the teacher about their bullying, cutting and stealing his shoes, assaulting him both at school and out of it, calling Joseph and Kaspar homosexuals because they are friends, sending them insulting notes, framing Kaspar for Joseph's bullying. Later, they begin beating Joseph and Anders kicks him in the stomach several times. After that, they still want to force Joseph to apologise for telling about their bullying. The girls of the class also join the bullying by laughing at Joseph's suffering, insulting him, and supporting the bullies. After Joseph consequently tells his parents about their bullying and they inform the school about the class bullying Joseph, the class choose to blame Joseph for everything, despite the fact that they were the ones who started bullying Joseph. Wanting revenge, they call both Kaspar and Joseph into going to beach by writing emails to them showing each other as the fake sender. If you don't think they have crossed the Moral Event Horizon a while ago, you most likely see this point as crossing that crucial line for the remotest of antagonist sympathy. They force Kaspar to fellate Joseph at knife point and photograph the sexual act without showing the knife, emotionally breaking both Kaspar and Joseph by doing this, and they simply laugh at their suffering. Even worse, before doing this, Paul, one of the bullies, thinks that this is not evil enough. This finally pushes Joseph and Kaspar over the edge and thus leads them to stealing the guns from Joseph's father, going into the school, and killing the bullies to avenge themselves. While the ending is terrifying, the class brought it on themselves, and those who escaped the shooting will have to deal with the fact that the people they cruelly bullied almost killed them. The only people from Joseph's class who escape this territory are Joseph and Kaspar, Kaspar's ex-girlfriend Thea (although she's no saint herself as she broke up with Kaspar because he was protecting Joseph and participated in their bullying herself), who was disgusted with the aforementioned fellating, and Kerli, the goth girl of the class and the only one who did not participate in the class bullying of Joseph and Kaspar and was disgusted with the class' treatment of the two boys (a few scenes indicating that the class teased her too due to this). Joseph and Kaspar allow her to leave the cafeteria, before they begin to shoot the bullies. Made worse by the fact that the film was based on Real Life events.
      • Joseph and Kaspar themselves arguably crossed it with their school shooting, though it's not at all hard to see how and why they came to it.
    • From The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Harry Osborn/The Green Goblin crosses this when he steals his dad's achievement (from the comics) of murdering Gwen Stacy. It's especially this due to the fact that it was done purely out of pettiness towards Spider-Man: he was pissed since Spider-Man denied him a blood transfusion that Harry thought could save his life, and once he realizes Peter Parker is Spider-Man, he decides to kill the person he loves most in order to take away his hope like Peter did to him.
      • Donald Menken from the same film also had one of these moments: he not only framed Harry for Max Dillon's accident, but got him fired from Oscorp, leaving him to die a penniless wreck while taunting him about his approaching death from Norman's inheritable disease like the slimy asshole he is.
    • From Sam Raimi's Spider-Man films, we had the Green Goblin/Norman Osborn cross it in the first movie when he forced Spider-Man to choose between saving Mary-Jane or a lift full of children from falling to their deaths. He had other moments that could qualify such as setting a building on fire to lure Spider-Man to him or hospitalizing Aunt May, a harmless old woman to get to Peter, but it was this Sadistic Choice that showed how low the Goblin could sink when it comes to hurting Spider-Man.

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