The Boys From Brazil, Genetic Tampering Gone Wild!

Gregory Peck as Joseph Mengele.

Gregory Peck as Josef Mengele.

There are going to be spoilers in this post. If you have never seen this film and want to be surprised by it then stop reading right now. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

The Boys From Brazil is a twisted film giving us a glimpse into a future in which giant strides in genetics have taken place that lets the surviving Nazi elite recreate the circumstances in which Adolph Hitler was created. This film was made over thirty years ago, so technology has caught up with the ideas set forth in this book, but that doesn’t make the idea of new little Hitlers being created any less frightening.

This film is based upon the book of the same name by Ira Levin, who also wrote Rosemary’s Baby. What I find really interesting about the idea behind the film’s premise is that it realized it’s not only genetics that paves the way for a person to become evil and twisted. Joseph Mengele, played by Gregory Peck, artificially inseminates a bunch of ‘Aryan’ women with the genetic material of Hitler. Then these babies are adopted out to couples who fit the exact profile of Hitler’s parents. The wife is younger and domineering, while the husband is older and works for the civil service. Once this is done the plan is then to have all of the fathers killed at the same age as Hitler’s father died.

He's mad as hell and he's not going to take it any more!

He’s mad as hell and he’s not going to take it any more!

What’s funny is that these surviving Nazi leaders have a real problem with killing these fathers and the consequences of this is their plan is found out. Sure, they have no problems killing millions of people in concentration camps, but they are now more cautious and realize that perhaps the world isn’t totally in synch with their crazy ideas yet. Mengele is the only character that is fanatical about this plan, so much so that he gets into a physical confrontation at a party with another Nazi who criticizes his ideas. He is convinced that if the murders don’t happen then their dream of a Fourth Reich will never take place. The character has a point, in which that certain events in our lives shape us and change our personality. If Hitler’s father hadn’t died while he was young would he have been a different person?

Modern day Hitler.

Modern day Hitler.

The part of this film that genuinely freaks me out is the character of a young teen modern day Hitler. These clones appear in various times throughout the film while Nazi hunter Yakov Liebermann is seeking out the families that adopted these children. Liebermann doesn’t quite know exactly what is going on but as he meets these identical children who live in totally different areas he quickly figures out that something really strange and disquieting is happening. Even though these young Hitlers have never met each other they are all slightly bratty and act like they are superior to the people surrounding them. Their environmental conditioning seems to be working!

Cloning of animals is being done today but there have been laws put in place to stop doing the same things with humans. Does that mean that nobody is doing such things? Right now there are labs out there tampering with the genetic code hoping to create humans that are ‘perfect’. How long will it be before these type of creatures are cloned?

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Red Dawn, The Ultimate Red Scare Propaganda Film

Wolverines!!!

Wolverines!!!

Before I start I would just like it to be known that I am talking about the original 1984 version of this film. The remake is really, really bad so avoid it at all costs! Trust me, I’m doing you a favor by telling you not to watch it.

Awww…the 1980’s, the decade of bad perms and Ronald Reagan. I was a teen during that time and Reagan would go on and on all the time about how the Soviet Union was the ‘evil empire’ and how we should all be afraid of them and want them dead at the same time. A lot of Americans totally drank the Kool-Aid and hated them. The Cold War had been escalating for close to 40 years and Reagan elevated the anti-Soviet rhetoric to such a level that we came damn close to being totally annihilated. All in all it was a really tense time to be alive. The nuclear disaster TV films The Day After and Threads both came out during this time and if you haven’t watched them go seek them out because they have totally different takes as to what would happen after a nuclear war.

Red Dawn is a product of its time and one of those kind of films that I can watch again and again and have fun doing so. Why? Because it is obviously a ‘red scare’ film. Lots of ‘red scare’ films had been made leading up to this but this particular one makes no bones about it. The story is simple, the Soviet Union, with the help of Cuba, invades the middle of the US and a group of teenagers become guerrilla fighters in order to stop them. Yep, that’s it. The entire film has a vibe that is supposed to make you feel proud of being an American, but it doesn’t really affect me in that way. Rather, I see it as a milestone in American propaganda. It’s a piece of cinema history that perfectly shows the brainwashing that was going on in America during the time.

