"The book was better" is the common maxim you hear coming out of whatever Blockbuster was playing in the theatre. This was especially true in decades past, before Marvel and Star Wars were the hottest properties of the summer season and whatever was flying off the shelves of the airport bookstore was the summer's surefire hit.
A lot of major 90s Blockbusters, or films that attempted to be such, were based off source material. Fitting, considering the first of its kind, Jaws, came from similar stock. But in the process of distilling 500-1,000 pages into a two-hour crowd-pleaser, oftentimes characters and even entire plots require excision.
This isn't always a necessary evil, in fact some adaptations benefit from their distillation of distinct themes while not getting bogged down in what another medium would be superfluous. And as a result, sometimes characters even get expanded upon. We've tried to avoid the big name examples for this list (save for two) but is no shortage of novels that mostly are in tune with the director's vision except the end.
Then there are other works that live beyond the adaption, novels that carry the franchises' characters further than the screen...only to have them meet their eventual brutal death.
Here are the ways some characters you might remember fondly were cruelly brutalized elsewhere in media.
10. Luther Whitney - Absolute Power
Absolute Power is the kind of absurd, high concept thriller that used to be made in the 70s, but its plot and era render it much less believable. It wouldn't be out of left field post-Watergate for a movie to feature a President trying to cover up a murder, stymied only by the cat burglar who witnessed the death, but in the days of Whitewater being largely dismissed, the plot rang false.
Odd, considering David Baldacci's novel was a huge success, enough for Columbia Pictures to secure the rights for $5 million. And though an old pro like Eastwood capably handles the action and delivers a reflective performance too good for the material, that doesn't forgive the absurdity afoot.
Part of that may have been Eastwood's own fault, who liked the novel but felt that all the interesting characters were killed off too early. Eastwood's aging thief Luther Whitney, the film's protagonist, died fairly early in the book - presumably more grounded in reality where a simple burglar would be done away with.
He demanded William Goldman change the story so that "everyone the audience likes doesn't get killed off," effectively neutering any shock value or thrills the film may have offered instead of turning in a by-the-numbers thriller with a ludicrous hook.