Movies' Most Dangerous Buildings

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The Raid this week sees an elite SWAT team storm an apartment building in Jakarta, only to encounter some extremely tough resistance from its inhabitants. All, it’s fair to say, does not go well. But is it the most deadly address in movie history? We’ve surveyed a few other fatal addresses to establish the locations, locations, locations to avoid, avoid, avoid.

Address: "The Block" (aka Heygate Estate, Elephant And Castle)

The Upside Boasting a central London, Zone 1 location, Elephant and Castle has been up-and-coming for as long as anyone can remember – and it still has a long way to go. The block that provides the focus here offers affordable accommodation and all mod-cons. Well, some mod-cons. Well, the lift works. Mostly. Fans of extra-terrestrial life will enjoy it for the local wildlife, while adrenaline junkies will enjoy the chance of screaming death.

The Downside There’s a high risk of being mugged by local teenagers with nothing better to do, and also a not-insignificant risk of being attacked by terrifying alien invaders made of furry patches of pure darkness with glowing teeth.

Survival techniques** Arm yourself with whatever you can, and be prepared for both fight and flight. A tolerance for bad smells will be helpful if you are driven to hide in a dustbin in extremis*.

Chances of survival?* Relatively high. The trick is not to open your front door or have any contact with any young people. Since most Londoners do that instinctively, you should be fine.

Address: Fox Plaza Nakatomi Plaza, Century City

The Upside Towering over Los Angeles, this impressive building would be ideal as the headquarters of a major corporation: a film studio, say, or a Japanese company specialising in major construction projects (we think). The well-appointed offices inside are decorated with water features and rather lovely woodwork in keeping with its Japanese owners’ native traditions.

The Downside While the building’s security appears impressive, it can be easily overcome by a small group of determined terrorists. The placement of a major store of bond certificates in a safe in the building was probably, in retrospect, not such a hot idea.

Survival techniques You’re going to need a white vest, as many small arms as you can carry, industrial levels of kickassery and the ability to think on your feet under fire. So far, so Bruce Willis. May we also recommend that you also find some shoes? You’ll thank us for it.

Chances of survival? Fair-to-high, unless you’re a Japanese oligarch or a greasy coke head. Or a terrorist. They don’t come out of it so well either.

Address: The Glass Tower, San Francisco

The Upside A 138 storey building, this impressive residence is bound to dazzle your guests – especially since a building this tall would not, in reality, be erected for another 36 years. Particularly impressive given that it’s also in an earthquake zone, this monolith combines elegance (thanks to architect Doug Roberts, who closely resembles Paul Newman) and ambition to create a spire of pure terror. Wait, no, not terror: we meant “terrific”.

The Downside A few corners were cut during the building stage, resulting in unsafe electrics throughout the building. The extreme height means that this could result in difficulties for those trapped above the fire on higher floors, like death by burning, death by falling, death by drowning when the water tanks on the roof are blown...

Survival techniques Moral soundness will help, as will being really really ridiculously good-looking. If you’re a con man, you can atone by helping save others. Failing that, stick close to that handsome fire chief, the one who looks like Steve McQueen.

Chances of survival? Moderate. Unless you’re a corrupt businessman, in which case you should bend over and bid a fond farewell to your posterior.

Address: Somewhere in Barcelona

The Upside A pleasant apartment block occupied by a broad cross-section of Catalan society, this friendly and well-appointed building may have a commercial property on ground level, but above is a perfect home for families with daughters, little old ladies and Vatican agents investigating demonic possession. Visits by local TV crews are also a possibility, so you could end up famous!

The Downside* Well, it’s possible that the aforementioned Vatican agent might have accidentally loosed a zombie-like plague on the property in the course of his investigations, a virulent infection that consumes rapidly and spreads violently, but there’s always a price to be paid in the pursuit of knowledge, eh?

Survival techniques Um. Don’t go into the building?

Chances of survival? Practically zero. Just don’t go near it.

Address: Post-apocalyptic Paris

The Upside Following the total breakdown of civilisation, the destruction of much of the world’s resources and the disappearance of much of the population, the survival of this classic French apartment block and delicatessen is something to celebrate. Here, amid the destruction, a sliver of France lives on, a defiantly eccentric group of individuals heroically making ends meet despite the chaos.

The Downside Well, take the wrong job or rent the wrong room and you might end up on the communal menu. So that’s a risk. The walls are also paper-thin, making it ideal for the nosy or voyeurs but less-than-awesome for everyone else.