John Milius

John Milius

Red Dawn was written and directed By John Milius, the man who directed the original Conan The Barbarian. He is well-known for having right-wing beliefs and is believed by many, according to a documentary about him that I have seen, to have purposely pissed of Hollywood in general just so that he could. Seriously, this man is a contradiction in terms. On the one hand he is a really good filmmaker when given the chance, but on the other hand he wants to rebel against the Hollywood system that enables him to make films. This film pretty much ruined his career because it is so right-wing that those who hated Reagan, a lot of Hollywood, didn’t want to work with him any longer. He mostly wrote for TV after this, including creating the series Rome. See, I told you he’s good! I’m as liberal as they come but I can appreciate a good filmmaker, no matter what their personal politics are.

There is no doubt that the ideas that Red Dawn contain now look dated, but there is still a huge amount of American exceptionalism that poisons the ability of the American government to see the forest through the trees. The idea that America is all-powerful, and that all other forms of government are obsolete has never truly died away. Sure, more people are awake now compared to the 1980’s, but when you grow up American you are taught from a very young age that you live in a special place and that you have to protect it at all costs. I feel that’s why Red Dawn works so well, it shows teenagers taking that idea to heart and protecting their country against invaders.

In the future I think that Red Dawn will be looked at as a time capsule of the prevailing attitude of America during the 1980’s towards the Soviet Union, and how propaganda was used to try to cement those ideas into the minds of the American film going audience.

An Invading Alien Force Would Destroy Us All

Will Smith is as dangerous as a rabid gerbil.

Will Smith is as dangerous as a rabid gerbil.

Let’s face it, if a superior alien force from another planet came to Earth we could never defeat it. Seriously, if a race of aliens has the technology to be able to travel through space quickly they sure as hell are going to have some majorly superior firepower and technology.

You know that film Independence Day? Well, it would never happen in real life. How could humans figure out an alien’s computer system without understanding its form of communication? I watched it and kept thinking ‘There is no fucking way…’ through the whole entire film. I could not suspend my disbelief to enjoy the film because the premise was just so incredibly preposterous. That is not to say that I don’t enjoy these type of films. I love the original War Of The Worlds, Predator, and Battle :L.A.. However, those films more realistically portrayed battles and the techniques that humans would have to use against a force that is superior in every way.

If an alien force were to invade you can bet they will have been observing us for a good long while before coming for a visit. That would be easy to do since we broadcast everything from satellites and have actually sent recordings into space for others to find. Do we really want others to find us? Is that really such a great idea? Stephen Hawkins has expressed in the past that maybe we shouldn’t be doing such things because we don’t know exactly what is out there. I tend to agree with this. There are going to be other inhabited planets out there, the odds are for it, so the chances of their being other species who are far more intelligent than us is pretty much a given.

Battle L.A. is more realistic.

Battle L.A. is more realistic.

An alien invading force would do one of two things: they would either just simply wipe out all life on this planet by detonating something huge and deadly, or they will bring the fighting to the streets. There is nothing we could do against the first since we don’t have force shields to protect us. The second would involve people actually physically fighting the aliens with weapons. In countries where guns are allowed this would be a much easier prospect. For instance somebody in the United States would have an easier time taking down an armed alien than say somebody in the UK who could only tut tut at them and wave a finger.

Would human weapons even adversely affect an alien creature? I’d imagine, since they’ve done their research first, that these aliens coming to invade would have combat ready armor that could easily deflect the weaponry of Earth. For all of out talk about how smart and intelligent we are we really don’t have anything too advanced beyond guns. Usually it’s just a better caliber gun that’s invented or a weapon that can fire bullets faster. If we do have laser type weapons the government is keeping them tight to their chest and not really telling us anything about it. Humans can be tricky though and fight fiercely when their land is being invaded, so humans might be able to put up a little bit of a fight.

All in all though we are totally fucked. Hollywood can spew out crap like Independence Day to try to make people feel like they are at the top of the universe’s food chain, but we all know that there is something, or someone, out there that has the ability to wipe us all out at a moment’s notice.

The Dystopian Future Of The Purge

Can we come in to play?

Can we come in to play?

