The Disturbing Real Story That Inspired 30 Minutes or Less

By RodneyHatfieldJr for Creepy

The Disturbing Real Story That Inspired 30 Minutes or Less

The dark comedy 30 Minutes or Less has a pretty insane premise on first glance. A pizza delivery boy is sent out to a remote location for a deliver, where two maniacs strap a homemade bomb to his chest. If he doesn’t rob a bank and deliver them the money in time, he’ll explode. An extraordinary adventure on the weird side, right?


Well, not really. It is indeed based on actual events that happened in 2003 in which pretty much that exact thing happened to pizza delivery man Brian Wells. Unlike in the movie, at the end of this story, the bomb actually exploded. Not very funny.

The idea of a bomb is not exceedingly rare. Back in 2011, a bomb squad in Australia was called in to defuse and remove a extremely sophisticated collar bomb that was attached to a teenage girl. Thankfully it was not a real bomb. But these things have to makes you wonder: are we far enough away from these horrifying events to be laughing about them? And is it OK to base comedies off of specific events of this nature? I still can’t help but be a little unsettled by the actual story the movie is based on, which happened in 2003.


At 2:28 pm on August 28, 2003, a middle-aged pizza deliveryman named Brian Wells walked into a PNC Bank in Erie, Pennsylvania. He had a short cane in his right hand and a strange bulge under the collar of his T-shirt. Wells, 46 and balding, passed the teller a note. “Gather employees with access codes to vault and work fast to fill bag with $250,000,” it said. “You have only 15 minutes.” At that point in time he lifted his shirt to reveal a heavy, boxlike device dangling from his neck. According to the note, it was a bomb. The teller, who told Wells there was no way to get into the vault at that time, so they filled a bag with cash. $8,702 and handed it over. Wells walked out, sucking on a Dum Dum lollipop he grabbed from the counter, hopped into his car, and drove off. He didn’t get far. Some 15 minutes later, state troopers spotted Wells standing outside his Geo Metro in a adjacent parking lot, surrounded him, and tossed him to the pavement, cuffing his hands behind his back. Wells told the troopers that while out on a delivery he had been accosted by a group of black men who chained the bomb around his neck at gunpoint and forced him to rob the bank. “It’s gonna go off!” he told them in desperation. “I’m not lying.” The officers called the bomb squad and assumed positions behind their cars, guns levelled. TV camera crews arrived and began filming. For 25 minutes Wells remained seated on the pavement, his legs curled beneath him.“Did you call my boss?” Wells asked a trooper at one point, apparently concerned that his employer would think he was shirking his duties. Suddenly, the device started to emit an accelerating beeping noise. Wells fidgeted. It looked like he was trying to scoot backward, to somehow escape the bomb strapped to his neck. Beep. Beep. Beep. Boom! The device detonated, blasting him violently onto his back and ripping a 5-inch gash in his chest. The pizza deliveryman took a few last gasps and died on the pavement. It was 3:18 pm. The bomb squad arrived three minutes later.


Are there some too upsetting or dark stories to act as foundations for comedy? There have certainly been some seriously dark comedies that were extremely successful. When we suffer actual tragedies and make them into comedies, do we mock the victims? Should there be things too sacred or taboo to be made into film?

This is a subject that all of us should take part in a constructive discussion.

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