Survival techniques One technique would be not to answer that job advert in the first place. If you must take a place here, then you’ll need crazy butchering skills and extreme friendliness to win the residents over to your side as far as possible, and ultimately you should try to befriend underground vegetarian rebels.

Chances of survival Statistically low. Try to avoid post-apocalyptic France.

Address: Near the Reich Chancellery, Berlin

The Upside In the chaos of wartime and under heavy shelling from your enemies, it’s hard to beat a good bunker! Securely constructed out of thick concrete, this is guaranteed to withstand everything up to the complete collapse of the Third Reich and the fall of its capital – and really, how likely is that? With space for all your favourite fellow war criminals functionaries, generals, ministers and their families, here’s a spot where you can ride out World War II in peace!

The Downside* You’re going to be stuck in there with a bunch of Nazis. Also, if your army collapses because you started a land war in Asia (one of the classic blunders) and the Allies overrun the place, you’re done for.

Survival techniques Don’t be a Nazi. Don’t marry a Nazi whose idea of a good time is swallowing suicide pills together. Don’t hang with Hitler, period.

Chances of survival?* Low. Those who don’t commit suicide will be killed by their parents, killed trying to escape or hung by the Allies for war crimes, for the most part.

Address: 55 Central Park West, New York

The Upside A luxurious apartment building on New York’s Upper West Side, this is home to creative types (classical musicians) as well as businessmen (accountants). Built by a true individual in classic Art Deco style, it combines great views over Central Park and a killer location with the potential for awesome roof parties and, of course, lovely apartments that can’t be that expensive if a mere musician can afford one.

The Downside Well, the architect was a madman who constructed the entire thing to be a sort of radio transmitter to far-off, hellish dimensions, but when the detailing is this fine and the rents this affordable, do you really care?

Survival techniques Don’t take a penthouse apartment. Practice good feng shui. Don’t buy eggs.

Chances of survival High, assuming the presence of Ghostbusters. Otherwise, you better enjoy being a hellhound.

Address: The Clamp Centre, 101 Park Avenue, New York

The Upside A technological marvel, this entire building is fully automated and can run for hours or days without human assistance. Built by financial whizz Daniel Clamp, it houses his corporate headquarters as well as TV studios, restaurants, research laboratories and much, much more. Staffed by a dedicated team and overseen by the effusive Clamp himself, the only way is up for this skyscraper! It would take a heck of a lot of gremlins to foul up this system!

The Downside Contains a heck of a lot of gremlins. Some of whom have mutated following the application of certain laboratory-developed serums. D'oh! And the building’s locked down so if you’re not already out, you’re stuck!

Survival techniques Well, first you should aim to befriend a mogwai who’s not going to take it any more. Then, try to electrocute the lot of the green slimy bastards while they’re distracted by a musical number.

Chances of survival? Fairly high – although if, like Robert Picardo (pictured), you end up locked in a bathroom with Girl Gremlin, you could wish you were dead.

Address: Some supermarket, Maine

The Upside* If you have to be stuck somewhere during an apocalyptic event, you could do worse than the supermarket. After all, there is plenty of food on hand, you will probably find yourself with your friends and neighbours, and you can just wait out the onslaught of vicious bugs and bigger beasties.

The Downside** A glass-fronted building is not* the safest place to be during some sort of cross-dimensional invasion. What’s more, it’s possible that some of your fellow shoppers are religious whackjobs who are going to pose as much of a threat as what’s going on outside.

Survival techniques We don’t even know, man. Stay in the store? Say a few 'Our Fathers' even if you don’t mean them?

Chances of survival Pretty bloody poor, as far as we can tell.

Address: Smalltown, USA

The Upside* Set in a leafy and pleasant suburban neighbourhood where kids still roam around on bikes and go trick-or-treating at Halloween, this house – with one careful owner since its construction, Mr Nebbercracker – is a fine slice of Americana. Its traditional build includes fetching wooden siding, dormer windows, a wide front porch and the angry spirit of a long-deceased woman.

The Downside That restless spirit we mentioned is still furious at the children who taunted her and led her to her death, so please do show respect and, if possible, avoid this address entirely. She has been known to eat those who stray onto her lawn in pursuit of lost toys or to deliver junkmail.

Survival techniques Extreme ingenuity will be needed to outwit the malevolent mansion. Consult the local pizza delivery boy, but remember: the house’s owner is most likely to hold the key (no pun intended) to its undoing. Make sure to have a construction site and heavy machinery handy.

Chances of survival? High. Houses don’t have digestive juices, so it can’t really deal with you once it’s eaten you.