Hollywood Survival: 'Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back' (1980)

A critical look at ten of the silver screen's oddest, most entertaining, and occasionally even accurate techniques for dealing with disaster

SCENARIO: When Han Solo (Harrison Ford) finds Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) freezing to death on the ice planet Hoth, he cuts open the belly of his dead Tauntaun—a furry bipedal creature that’s used as a mount by explorers of the planet’s icy wasteland—and shoves Luke inside, keeping him warm for the night. Would a non-Jedi in a comparable situation be able to survive?

THE EXPERT SAYS: The “stay warm in an animal carcass” technique is surprisingly effective—and more common than you might think. “If you look at Germany, Poland, or Russia 100 years ago, there will be stuff like that that shows up,” says Nester. There are many historical cases of soldiers who, stranded in the snow, “cut open their horses and stuffed their buddies inside for the night.” Though it won’t keep them alive forever, it’s a good last-ditch effort if you know help isn't far away.

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