At this moment I’m watching the film The Purge. I’ve seen it lots of times so it’s okay if I type and watch it at the same time, don’t worry! No, I have not seen The Purge: Anarchy, mainly due to the fact that our movie theater here kind of sucks. I will see it though, by golly!

Why am I talking about this film? I simply love the idea of it. Once a year for twelve hours you can commit any act of violence and you won’t get in any trouble. Want to kill your boss because they’re a dick? Go ahead, it’s state sanctioned! Of course that wouldn’t happen in the society we currently live in. However, in the near future there is a new government that thinks that people are inherently violent. It seems to be working for them because unemployment and violence are both down, the former at an all time low of 1%!

What’s interesting to me is what could possibly be the back story of the kind of government that would allow this to happen. In the film they are called the New Founding Fathers. In my mind that conjures up visions of the far right and their tea-bagger brethren taking over the government and installing their new laws. On the surface this new society that they have built seems to be working, but at what price? This new government has quite a low opinion of the population if they think that people are just always going to be violent. I mean they have a point, but to advertise that kind of idea on a national level is dangerous and encourages people to go out and kill others for petty reasons.

 
Who are the kind of people who would indulge in this night of murder and mayhem? In the film it’s everybody, there is no single stereotype that goes out and murders. That is the real frightening part of all this. Your next door neighbor who brings you over cookies can secretly be jealous of you and want to kill you. You can’t trust a single person, except perhaps your own family. Even then doubts about whether you children really indeed hate you will race around in your mind that night. In the dystopian future maybe the way that people react to one another will be different from today. Perhaps people will be more polite in fear that the person that just stole their parking space will find them and kill them later on.

In this depiction of the future there are huge differences when it comes to class, and whether or not a person will survive this night. If you are poor you can’t afford security so you are forced to bunker down, hide and hope for the best. On the other hand if you are rich you can afford to buy the best security and feel more protected. In the film the security system isn’t as good as first thought so in the end even that can’t save you. Maybe there is something to be said about that. Even with all the money and material things you want you still can’t escape the fact that you could die. The New Founding Fathers must love the fact that The Purge gets rid of mostly the ‘undesirables’, that it solves the problem of having to provide for those who for whatever reason can’t help themselves.

Sometimes when I watch a dystopian film I dream about visiting that specific place in time but in this case I really don’t know if I’d want to inhabit it. Perhaps it is better to watch it depicted in a film that to really live through it.

 

The Mad Max: Fury Road Trailer Is Out!!!

 

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this FINALLY coming out! As you can tell by the amount of post-apocalyptic type posts I make on here I love the genre. The Road Warrior (Mad Max 2) is one of my favorite films so when I watched this trailer yesterday for the first time I squealed and clapped my hands like an overactive seal. Well, I don’t have flippers but you get the point!

There are concerns going on about how the film has been delayed but I am keeping an open mind when it comes to how it’s going to turn out. World War Z was delayed and it turned out to be a pretty good so I’m not going to get all negative concerning that. I’m guessing that this film is going to be more of a reboot than strictly following the timeline of the previous films. That’s okay by me since I think that Beyond Thunderdome was a total mess. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron are among my favorite actors so I have faith that they aren’t going to suck.

I saw one guy complaining online already about how the film looks too ‘Michael Bay’. First off it’s just a damn trailer, and trailers tend to show the more violent bits to get people excited. Secondly, the other films in the franchise show an enormous amount of explosions and violence. In fact those films highly influenced a bunch of modern directors in terms of how they shoot action scenes. So, if you are thinking the same thing as the aforementioned idiot you’ve obviously never paid attention to the other films.

All in all I’m being very positive when it comes to Fury Road and I can’t wait for it to come out next year!

Why Aren’t There More Women In The Post-Apocalyptic Landscape?

Home sweet home!

Home sweet home!

After watching numerous short post-apocalyptic films the other day it damned on me that women are not equally represented within the genre. Of the ten films I watched that day only one had a woman in it. Only one! Do they think that women all die because they aren’t strong or brave enough to survive a disaster?

In most post-apocalyptic films that I have watched the female characters either die or are some kind of sex slave, very rarely are they actually the main character. The male characters get to kick ass, take names and wander off into the sunset. Why can’t a woman be the main character and hero? There is Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome starring Tina Turner,but her character is a woman who is pretty much evil and is thwarted by the hero Max. In Book Of Eli the character Solara, at the very end, wanders off into the sunset, but not before following Eli about so that he can protect her. Women have to be cosseted and protected because they are not strong enough to handle the new world in which they are inhabiting, at least that is what filmmakers want us to believe.

Michonne rules!

Michonne rules!

The Walking Dead is a total exception. There are a lot of very strong female characters on the show, and quite frequently they are stronger physically, and mentally than the men. Michonne is quite possibly my favorite character on the show because she can hold her own and doesn’t take crap from anybody. Plus, she’s very independent and can survive in the wasteland all on her own without having to be rescued by a man. Women on the show are deemed just as important as the men and are given interesting story-lines so that they don’t feel like simple followers or victims that need to be constantly saved.

I would like to see more balance as to how women are portrayed in the wasteland. In fact I would like to see more women in the wasteland period! One of the things that I really love about the game Fallout 3 is that I get to play a woman who kicks all sort of ass and can survive mutant creatures without having to scream for help. Women can be just as tough as men, and in fact scientific studies have concluded that women have more stamina and a better tolerance for pain than men. If this is the case wouldn’t women be able to survive just as easily in the wasteland than men?

I Watched Some Post-Apocalyptic Short Films So You Don’t Have To!

Brushing your teeth is important in a post-apocalyptic world!

Brushing your teeth is important in a post-apocalyptic world!

I was really bored today so I decided to watch some short films detailing post-apocalyptic societies, or lack thereof. The first one I watched was called Alone and it dealt with a guy going through some pretty normal routines while talking on an on about how life was complete shit. It actually isn’t really that bad for him, at least he doesn’t have zombies running after him! You have to think about the positive aspects of a crap situation to get you through the day. This one was pretty boring, except for the very end, which was actually kind of predictable. Maybe he’ll bore to death any person he meets with his tales of woe! They’ll probably wait until he sleeps then tie him up and brand the word Emo on his forehead.

This film is actually quite good!

This film is actually quite good!

This next one is called The Waste and is a student film. I think it’s pretty impressive in that it shows a brutal world, but that not everybody inhabiting it is awful. I guess that is a recurring theme in this genre of films, but it really is done quite well here.. A guy rescues a girl by trading her for water and in the process discovers that his friend is lying dead in the cage next to her. Pretty sad stuff but it has an uplifting unending which just shows that things sometimes happen for a reason, and that doing some good will reward you in the end.

Cocoa Puffs, the breakfast of champions!

Cocoa Puffs, the breakfast of champions!

The final one I watched today is called Remnant and it follows a man as he wanders an industrial wasteland looking for water. This guy actually has a map that I guess is showing him water sources. I have no idea where he got the thing, but there you go! What I don’t get about this one is why this dude is staying in one place while walking all over the place looking for his damned water! It would make more sense if he traveled about with his gear so he wouldn’t have to expend so much energy running all over the place. The ending is brutal and probably realistic in a way. One thing you never do in the wasteland is trust somebody!

The best out of all of them!

The best out of all of them!

All That Remains takes a page out of The Road Warrior, in that it takes place in a future world populated by people dressed like warriors of the wasteland. Plus, the main character is a lone wandering type. The thing I was most impressed with in this film is that they actually had the money to do some pretty decent CGI effects. You don’t often see that in a short film. It kind of reminds me of Fallout 3, in the sense that people are either traders, wanderers or slavers and that you have to pick what role you want to play. This was my favorite out of all of them!

All of these films are available on YouTube, but I’m not going to bother linking them because links go down all the time. Don’t be lazy, go and watch them!

Thoughts On Children Of Men

It's tough being a refugee.

It’s tough being a refugee.

I just watched Children Of Men for the first time in a good long while. Being in a mood for a really bleak vision of the future I picked it because I think it’s wonderfully dark.

In a parallel dystopian future every person on the planet is infertile. Isn’t that a nifty idea? The youngest person in the world dies and everybody is in tears, yet human life is still not revered. All around them chaos ensues, be it government soldiers surrounding up illegal immigrants to deport or terrorists bombing people up to make a point. Neither of the supposed sides in this film are good, and it is basically up to one individual named Theo (Clive Owen) to save the future of the human race.

One of my most favorite things about this film is how bleak and dark everything looks. There are burning cow carcasses burning in the middle of fields, a dog herding a frighten flock of sheep through a war-torn town, and graffiti over every reachable surface. It really doesn’t look like nice place to live and that’s the point. The only person whom we see that has any kind of higher living standard is Theo’s cousin Nigel (Danny Houston) who still has to pop antidepressants despite the fact that he has more money that he could possibly ever spend. Even in this vision of the future money cannot buy you happiness.

Another interesting thing about the story is that Britain is on top of the world again. Gone is the supremacy of America, instead law and order is the rule of the day in the once again mighty Britain. However, there are cracks in that veneer, ones in which the government doesn’t want its citizens to be awake to. They provide all citizens with antidepressants and even suicide pills so that they can cope, or in some cases not cope, with the world they are living in. If things are going so well then why the need for the pharmaceuticals?

There is one famous long tracking shot is this film that should be seen to be believed. It takes you from Theo being shot at outside a building, to inside the building and him looking for a missing person whom he is supposed to be helping to escape. It’s a pretty amazing feat and it brings you more into the scene than a bunch of cuts that could possibly distract you from what is happening around the characters.

Many of the scenes have either important events that move the plot forward so this is the kind of film that you heavily have to pay attention to. Don’t try to play a game online and watch this at the same time, you’ll lose on both accounts! Personally, I like films that make me think and that keep my attention. For instance there is a certain character that all of a sudden gets killed right in front of you and you don’t really expect it. I’m not going to say why you wouldn’t expect it because that would be spoiling things a bit.

As a huge fan of dystopian themed film I can honestly say that this is one of the darkest. It has a theme of hope running through it, one in which humanity could possibly be saved from extinction, but would you really want to live in a world practically destroyed by famine and war?

Fun Times In Fallout 3

Welcome to the Capital Wasteland!

Welcome to the Capital Wasteland!

Fallout 3 is my all time favorite video game. I’ve owned it on every platform and have played it so many times that I’ve lost count.

The main reason why I love the game so much is because it is set in a bizarre future in which a nuclear war happened in the 1950’s, and time has pretty much stopped. Sure, there are some advanced weapons, but basically your character is beholden to morals and values of that era. You can play it as totally evil, neutral or good. I have only played once as a good character and it wasn’t much fun helping the ghouls get into Tenpenny Tower, let me tell you. Playing evil, in my opinion, is the only way to go.

Welcome to Megaton!

R.I.P. Megaton!

So, what do you do to become evil? First off I personally blow up the settlement of Megaton. Of course I do all the available missions beforehand, in order to level up and get items that I will need in the future. Also, I kill all of the townspeople and steal their items; I’m efficient. Blowing up Megaton is rather easy to do since the town has an unexploded nuclear bomb sitting in the middle of it. I feel no shame in this since I get to see the beautiful sight of it exploding from a distance while on the top of Tenpenny Tower. It’s quite a site, trust me!

That was your first step towards being evil. You have to keep in mind that being evil does have its consequences. Certain groups of the wasteland will shoot you on sight and ask questions later. There will even be a posse that comes after you once in a while so that they can claim the bounty put on your head. These pests will bother you at the most impromptu moments so be prepared. Another direct consequence of being evil is that the DJ Three Dog will take crap about you on his radio program. If you are sensitive to being called names be warned!

Destroyy all ghouls!

Destroy all ghouls!

A group of ghouls will ask you to help then get into Ten Penney Tower so that they can take it over. Don’t help them! If you do that you won’t be able to buy as much gear from merchants inside the building and the ambiance of the place will go downhill fast. Instead pretend to be friends with these ghouls and mow them all down! Well, they have radiation poisoning and are going to die anyway. Just think of it as putting them out of their misery.

One particular mission that I rather enjoy doing is wiping out all of Paradise Falls. Sure, they are themselves evil and slavers, but I am even more evil and have to destroy them. There can only be so many evil people in the wasteland after all! They have a lot of weaponry on site so make sure you take plenty of first aid kits and ammo. It’s worth it though!

Little bugger.

Little bugger.

One thing that the game will not allow you to do is kill children. This is a damn shame since the whole population of Lamplight Caverns are children and are annoying as hell! I don’t do any missions involving children, especially the ones that want you to lead them somewhere. Screw that, the little shits can go find their own way. If they get slaughtered by a deathclaw then so be it! Sometimes I will do good things because I’ll be in an especially sunny mood while playing. Please don’t hold this against me!

Do you know what would be really neat? If we could for one hour visit the Capital Wasteland. I would want to try a  Nuka-Cola, hang out at Ten Penney Tower and dress like an extra from The Road Warrior. Avoiding deathclaws and super mutants I would bask in the glow of a really peachy keen post-apocalyptic world!

Why The Handmaid’s Tale Is My Favorite Book

A dystopian nightmare.

A dystopian nightmare.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a book that I can read over and over again and never get bored. That is a rare thing. In Fact I love it so much that I have bought it at least five different times through the years when I have moved and have had to leave a copy of it behind.

This book is firmly set in a dystopian future in which a right winged Christian extremist group, the Sons Of Jacob, have taken over the United States and renamed it the Republic Of Gilead. They get rid of almost the entire US government by terror inflected bombings and blame Islamic extremists for the act. They then take away the rights of women, one by one, until they are completely subjugated and made to service men in one way or another. All of what I just described doesn’t seem too far fetched, does it? In fact it’s downright frightening because of the fact that there are lunatic Christian groups who preach about these kind of things.

The main character is the novel is named Offred. The majority of the novel is told from her point of view, and the name that she is given by her rulers literally means that she belongs to a man named Fred. Who is Fred? He is the high ranking official that she is forced to have sex with so that he and his wife can have a child. Offred is one of many fertile women who is forced to become a handmaiden to a couple who is unable to have children on their own. Women are nothing more than vessels for babies. They can’t have careers or their own lives, they now belong to men. There are also other classes of women, including the aptly named Marthas, who are forced to be servants in the more wealthy households. If you are deemed unworthy of any of this, or refuse to be brainwashed or participate, you are sent to ‘the colonies’, which is an area of nuclear radiation and death.

So, if you are a woman in this depiction of the future you either have to be a slave or chose death. Being a man, is of course, much more easy. If you are high ranking enough you even get to go to a sanctioned sex club and screw women who are called Jezebels. Jezebels are, for the most part, highly educated and refused to participate as handmaidens. Since they were attractive they were sterilized and put into sex work, rather than being sent immediately to their deaths. Then again it’s still a death sentence since they have a limited shelf life. Just like now these Christian leaders are in fact total hypocrites and are not living what they are preaching. Women have to follow their laws but men can break them since that in itself is sanctioned by the government.

Handmaidens pretty much do nothing but sit around all day. They are not allowed to read or have any kind of hobby. These kind of things would simply make them tense and unable to become pregnant. Instead Offred just sits at her bedroom window looking out into the world pondering her past life and what is ultimately going to happen to her. Reading her thoughts can be very tough at times and very emotional. When she is first given the room she slowly explores it to find out if the woman placed in the house before her left any clues as to who she was. Scratched into the paint in the closet she finds the phrase ‘Nolite te bastardes carborundorum’, meaning ‘Don’t let the bastards grind you down’ in Latin. Offred learns later on that the woman hung herself in that very room. That particular phrase affected me so much while reading it that I have the quote tattooed down my left arm.

Margaret Atwood has perfectly projected the fears of women with this novel. As a woman I’m afraid of religious zealots taking over my home government and telling me what I can and can’t do with my body. You see this sort of thing happening in the United States all of the time; Christians trying to push their religious views on others. They pass laws that restrict a woman’s right to have an abortion, and try to dictate who can and can’t be married. What it all boils down to is that these groups want to be able to control women so that they can’t have a voice of their own or even make their own choices. We are seen as children who must be told what to do so that we don’t do things the ‘wrong’ way. The Handmaid’s Tale is an important story of what could possibly happen in the future if people just sit back and do nothing. All of this is why this is my favorite book and why it speaks to me so deeply.